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Marketplaces: advantages and disadvantages

by RentSF

Marketplaces (or marketplaces) are places of transactions on the internet where merchants and customers meet. In full swing following changes in the habits of more sedentary and connected consumers, many merchants are taking the plunge and selling their products on such platforms.

Considered by some as the main lever for creating a turnover and for others as the future of e-commerce, marketplaces have advantages and disadvantages that we will develop in this article.


What is a marketplace?

Marketplaces are web interfaces used by many SMEs or VSEs to increase their sales rate and take advantage of the boom in online commerce. By choosing to sell their products on sites with high traffic and benefiting from significant notoriety (Amazon, Rakuten …) the seller benefits from a sales space in exchange for a commission paid on each sale made.

Today, the majority of these marketplaces remain e-commerce sites that have decided to offer independent sellers to sell on their platform in order to expand their catalog and reach a larger clientele.

Moreover, even if the most important marketplaces remain generalist and offer all kinds of products, the trend is towards specialization. 

Specialized marketplaces are thus emerging on e-commerce sites for sports, gardening, etc.

The advantages of marketplaces

High visibility

In general, this is the main argument that drives sellers to register in an online marketplace. Indeed, some marketplaces have very important traffic due to their notoriety. The products marketed are therefore quickly visible to a very large audience. 

Ease of use

Marketplaces are quite simple to use by merchants who want to sell their products on the internet. Without computer knowledge, it is quite possible to put your products online in a few minutes.

Payment guarantee

Marketplaces are generally responsible for payment to sellers and delivery for the buyer. Thus, there is no risk of fraud.

The disadvantages of marketplaces

Little or not adapted to your products

This is often the first complaint of sellers regarding marketplaces. Indeed, a general marketplace generally sells everything that can be found on the internet and your products are very likely to find themselves drowned among a multitude of other competing products.

Even if the platforms do everything to offer a pleasant browsing experience to Internet users, they will never be able to recreate the perfect universe that will highlight your products.

Strong competition

With the expansion of marketplaces, the number of sellers is constantly increasing and competition is fierce to sell your products at the best price.

A large number of marketplaces that were initially e-commerce sites (Amazon, Fnac …) sell their own products and it is possible to find yourself in competition with them. Their disproportionate notoriety and their generally lower prices will surely get the better of your sales.

Control of margins

A marketplace platform attracts Internet users, manages the sales you make and provides your evaluation, but its services come at a cost.

When you sell on a marketplace, your margins are automatically reduced by the fees and commissions entered by the platform.

Customers are not yours

When customers buy your products from marketplaces, it is impossible to subsequently solicit them or invite them to visit your own site. You will just be able to contact them about pending orders.

Customer loyalty is impossible to set up , since they are above all the customers of the marketplaces platform before being yours.

Selling on marketplaces can allow you to quickly develop your sales thanks to the traffic they generate, at the cost of efforts on your margins to stand out from the competition. Conversely, your own online sales site can allow you unlimited personalization without having to pay commissions on each of your sales.


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