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COVID-19 has dramatically changed the retail landscape with ecommerce being more important than ever. Within online: Marketplaces are becoming the dominant retail channel. Thus, it is not surprising that this trend is on top of the business agenda of consumer goods CEOs. However, management capabilities are strongly lacking, according to our annual benchmarking study where we surveyed over 100 consumer goods company CEOs and C-level executives.

Exhibit 1: Findings of annual CEO survey
Source: Oliver Wyman CEO Survey (n 2018=05; n 2019=72; n2020=110)

The reasons for the growth trajectory of marketplaces are manifold: Development is fueled by a general and COVID-accelerated growth of the online channel, a double-digit growth of marketplace sellers, and a doubling (as well as ongoing diversification) of marketplaces in the last five years. 

Why are capabilities for companies so far behind executives’ ambitions? The issues and concerns raised are highly diverse and span across all three possible marketplace collaboration models:

  • How to best manage third party retailers distributing the brands’ products on marketplaces?
  • How to deal with the marketplace operators which themselves act as retailers?
  • How to operate own directo-to-consumer activities on online marketplaces?
Exhibit 3: Questions and concerns about marketplace management

To better understand the pain points and best-practice, we benchmarked the marketplace operations of 104 firms by using our proprietary framework, which focuses on over 60 capabilities across six dimensions. 

Exhibit 4: Oliver Wyman marketplace framework

Our analysis suggests that there is a broad spread of capabilities and only few firms set themselves apart. Our interactive chart below includes best-practice examples related to the six dimensions of our framework.

If this topic is also on your agenda, feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to have a more detailed discussion on the findings of our benchmarking exercise, share actionable marketplace best practice, and discuss our outside-in view on your company’s marketplace skills.