Any Other Business: 21 January 2022

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including why consumers lean towards multi-merchant marketplaces, and the new tool helping sellers boost their sales on WhatsApp.

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B2B e-commerce marketplace reimagines the business services space

A B2B online marketplace that matches buyers and sellers of technology services has big ambitions for growth over the coming months. US-based start-up SkillSetz1 enables businesses to find, engage with, and employ the services of highly skilled professionals for specific projects, all with a few clicks.

Experienced workers can create powerful, SEO-optimized “storefronts” on the platform to digitally transform their services practice and create new opportunities. On the other side of the transaction, small and medium-sized businesses from the technology, engineering and marketing sectors (to name a few) benefit from transparent, simplified access to the specialists they need. The platform also automates the contracting, collaboration and compliance processes so all parties can focus on the work.

“We’re making source-to-pay for professional services a true e-commerce experience,” said founder and CEO, Matt McCarrick2. “Think about Amazon and LinkedIn thrown into a blender. SkillSetz is the smoothie you would get.”

SkillSetz currently has 40 service providers as customers, with ambitions to hit 500 to 600 by Spring.

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Online shoppers look to multi-merchant sites for the best deals

Thinking of selling on an e-commerce marketplace? The results of a recent consumer survey may be just the nudge you need.

Marketplace technology provider Mirakl3 surveyed 9,000 shoppers from nine countries around the world (including the UK and US), and found that two-thirds of them prefer e-commerce sites that sell goods from multiple retailers over those that don’t4. The top reasons shoppers cited for this preference were better prices (62% of respondents), better product selection (53%), and better delivery options (43%) and shopping experiences (43%).

From eBay to Etsy: discover which online marketplaces are right for your e-commerce business with our dedicated guide.

mobile phone with Whatsapp logo

New solution helps retailers sell on WhatsApp

Leading B2C conversational messaging platform Gupshup5 has launched a tool that allows businesses to create an interactive mobile “storefront” on WhatsApp, whilst enabling conversations with customers at every stage of the buying process. Sellers can display their product catalogs, answer customers’ queries in real time with AI-powered chatbots or live agents, and deliver sales notifications such as product recommendations and promos.

Customers using the service benefit from a seamless end-to-end experience where they can browse and pay for products without having to leave WhatsApp. The solution can integrate with leading e-commerce platforms (including Shopify and WooCommerce) and third-party payment gateways.

“Our goal is to enable every business, large and small, to get started with commerce through WhatsApp quickly and easily as well as realize the full potential of this capability to transform their business,” a spokesperson from Gupshup said6. “We are seeing strong demand for the new commerce features, and the early results for businesses are promising. This is certainly going to revolutionize the way businesses conduct e-commerce.”

AI-powered search boosts retailers’ conversions

Though 2021 was a lucrative year for e-commerce sellers, many failed to adequately invest in their internal search capabilities – losing valuable sales in the process. Research by Google Cloud7 found that in the first six months of 2021, 94% of global consumers received irrelevant results whilst searching on a retailer’s website. As a result, 85% said they developed a poor impression of the brand – with many abandoning their purchases.

With competition so fierce within the e-commerce sector, a powerful, intuitive search bar should be a key part of an e-tailer’s website, so customers are able to find what they’re looking for quickly. AI and machine learning can be leveraged to deliver more accurate results.

The search bar is just one of 22 e-commerce features we’ve highlighted as essential to help online businesses increase their sales. Discover what else made the list here.

E-commerce payments set to soar

According to a new report by Juniper Research8, global e-commerce payment transactions will exceed US$7.6 trillion by 2026. The study highlights the rapid growth of omni-channel retail experiences as the main driver, encouraging consumers to spend more.

Furthermore, it advises retailers to keep up with consumers’ appetite for new payment methods –such as one-click checkout buttons – or risk being left behind. Discover which ones your e-commerce business should be offering with our guide to the new ways to pay.

1 - SkillSetz

2 - Matt McCarrick, Digital Commerce 360, January 2022

3 - Mirakl

4 - Mirakl survey, Digital Commerce 360, January 2022

5 - Gupshup

6 - Gupshup spokesperson, Business Wire, December 2021

7 - Google Cloud research, E-commerce Times, July 2021

8 - Juniper Research, January 2022