The web has been completely changed in the last decade. With the internet revolution, the businesses and users both are moving online to make sales and purchases. Due to this, the online marketplace has become a trending thing in ecommerce. The people have become more familiar with the marketplace due to the multi-vendor marketplace giants such as Etsy, Wish, LetGo, eBay, and others. These marketplaces are connecting the sellers and customers. Now a business owner can acquire customers from any corner of the world. It builds its brand reputation and increases. On the other side of the coin, the consumers are getting products delivered right at their doorstep at very reasonable rates. These multi-vendors marketplaces are a running concept that holds a good business outcome yet.
Retail eCommerce Sales Worldwide from 2014 to 2023
You would be surprised to know that more than 55% of the retailers on a marketplace make more than 20% profit. In the U.S. 90% of online retailers sell through these online marketplaces. In fact, to enlist business in a marketplace, you don’t require a very wide range of SKUs. In fact, 36.8% of sellers carry between 1,000 and 10,000 SKUs, but only 12.6% make the majority of their revenue on that range of SKUs. Retail ecommerce was valued at 2.3 trillion US dollars and is expected to reach a valuation of 4.9 trillion US dollars.
Types of Ecommerce Marketplaces
Ecommerce marketplaces can be categorized on the basis of the scale of business or its operations. On the basis of the business scale, the ecommerce marketplace has been generally categorized into three main categories:
1. Business to Business (B2B)
B2B is an ecommerce marketplace in which one business sells goods or services to other businesses. The businesses which sell goods in this model are large scale supportive enterprises that offer the equipment which other businesses require to operate and grow. Mostly, these include businesses like industrial suppliers or payroll processors.
2. Business to Customers (B2C)
B2C ecommerce marketplace is a business model in which the seller sells products & services directly to the consumers which are the end-users in this model. B2C became intensely popular in the last decades where the end-users started buying from the ecommerce stores of the retailers. B2C model has a global reach for the end-users, so even small businesses operating from homes can sell to customers to another side of the world.
Learn More: eCommerce Marketplace Website with B2C and B2B model and Key Differences Between B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketplace
3. Customer to Customer (C2C)
These are not so common ecommerce marketplaces, but yet important. In these marketplaces, the customer sells products directly to the other customers. eBay is a perfect epitome for this, where you can sell your products directly to the other person. Other such platforms are OLX, traditional second-hand bookselling platforms, etc. The revenue of these marketplaces depends upon their terms & policies.
On the basis of Operations, the Types of Marketplaces are
In the On-demand marketplaces, the users are provided services that are in high demand among the users, such as food delivery services, telehealthcare services, etc.
A managed marketplace constitutes an intermediate entity that intervenes for the proper functioning of the marketplace. That intermediate entity is responsible for all the business processes such as payment, stocks, inventory, analysis, and maintenance.
Community-driven marketplaces gather independent retailers and brands on its platform.
A SaaS marketplace is a type of application marketplace. At a SaaS marketplace, customers can go to an online storefront to find, purchase, and manage cloud-based SaaS applications.
A decentralized market contains digital technology, which allows buyers and sellers of securities to deal directly with each other instead of meeting in a traditional exchange. A common example of a decentralized market is real estate, where buyers deal directly with sellers.
You must have heard of the global market leaders in ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, and others. However, in this article, you will come across some other big names too such as Etsy, Offer Up, Letgo, Wish, eBay, Aliexpress.
Etsy is amongst the best ecommerce marketplaces for artists who want to sell their handmade unique items across the world. The business model is almost similar to Amazon, and eBay, but what makes difference is that Etsy provides an amazing value to both buyers and sellers. As a seller on Etsy, you can sell your handmade crafts and earn a living and if you are a buyer you can own one of kind products. This fact has led to the massive growth of Etsy. It started as a simple website in the year 2005 and is now listed as a public company with over $360 Million of total funding.
Offerup is amongst the first peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace that lets customers use Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay as part of its digital infrastructure. It is their advance payment strategy that makes different from other ecommerce marketplaces. The buying and selling is quite easier on the app ideas in comparison to other marketplaces. Offerup is available for both iOS & Android, as well as for the web. It enables the purchase and sale of used goods. The marketplace, optimized for smartphones, displays big pictures of products for purchase through an infinite scroll design that is visually attractive.
Letgo is another secondhand marketplace giant with a valuation of more than a billion dollars. You can sell and buy things locally in this marketplace. From its launch, the company did not charge for its services, earning any revenue, as part of its strategy to grow quickly. As of June 2018, the listing service remained free, but the app added a paid beta feature allowing users to place their sales items above organic search results.
In March 2020, Offerup and Letgo announced that they will combine their US businesses. The combination will create a leading mobile marketplace supporting more than 20 million monthly active users, with complementary product capabilities and a national footprint across the United States.
Also Read: How To Develop A Mobile App For eCommerce?
Wish is an online marketplace that lets you search and purchase items from the 3rd party sellers. It was founded in San Francisco back in 2010 and has gained immense popularity since then, due to its notable features and benefits to both sellers and buyers. It was the most downloaded shopping app in 2018 and is now the third-biggest ecommerce marketplace in the U.S. by sales.
Aliexpress was founded in 2010 by the great person, known for his struggle, Jack Ma. It is an online retail service constituting of small businesses in China and elsewhere offering products to international online buyers. It is amongst the best platform for those businesses who are looking for the dropshipping model. You just need to import the product content and images from AliExpress.com directly to your store, and you can also set your own prices and markups. The best part is that after you sell a product, you purchase it from a supplier on AliExpress and then have it shipped directly from their warehouse to your customer.
How does a Marketplace App work?
An online marketplace doesn’t have to be responsible for maintaining inventories, stocks, shipping, but can transfer this burden to other entities such as sellers, shipping methods, payment methods, etc. While the sellers get a dedicated space for managing their stock, orders, and payments. The buyers can browse the products electronically, and make an order. This is a general working of a marketplace, however, it can vary as per the genre of the marketplace. For e.g. a marketplace for doctors would work on a service basis, while the traditional marketplace of products such as Flipkart, & Amazon works on products.
Also Read: How To Develop An eCommerce Website?
Business Model of an online marketplace
There can be several strategies for making revenue for an online marketplace. However, the common ones are:
Subscription is the highest popular business model. It is quite simple to understand, there is a regular fee that can be charged monthly, quarterly, or annually from the supplier to use the platform. This revenue model helps suppliers find new clients or gain access to potential clients or partners.
In the commission model, there is a percentage basis commission that you charge from the vendor when he makes a sale. Some marketplaces charge the commission from both buyer and seller such as Upwork (a freelancing platform). Unlike the Subscription-based model, there is no regular fee, and you have to give a commission only when you make sales.
As the name indicates, as a seller you have to pay an amount while registering or sign-up. Since the sellers pay you upfront, no complex payment gateways are required.
Product Listing fees
In this model, there are two methods of charging the fees from the vendors. First, you can charge for the registration and the seller can enlist a limited number of products. For uploading more products, you need to pay a substantial amount decided by the marketplace admin.
If you have become a huge marketplace, then you can include multiple revenue models for two major reasons; increasing profit, and restricting the unauthenticated or unreliable sellers. Some of the major online marketplace players like Amazon have combined several models with success.
How to Develop a Marketplace Web App?
Developing an online marketplace app doesn’t only about the coding, first, you should have a proper understanding. Here is the proper flow of creating an online marketplace app:
- Build a concept: First, you should have a concept of your idea and write it down. You need to know how much demand exists in your field, what your target audience is lacking in their daily life. For knowing this, the best strategy is to check your competitors’ reviews or can launch your own survey.
- After jotting down the idea, you can shape them into a more understandable and clear manner. Pen down everything that came across your mind, even the slightest of queries. This will give you a clear idea of what should be implemented first and what can be added to the app at a later time.
- Now as you have clearance about your idea. You should have a vision of the app. You can delve into the other similar genre apps providing the same services. This will give you an idea of the design which would be highly useful for the development team you will hire. You can also write down the pros and cons of each app. This can serve later, to analyze the dos and don’ts for the platform.
- You also need to scrutinize the financial model of your app. From the above-mentioned models, you can opt for anyone of them. You might want to see which payment methods are the best fit for your location and target group. Mainly, in eCommerce, those would be online payments such as credit cards, PayPal, online wallets, or bank transfers.
- You should be aware of the responsibility of any misshapen such as poor service, or faulty items, etc. Part of the process will also include setting up a fraud control system in order to filter out any fake sellers or scam attempts.
- Last but not least, you have to choose a web development company which can meet your requirements from every end, and can also give you proper consultation about the technical things. They will consult you regarding the platforms, payment methods, shipping, business analytics, shipping methods, etc.
Key Features of a Marketplace App
1. Simple Sign-Up
The registration form for both the buyers and sellers should be easy to fill. You must include only those fields which are essential such as name, contact no., e-mail, address, etc. Also include social media logins such as Facebook, Google+, or any other popular social platform. If you require more information about the users, then include the field in the account or profile page rather than on the sign-up form.
2. Seller Account Page
The account page of the seller should be easy to manage from managing payment methods to product listings. It should be highly intuitive and UX-focused. The fields which are essential are:
- Editable business name, contact no., address, e-mail
- Customizable dashboard, theme, colors, font, & notifications
- Easily visible reviews & ratings
- Activity records like pending orders, sales, returns, etc.
3. Buyer Account Page
For the customer or buyer, the account page should include details like Payment methods, Address Directory, Previous Orders, Name, E-mail, Contact no. etc. Alike seller, they should be easy to edit, for improving user engagement.
4. Payment Methods
Payment methods play an important in every ecommerce site. First, they need to be highly secure, and convenient to the users. You should what are the trending payment methods to your target audience, and whether they are compatible with your chosen platform or not. Mostly, ecommerce platforms like Magento come with a large number of payment integrations.
5. Reviews & ratings
A customer always likes to see as well as put feedback on the purchased product especially when it was not up to the mark or is expensive. Integrate easy reviews & rating features so that customers can easily know what others say about the product they are interested in.
Analytics will help you in the future when you have to make business decisions and making your platform better. It will track the user experience, session time, actions, behaviors, and other data. Understanding consumers’ performance and buying patterns are of great importance. Gathering data can encourage better updates and lead to higher revenue rates.
7. Social media sharing
Social media sharing is very helpful for a buyer when he wants to consult about the product with his kith or kin. Through social media sharing, you can easily send the product link to the other person by Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.
You will definitely not like that a random group of hackers will hack your site. The security of your users should be your utmost priority. Thus, give SSL certificates and PCI compliance first consideration while developing your marketplace. PCI Security Standards comprise 12 requirements for all websites that accept/keep payment information. SSL certificates are also called digital certificates because they are applied while setting up a secure connection between browser and server.
After integrating the essential features, you should now focus on those features which can make your platform stand along with your competitors. Here are some advance features that you can integrate:
1. Push Notifications
Push notifications are highly beneficial for your web as well as a mobile application. For the web, if a user agrees to allow push notifications, then he will receive timely alerts or notifications about his order, any new offer, policy, etc. It will increase user engagement, conversion rates, and target more audiences.
2. Price Comparison
Price comparison helps the customer to analyze their products on different parameters. It will help the buyers to make better buying decisions. One can create a promotional strategy like offering discounts or even revalue price points to attract more consumers.
3. Auto – Tax Calculation
Auto-tax calculations help the sellers to manage their taxations. This helps the business run smoothly without any misshapen of tax policies.
4. Multi-currency & multi-lingual
If you are wishing to reach the international market or a region with many different languages & culture, then it would be great to include multi-currency, and multi-lingual features to give the users more personalization.
5. Role-based Dashboards
Role-based dashboards are highly important for the sellers. They can provide full visibility into areas such as accounting, operations, and sales. They are highly customizable and have good potential for the business.
6. Marketing Tools
Marketing tools can help businesses to communicate company information, stimulate customer interest, and motivate action. An integrated marketing approach applies several tactics to engage customers and build a business.
7. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs can engage your customers on your platform for a long time. You can reward to complete certain purchases, or give benefits to the sellers when he completes a target.
8. Shipment Tracking
A customer always wants to have a complete track of his order i.e. when it will ship and get delivered. It helps the user to be available at the delivery time, or schedule anyone for accepting the order.
9. Inventory Management
Inventory management is a pre-requisite for the sellers. It helps them prevent stockouts, manage multiple locations, and ensure accurate recordkeeping. An inventory solution makes these processes easier than trying to do them all manually.
10. Real-time analytics
Real-time analytics helps you to get insights and act on data immediately or soon after the data enters their system. Real-time app analytics answer queries within seconds.
11. CRM integration
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool integration can help your platform to build better customer relationships, increase retention rates. It can provide the service that your customers are actively looking for. Develop new and better services and products that your customer want to purchase.
12. SMS Gateway API
SMS service seems best for customer service in ecommerce platforms. Whether it is order confirmation, notification of delivery, or any reward, the customers never ignored the messages.
13. Cloud Environment
The cloud environment will enable your ecommerce marketplace to cater to the changing demand and scenarios of the market. It allows upscaling or downscaling the services according to the demand, traffic, and seasonal spikes. Cloud provides scalable architecture for your business needs.
14. AI (Voice Search, Image Search, Recommendation, Behaviour Tracking, Personalization)
Artificial intelligence can enable your marketplace to predict, sense, and automate. It can improve user experience and increase brand reputation. It is having enormous implications in the way retailers sell their products & services and the way consumer buys them.
15. AR (Virtually Try-on)
Augmented Reality (AR) helps the customer to have a visual and can check how the things will look upon before buying the items. In online ecommerce, the customers are reliant on the images of the products and they make a purchase on the basis of the images of the products.
16. Built-in Camera, Chat & Call
These three C’s are always necessary for any ecommerce application nowadays. A camera helps the customer to give a review of the product received, while Chat & call can help in reaching the customer care or delivery executives.
17. Phone number masking
Phone number masking has become essential to not breach the security and privacy of your customer by delivery executives or any other entity. It connects the customer with the delivery boy without exposing their real phone numbers.
Also Read: Tech Stack For Developing A Mobile App
For developing an ecommerce marketplace, you will be requiring a highly experienced team who can turn your idea into reality. The team should have expertise in implementing complex custom features and captivating UI & UX for better user engagement. The essential team members should be:
The project Manager analyzes the requirement, pass the requirement to developers in technical language, and manages the project.
Website Developers would be responsible for the core-development of your web application. They have expertise in the underlying web development frameworks and CMS and web development languages.
These developers are responsible for the attracting user interface and design of the web application.
These developers are accountable for the plugin’s development, database management, APIs, and other backend features.
A Quality analysis expert checks the complete marketplace, make sure all the required features & functionalities are working, along with the design of the ecommerce marketplace.
At Emizentech, we are having expertise in developing a highly astonishing ecommerce marketplace with custom requirements. Trust us and share your requirements with us, and we will leave no stone unturned to meet every aspect of them.