Types of Marketplaces by Offering

When thinking through your marketplace platform, it’s helpful to think through what type of marketplace product or service you are facilitating, and what the unique considerations might be for that offering. Four common types of marketplaces are:

Product marketplaces

Product marketplaces connect those with physical products to sell to buyers who want those products. Commonly these will be physical goods such as shoes, books, clothes, or crafts, but could also be something like a concert or sporting ticket. Things to think about for these marketplaces are the need to constantly be replenishing the supply of items available for sale, shipping products, searching through a catalog and potentially filtering, and how to instill trust and reliability in the seller if they are the one who must ship and deliver the product. For example, you may want to release money to the seller once there is confirmation they ship the item.

Service marketplaces

Service marketplaces connect those who have a service or trade to provide with those seeking services. Examples include contractors, designers, hairstylists, healthcare providers, and more. Ride-sharing marketplaces or delivery marketplaces also fall into this category. Because the sellers in this case are exchanging their time and expertise, it’s likely you’ll want to consider some sort of scheduling component and a feedback loop or validation of credentials for buyers to build trust. If the interactions happen in person, location will be a big part of the platform and user experience. Depending on the frequency of the transactions, it may also be important to build in loyalty programs to keep people on the platform.

Asset marketplaces

Asset marketplaces connect those with assets they can rent or lend to those seeking the use of those assets. These include vacation rentals, car sharing, equipment lending, neighborhood storage sharing, and other renting offerings. Because the seller is offering the use of their physical property, you’ll likely want to consider some sort of insurance or protection for their items. Location will also be critical as there is a physical component to the exchange and usage of the asset.

Content marketplaces

Finally, there are content marketplaces. This is a newer category that has been growing with the rise of the creator economy. Content marketplaces connect those who create digital products with those seeking the use or consumption of those digital products. The difference with content marketplaces is that the products can be sold over and over again without having to ship items or schedule time. Examples include educational or skill-sharing sites, digital art or assets, or music sharing.
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