What do marketplaces mean for Buyers

With every major retailer adding a marketplace to their website, what does this mean for people who work in Buying? Are they going to be needed in the future? Or is this a role that will cease to exist in a few years, if not sooner.

With marketplaces becoming a standard business practice for every major retailers ecommerce site, what becomes of the Buyers/Category Managers/Merchants? Introducing a marketplace channel and putting the management of it into the hands of the vendors negates the need of a Buyer.

The vendor will usually have a role(s) to manage the business for them, usually a Marketplace Manager, from the roles I’ve seen. The retailer doesn’t need the typical Buying position to meet with vendors, curate assortment, determine pricing, manage inventory and all the aspects a Buyer would handle.

Is this a smart move? To take the control out of the retailers and Buyers hands and pass it over to the vendor? Hard to say.

Buyers would have financial targets to achieve and ensure everything they did to manage their business supported those goals. Most would even get a bonus based on meeting and exceeding their goals.

Will vendors have the same motivation especially if they are on multiple marketplace sites?

Buyers were also responsible for curating assortment. When I was managing my business, every product in my assortment had a purpose and reason for being listed. And those items had to perform. There was little room for non performers. If something wasn’t working, I changed it.

In a marketplace model where hundreds of thousands of skus are going online and seemingly the norm, no one cares about curation. Its put everything online, hope the customer finds it and buys it.

As a result of the rise in marketplaces online, will we see Buyer roles transition to Marketplace Managers or Vendor Managers? I guess we will have to see. There already are fewer Buying postions out there. The ones left are getting more and more difficult to get.

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