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 and can be described as a "simple and convenient portal" to streamline the production process.
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. These type of sites allow users to register and sell single items to a large number of items for a "post-selling" fee.
In general, because marketplaces aggregate products from a wide array of providers, selection is usually more wide, and availability is higher than in vendor-specific online retail stores. Also prices may be more competetive.
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.
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.
Another criticism is that the laws and regulations surrounding online marketplaces are quite underdeveloped. As of consequence, there is a discrepancy between the responsibility, accountability and liability of the marketplace and third parties. Online marketplaces and platforms have faced much criticism in recent years for their lack of consumer protections.
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