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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), catalogs, ordering, wanted advertisement, trading exchange functionality and capabilities like RFQ, RFI or RFP. Existing marketplace sites include long time and established websites such as amazon.com and new marketplace website's such as instamal.com. These type of sites allow users to register and sell single items to a large number of items for a "post-selling" fee. Amazon's fees are around 5%-10% of the selling price, while instamal.com was created so users are able to make more of a profit by keeping the fee at only 3%. Instamal also allows users to become a preferred seller after selling just 25 items, which reduces the fee by 50% to just 1.5%.
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.
Since 2014, online marketplaces are abundant since organized marketplaces are sought after. Some have a wide variety of general interest products that cater to almost all the needs of the consumers, however, some are consumer specific and cater to a particular segment only. Not only is the platform for selling online, but the user interface and user experience matters. People tend to log on to online marketplaces that are organized and products are much more accessible to them.
Online marketplaces for services and outsourcing
Many service related online marketplaces have been criticized for taking jobs that would go to local industries that can't compete on price against outsourced providers.
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