Move beyond selling to meet customer expectations. Offer bundled services like storage and cybersecurity.

Jess Warrington, General Manager

March 6, 2024

4 Min Read
How to navigate the digital marketplace
Eakrin Rasadonyindee/Shutterstock

With the growing popularity of on-demand services and the convenience of one-stop shops, a dynamic digital marketplace strategy is essential. Global ecommerce sales are projected to exceed $7 trillion by 2025.

Management Tips for Digital Ecosystems

Whether you're a tech vendor, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions developer or a business of any size, here are some key insights and best practices for managing a successful digital ecosystem.

Embrace subscription and pay-per-use models. Before on-demand options, a company sold a product, shipped that product, and that was the end of the customer journey. With digital marketplaces, you can generate a recurring source of revenue through subscriptions or pay-as-you-go service agreements. Instead of relying on reactive measures to address fluctuations in revenue, a consumption-based model empowers you to track baseline consumption and continue to expand. This approach also allows you more time to foster ongoing customer relationships because customers can buy outcomes on a scalable, on-demand basis.

In today's market, most businesses prefer paying for outcomes monthly and scaling on demand rather than making substantial upfront investments. And unlike the legacy software vendor model, a subscription model eliminates the need for sales teams to replicate one-time sales for business growth.

Subscription or pay-per-use models motivate third-party partners to sell your solutions. Your success hinges on adapting their financial model to accommodate subscription and pay-per-use frameworks. You need to adjust your compensation plans to incentivize your sales teams, offering a bundle of products and services like storage or cybersecurity. For instance, laptop makers provide more than just hardware nowadays; they include subscriptions for software as a service (SaaS) such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. The key to nurturing your digital ecosystem is to move beyond simple selling to meet customer expectations.

Expand your catalog with partners. Joining a digital ecosystem creates opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and shared resources. An ecosystem enables you to offer many products and services that individual companies couldn't provide on their own. The global SaaS market is set to reach more than $900 billion by 2030. To gain a competitive advantage in this growing market, SaaS solutions developers, for example, can refine their products by offering custom add-ons from their partners.

The value of the ecosystem is that it can simplify connections between vendors through a centralized experience. One company isn't responsible for creating a new infrastructure to support various products, but rather all the stakeholders in the digital ecosystem have something to offer.

A network of interconnected players allows for the diversification of products and services while growing the core business. The customer journey is simplified because one company can supply a variety of consumer needs that can be tailored to each individual customer. The more solutions tied to your company, the more opportunity you have for customer engagement. Providing flexibility, along with a host of products and services, can promote customer stickiness.

Invest in a mature cloud monetization platform. The digital marketplace isn't just a front-end commerce engine; it requires robust technology at the back end to operate efficiently. You position yourself to effectively navigate the digital marketplace by utilizing a platform with the technology to manage and integrate all account subscriptions. This ensures streamlined operations and enhances the overall customer experience.

A cloud monetization platform provides the technology to enable digital marketplaces. It allows you to manage processes such as seller onboarding, product catalogs and billing and provisioning. With your subscriptions, you have constant engagement with your customers from a billing perspective with opportunities to upsell, cross sell and be top of mind for customers. Automation is essential to ensuring frictionless communication and real-time insights into customer services and profitability.

Focus on customer-centric transformation. The difference between a simple online shop and a digital marketplace is tied to customer retention and the lifetime value of the customer relationship. Subscription plans promote longer customer engagement, enabling you to proactively solve customer challenges and anticipate their future needs.

Paired with artificial intelligence (AI), a digital marketplace helps you analyze data on customer purchases and usage patterns, providing you with a better understanding of your customers' needs and preferences. As you foster long-term relationships through subscription-based or pay-per-use models, you can offer a variety of product combinations.

How do you want your customers to interact with your organization from the very beginning? Transform your digital marketplace with customer service at the forefront because a catalog needs to be carefully curated, focusing on your customers' needs.

Transform Marketplace to Meet Evolving Needs

Navigating the digital marketplace means recognizing that building it is an ongoing process. By integrating the delivery of these products and services, you can diversify your catalog in an efficient and affordable way.

Digital ecosystems provide a platform for organizations to meet their digital needs faster and more efficiently. You can stay agile and cultivate customer loyalty by consistently transforming your digital marketplace to meet evolving customer needs.

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About the Author(s)

Jess Warrington

General Manager, CloudBlue

Jess Warrington is general manager at CloudBlue, an Ingram Micro business.

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