An Overview of Online Marketplaces

We live in an age of frenzy. Today, technological advancements and innovations occur on a daily basis and the very definition of "old" is ever-changing. Things used to get old with simple wear and tear. However, products are nowadays being disposed of with a frequency and nonchalance that would astonish, even horrify, past generations.

At one time, the World Wide Web was being touted as old news and there were whispers of it having moved past its prime until it exploded into one of the most competitive and crowded marketplaces in the world. The web certainly changed the rules for business, and today, there's a new concept changing the way retailers do business called online marketplaces, which have grown to encompass entire sales channels for retailers worldwide.


The Definition

An online marketplace is a one-stop solution for companies wishing to offer their products for sale on the internet. They are highly effective, cost-friendly sales channels that bring a company's products to large audiences quickly and efficiently, making it possible to turn a small business into a large multi-channel ecommerce organization in a matter of days.

A business essentially uploads their product inventory to a marketplace and then that company's products are available for sale, visible to all visitors of the marketplace. Online marketplaces provide an established audience of potential customers, proficient methods of product listing and payment gateways. Businesses are charged with fees for using the marketplace's platform - either through an initial listing fee or through a transaction-based fee or a combination of the two.


The Benefits

One of the greatest success stories on the internet, online marketplaces are booming and providing businesses with unique opportunities for profit and success. In addition to being an additional sales channel, they serve as effective outlets for a company's distressed inventory. Businesses do not have to wade through the hassles of establishing their own ecommerce website, including the most difficult hurdle of generating consumer traffic, which can be both costly and time-consuming.

Becoming part of an online marketplace or multiple marketplaces is perhaps the most sensible, feasible and simple recipe for sustained success. As a gathering place for ecommerce, online marketplaces offer a wider selection of products with greater availability and easier comparisons in addition to enhanced price competition. The growing popularity of online shopping among consumers is another incentive for businesses to join online marketplaces.

The most arduous part of any product's marketing is access to the right markets and potential customers. Online marketplaces provide this access on unprecedented levels, helping businesses reach wider and further than ever before to enable them to sell to customers on a global scale.


The Choices

Certainly, every business that sells products should choose to become part of an online marketplace and reap the benefits, but it cannot be done blind. There are plenty of factors to consider before jumping in with both feet. The first decisions a company needs to make are the number of online marketplaces it should join, how it should pace joining them if it chooses multiple marketplaces and which ones would be the most beneficial to join.

If a company does decide to join more than one online marketplace, it might find it more feasible and effective to go through a marketplace aggregator, which can be costly. However, if funding is an issue, the process can be accomplished with minimum up front costs by working with each marketplace one-on-one. A business could start on one marketplace, thus giving them the opportunity to find their feet and streamline their presence before moving onto the next marketplace. An attempt to join several marketplaces at once can be chaotic, onerous and even disastrous in some cases.

Joining the biggest marketplace might sound like a particularly obvious choice, but there are many marketplaces to choose from. The features provided, methods of uploading inventory, and even fulfillment options vary from marketplace to marketplace, and of course, the fees they charge for their services differ as well. There are other rules and restrictions unique to each online marketplace and it's essential that businesses are aware of these guidelines and understand them prior to signing up.


The Markets

From the ancient Egyptian bazaar and the Greek agora to the virtual and online shopping experience, marketplaces have evolved and come a long way. The internet itself has transformed from the global village to the global marketplace and traders have access to multitudes of customers. No doubt there are further innovations waiting down the road for online marketplaces, but they are already tremendously powerful tools for both large and small retailers to gain massive success by increasing their customer base and profits.

This content was provided by Sears Commerce Services.