What is a marketplace?
A marketplace is nothing more than a virtual market where each company has its showcase where it sells its products. It is a platform that serves as an intermediary between sellers and buyers. Within a marketplace we can find any type of product, of different brands and sectors.
It is also possible to find specialized marketplaces in a specific sector, these are platforms for specific market niches, although their operation remains the same as any other marketplace.
We distinguish between two types of marketplaces:
- General Marketplace : it is a platform where we can find products of any type in different categories.
- Vertical or niche marketplace : these are specialized platforms in a specific category/sector.
How does it work and what are the advantages of being in a marketplace?
Erroneously, it is thought that a company that decides to sell through a marketplace comes from a previous experience of online sales, such as an e-commerce, and from a sale focused more on a B2C and not a B2B business model .
While it is true that a few years ago these characteristics were much more likely to be repeated, today this is not the case. Currently, there are B2C, B2B and C2C marketplaces . Depending on our type of business, one marketplace model or another will be better for us. In addition, there are many other types of marketplaces that, due to length, we are not going to see in this article, where we will examine only the main ones.
Different types of marketplaces
Although for most professionals who are dedicated to marketing these terms are daily bread, we are going to briefly summarize them from a marketplace perspective:
B2C (Business-to-Consumer) : in this case we have a professional seller or a company that offers its products or services to its customers, who represent the final consumer. Some examples of B2C marketplaces are: Amazon, Zalando, Asos, Ebay, Otto, CDiscount, etc.
B2B (Business-to-Business) : in this case the protagonists are two companies on both sides, including suppliers and wholesalers. Among the best-known B2B marketplaces we can find: Alibaba, SoloStocks, 1688, Direct Industry, Global Sources, etc.
C2C (Customer-to-Customer) or P2P (peer/people-to-peer/people) : the last model includes all commercial relationships between consumers. Sometimes in some of these marketplaces we can find some companies, but it is not normal. Among the most important we remember: Wallapop, Vinted, BlaBlaCar, etc.
The main advantages of being in a marketplace
Being in a marketplace is of great importance, since a digital presence today is necessary for all types of companies. Sometimes, as a consultant specializing in international marketing and competitive intelligence, we get tired of saying how important all online sales channels are.
If, on the one hand, B2B businesses have been clear about this for a few years, the same cannot be said for B2B businesses, although, due to the COVID-19 crisis, more companies are always understanding how valuable it is to be able to sell and be prepared for a digitized and globalized environment.
It is evident that having a presence in a marketplace has multiple advantages both for us and for the client. Let’s see the most important:
- Practicality : the customer can see the offers of more vendors on the same platform
- Visibility : access to a marketplace also means access to thousands of users that your e-commerce project would take a long time to reach. This translates into increased sales.
- Cost reduction : Sometimes, depending on the type of marketplace, you only need to put the product and the content, while the platform takes care of all the rest, such as logistics, hosting, etc.
- Confidence : being present within a marketplace generates confidence in the consumer when buying. It is not the same to purchase a product on a website that is not yet well known, compared to making a purchase on a recognized and international page.
- Identity : within a marketplace you can upload all your corporate elements: logos, own brand image, etc. In this way, you maintain your identity and customers can identify and value your products.
- Internationalization : When a company does not have enough resources to start an internationalization process from scratch, the marketplace is a fast track to be able to sell in other countries. Most of them offer translations, customer service in the language of the selected country, and more competitive shipping prices.
- Shopping Center : being in a marketplace can be compared to a shopping center. Although there are many stores, customers will also see our storefront and will probably end up buying from our store as well.
Obviously, not all are advantages, we must take into account other factors, such as the investment, which although not prohibitive, we will have to include it in our calculations together with the possibility of learning how the chosen platform works and the management of our store.
Many times the mistake is made of thinking that registering in a marketplace is enough to start selling, while the reality is different. We have to think of our space within the marketplace as in our virtual store, taking care of all the details: content, product sheets, quality images, clear descriptions that add value, SEO optimization , etc.
By working on our store and optimizing its content, we will have faster results and we will be able to transform this opportunity into a sales channel that generates interesting income.