According to stats, one-third of buyers start their online journey from online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, etc. In Addition, sales on online marketplaces accounted for 52% of global online retail sales. Not only customers but suppliers now also prefer to sell their products at online marketplaces. The high number of suppliers or merchants at Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, etc. is the best evidence. Unarguably, this is the era of online marketplaces.

Why Online Marketplaces are Worldwide Favorite?

There is a win-win situation for everyone on online marketplaces. The marketplace owner can earn the good amount of commission from the vendors & advertisers, customers can enjoy the better quality of service and competitive pricing, & sellers can sell their products without website setup & managing cost.

Not only marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba are taking over the world, but the online marketplaces such as Mudah (Malaysia-based marketplace), Carousel (Singapore-based marketplace) and Rakuten (Japan-based marketplace) that serve the local regions have also grown amazingly over the years.

Considering the growth of online marketplaces, many aspiring entrepreneurs are now looking to launch their own multi-vendor marketplaces.

What kind of an online marketplace can you build?

Here are different kinds of online marketplaces that you can launch:

  1. Online consultation marketplace: Using this type of a marketplace, people can connect with professionals like doctor, lawyers and consultants to get advice or services.
  2. Online services marketplace – This type of a marketplace allows people to directly avail services such as online tour and packages, hotel booking and subscription services from sellers. Make my trip and Airbnb are the best examples of an online services marketplace.
  3. Online products delivery marketplace: On this type of a marketplace, people can compare and buy products from different sellers. Then, the marketplace operator delivers the products to them on the sellers’ behalf. Amazon, Flipkart and Zomato are the best examples in this category.
  4. B2B marketplace: More and more B2B buyers are turning to the internet for research and purchase online. On a B2B marketplace, sellers can sell their products at the wholesale rate to other businesses. Alibaba & Walmart are two of the popular B2B marketplaces.
  5. C2C marketplace: On a C2C marketplace, customers can sell directly to other customers. OLX and Taobao are popular C2C marketplaces.
  6. Rental Marketplace: You can start a rental marketplace like Airbnb, Uber, Rent the Runway, etc. to be part of growing sharing economy.

Must-have Features in an Online Marketplace

Different types of online marketplaces may have different kinds of features. However, there are certain features that are required in every marketplace, including:

  • Separate vendor dashboard
  • Multiple administrative access
  • Product catalog system
  • Multiple payment gateways
  • Streamlined vendor payout system
  • Product rating and review system
  • Ratings and reviews for sellers
  • Advanced order management system
  • Responsive website
  • SEO-friendly system
  • Mobile apps for customers, admins & sellers
  • Automated task processing
  • Reporting and data analytics for admin and sellers
  • Integration with third-party tools & POS systems
  • Registration pages for customers and sellers
  • Shipping methods
  • Location-based search
  • Bulk import from different platforms such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, etc.
  • Request for Quotation feature (Especially for B2B marketplaces)

The feature list can be extended as per a business’s requirements.

Originally published here.