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What is a marketplace and how does it differ from a b2b eCommerce?

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Oct 19, 2021 1:21:35 PM

The shift to online shopping has not been a gradual one, companies that had not even thought about having an eCommerce or that still saw the idea as a distant one had to adopt digital strategies that allowed them to have one, not only to increase their sales but also to make up for losses.

Marketplace is a broader notion of online sales, unlike eCommerce we can see it as an online shopping mall where different brands can offer their products.

What is a Marketplace and why is this business model very useful for companies? In this article we explain what it is and how it works.


  • What is a Marketplace?
  • How does it work?
  • How does it differ from eCommerce?
  • What is a Marketplace?

A Marketplace is an e-commerce platform that connects people who want to sell products or services with people who want to buy them. On such a platform, different sellers can advertise and thus offer customers a wide range of options.

In general, the person who manages the Marketplace is a supervisor and a facilitator between the supplier and the buyer, who may or may not receive a commission for each purchase made from the platform.

In recent years, these platforms have been growing steadily due to the advantages they offer companies: they are fast, effective and economical for both suppliers and customers, so more and more companies are opting for this type of platform. There are hundreds of Marketplaces, but among the best known are: Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress, Airbnb and Mercado libre.

How does it work?

A Marketplace can work with different categories and can also vary according to the type of offer:

  • Service Marketplace
  • Hybrid Model Marketplace
  • Product Marketplace

Regardless of the type of offer on which you want to base the Marketplace, these three concepts must be consider: 

  • Platform: It will enable communication between suppliers and customers. In addition, it facilitates access both for suppliers to upload their products or services, and for customers to make their purchases.
  • Providers: These are the ones who are in charge of offering their services or products on the platform. They can upload their products, create categories, create terms and conditions, and additionally upload information and manage their shop.
  • Customers: They can make their purchases, perform searches and view the different shops presented by the eCommerce. They can also search by catalogue, make comparisons and add products to the wish list.
  • Administrator: Responsible for providing access to suppliers, to assign the commission either by supplier or a single commission for all.

The operation of the Marketplace is simple, companies or suppliers register online and the administrator is responsible for approving or denying access, in addition to providing the terms and conditions that will govern the Marketplace. Then the suppliers upload their products and the administrator can supervise the uploading of products and see what information the providers have uploaded. 

Have you ever wondered how to implement a B2B e-Commerce model?


How does it differ from eCommerce?

Confusion can arise between the two as the operation is very similar, for example, both are used to make sales of services or products, the difference is that the Marketplace works as an intermediary between suppliers and buyers, while the eCommerce is like any shop that sells only their products.

Most Marketplaces currently operate under the B2C business model, but there are B2B Marketplaces such as Alibaba and Amazon Business, it is possible to use either business model.

Article you may be interested in: >>5 tips for selling on Amazon<<

In conclusion, online sales continue to grow and Marketplaces are platforms that stand out from other platforms as they help companies and suppliers to present their products and services at a low cost.

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