A year in review: marketplace trends and challenges in 2022

Brittany Boles discusses the main themes within marketplace technology that have become increasingly important this year:

What would you highlight as the main themes transcending marketplace technology in 2022?

We saw two key elements particularly come to light in 2022: A need for infrastructure to support MVP builds, which allows clients to test a market or new business idea; and the need for technology partners to support the scale of clients' businesses into the future, focused on competitive differentiation.

Competitive differentiation has always been and always will be important across markets and industries, but technology is becoming an increasingly integral part of the execution of this.

Why were those themes relevant in 2022 and what progress did your clients make in response?

Due to businesses and organisations increasingly adopting digital sales processes, there has been more recognition of the need to improve their technology in 2022 than in prior years. We don’t think our three themes are new, but their importance has significantly increased.

First, focusing on a tight MVP is increasingly important due to the increased cost and downside of marketplace / new business failure. Our clients have learned how to not only scale back requirements, when necessary, but to uncover multiple different ways of achieving the same business goal. Depending on the maturity and relative importance of the business goal, a certain feature can be developed in a lean or robust fashion.  

Secondly, scale. Our clients are now making decisions based on scale and sustainability (from a technology maintenance point of view) as they have experienced, and seen others experience, the pain of making bad technical decisions, and the technical debt that comes with that. It's better to invest well and invest now for the future, rather than having to invest and invest time and time again without reaping the rewards when tech becomes obsolete.  

Additionally, product differentiation is a crucial method of establishing competitive advantage and a scaled solution allows clients to develop more functionality for their product. With marketplaces expected to become even more powerful in the future, now is the time for organisations to implement strategies to develop a point of difference in their offering, and successfully stand out from the crowd. We have seen clients keep this front and center when making priority-based decisions.

What should be the focus of marketplace optimisation in 2023?  

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has gone from being an idea to being a buzzword to becoming a viable solution with valuable use cases in digital businesses and markets. Its use and value lie in its ability to save time via automation and allow humans to get on with the things they are good at, such as relationship building and thinking conceptually. AI will enable massive operational efficiency gains when deployed correctly without sacrificing high-touch, personalised interactions. It should actually make those easier. At NovaFori, we’ve embraced this theme, providing our clients with multiple tools that leverage AI to marry large-scale data analysis with implementations based on client needs. These toolsets allow companies to further differentiate themselves from competitors and provide B2B users with an experience that mimics what they're used to with B2C.

What has been the greatest challenge for organisations looking to scale?

Digital transformations are hard, and in 2022, we have seen many companies attempt to build their own digital solutions internally, believing it to be quicker and cheaper than outsourcing. However, it is often more complex than clients first realise. Before they know it, their IT department has become a significant proportion of their overall headcount and a huge distraction from running their core business. They may also find themselves disappointed with the results.

The NovaFori difference is partnership for the long term, helping clients build and scale their marketplace while they focus on growing their business. We have the benefit of over a decade’s experience in helping a wide range of companies build digital sales channels, online logistics solutions, data science solutions and more. By leveraging our expertise and core marketplace platform, clients can avoid many pitfalls experienced by those trying to go it alone. The greatest challenge for organisations in this sense lies in learning how to delegate well.  

Considering the themes identified, what is your role and what does NovaFori offer to support organisations looking to build or scale a marketplace?  

My role focuses on understanding client needs in order to identify problems that need solving, and which of our solutions best fits the use case. We help clients map their vision to the problem or business value which sits behind that vision and help them execute most efficiently.

In terms of what NovaFori can offer, our platform is flexible, scalable, and modular, so we can tailor our technology to clients' requirements. We can also integrate with clients’ existing ecosystems to ensure smooth end-to-end implementation. Infrastructure strength and security aren’t always the most glamourous aspects to speak about, but they are most important in providing the stability and sustainability that comes with wanting to scale.  

How is NovaFori further developing its offering in 2023 to support evolving needs in the market?  

In 2023, we will keep striving to improve and innovate, just like our marketplaces.  

This year, we have launched autoprice.io, the world’s first margin calculation API for auction-based automotive marketplaces. We will be focusing on continued productisation in 2023, so stay tuned!

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