Mirakl workers: digital marketplaces

After helping Musgrave set up a first-of-its-kind B2B marketplace in Ireland, marketplace SaaS platform Mirakl’s Executive Vice President – Customer Success B2B, Marc Teulières, explains more about the latest e-commerce craze

So, what is a foodservice marketplace and why are more wholesalers adopting one?

The marketplace is all about offering a platform for end users who like to shop online, which is something we’re seeing a lot more of in B2B. These customers are expecting a similar experience to the ones they have in their daily lives as a consumer and the marketplace provides them with that.

There is a big opportunity in this space if wholesalers can get it right because, at a global level, B2B e commerce is predicted to continue growing at a rapid rate of 18.7% from 2021 to 2028. A marketplace is a simple, digitally enabled, aggregate buying experience and employing this model can help wholesalers stay ahead of the curve and meet the changing demands of the B2B buyer.

Are a lot of wholesalers starting to engage with this model?

What I see generally speaking in B2B is people talking about one-stop shops and a race for who is going to be the next one-stop shop in its industry – for example, for hotels or restaurants or convenience stores. What’s fascinating is that you have traditional wholesalers who are trying to secure that position or extend their position by becoming a one-stop shop, as well as brands trying to leapfrog their competitors through digital channels and pure players.

What are the big benefits, then?

There are several. What’s interesting is that procurement departments are pushing for this because they can see digital platforms as a way of improving the productivity in their department. It means that instead of having buyers negotiating on an annual basis with a supplier, setting a price on low-value items and so on, you can put the buyers on the core strategy categories and let the competition between sellers play out on the marketplace.

You see businesses thinking about the marketplace in different ways. For some, it’s a place to offload inventories on to someone else, for others, it’s to reduce their stocks but offer a wider range, which is more and more interesting with supply issues. A good example of this in food and beverage is a
business in another country that ran out of stocks of terrace equipment but the bars and restaurants they were serving wanted them. By onboarding suppliers who had inventory on to the marketplace, the business could continue to sell terrace furniture despite not having any in its own warehouse.

This also allows wholesalers with marketplaces to enter new categories in a more agile way. In all companies, you’ll have debates around entering non-food and with a marketplace, the cost of doing
that is limited. You can onboard a supplier, test it and if it works really well, stock more marketplace products in a similar category without taking the stock into depot first.

There is a dilemma for a lot of companies that on one hand, they’re getting pushed to improve their working capital, optimise shelf space and reduce deliveries, while on the other hand customers are asking for even more products, more flavours and more variety. A marketplace is a good way to keep up with demand without overstocking.

The Musgrave MarketPlace is doing something similar, aiming to offer an extended range of 12,000 products to sit alongside its core range of more than 14,000 items. But how does it do this?

At Mirakl, we’re firstly a software provider but also provide a service called Mirakl Connect. In addition to the software, we provide an eco-system that has hundreds of suppliers who can be connected to a marketplace and we also have a team of business developers who are recruiting sellers every day.

Wholesalers can also look for suppliers on their own. If a wholesaler chooses an existing supplier, for example, it can be a positive way to change that relationship and stock even more of its products that it’s not possible to fit in the warehouse currently.

How long does it take to set a marketplace up?

Generally speaking, to launch a marketplace we say it takes four months if we get it going quickly, but an average is six months – maybe a bit longer with B2B. We have a suite of activities to help new clients, starting with strategy workshops that we hold before getting heads down into developing the tech, then we do customer surveys and payment strategies to make sure we’re tailored to them. Next we do tech workshops to go through the software and demonstrate how we create a shop or products, before we do  Value Product Gates), where we shake hands with a client, present the platform to their teams and start recruiting sellers.


“As part of our digital transformation, we wanted to offer our customers everything they could possibly need for their business through one website, bringing our range from 14,000 core products to more than 26,000 core and extended range products in under two years.

“Through our extended range platform – powered by Mirakl’s industry-leading technology – we plan to become a true one-stop shop and are proud to be the first company in Ireland to create this type of platform for B2B customers.

“Using international and customer insight, we will develop a full range that makes life easier for our customers because they will be able to get everything they need to run their business in one place.

“Extended range will provide a route to market for local suppliers. And as a seventh-generation, Irish family owned business, supporting local really matters to us. I’d encourage local suppliers to sign up and take advantage of the opportunity to become an extended range trusted supplier.”

e-commerce Foodservice Marc Teulieres Mirakl Musgrave Marketplace