Top 7 Online Marketplace Ideas for Entrepreneurs in 2021

Today, online marketplaces are thriving at an incredible pace. As per Forbes, B2C marketplaces are anticipated to reach $3.5 trillion in sales by 2024.

The success of Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Airbnb give further assurance to entrepreneurs that commencing an online marketplace business is a promising idea.

With the majority of online purchases happening via online marketplaces, there are higher chances of your marketplace business succeeding in today’s era.

online market places

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What’s more? There are many online marketplace business ideas to choose from. This post aims at helping you explore the top 7 marketplace ideas in 2021 and beyond.

But before we get to that, let’s first understand what does online marketplace means and why you should launch your own marketplace. Ready? Let’s deep dive in!!

What is an Online Marketplace?

Also known as e-marketplace, an online marketplace is a type of e-Commerce website or application that acts as a mediator between buyers and sellers in the B2C and B2B niches.

Typically, marketplace owners don’t provide any services or products themselves and multiple third-party suppliers instead provide services or products to buyers. In short, they provide a platform to connect buyers with sellers.

Before you have a peek at top online marketplace business ideas, you should know marketplaces can be categorized into the following types by area of focus:

  • Vertical marketplaces: These marketplaces focus on a specific niche. Instead of selling different kinds of products or services, they sell one particular type of service or product from different sources. For example, Etsy focuses on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies and Udemy focuses on online courses.
  • Horizontal marketplaces: These marketplaces focus on selling products and services in numerous industries. That’s why they are also known as a one-stop-shop catering to a wide range of customers. For example, Amazon and eBay.

Also Read (That Might Interest You): Udemy Business and Revenue Model Explained

Whether you focus on one niche or more than one, it isn’t necessary to own an inventory to run a marketplace.

What it means is you can start a business without any significant investment. Being a marketplace owner, you can acquire inventory from merchants who want to sell their products or services on your platform.

“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.” – Tom Goodwin (Source)

Top Online Marketplace Ideas for Entrepreneurs

A large part of starting an online marketplace business is coming up with a great online marketplace idea. To extend a helping hand, we curated a list of the trending marketplace ideas, along with reasons to invest and key players in the industry.

Have a look!!

1. Online Rental Marketplace Platforms

What is it? A rental marketplace is an online platform where companies or individuals can rent out different types of items from each other or the platform itself.

Why invest in it? The total value of the global sharing economy was worth 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 and that number is anticipated to ascend to 335 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. A rental marketplace is a significant part of the sharing economy.

A steep rise in the value of the sharing economy is due to the invaluable benefits it offers to people such as affordability.

In fact, around 70% of millennials and Generation Z prefer renting over buying. On the other hand, people see renting out their old goods as a great opportunity to make some extra bucks.

What it means for entrepreneurs and business owners alike is stepping into the rental business could be very profitable in the long run.

Some of the top rental business ideas you can think of starting include:

  • Vehicle Rental
  • Vacation Rental
  • Equipment Rental
  • Furniture Rental
  • Storage Rental

Business and Revenue Model of Online Rental Marketplace

  • A P2P (peer-to-peer) Marketplace Business Model
  • A B2C (business-to-customer) Business Model
  • A B2B (business-to-business) Business Model
  • Commission Based Revenue Model
  • Listing Charges Model
  • Subscription Based Revenue Model

Key Players in Online Rental Marketplace

  • Airbnb (Vacation Rental Platform)
  • Lyft (Car Rental Platform)
  • Click&Boat (Boat Rental Platform)

2. Online Food Ordering and Delivery Marketplace Platforms

What is it? The food ordering and delivery marketplace is an online platform where different restaurants can register themselves and put their food menu for ordering & delivery and end customers place orders online to get their favorite food at their doorsteps.

Why invest in it? The online food industry has witnessed a huge demand, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The global revenue of this industry is projected to show a growth rate of 10.01% leading to a projected volume of US$449,292M by 2024.

In fact, Takeaway.com (A Dutch-based online food delivery service) witnessed the largest revenue growth in the global online marketplace industry.

fastest growing market places

What it means is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who are thinking of commencing an online food delivery business idea.

There are many great business ideas mentioned below based on food ordering and delivery.

  • School Lunch Ordering and Delivery
  • Airport Food Ordering and Delivery
  • Hospital Food Ordering and Delivery
  • Office Food Ordering and Delivery

Business and Revenue Model of Food Ordering and Delivery Marketplace

  • The Order Only Model
  • The Order and Delivery Model
  • The Fully Integrated Model
  • Commission Based Revenue Model
  • Subscription Based Revenue Model
  • Service Based Revenue Model
  • Advertising Revenue Model

Key Players in Online Food Ordering and Delivery Marketplace

  • Takeaway.com
  • Doordash
  • UberEats
  • Zomato
  • AtYourGate

3. Online Grocery Delivery Marketplace Platforms

What is it? An online grocery delivery marketplace is either a brick-and-mortar supermarket or grocery store that facilitates online ordering and delivery or a standalone eCommerce service including grocery items to order online.

Why invest in it? The U.S online grocery market generated sales worth about 95.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and that number is anticipated to reach 187.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.

Like food ordering and delivery marketplace platforms, online grocery marketplace platforms have seen tremendous growth, especially during the pandemic. In fact, the online grocery marketplace is one of the fastest-growing industries.

The pandemic forced people to buy groceries online. Since the pandemic is here to stay, people will likely continue to use online grocery platforms in the future as well.

Business and Revenue Model of Online Grocery Delivery Marketplace

  • Hyperlocal Grocery Business Model
  • Inventory Business Model
  • Omnichannel Business Model
  • Multi-Vendor Grocery Business Model
  • Commission Based Revenue Model
  • Vendor Subscription Revenue Model
  • Advertising Revenue Model

Key Players in Online Grocery Delivery Marketplace

  • AmazonFresh
  • FreshDirect
  • Walmart
  • Instacart
  • Peapod

4. Online Fitness Marketplace Platforms

What is it? A fitness marketplace acts as a platform that connects trainees and trainers to achieve fitness goals virtually.

Why invest in it? The global online fitness market is anticipated to reach USD 49.17 billion by 2027 from USD 5.5 billion in 2019.

If we talk about traditionally, people have to visit fitness centers to enjoy their services. But due to the pandemic, these physical fitness centers were shut down for a prolonged period.

To survive and continue offering fitness services to the public, many fitness centers embraced new normal. In other words, entered into the world of the online marketplace that helps them to connect with people in need of fitness services via an app/web.

Though the fitness marketplace is the latest trend in digital offerings, it is one of the profitable business opportunities that demand low investment.

Business and Revenue Model of Online Fitness Marketplace

  • Subscription Based Revenue Model
  • Pay-as-You-Go Business Model

Key Players in Online Fitness Marketplace

  • TrainHeroic
  • SugarWOD
  • Cult

5. Online Travel Activity Booking Marketplace Platforms

What is it? Online travel activity booking marketplace platforms help travelers explore local attractions and activities and book ones in which they’re interested in advance to make the most out of a vacation. At the same, it provides a platform for vendors and agents to sell their offerings to a wider audience.

Why invest in it? As per Rezdy data, around 40% of all tour and activity bookings are being made online.

The global online travel market was worth USD 396.08 Billion in 2020 and that number is expected to reach USD 690.71 Billion by 2026.

As you can clearly see that the market for the travel industry is quite huge. What it also means is cut-throat competition in the industry with big players like Make My Trip and Expedia that are hard to beat – as a startup.

On the other hand, the travel activity booking market has less competition but huge potential because people not only travel for sightseeing but also for enjoying adventure activities. Therefore, launching a travel activity marketplace for customers to book travel activities in advance before traveling to the destination can be a lucrative business idea.

Business and Revenue Model of Travel Activity Booking Marketplace

  • Commission Based Revenue Model
  • Subscription Revenue Model (Business Listing)
  • Advertisement Revenue Model

Key Players in Travel Activity Booking Marketplace

  • Viator
  • Klook
  • Booking.com

6. Online Service Marketplace Platforms

What is it? An online service marketplace platform facilitates the selling and buying of services between service providers and seekers. Such platforms can be of various niches such as salon services, plumbing, professional web designing services and more.

Why invest in it? The service industry is huge and it is worth around $10 trillion in the US alone. There are other strong reasons why a service marketplace is a great business idea. The primary one is no need to manage inventory. Your service provider will build your supply.

Though there is high competition in the service sector, you can outsmart it by simply making buying services quite hassle-free, affordable and faster.

Business and Revenue Model of Online Service Marketplace

  • Commission Based Revenue Model
  • Membership or Subscription Revenue Model
  • Advertising Revenue Model
  • Listing Fee Model

Key Players in Online Service Marketplace

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Thumbtack
  • Urban Clap

7. Telehealth and Telemedicine Marketplace Platforms

What is it? Telehealth and telemedicine marketplace platforms enable people to explore telemedicine services near them or in a particular region to book a teleconsultation.

Why invest in it? The global telehealth and telemedicine market was worth USD 38.7 billion in 2020 and it is anticipated to reach USD 191.7 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 37.7%.

It goes without saying that the pandemic has increased the burden on hospitals and healthcare workers alike unlike ever before. To cater to all patients, telehealth comes to the rescue in the healthcare industry – also a much-needed solution to combat the spread of the virus.

Telehealth reduces the burden of hospitals to a greater extent by empowering patients to schedule online appointments/ consultations with a doctor. In fact, Teladoc reported a 60% rise in the number of online consultations.

As telehealth has become a significant part of the healthcare sector, starting the telehealth and telemedicine business can be a lucrative decision in the long run.

Business and Revenue Model of Telehealth and Telemedicine Marketplace

  • Access-based Business Model
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Business Model
  • Commission Business Revenue Model
  • Advertisement Revenue Model

Key Players in Telehealth and Telemedicine Marketplace

  • Teladoc
  • MDLIVE
  • Doctor on Demand

Interested in Building Your Own Marketplace Platform?

Whatever online marketplace business idea you have in mind, our team of experienced professionals at InfoStride can help make it a reality.

From validating your business idea to launching it, you can count on us for expert guidance at every step of the way. We provide developers or dedicated remote development teams with flexible engagement models to help SMBs and startups to launch their marketplace platform at a fraction of the cost.

When you decide to hire developers from InfoStride to build your marketplace platform, you can expect:

  • Pre-screened and trained professionals
  • End-to-end support from idea validation to final launch
  • Local infrastructure setup for your remote development team
  • Deployment of time zone aligned experts for your project
  • Assistance from onboarding to offboarding experts

Interested or have any questions? Schedule a free consultation session with our experts in online marketplaces to take action or clear any doubts you have in mind.

Conclusion

When it comes to starting an online marketplace business, the biggest challenge is coming up with a great marketplace idea. Thankfully, our post has highlighted some of the most trending and profitable marketplace ideas to help you get started.

If you feel there is a marketplace idea that should be present in our list of trending marketplace ideas, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

About Author

Akash Singh

Akash is a senior digital marketer and has an acumen for business branding and marketing. He can tell you exactly what type of marketing strategies can get you in front of customers, right from inception to implementation.

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