Jan 10, 2020 04:27

Which retail verticals can start a marketplace?

By Johan Sommar

When you think online marketplaces, what comes to mind? Probably one of the quintessential marketplace examples like Amazon, eBay or Tmall where you can shop almost anything you can think of.

Marketplaces aren’t just about being everything to all customers though. They also present a great opportunity to position yourself as an expert in a particular vertical or niche. Almost any vertical can sustain a marketplace. With customers going to marketplaces for their shopping needs more and more, those who start a marketplace now may be better equipped for the future.

To offer a wide variety of options

Beauty and skincare is one vertical that lends itself well to marketplaces. The likes of Feelunique and Cult Beauty are well-known destinations for beauty lovers. With more and more brands entering the beauty market, many of them digital-first, customers want to be able to stay ahead of trends, but without having to put in the effort of hunting down each one individually.

The beauty retail sector also proves that there is space for more than one marketplace if you focus on helping customers find what they’re looking for. NakedPoppy is a marketplace for clean beauty products. This means sustainable, ethical and chemical-free. Flora does a similar thing but for indie brands. Both these marketplaces serve the needs of their customers by bringing together a wide variety of options in one place.

To combine forces

Etsy is a marketplace that unites independent and small creative businesses. Rather than trying to compete with their far larger rivals to gain traffic, these small entrepreneurs can gain greater exposure by combining their forces. As a result, Etsy has become one of the must visit websites for those looking to shop a little smaller, or for more unique products.

Not On The High Street operates in a similar way. Customers visit it because it brings together different sellers whose products aren’t available in your average high street store (hence the name). Personalisation is a big factor across many of the products its sellers create and sell, which gives it another edge over competitor gift sites.

Everything under one roof - plus inspiration and trends

Even luxury retail can make use of marketplaces as the success of Farfetch shows. It’s a marketplace for the luxury devotee who wants to be able to shop all their favourite brands in one place, as well as an entry point for those looking to get into luxury fashion. Emerging designer names are also made available which turns Farfetch into a first-choice destination for keeping abreast of new trends.


The Real Real offers another spin on this by offering a marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment. It’s a way for those interested in luxury fashion to acquire pieces at a lower cost, but also have the security of knowing that they’re buying is genuine.

There are marketplaces for pretty much everything from fashion to homeware to DIY supplies. Whatever business you’re in there is almost certainly a marketplace opportunity to be explored. And if there’s an opportunity then you can be sure someone will be exploiting it. So the answer to what retail verticals that can start a marketplace the answer is all verticals, there is always an angle to explore. The question is whether it will be you or one of your competitors who grab the most potential ones?

How can we help you? 

It will soon be a very natural step for industry-leading companies to establish a marketplace of their own as a complement to their existing e-commerce.

If you don't have a vision or a strategy in place, we can quickly help you gain the knowledge you need and the structure to be able to use marketplaces to optimize your business, short term and long term. 

The partnership between Avensia and Mirakl means that we also can offer implementation of Mirakl’s marketplace technology to our customers. The Mirakl Marketplace Platform is a cloud solution that allows companies to create their own online marketplace and become the center of an entire ecosystem within their industry. 

Mirakl is powering the platform economy by providing the technology and partner ecosystem needed to launch an e-commerce marketplace. With the Mirakl Marketplace Platform, both B2B and B2C businesses can offer more, learn more, and sell more: increase the number of products available for buyers, grow the lifetime value of customers, and anticipate buyer needs and preferences. 

Interested in starting your own marketplace? Or do you want to learn more about the tech, the business models and the strategies behind the growing success of online marketplaces, and whether your company could benefit from establishing one. Join the breakfast seminar on the subject in Stockholm.

More reading: 

Strategic advisory - online marketplaces



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