Bluefly‘s move to a marketplace powered by Mirakl prior to the holiday season, gave the e-commerce site a 20 percent year-over-year sales bump for Black Friday. For the week of Nov. 19 to 26, Bluefly reached $1.7 million GMV and 15,000 orders. The e-tailer said that besides increased sales, it had more control over seller quality, which resulted in reduced cart abandonment, increased conversions and fewer returns.
Prior to Mirakl, “We had a marketplace with our own homegrown portal,” said Randy Smythe, senior director of Marketplace at Bluefly. “It was built on the existing legacy software. We were constantly having to patch it and fix it, but we made it work. When we looked at Mirakl’s much more robust platform, we decided now was the time to make the switch.”
Smythe said the Mirakl platform “enabled us to go after a little bit more sophisticated online seller. We typically were working with small brands, but when we hooked up with Mirakl, it raised the level of our logistics performance. Some brands are moving to the next level of sophistication. We can still support and work with brands that only sell directly. We haven’t lost any of the brands we had. We really appreciate those brands.
“Now everyone is of looking at marketplaces,” Smythe said, noting that it’s the format of choice for the world’s largest digital retailer. “Amazon does commodity products really well. It sells apparel, but has a hard time with fashion. The marketplace is a very asset-light business that allows you to quickly ramp up your assortment.”
“Bluefly is crafting a unique experience through its selection of vendors,” said Adrien Nussenbaum, chief executive officer of Mirakl. “They have access to a highly curated functionality so they can select the sellers and the products to remain true to their identity. They’re able to have a lot of [input] on what vendor can come on board and they’re also able to offer the vendors software that makes it very easy for them to change their assortment.
Nussenbaum pointed to the global trend where marketplaces are grabbing more and more share of consumer spending. “And it’s not just Amazon,” he said. “We see customers who are launching marketplaces and taking away money that would be going to Amazon. Marketplaces are the future of e-commerce.”
According to Forrester Research, shoppers in 2016 did half of their online spending through marketplaces. That number is expected to rise to two-thirds by 2021.
“We’re seeing and going to see more and more retailers, even brick and mortar retailers, adapt the marketplace model that’s contributed to the success of everyone’s biggest competitor – Amazon,” Nussenbaum said. “Retailers are evolving from being a little bit reluctant a few years ago, to now realizing that they have no choice. By having a marketplace, Bluefly is able to offer a better selection, better availability, more in-stocks and ultimately, get more engagement with customers.”