With the growth in market share of online shopping, marketplaces are taking the lead from traditional search engines, offering sellers new business opportunities with a multi-channel marketing approach and defacto shaping the marketplace as a new shopping search engine.
Online shopping has certainly changed. Its market share - ever increasing - has seen tremendous growth in recent years. In 2022, for example, there was an increase of 8.1 percent in total retail sales compared to the previous year, with ecommerce sales making up 14.6 percent of the total worldwide sales in the same year, amounting to $5.7 trillion. But the online shopping world is undergoing another revolution.
Up until a few years ago, Google had cemented its place as the go-to search engine, both for traditional search queries, as well as for different products. But some years ago, other major websites began incorporating their own search engines, based on the marketplace-type search engine.
It took only a few years, but by 2018 Amazon surpassed Google for product searches, registering 54% of searches, signifying that users prefer marketplace search engines over traditional search engines for online shopping. The next phase in the growth of ecommerce was Covid-19. During the epidemic, and due to lockdowns and restrictions, online shopping has enjoyed a tremendous boom, as people began buying more and more online. Coming up to today, online shopping has taken root, and its constant growth signals its importance to online businesses.
Marketplace Search Engines - Better Shopping Experience
There are three main characteristics of marketplace search engines that make them preferable to traditional search engines for online shopping in the eyes of users:
With the growth in market share of online shopping, marketplaces are taking the lead from traditional search engines, offering sellers new business opportunities with a multi-channel marketing approach:
Traditional Search Engines’ Response
Marketplace search engines are taking a big bite off of traditional search engines organic traffic, and the latter must react. Google Shopping is one attempt at getting into the ecommerce domain. However, there are two major obstacles standing in the way of the search engine tech giant taking over the marketplace search engine business.
First, as places of commerce, marketplaces are highly regulated and are expected to meet certain consumer protection requirements. These are not the type of things tech companies usually deal with, and despite having the resources, it is doubtful any tech company would want to delve into this area.
Second, ecommerce requires a much more personal contact with users. Contrary to traditional search engines, when something goes wrong during an online transaction, shoppers need someone to give them a solution on the spot. Customer relations is a form of art eBay and Amazon have taken years to perfect. It is quite a task for a tech company, who is used to selling online ads, to begin taking on customer relations at that level.
The Future of Marketplace Search Engines
The marketplace model allows sellers to conveniently collect valuable data, such as conversion rates, sale volumes, amount of time shoppers spend in certain listings, and more. Sellers can then use this data to adjust and optimize their listings accordingly.
The marketplace model’s rapid growth in recent years not only shows it is already a match for traditional search engines, but also hints at its full potential. Already marketplaces demonstrate significantly higher conversion rates than individual online stores that rely on traditional search engines.
As the marketplace model continues to develop and expand its market share, it appears as if the role of traditional search engines will be further diminished, shoppers will have a more direct access to sellers through the marketplace, shaping the marketplace as a new shopping search engine.