Online Marketplaces are the Present & Future of Retail Industry

26th Apr 2019
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Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and MakeMyTrip have changed the definition of running an online retail business. There was a time when running an online business required a huge investment but with the advent of online marketplaces, things have drastically changed. Now, you don't need to build an eCommerce store from scratch or invest heavily in marketing to sell online.

According to a 2017 report, more than 300000 third-party sellers had started selling on Amazon. In addition, 31% of first-time shoppers preferred to buy from online marketplaces. 


Online multi-vendor marketplaces create a win-win situation for everyone. A marketplace operator can earn heavy commission from the vendors or charge subscription fee to sell. Customers can compare & buy products at an affordable price and sellers can sell their products without website setup & managing cost.


Not only multi-vendor 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 looking to launch their own multi-vendor eCommerce store.


May it seem easy but starting an online marketplace is quite a hectic process.


Challenges you may face while launching your online marketplace:


  • Finding the right eCommerce platform that is scalable to support your business growth is the biggest challenge.
  • Finding and connecting vendors with your marketplace is another issue that has to be dealt with in addition to creating a product catalog.
  • Handling the marketing of your marketplace that could ensure that consumers buy from your marketplace rather than your competition.
  • Ensuring quality control so that no fraudulent sales happen on your website and customers are happy with the sellers.


What kind of an online marketplace can you build?


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


Online consultation marketplace: Using this type of a marketplace, people can connect with professionals like doctor, lawyers and consultants to get advice or services.


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.


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.


B2B multi-vendor marketplace: On a B2B marketplace, sellers can sell their products at the wholesale rate to other businesses. Alibaba & Walmart are two of the popular B2B multi-vendor marketplaces.


C2C multi-vendor marketplace: On a C2C marketplace, customers can sell directly to other customers. OLX and Taobao are popular C2C multi-vendor marketplaces.


Must-have Features in a Multi-Vendor 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
  • Registration pages for customers and sellers
  • Detailed product listing pages


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



Best eCommerce Platforms to Start an Online Marketplace


YoKart: YoKart is a popular multi-vendor eCommerce platform that helps easily launch an online marketplace. This award-winning eCommerce platform offers lucrative features at a minimal pricing.


Highlighted features in YoKart:


  • Friendly user interface & responsive design
  • Act on behalf of a vendor
  • Multiple payment gateways
  • Fully customizable & scalable platform
  • Real-time shipping cost calculator
  • Product catalog system
  • RTL language support
  • Customer to vendor communication
  • Mobile apps for customers and sellers
  • User-friendly dashboards for admins and sellers


Shuup: Shuup is a new entrant in the multi-vendor retail industry. The platform offers many attractive features that make it stand high on the list of online multi-vendor solutions.


Shuup's Highlighted Features:


  • Separate vendor pages
  • Product catalog system
  • Single checkout
  • Easy order management
  • Customizable platform
  • Search engine friendly
  • Responsive design


X-Cart: X-Cart is a popular open source eCommerce platform. Using X-Cart, you can easily start a single or multi-vendor store.


Highlighted Features of X-Cart:


  • Separate vendor panel
  • Customer to vendor communication
  • Act on behalf of a vendor
  • Individual commission rate for each vendor
  • Built-in layout editor
  • Product catalog system


Share your thoughts in the comments section below in case you want to add any information to this post.


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