Woolworths Invests in Marketplacer, Plans Online Marketplace

Power Retail By Power Retail | 23 Apr 2021

The online grocery market is ramping up, and the next retailer to joining on the action is Woolies, which has recently announced the launch of its online marketplace. 

Woolworths will start selling its product range on an online marketplace – Everyday Market – which enables third-party merchants to sell items like clothing and homewares.

The platform is intended to “improve the depth and breadth of its everyday needs range for customers in the near future,” the retailer said in a statement.

The Group’s venture capital arm, W23, is investing in Marketplacer with the aim to further accelerate its global and local expansion of the platform. W23 was established by Woolworths Group in 2019 and currently has investments in Sherpa, Spoon Guru, Longtail UX and Eucalyptus. While the investment value with Marketplacer has not been disclosed, it’s estimated to be a “multi-million dollar” sum, according to Smart Company.

The first seller on the platform will be Big W, which will debut later in the year. The retailer will list cookware, homewares and other small appliances on the platform.

“As more of our customers start their shopping journey digitally and buy groceries online, we know their expectations will only continue to rise,” said Faye Ilhan, the Director of New Business. “Together with Marketplacer, we’re building a marketplace for Woolworths.com.au, which will help extend our range of everyday needs products for online customers.

“As well as offering more choice to the millions of customers who visit our website each week, our marketplace will provide existing and new suppliers with fresh opportunities to partner with us to grow their business. This will be a highly curated marketplace focused on range extension in our core everyday needs categories and we look forward to exploring opportunities with supply partners,” he said.

Online marketplaces have experienced rapid growth following the online boom of the pandemic. Marketplacer, the Melbourne-based company, allows retailers to build their own online marketplace. The company has doubled its customer base in the last 12 months and raised $25 million from investors. The most recent investment comes from Salesforce Ventures and, according to AFR, plans to assess an IPO in the first half of 2022.

Online groceries have boomed following the pandemic, with countries worldwide embracing the concept. In Belgium, the first online-only supermarket opened, dubbed Hopr. This is a small step for the European country, but it’s in line with the ongoing trend as supermarkets embrace online channel for shoppers.

Furthermore, online marketplaces have also experienced skyrocketing growth. In recent years, retailers like Catch, Kogan and Click Frenzy have all launched their own online marketplaces.  “Marketplace participation uptake has increased over the last 12-months,” said James Horne, the Director of Strategy at Balance Internet, in a recent Power Retail webinar.

Moreover, Jemima Miller, E-Commerce and CRM Manager at DuluxGroup, noted that consumers embrace the online marketplace model for the wide range of products available. “Consumers are shopping on marketplaces because of the sheer breadth of products in a certain category available. They can be less brand loyal and mimic the in-person browsing experiences a shopping centre might offer,” she told Power Retail.

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