Marketplaces are already a major part of today’s retail industry. Their influence is very likely to grow as customers look to make sense of the sheer amount of choice e-commerce has created for them.
While the future might be marketplace-oriented, starting an online marketplace isn’t necessarily the correct move for all retailers. So how do you know who should start a marketplace and who shouldn’t?
The first two questions to ask yourself:
- Am I a leader in my field? Is my existing website a natural landing point for customers looking for products and expertise in my particular niche?
- Do I have a comprehensive product offering when it comes to what my customers want to buy (or can I bolster this through complementary businesses)?
Almost any vertical can create a marketplace offering but if you’re a very small or unknown property then third parties and customers may wonder why they should come to you. You may have to work harder to convince them that you can serve their needs.
The ideal online marketplace retailers are those who already have some recognition in their field. They should have a good reputation and be seen as something of an authority. This means that customers can trust them, especially if they haven’t personally come across their company before.
That said, if the marketplace needs of an industry aren’t already being met, there is the opportunity for an outside player to swoop in and establish their own industry-specific marketplace. As there isn’t room for endless marketplace players within an industry niche, you don’t want to give outsiders the opportunity to take the top spot if you can help it.