As a learning and development (L&D) professional, you know that selecting the right training provider is crucial to the success of your learning initiatives. You need to ensure that the supplier can deliver high-quality products and services that meet the needs of your organisation and employees. In an ultra-competitive L&D industry where there are literally thousands of supplier options, finding a suitable supplier that meets your needs can be difficult. This is where digital marketplaces can help.
If we think about B2C marketplace platforms like Agoda or Booking.com that provide B2C accommodation services, it is a very similar conundrum. In that sector, you too have literally thousands of accommodation options to choose from. Finding a hotel / hostel that meets your needs can be very difficult if you don’t have the digital marketplace functionality. Fortunately, for today’s consumers, the challenge of finding the right accommodation has become extremely easy and efficient. Finding options that meet our budgets and quality requirements is simply a few clicks away.
In this article, we will explore how digital marketplaces can solve the challenge of selecting the best suppliers based on social proof in the L&D industry. We will cover the features and benefits of digital marketplaces and provide specific examples, data, and testimonials to validate our claims.
What are Digital Marketplaces?
Digital marketplaces are online platforms that connect buyers and sellers of products and services. They offer a wide selection of suppliers and provide customers with access to customer feedback and reviews, supplier quality ratings, and other relevant information to help them make informed decisions.
If you need more information on digital marketplaces, we suggest you check out an article that illustrates the benefits. In a nutshell, digital marketplaces are a very efficient platform to connect buyers to sellers. The more fragmented the industry is, the more digital marketplaces can help. If you’re in an industry where there are countless providers and equally a large number of consumers, technology can step in to help make the industry a lot more efficient and cost effective.
Social proof is another avenue for digital marketplaces to add value. At a fundamental level, social proof helps instill trust in the customer supplier relationship. Given the abundant options to choose from, customers need an additional lever to filter through options. Validation and 3rd party opinion can be very powerful in establishing consumer choice and it can also serve as validation for supplier decisions.
Decision making can be a tedious affair in a supplier rich market and that reinforces the needs to get validation from our peers or colleagues. As most of us would relate to this in a B2C context, we can do the same in a B2B industry as well. Taking the below example, if you’re in the process of buying a pair of shoes, besides the obvious design and colour, getting more context on the brand helps you narrow your decision-making process and allows you to validate your selection.
Over time, this social proof can do wonders to elevate brands that produce great products with equally great quality. Digital marketplaces have the unique ability to add value in that relationship between buyer and seller.
2 Main Social Proof Benefits of Digital Marketplaces
- Access to Customer Feedback and Reviews: Digital marketplaces enable suppliers to receive feedback and reviews from their customers, which can help build their social proof. Corporate learning and development executives can use this information to assess the quality of the supplier's products and services and make informed decisions.
- Supplier Quality Ratings: Digital marketplaces provide supplier quality ratings, which can help learning and development professionals to quickly identify the best suppliers for their needs.
Let’s break those 2 benefits down to get more clarity.
Access to Customer Feedback and Reviews
Access to customer and participant feedback and reviews is one of the key features of digital marketplaces that can help solve the challenges faced by L&D professionals in selecting the best suppliers. When suppliers offer their products and services through a digital marketplace, they can receive feedback and reviews from customers or participants who have already used their offerings.
This feedback and reviews can be a valuable source of information for corporate L&D executives. By analysing the overall rating, the number of reviews, and the sentiment of the feedback received, they can assess the quality of the supplier's products and services. This information can help them make informed decisions about which suppliers to work with for their corporate L&D needs.
The availability of customer feedback and reviews on digital marketplaces also helps build social proof for the suppliers. In the context of corporate L&D, if a supplier has a high rating and positive reviews on a digital marketplace, it can create a positive perception of their offerings in the eyes of potential customers. According to a report by BrightLocal, 74% of customers say they are more likely to trust a local business if it has positive reviews on social media platforms. Therefore, establishing ratings and review builds credibility for suppliers and allows potential customers to make better decisions.
In summary, access to customer feedback and reviews on digital marketplaces is a powerful tool that can help corporate L&D folks assess supplier quality and make informed decisions. At the same time, suppliers can leverage this feedback and reviews to build social proof and improve their offerings, leading to greater customer satisfaction and business success.
Source: Rocky Mountain Soap
Supplier Quality Ratings
Once quality reviews and ratings are firmly established on digital marketplace platforms, it becomes extremely easy for consumers to filter suppliers that meet certain quality requirements. This allows consumers the power to choose the right supplier and to cut through the noise within the industry where there are hundreds of similar products. Quality and review ratings can be a major differentiating factor.
On the flipside, the quality of the entire industry tends to improve as suppliers understand the impact of poor ratings. The impact on their businesses is amplified if they get this aspect right and a recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that businesses that actively monitor and respond to customer feedback on digital marketplace platforms see an average increase of 12% in customer advocacy.
Therefore, it implies that as a whole, the industry improves from a perspective of quality and this ultimately benefits the consumer. In the context of L&D, this ultimately benefits the organisation and its employees.
In conclusion, the challenges of finding and selecting training providers can be daunting, but digital marketplaces have emerged as a solution to this problem. They offer a one-stop-shop for learning and development professionals to find the right provider for their organization's needs. Getting through the countless options for consumers is getting easier and with social proof, consumers have another lever in which they can utilise to pin point the right L&D provider that meets their L&D objectives and their quality requirements.
Learning and development professionals should explore the benefits of digital marketplaces, and TalentStore - Learn, Grow, Succeed! is an excellent option for accessing local and international learning providers. At TalentStore, we incorporate social proof as a fundamental feature within the platform with the aim to help decision makers cut through the noise and to find the right solutions for their organisations.