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More than 8 in 10 marketers have concerns about selling through e-commerce marketplaces, according to a Jumpshot survey [download page] of 307 US respondents working in Retail, CPG and Travel companies that sell both directly and through e-commerce marketplaces. Revenue-based concerns are chief among those issues, but marketers also cite problems with audience and customer insights.

The top issue reported by respondents is the marketplace taking a cut of the revenue that the marketer did all the heavy lifting to sell (50%). This was of particular concern to Retail and Travel companies (55% each), with CPG marketers (32%) not quite as worried about revenue sharing.

Other concerns relate in some way to insights, including:

  • An inconsistent view of customer behavior across all e-commerce marketplaces (36%);
  • The customer relationship being owned by the e-commerce marketplace (34%); and
  • Lack of insight into detailed buying behaviors (31%).

Indeed, while that last issue isn’t among the most important, 84% of respondents admitted some level of concern over the lack of online insights into buying behaviors once customers have left their website for an e-commerce marketplace.

The lack of such insight is problematic enough that half of the respondents said they had hesitated to invest in marketplaces as a result. Roughly two-thirds said that their internal data is of somewhat or significantly better quality than the data they receive from e-commerce marketplaces, and another fifth see the quality as being on par.

Were they to receive improved purchase behavior data from e-commerce marketplaces, respondents said they’d be most apt to use it to diagnose if customers are buying somewhere else or are simply lost when they leave their website (78%).

Regarding marketplace path-to-purchase data, the majority see it as important to understand where sales are being lost (67%) and to identify revenue opportunities (64%).

Nonetheless, despite the range of issues that present themselves with using marketplaces, respondents do recognize their benefits. Chief among those are reaching customers where they prefer to buy (75%) and increased brand reach (65%), with a majority also realizing gains from appearing where there competitors are (56%) and from additional revenue channels (55%).

A recent report from The CMO Council likewise found that branded product marketers and advertisers see the benefits of reaching vast number of active buyers and sellers on the marketplaces. Yet almost half of respondents to that survey also noted that they had been forced to rethink their go-to-market strategies on account of the growth of marketplaces, most commonly by seeking greater brand differentiation.

Other Survey Highlights

In other notable findings from the Jumpshot report:

  • Fully 86% of respondents invest in some type of solution to get additional insights aside from the standard reports provided by the e-commerce marketplaces.
  • Respondents are most likely to have marketplace data such as top-selling brands by category (74%) and product search terms within marketplaces (70%), while being less likely to hold competitor referral traffic and keyword bidding strategy (44%) data.
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents selling on Amazon feel that it has an unfair advantage because it doesn’t share full path-to-purchase insights.

About the Data: The Jumpshot study results are based on a survey conducted by Dimensional Research among 307 qualified individuals from the United States, each of whom had responsibility for marketing intelligence solutions at Retail, CPG or Travel companies that sold both directly and through e-commerce marketplaces. Retail (61%) was the most heavily represented sector. All respondents come from companies with at least $50 million in annual revenues, including 56% from companies with at least $250 million in revenues.

For the survey, marketplace referred to any online retail store that sells goods from a variety of sources, including Amazon.com, big online retailers such as Target.com and Walmart.com, specialty online retailers and travel sites such as Expedia and Hotels.com.

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