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An online marketplace (or online e-commerce marketplace) is a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. Online marketplaces are the primary type of multichannel ecommerce.
In an online marketplace, consumer transactions are processed by the marketplace operator and then delivered and fulfilled by the participating retailers or wholesalers (often called drop shipping). Other capabilities might include auctioning (forward or reverse), catalogues, ordering, wanted advertisement, trading exchange functionality and capabilities like RFQ, RFI or RFP.
In general, because marketplaces aggregate products from a wide array of providers, selection is usually more wide, availability is higher, and prices are more competitive than in vendor-specific online retail stores.
Online marketplaces for services and outsourcing
- "Leveraging offshore IT outsourcing by SMEs through online marketplaces". U.L. Radkevitch, E. Van Heck, O. Koppius, University Rotterdam, Journal of Information Technology Case and Application, Vol. 8, No. 3, Date posted: August 23, 2006 ; Last revised: November 24, 2013
- Head and Hands in the Cloud: Cooperative Models for Global Trade to be Murray, Kevin, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 2013