Online marketplace

An online marketplace (or online e-commerce marketplace) is a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. Online marketplaces are the primary type of multichannel ecommerce and can be a way to streamline the production process.

In an online marketplace, consumer transactions are processed by the marketplace operator and then delivered and fulfilled by the participating retailers or wholesalers (often called drop shipping). Other capabilities might include auctioning (forward or reverse), catalogs, ordering, wanted advertisement, trading exchange functionality and capabilities like RFQ, RFI or RFP. These type of sites allow users to register and sell single items to many items for a "post-selling" fee.

In general, because marketplaces aggregate products from a wide array of providers, selection is usually more wide, and availability is higher than in vendor-specific online retail stores.[1]

Since 2014, online marketplaces are abundant since organized marketplaces are sought after.[2] Some have a wide variety of general interest products that cater to almost all the needs of the consumers, however, some are consumer specific and cater to a particular segment only. Not only is the platform for selling online, but the user interface and user experience matters. People tend to log on to online marketplaces that are organized and products are much more accessible to them.

For services and outsourcing

There are marketplaces for the online outsourcing of professional services like IT services,[3] search engine optimization, marketing, and skilled crafts & trades work.[4]

The sharing economy

Many sharing economy platforms are in fact peer to peer marketplaces. Also called "switch" marketplaces, sharing economy platforms' users will characteristically switch between buying and selling services or goods, such as on AirBNB.

As the sharing economy inspires itself largely from the open source philosophy[5], we unsurprisingly find several open source projects dedicated to launching a peer to peer marketplace (Cocorico [6]& Sharetribe[7]).

Online marketing intermediaries

Online intermediaries allow customers and online sellers to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, online intermediaries sometimes provide support for online social networks, which create a social community for suppliers and customers and directly connect them. Because of the dramatically increasing trend of e-commerce development, online sites allow suppliers and customers to do business in a digital environment.[8]


Many services related online marketplaces have been criticized for taking jobs that would go to local industries that can't compete on price against outsourced providers.

Another criticism is that the laws and regulations surrounding online marketplaces are quite underdeveloped. As of consequence, there is a discrepancy between the responsibility, accountability and liability of the marketplace and third parties. Online marketplaces and platforms have faced much criticism in recent years for their lack of consumer protections.[9]

See also


  1. Determining where to sell online November 7, 2008
  2. Why online marketplaces are booming August 20, 2014.
  3. "Leveraging offshore IT outsourcing by SMEs through online marketplaces". U.L. Radkevitch, E. Van Heck, O. Koppius, University Rotterdam, Journal of Information Technology Case and Application, Vol. 8, No. 3, Date posted: August 23, 2006 ; Last revised: November 24, 2013
  4. Head and Hands in the Cloud: Cooperative Models for Global Trade to be Murray, Kevin, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 2013
  5. "(PDF) The Sharing Economy: Why People Participate in Collaborative Consumption". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  6. ☑ Cocorico is an open source marketplace solution for peer-to-peer marketplaces.: Cocolabs-SAS/cocorico, Cocolabs SAS, 2019-05-31, retrieved 2019-05-31
  7. Sharetribe Go is an open source marketplace platform, also available with SaaS model. See also Sharetribe Flex, a headless marketplace solution. : sharetribe/sharetribe, Sharetribe, 2019-05-31, retrieved 2019-05-31 External link in |title= (help)
  8. Chaffey, Dave; Ellis-Chadwick, Fiona (2016). Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. Harlow: Pearson Education. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-1-292-07764-2.
  9. Nicholls, Rob. "Who bears the cost when your Uber or Airbnb turns bad?". Retrieved 2016-08-02.
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