The emergence of Uber, Netflix, and Spotify have redefined the concept of online service marketplace platform. They paved the way for how these services can benefit people, and make money at the same time.
Not only our everyday life but also our work and professional life is highly influenced by the service platforms. So far in 2021, more than 67.6 million people in the US are freelancers, most of whom rely on outsourcing platforms!
It is projected that the total number of freelancers will reach at 86.5 million in 2027, making up 50.9% of the total US workforce.Statista
You perhaps realized the significance of online service marketplace in our life and what is its future. Considering your need, we have prepared this article covering everything you should know about it – from its definition to the features. So, stay with us.
Definition of Online Marketplace and Its Types
An online marketplace is an internet-based platform (website or application), where multiple parties (companies/shops/individuals) trade their goods and services online. Example: Amazon, Walmart, eBay, AliExpress, Uber, and Etsy.
Online marketplace is also known as e-commerce marketplace, multivendor marketplace or multivendor e-commerce.
Online Marketplace Types
Based on target audiences, there are 3 types of marketplaces:
- Business-to-Business (B2B)
- Business-to-Customer (B2C)
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P), also known as Customer-to-Customer (C2C)
There are 3 other types of marketplaces depending on what would be sold there:
- Product Online Marketplace
- Online Service Marketplace
- Online Rental Marketplace
To know the details about each of the marketplace models, please check out our blog linked below.
What is Online Service Marketplace Platform (Definition with Examples)
An online service marketplace is an e-commerce platform where individuals or organizations buy or sell services, like digital subscriptions, training, online outsourcing, or ride-sharing.
Online service marketplace usually initiates, facilitates, coordinates, and concludes the buying and selling of the services between the service seekers and service providers.
It is one of the most trending marketplace models at present. The recent coronavirus pandemic, when people are forced to stay at home, boosted it up. People are now more interested in freelancing and buying subscription-based services.
Online Service Marketplace Examples
We are going to give examples of the marketplaces based on the services sold there. Online rental marketplaces, sometimes, are considered a part of the service marketplace. We have included it as well.
Outsourcing Platforms: UpWork, Fiverr, Freelancer, Amazon Mechanical Turk, etc.
Subscription-based Platforms: Spotify, Netflix, EA Play, Amazon Prime, etc.
E-Learning Platforms: Coursera, Udemy, edX, Skillshare, etc.
Mobility Service Platforms: Uber, Bird, Moovit, Lyft, etc.
Rental Marketplace Platforms: Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Student.com, etc.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Online Service Marketplaces
Service-based online platforms have made our lives easy. Just think how frequently you use the services like – ride-sharing, video, and music streaming – every day.
However, it doesn’t mean the online services platforms come with advantages only. They have some disadvantages as well. We will discuss both in the following points:
Advantages of Online Service Marketplace Platforms
- Makes buying and selling services easy, fast and affordable
- One of the trendiest business methods with a high demand
- Excellent business outlook, ability to make a huge profit
- Transparent and accessible way of availing or providing services
- No large inventory is required as the service providers will deal with it individually
- Easy to build, requires comparatively low resources than product marketplaces
Disadvantages of Online Service Marketplace Platforms
- Difficulty to manage the service providers
- Hard to predict the quality of the services, unlike products
- Huge competition (both internal and external)
- Difficulty in the visual representation of the services
10 Top Features Online Service Marketplaces Should Have
The usability, even success of an online service marketplace platform is dependent on how it was built, and what type of features it offers.
The top features you should have on your service marketplace platform:
- Responsive Design
- Accessibility and Mobile Friendliness
- User Accounts and Profiles
- Map and Location-based Search
- Online Payments
- Reviews and Ratings
- Social Integration
- Chat and Email Integration
- Admin Functionality
- Availability and Booking Management
Now, we are going to discuss the top features of the service marketplaces in detail.
1. Responsive Design
The design of your marketplace is the key to grabbing customers’ attention and enhancing the user experience. If your marketplace isn’t fast and responsive, the visitors will leave your site and go somewhere else – meaning you’ll face bounce rates.
The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds
Every second the site loads faster; the conversion rate improves by 17%Google, Bidnamic
So, you should build your marketplace from a platform that offers attractive, fast, and responsive design.
2. Accessibility and Mobile Friendliness
You will have to make sure that your marketplace site is accessible from all devices, particularly mobile. Because –
About 72.9% of total global eCommerce is generated via mobile devices at present!Statista
Can you believe how much influence mobile commerce has on the eCommerce industry? Therefore, you should choose the platform which will help you make your marketplace site mobile-friendly.
3. User Accounts and Profiles
To manage the marketplace and maintain the transaction processes, you should have account creation and login features for both the service providers and customers.
4. Map and Location-based Search
It’s a good technique to provide your customers with focused and personalized experiences. It will help them find the right services at the right time and location. Besides, many people nowadays search for services from maps.
5. Online Payments
Your marketplace must have online or electronic payment systems, like PayPal or Stripe, doesn’t matter whether you have traditional payment methods or not.
6. Reviews and Ratings
Reviews and ratings are important elements to build trust among the users. They will help enhance the reputation of your marketplace and the service providers. So, you should have this feature.
7. Social Integration
I think it’s unnecessary to let you know the importance of having this feature. All we can say – if you want to promote your marketplace, you must have this feature.
8. Chat and Email Integration
Both buyers and sellers usually don’t meet in real life while trading on an online marketplace. So, there is a trust and communication gap. Chat and email integration can overcome it to some extent.
9. Admin Functionality
The service provider on your marketplace needs to have control over everything that happens in their store. So, this feature will help you attract vendors.
10. Availability and Booking Management
The availability feature will let the customers know when the service providers are or will be available. If they aren’t available, the booking feature will play an important role to take the services in the future.
Best Platforms to Build Online Service Marketplaces
Online service marketplaces are booming across the world. People are now more interested in buying services online, considering the ease, accessibility, and affordability.
- Started with just a few million dollars, Uber is now a 51-billion-dollar company – WSJ
- Almost 2 in 3 US-based adults have a Netflix subscription – Statista
- Upwork has over 12.5 million registered freelancers and 5.5 million clients – Wikipedia
If you start a service-based marketplace platform now by yourself, you will be able to take a share of the growing market. And, nowadays, it is easy to open a marketplace on your own, even if you don’t have enough technical knowledge.
Considering your need, we will talk about some of the best platforms that you can choose right now. We have divided this part into three segments – best SaaS [software as a service] platforms, best WordPress-based platforms, and best of the rest.
Best SaaS Platforms
Software as a Service in short SaaS is the easiest and most convenient way of building an online marketplace. Now we are going to share some of the best SaaS platforms where you can build your dream service marketplace:
- CS-Cart Multi-Vendor
Mirakl is one of the leading marketplace solution providers. Its marketplace software is used by many popular and big companies and brands – including Best Buy, Siemens, ABB, and METRO AG.
Jungleworks is another popular marketplace solutions provider. It offers different plans and packages for different kinds of marketplaces and customers. And their names are interesting as well – Yelo, Panther, Hippo, etc.
Dokan provides a complete solution to build all kinds of marketplaces, including service-based ones. Besides, its solutions are comparatively more affordable and user-friendly.
4. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor
CS-Cart provides comprehensive services to build a service-based platform, with plenty of features to choose. About 35,000 stores and marketplaces are currently operated by CS-Cart.
Sharetribe is an advanced marketplace software that offers some intuitive features and design. It is also a popular platform.
Best WordPress-based Platforms
Building a marketplace on WordPress is also easy. Its specialty is – you can build an entire marketplace site, like Amazon, for free! Check this article to know how to build a website like Amazon for free.
If you want to build your marketplace site on an opensource platform, we will definitely recommend you to choose WordPress. Because it is the world’s most popular website building and management platform, powering over 40% of the web.
You may choose any of the following multivendor plugins to build a marketplace site for online services:
- Dokan Multivendor [Active Installations: 70,000+, Rating: 4.5 out of 5]
- WC Marketplace [Active Installations: 10,000+, Rating: 4.8 out of 5]
- WCFM Marketplace [Active Installations: 30,000+, Rating: 4.7 out of 5]
- WC Vendors Marketplace [Active Installations: 10,000+, Rating: 4.5 out of 5]
Most of them are good to some extent. But Dokan is comparatively better as it provides a complete solution and contains many necessary features that a multivendor marketplace should have. Besides, it is, by far, the most popular multivendor plugin on WordPress.
Best of the Rest
The other platforms you may consider to build your online service marketplace are:
We have prepared the lists based on your need, the platforms’ popularity and reputation. Still, we might miss your preferred platform. But if you search best marketplace platform on the internet, your findings won’t be different than that of us.
Bonus: Marketplace Optimization Tips to Make Your Business Thrive
You might already know that Search Engine Optimization or SEO helps rank a website higher in the search results and gain more organic (non-paid) traffic.
There are some useful optimization practices especially followed for eCommerce sites, regardless of products or services. We have already talked about some of them randomly while guiding you to build the marketplace site.
Now, we have brought everything to one place. We are going to briefly let you know all the necessary eCommerce optimization practices that you should follow to make your journey successful.
Top Ecommerce Optimization Tips
We have divided our top eCommerce optimization tips into 8 points. We have tried to explain some of the points briefly where it was necessary.
1. Create an Attractive and Informative Product Page
- Make your product page simple and easy to navigate
- Give all necessary information, and arrange them nicely instead of stacking
- Use meaningful images, useful videos, and demos
- Use ratings, reviews, views, and likes to create appeal
2. Build a Fast and Responsive eCommerce Site
- Use fast and responsive themes
- Buy fast hosting services
- Use lightweight media files
- Stop installing unnecessary plugins
3. Make Your Store Site Mobile Friendly (create an AMP version of your site)
4. Optimize Your Product Pricing
- Give an attractive price tag, try to use charm pricing (prices with numbers ending in 9)
- Don’t confuse the customers with a huge number of options or offers
- Use a clear and self-explanatory call to action (CTA)
- Let buyers compare the products
5. Do Adequate Keyword Research
- Set the words with higher volume but less difficulty (less than 40) as the main keyword
- Select compelling and self-explanatory keywords
- Keep your main keyword in the title of your product
- Put the main keyword within the first 120 words of your product description
6. Write Readable and Search Engine-Friendly URL
- Must write a readable URL, and keep it short and simple
- Use your focus/main keywords in the URL
- Use hyphens to separate words, not underscores
7. Write Proper Image Alt-Texts
8. Promote Your Products on Social Channels
Key Takeaways from Online Service Marketplace Platforms
Online service marketplace is one of the trends and fastest-growing eCommerce platforms in the world. People now prefer to buy services online over traditional methods due to convenience and affordability.
You can build your own service marketplace platform at any time you want without having technical knowledge. Because several companies at present provide complete software solutions to build and manage your marketplace without a single line of coding.
If you build your service marketplace now, you won’t regret it – that’s for sure. All you have to do is to do some prior research, know the challenges, develop or follow your own business model, and have some patience.
Since Dokan is one of the best online service marketplace solutions providers, you may know more about it and consider a trial from here: