Driving growth in a downturn: the digital marketplace model. 

Digital transformation has completely altered how businesses operate. While this transformation was already well underway, events of recent years have only accelerated the transition, providing businesses with new opportunities for growth. We have entirely reinvented the way in which we work, taking old manual processes and making them digital, as well as entirely rethinking our operations with the digital world in mind.

Take meetings with clients, for example. Not too long ago, we would spend hours scheduling physical meetings, having to consider availability, location and travel times. Now we can easily schedule meetings with clients and team members both near and far. Remote working has completely changed the game when it comes to interactions between stakeholders. 

Clearly, businesses across the globe are seeking even greater connectivity across international borders. For some businesses, remote work may suffice. But for others looking to diversify their business model, interactive digital marketplaces could be the answer. 

Entering the digital marketplace

The pandemic put a huge amount of strain on businesses big and small, meaning many have been entirely rethinking their business model. While traditional businesses struggled, those that have adopted a digital marketplace model, such as Amazon and Etsy, saw huge growth during the pandemic. Many ordinary people had extra free time and so came up with innovative ways to make some extra cash through a ‘side hustle’, such as selling homemade jewelry, for example. 

Importantly, digital marketplaces offer a personalized relationship with their buyer by leveraging complex AI and ML to provide a hyper personalized experience. The ability to use data to better understand your customer and adjust promotions, pricing, and offers is priceless. 

These new digital marketplaces are not limited to e-commerce. Their scope is expanding to move beyond the exchange of goods between businesses and consumers, like the eBay model, for example. Instead, digital marketplaces are becoming increasingly centered around the exchange of services between experts and those that need them. 

Switching from a traditional business model to an interactive marketplace may seem like a complex transition, but it is something that should be embraced. Businesses need to consider the transition to the digital marketplace as part of a wider digital transformation exercise, which most organizations are already implementing due to a rapid acceleration in the prevalence of hybrid working. The marketplace approach should be viewed as a shift following the rapid implementation of digital tools that mimic the old workplace. For many organizations, the switch should not be seen as an option but a business imperative. 

Streamlining business operations

There are a multitude of benefits associated with switching to the digital marketplace, all of which can be said to fall under the umbrella of streamlining. From an operations perspective, when an organization switches to the digital marketplace the organization becomes the ‘middle man’ between people sharing their services. 

As a result, the business will need fewer permanent staff, saving the organization money and simplifying each interaction. Additionally, it opens new opportunities for growth as the digital marketplace can operate in a variety of countries, as the asynchronous communication possibilities mean that time zones are no longer the barrier they used to be. Interactions with clients are transformed from meetings and complex email chains to a collaborative experience which is both easier and often more productive. 

Additionally, the simplicity of interactions means that businesses operating through a digital marketplace model have the resources to tap into a pool of freelance talent all over the world. As opposed to having a team of permanent employees, organizations can offer freelancers to work on a project basis. By drawing from a pool of freelancer’s organizations can benefit from a broader pool of expertise that is not limited to the skillset found in a traditional team. In sum, this model allows organizations to drive growth, all while reaping the benefits of the latest technology. 

It is time for organizations to renew their search for opportunities for growth. The digital marketplace model offers businesses the chance to get ahead and grab a share of this lucrative market, offering a user experience that cannot be matched by traditional models. As organizations are forced to do more with less, the digital marketplace can dramatically reduce costs by simplifying business operations and removing the need for a large number of permanent staff. 

Steve Janssens

COO at LastBasic

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