As telcos search for ways to broaden their value to customers, marketplaces have been expanding at a rapid pace, with a 130% YoY growth in collective sales on B2B marketplaces in 2021.
Most analysts agree that they currently are the fastest growing digital sales channel in existence, so there is no surprise that telcos are looking to play an integral role in this ecosystem and siphon that tremendous growth into their business.
Almost half of executives are actively seeking ecosystem strategies with 50% of executive teams working on building marketplace strategies. The ability to drive value from connectivity is limited. Telcos are now understanding the need to provide customers with end-to-end solutions, and having achieved almost 100% of penetration of the human population, marketplaces are a way to meaningfully broaden their scope, and drive their business outcomes further.
The rise of marketplaces
Marketplaces come in many forms, but a simple line of distinction is between branded and unbranded marketplaces. On the branded side, the likes of Amazon and eBay are the most well-known. But unbranded ones instead appeal to the B2B space, focusing on building solutions that are relevant to different industries across different verticals.
Over the last year and a half, telcos have focused on restructuring their business around delivering more value-adding solutions, in many cases evolving towards being Managed Service Providers. With Communications as a Service, IoT, smart cities and 5G changing the environment, telcos are finding themselves struggling to provide these capabilities in-house.
As we start seeing the technological demands increase across the market, telcos need to respond quickly. As such, marketplaces are taking center stage, allowing CSPs to enrich their core offerings and offer value-added, sophisticated solutions to their consumers.
Capitalizing on marketplaces
The evolution of technology has forced telcos to look at new ways to drive revenue from their customers. If we look back 10 years, it was a world where data was expensive, but not essential. Today, data is essential, and everyone has it, so telcos are starting to need different things to sell in order to meet the changing customer demands.
Marketplaces act as enablers for telcos to provide a variety of solutions and differentiate themselves, as well as for customers to expand their product portfolio with minimal investment.
Being nimble in the market is really important for every carrier. Carriers need to start thinking about how to partner with all of these new applications and devices and infrastructure players quickly and easily. The main point of attraction of marketplaces is its simplicity, removing any heavy lifting.
Working within a marketplace allows telcos to pick and choose the solutions they want, but then also work through relationships and price points that they want to show to their customers. Combining this with a CPQ provider, telcos will be able to bundle things in the right way.
Marketplace ecosystems are helping businesses remain competitive and accelerate growth, but the biggest challenge is how to stay ahead of competition and offer new solutions quickly. B2B customers are looking at their automation and are having a hard time figuring out how to make their business grow after the pandemic.
What B2B customers are looking for is how to make their operations faster, and so will be turning to carriers for support and solutions.
The other thing to think about is who your customers are and what they want. Customers need the flexibility to make changes at small levels, forcing telcos to think about how to model their products and allow for quick changes or add-ons to be made to applications.
With connected homes and offices now the key way of life, using a marketplace will enable telcos to accelerate their time to market and keep them nimble enough to provide the best solutions for customers.