In recent decades the advent of new technologies has gifted us vast transformations in how businesses operate
Not only have we taken old, manual processes and made them digital, but we have begun to entirely rethink our operations with the digital world in mind.
Take conversations with clients, for example. It wasn’t too long ago that you would have to schedule physical meetings within the four walls of a traditional office, taking into consideration availability, travel times, and location. Today, we barely even think about the ease within which we can schedule a digital meeting with clients and prospects all over the world. Workplace collaboration tools and remote working has completely changed the game when it comes to interactions between stakeholders, and significantly streamlined the world of work in doing so. But what if we could take it one step further, with even greater interfacing between stakeholders worldwide? Enter interactive digital marketplaces.
Building an interactive marketplace
When I think of marketplaces, the first thing that springs to mind is eBay. The e-commerce giant coined its strapline “the digital marketplace” so long ago now that the two are almost synonymous in the popular lexicon. Yet marketplaces are far from limited to the domain of e-commerce; their scope is expanding to include a wide range of platforms that create spaces for stakeholders to connect and work together on a shared endeavor. An interactive digital marketplace therefore moves beyond the exchange of goods between suppliers and customers, as is the eBay model, to be centered around the exchange of services between skilled experts and those who need them.
Moving from traditional business models to an interactive marketplace experience may feel like a huge leap, but certainly not something to be feared. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a digital marketplace. Businesses must consider the transition to an interactive marketplace as part of an overall shift to a digital-first model, which most of us are already implementing due to the rapid rise of remote and hybrid working. The marketplace approach is merely the next phase following the implementation of digital tools which mimic the old workplace – a phase which will pay dividends in the long term.
Driving digital innovation
There are a variety of benefits associated with converting a traditional user experience into a platform experience, which all fall under the umbrella of streamlining. From a business perspective, when operating as a marketplace you effectively become the ‘go-between’ for people sharing their services.
Consequently, your business will require fewer permanent staff, not only saving the business money, but simplifying each interaction. In addition, the implementation of a digital marketplace makes it much easier to operate in a variety of different countries, as the asynchronous communication possibilities mean that time zones are not the barrier they are today. Each interaction with a client shifts from being a live meeting or long email chain, to a collaborative experience which is both easier and more enjoyable to everyone involved.
The simplicity of interactions means that businesses operating on a digital marketplace model have the resources to tap into a broad pool of freelance talent all over the world. Instead of having permanent employees on the books, leaders can offer freelancers the possibility to sign up and work for their business on a project basis. As such, you gain access to a much broader pool of expertise, not limited by the scope of a permanent team. In short, the digital marketplace approach allows you to expand your business’ potential, all whilst remaining at the cutting edge of what today’s technologies can offer.
Businesses looking to develop their digital footprint should consider the interactive marketplace model as it offers an experience that cannot be matched by traditional business models. With the support of technologies that facilitate asynchronous, highly collaborative interactions, the digital marketplace enables an end-to-end journey that is streamlined, simple, and effective. Let’s move beyond imitating the physical workplace of old, and shift to an interactive experience.
About the Author
Steve Janssens is a product development leader with 15 years of international business and management experience. He has brought new products to market for established technology brands and early-stage startups in Europe, Asia, and the USA, joining the LastBasic team as COO in 2019. He values community building and empowering others, as evidenced by his management roles at startup accelerators in locations across the USA.
Featured Image: ©CactusVP