Q&A: Jessica Christenson, Mirakl
Earlier this month, we met with Jessica Christenson; Regional VP for the UK & Ireland at Mirakl who spoke as an expert at the TRB Marketplace Strategy event.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I joined Mirakl in January last year, having spent more than 15 years working within retail and technology both as a consultant and in-house – including at Zalando, Anatwine and Tradbyte.
I have a background in both technology and retail, and therefore joining Mirakl was a logical next step for me given we are using technology to help retail businesses to maximize their growth through eCommerce.
I know that it can be incredibly difficult or almost impossible to build these platforms internally, and so I could see the value that Mirakl was bringing to its clients and their customers.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Mirakl is the leading SaaS solution that helps companies build and manage their third-party marketplace and dropship businesses.
We have an intuitive, secure and scalable technology that powers profitable digital growth for all angles of commerce – from platform models to personalization and payments.
But what does it mean in practice? We offer businesses a solution for the most advanced software and automation to onboard new suppliers, expand product catalogs and manage customer care with quality and security.
What is great about Mirakl is that we have unparalleled expertise to guide customers through every stage of their journeys, as well as an ecosystem of high-quality, marketplace-ready sellers that businesses can use to accelerate launch and scale.
The company was founded by Philippe Corrot and Adrien Nussenbaum in 2012 in Paris after having led the successful launch and development of Fnac Marketplace, to give every business the opportunity to launch and operate their own winning marketplace, at scale. Mirakl now employs more than 750 employees in 12 offices around the world.
Who are your customers? / How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage?
We have more than 400 customers around the world! In the UK, we work with major retailers including ASOS, Superdrug, H&M Home and B&Q.
Let me give you a specific example to bring the Mirakl solution to life. Superdrug is a project we are very excited about. They signed up more than 300 in time for the marketplace launch last year. We were able to seamlessly integrate the marketplace into their website, providing customers with a smooth journey for purchasing products from both established brands and exciting new sellers. Third-party marketplace products sit alongside Superdrug products on Superdrug.com and are identifiable with a marketplace logo and banner.
Third-party sellers are the fuel for eCommerce growth. More sellers result in a richer product assortment, which means a retailer is better positioned to respond to consumer demand and drive increased GMV. This is why we are laser focused on helping our customers to scale their seller base. Our solution gives them access to an ecosystem of thousands of quality, pre-vetted sellers, who can quickly and easily join their platform. This in turn contributes to faster project go lives, a vital consideration for retailers looking to transform their online sales. With our native APIs or suite of pre-built connectors, we make it easy for our customers to quickly integrate our technology, and seller base, into their front end, whether they are working with Shopify, Adobe, Prestashop or any other major eCommerce platforms.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in retail for 2023?
Clearly the current macro-environment – not just in the UK but globally – presents challenges for the retail industry, and customers. But, I am a strong believer that with challenges come opportunities.
At the start of the year, we published our annual consumer data report: Consumer Preferences in the Digital-First Economy for which we surveyed 9,600 global consumers.
We found that 86% of UK consumers said inflation has made them look for better value when shopping. As a result, 64% expect to move more of their spending online in the next 12 months to find better value.
The data reveals the urgent need for consumer-facing businesses to focus on providing more products at competitive price points to maintain customer loyalty.
How will you / the retailer address these challenges and turn them into successes?
While consumers continue to shop in-store, they are also increasing eCommerce spending due to lower prices and a better customer experience.
The same report published above revealed that 64% of UK respondents expect to increase their eCommerce spending over the next 12 months as a result of finding better value online. This presents a significant opportunity for Mirakl to support retailers in how they can double down on eCommerce investments to protect their bottom line.
Also, spending on online marketplaces continues to rise: UK consumers conducted 47% of their online shopping through marketplaces, a 10% year-over-year increase from 2021, and we believe this trend will continue.
Globally, consumers are also finding eCommerce channels to be more reliable in terms of product availability. Half of UK consumers agree that the products they need have been out of stock more frequently in stores in the last six months. These short-term out-of-stock challenges are yet another contributor to long-term behavioral shifts in favor of eCommerce. When a product they normally purchase in store is out of stock, 47% of shoppers try to find it online often or very often. If they find what they’re looking for, 69% shop for it online the next time they need it.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
We are really enthusiastic about the future for Mirakl and we expect our momentum to accelerate in 2023.
Last month we announced we had seen yet another year of growth. Our ARR increased to $135 million in 2022, consistent with last 3 years’ CAGR at ~40%. Around $6 billion was transacted on our marketplace and dropship platforms last year, +43% in 2021.
We see demand for marketplace and dropship business platforms only increasing as more companies recognise the value of expanding their eCommerce offering.
We will continue to see more players embracing the platform revolution, our customer base is steadily growing. We now work with 400+ companies around the world.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Mirakl is the industry’s most comprehensive solution. I can confidently say that there is no other solution in the market that enables what enterprises need to be successful: profitable digital growth in all angles of commerce, from platform models like marketplace and dropship to personalization and payment.
For over a decade, Mirakl has delivered industry-leading technology to make that digital growth possible through our platform technology and the Mirakl Connect ecosystem of high-quality vendors and technology partners. We are now also responding to retailers’ need to always serve the right product, to the right buyer, at the right time through our Mirakl Target2Sell solution, which provides shoppers with AI-powered recommendations, sorting, and content. And to close the loop, our customers can now fully monetize the higher level of traffic they get on their website thanks to their marketplace or dropship platform with Mirakl Ads, our retail media solution, which surfaces the most relevant sponsored products to shoppers.
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