The digital age has changed the way people buy things and has presented buyers with a very convenient alternative. Online marketplaces are a type of eCommerce site where products and services are provided by multiple third parties, and the transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. Designed to be both secure and easy-to-use, these platforms serve as a popular destination for online shoppers. Some popular examples are Alibaba, Tmall, Tmall Global, Amazon and eBay.
Online marketplaces are popular selling channels amongst consumers across the globe, often providing businesses, as an online seller, with a platform to reach an extensive, ready-to-buy customer base. But with so many different marketplaces out there, how do you determine which is the right fit for your business?
Whether you are looking to sell products or services domestically or globally; it is important to start with some homework when seeking which online marketplaces would suit your online strategy.
Online marketplaces also make it easier to establish a presence in a foreign country. Rather than build a country-specific website to accommodate different languages and currencies, business can tap into a platform’s existing infrastructure and access a ready customer base.
Asia has a growing middle class with disposable income and is now the largest eCommerce region in the world. Asian consumers tend to look to markets like Australia for quality cosmetics, skincare, health products, supplements, maternity goods, baby products, and food and wine.
Accessing Asian markets has its challenges, like negotiating multiple cultures, languages, currencies and preferences. Partnering with an internationally recognised brand lets sellers build trust with Asian customers and gain valuable insights into the market.
Some of the most common e-Commerce platforms in China include:
Alibaba.com - is the world’s largest business-to-business (B2B) trading platform for SMEs engaged in import and export business.
Tmall.com – is China’s largest third-party B2C retail platform for local and foreign brands selling to Chinese consumers. Incorporate a Chinese company
Taobao.com – is China’s largest consumer-to-consumer (C2C) shopping destination, where merchants are primarily individuals and small businesses.
Tmall Global – focus on Chinese and international businesses selling brand name goods to consumers in China. It is the largest B2C retail platform in Asia, reaching over 400 million buyers and has over 70,000 brands available across the marketplace. However, for international brands to sell on Tmall, they need to jump through some considerable hoops first including opening a bank account in China and shipping products from within China
Online marketplaces like France’s Fnac (15 million monthly visitors) and Otto from Germany (9 million active users) have customers across Europe and the UK. Polish marketplace Allegro provides retailers with a pathway to 14 million eastern European customers.
With a population of more than a billion people, India is one of the biggest and fastest-growing online shopping markets. Flipkart has around 100 million registered users, while Snapdeal has around 45 million users, delivering to over 6,000 cities and towns.
One of the most popular marketplaces in the continent, Mercado Libre draws in traffic from cross Latin America. It works a lot like eBay in that retailers can have their own shopfront to attract the site’s 267 million registered users, a figure that makes it one of the world’s biggest online retailers.