A marketplace, also known as a retail market, is an area where individuals regularly come together for the sale and purchase of goods, animals, and other commodities. In other areas of the globe, a marketplace might be defined as a fixed shop, bazaar, an itinerant caravan, or souk. In the United States, however, a marketplace is most commonly referred to as a shopping mall.
The public market in the United States is located in malls, along freeways and other places with large public pedestrian traffic. The scope of the public market includes all those who are interested in buying and selling goods and services, but it is typically smaller than the larger private markets. Shopping malls, which contain stores, restaurants, hotels, and cinema theatres, are increasingly being built or renovated to include all of the retail services that characterize a marketplace. These services, such as ATM machines, are designed to attract customers and retain their business even after they leave the marketplace, thus facilitating sales by maintaining a high level of customer service.
Private markets have typically been designed as privately owned shops or businesses, allowing them to set their own prices and sell as much or as little merchandise as they want. Online marketplace owners, on the other hand, have seen great success since they were introduced to the online marketplace by the dot-com boom. The online marketplace allows online marketplaces owners to sell goods and services from all over the world to anyone with an internet connection. Although online marketplace businesses do not offer the personal customer service that occurs at a store, they do allow consumers to shop and compare hundreds of products without leaving home.
Although many consumers shop online to find just the right product or gift for a special occasion or holiday, others use online marketplaces to make money on auctions or services. There are literally thousands of unique online businesses that make money selling a variety of products ranging from baby goods to car repair. Marketplace buyers can search for products by price, brand, model or location and then search for sellers near them. Sellers pay a commission for any items that sell for a specific amount. Some sellers have multiple online marketplaces running at the same time, while others only list one or two.
Marketplace owners that use e-commerce sites to list their businesses may have some challenges in attracting customers. The online store must be attractive, easy to navigate, and make sense. For example, if a website is set up to provide online auctions, the marketplace owner must make sure that the listings show up near appropriate categories such as books, antiques, computers, music and cameras, cooking supplies and so forth. While there are no rules governing the type of listing a marketplace owner can have on his or her online store, it is often best to focus on selling or displaying goods that appeal to buyers and to include some sort of customer support.
It is possible to start and run an online marketplace either independently or as part of a larger group. Many online marketplace owners choose to operate as an affiliate of another business or they opt to work as an affiliate for several different companies. Affiliates receive a percentage of each sale that comes through their own or another business’s marketplace site. Work from home opportunities via online marketplaces may be ideal for someone just getting started with e-commerce and would not want to risk investment capital.