It is hard to find another E-commerce format growing today more rapidly than marketplaces. At Wise, we have been launching and scaling marketplace platforms for more than 15 years, but today more than ever, we observe the real boom of cool marketplace startups that help look at E-commerce business from a quite new perspective.
In this post, we will look closely at a collection of great startups and see how they approach the marketplace model to implement their business ideas. The way these companies put forward their value proposition, the customer problems they address, and the industries they select to build their businesses are really inspiring. All these factors help them set the tone for E-commerce trends in 2022 and will, for sure, give you some insights to apply for your own marketplace startup.
Major shifts in custom marketplace development
Dealing with custom E-commerce development, we see common patterns in recent years that define directions the whole industry is aiming towards. Sad to acknowledge, but the truth is – no one needs another marketplace selling everything for everyone. Marketplace as a business model offers an exclusive opportunity to connect with specific audiences and address specific problems, and now’s the time to use these hidden powers to their fullest potential. Here’s how marketplace development has been changing recently.
Learn more about online marketplace development trends in 2022 from our previous post, where we analyzed all of the five tendencies above in detail.
Now let’s look closely at the rising branded marketplaces and the trends they are initiating in E-commerce today.
Fresh start for Livestream shopping
We all saw those commercials on television when a vacuum cleaner was miraculously cleaning the sofa, and you could buy it with a special discount while the commercial was running. This was a predecessor of the tendency we observe today – Livestream shopping, or live shopping. It has got its popularity with the development of social media, and brands around the world have started to use it as a new sales channel to promote and sell products.
The founders of buywith , an online shopping Livestream platform, saw this growing opportunity and used the marketplace model to connect brands, retailers, influencers, and experts. The platform allows hosting live shopping events and automates the sales process. Seeing products live and in action drives sales, plus the credibility of the person performing the Lifestream increases conversion immensely.
A marketplace is a truly unique E-commerce form that allows businesses to think outside the box. A great example of such business thinking is the ShearShare app. With the mission of becoming the greatest engine of jobs and wealth creation for the barber and beauty industry, ShearShare's Co-Founders decided to redefine the way salons and barbershops run their businesses and assisted them with the most valuable asset – the space.
The ShearShare marketplace allows small businesses to offer the space they do not need at their salons to local professionals and receive one more income channel. Via the new space-as-a-service model and the efficient process automation, the startup ensures that collaboration is flexible and productive for all sides involved.
Challenging the status quo
Challenging the way things are organized is one of the most important traits innovative startuppers should possess and, as the companies below illustrate, a marketplace as a business model allows you to do it across industries and domains.
Reshaping established industries
The heavy equipment industry is a big and serious sphere with a set of strict rules and regulations. Yet, there is a startup that pushes the status quo of how heavy equipment is obtained by various companies. Boom & Bucket is a heavy equipment marketplace with a team of industry veterans that know all the specifics of this business and want to change the way used equipment is being reused and resold.
On the Boom & Bucket marketplace, customers can browse across multiple categories looking for bulldozers, excavators, wheel loaders, and many more machinery. Because of the accurate inspections, the quality of the used equipment is well-monitored, and access to financing warranties and transportation is provided. Get in a car is one of the team’s shared values that help them approach customer service with ownership and exceptional attitude.
Changing common approaches
Is there an activity that you can not get a coach and consulting buddy for? No there is not, claims the Leland team that created a marketplace for ambitious people and helps their customers access the coaching and classes to reach career and educational goals. All you need to do to get a coach is to define the skills you need, your budget, and previous experience, and they will recommend the best matching mentors for you.
If most similar EdTech marketplaces offer the ability to find a tutor for specific subjects, Leland allows you to choose from multiple skills, tests, and domains. The platform connects coaches and students around the globe and builds a really cool community of people helping each other grow.
Introducing new customer behaviors
Building a selling new and used shipping containers? However unusual it may sound, you can. Boxhub is a successful marketplace that allows people to buy and sell containers in their neighborhoods. Containers can be used when moving houses or when simply extra storage space is needed. It can also be turned into a tiny temporary home, farm, office, or storefront.
Because the startup introduces a new pattern to using different types of containers for households, right on their homepage, the team explains in detail what shipping containers are, what types of containers exist, and how they can be used. Making an order is simple and intuitive. You need to enter your zip code, and the system will show you the available containers in your location.
Technology matching sellers and buyers
Connecting the right audiences with the right merchants is the ultimate goal of any marketplace. No matter what industry it operates in. To ensure this connection was fast and efficient, some platforms develop unique technologies that become a part of their value proposition later.
To illustrate such a case, let’s look closely at REPOWR, a marketplace that enables logistics companies to efficiently source equipment capacity. The team applies Digital Equipment Matching technology that allows transportation companies to have instant on-demand access to available equipment nearby. Your assets are valuable, says the REPOWR team, and offers transportation companies a great way to collaborate and use assets effectively.
Presenting innovative product types
Also, a way to innovate the marketplace model is to start using it as a selling platform for a variety of digital and unusual types of products and services. No one thought that this is possible, but the companies below saw the problems in their niches and today run successful marketplace businesses.
Selling IP licensing
Layer is a marketplace platform for IP licensing in the gaming industry. The team's vision is to allow all the global games to collaborate with the best creators: from brands and characters to stories and celebrities. The platform helps to match IP profiles with game profiles based on multiple criteria, including commercial, audience, and objective. Layer also simplifies communication between the counterparts on creating proposals and streamlines the overall licensing process.
The Layer’s Co-Founders say that games were their passion from childhood and they want this industry to function properly, more smoothly, and bring joy to people around the world. Another great example, of how to make a successful business you need to find an activity that you love.
Marketplace of discounts
Can you imagine an online platform where you can shop for discounts? No? Then have a look at the Convoy. With the mission to help small businesses optimize their spending on various online services, the Convoy allows you to select the services your team uses and cut the subscription bills.
As for their monetization model, the deal is quite simple: if the Convoy team negotiates for discounts for you, they might get a small percentage for themselves. For example, from a 22% overall discount, they will keep something like 2%.
Making an impact
Kantar’s recent study says that 77% of customers expect companies to be helpful during the covid outbreak, and this tendency is there to stay. While multi-vendor marketplace development is moving towards branded marketplaces, impactful businesses are those that come to the forefront and can build strong brand communication. Supportive consumption is on the rise, which means impactful businesses will continue to receive encouragement from their audiences.
Clean energy at the fingertips
How do you like the idea that you could organize all the aspects for your company to use renewable energy in a few steps through an intuitive interface? And what if we tell you that this mind-blowing idea is already implemented? RenevaFi is an online marketplace that allows companies and utilities to buy renewable energy directly from clean power plants.
On the website, you can buy renewable energy on a screen in simple four steps: specify energy needs, run a competitive auction based on RenevaFi’s patent-pending technology, compare proposals, and download a custom contract as a start to a new eco-friendly energy resource. The company’s mission is to make renewable energy contracting faster, more affordable, and less risky, and it deserves a lot of appreciation.
Starting new cultural movement
There is room for improvement in any industry and occupation, even if it comes from centuries ago. A good idea and a brave mission can bring it back to life. As an example, let’s look closely at the Cobblers marketplace. The company provides expert repair for premium sneakers and high-quality leather goods, including women’s and men’s shoes, handbags, and leather garments.
The Cobblers team claims they are setting up a new, more thoughtful, cyclical up-cycling approach to expensive shoe wear and leather goods usage. Conscious consumption is very popular today, and the company is rapidly growing its popularity in the USA. To make their point more clear, the Cobblers say that with each of the unique items they repair, they also make the memories connected to them live longer.
Tell your story
This was a recap of great companies that looked at the marketplace business model from a fresh angle and saw a great opportunity to connect people, change operations within industries, and sell unusual product types and services.
What unites all these ten companies? Though they operate across industries and engage with different audiences, the unique story behind each marketplace is what all of them have in common. There is a mission behind each marketplace app, and all of them communicate it clearly to explain why they launched their businesses in the first place.