Consumer marketplaces: Monetization and opportunities

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Issue #33

There is a marketplace for EVERYTHING—from grocery, e-commerce, accommodation to transportation to professional services, etc.

With the advent of consumer-focused marketplaces, it has become easier than ever for people to:

  • generate side incomes
  • buy and sell goods and services
  • monetize underutilized assets

Today, we will explore top startups that are making money by connecting demand and supply side users. And how tech builders can capitalise on emerging opportunities while differentiating their services through innovative product strategies.

Section 1: Key Market Trends

(1) Pop-culturization:

  • Pop-culturization is playing a role in driving the rise of “culture e-commerce”.
  • GOAT is a marketplace for buying and selling new and used sneakers.
  • NTWRK is a live video shopping platform and marketplace that brings together culture creators, brands, and businesses to sell and shop for the latest art, sneakers, collectibles, trading cards, home goods, and more.
  • StockX is an online marketplace of sneakers, streetwear, trading cards, and watches.
  • ZiNG Pop Culture is an Australian marketplace offering a diverse range of pop culture products, including apparel, collectibles, board games, and trading cards.

(2) Remote work is creating more marketplaces:

  • The increasing trend towards the “future of work” is driving the growth of online marketplaces, which facilitate the gig economy by connecting companies with skilled professionals and knowledge workers.
  • On Deck acquired Lean Hire, a “contract-to-hire” marketplace where companies can “test drive” talents through contract-based arrangements before committing to full-time employment.
  • GrowthMentor is an advisor marketplace for startup founders who want to accelerate their company growth.
  • Humans is connecting startup advisors with Web3 company founders, akin to Growth Mentor for startups.
  • Mentorcruise is a mentorship platform that connects individuals seeking guidance in their careers, technology, business, and design with experienced mentors in those fields.

(3) Help local farmers go D2C (direct-to-consumer):

  • The rise of "farm-to-table" food tech is driving the creation of more online marketplaces. New marketplaces are bridging the gap between small-scale farmers and consumers, creating a direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel for farmers to sell their products and offering consumers a wider variety of fresh, locally-sourced food options.
  • CrowdFarming is an online grocery marketplace that delivers organic fresh foods from local farmers.
  • Farm To People delivers local farm-fresh produce, pantry staples, dairy, meat, and other ethically-grown groceries directly to your door in New York City.
  • ButcherBox is a premium meat delivery service that offers a carefully curated selection of 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef and humanely raised meats.
  • WhatsGood is an online marketplace that provides direct access to local farmers and artisan producers.
  • FreshSpoke is an Ontario-based marketplace that sources local, emerging food and beverage brands.

more… !

(🔒 MEMBERS-ONLY) +5 more key trends, backed by real company examples:

🔑 (4/8) 4 business models for educational marketplaces (7 examples)

🔑 (5/8) Creator monetization using marketplace models (7 examples)

🔑 (6/8) How Fintech is eating marketplace businesses (5 examples)

🔑 (7/8) How to monetize underutilized assets? (8 examples)

🔑 (8/8) DeFi (decentralized finance)-based marketplaces (7 examples)

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Section 2: Market Players & Company Databases

(🔒 MEMBERS-ONLY) Access the full database:

  • 🏢 Total 129 market players.
  • Total 9 niche segments
  • 🗃 Data points: value proposition, website, stage, total funding raised, year founded, company size, location and LinkedIn

Section 3: Problems and Market Needs

(1) Inflexible hotel booking experiences:

  • Many travelers are seeking alternatives to the inflexible policies of traditional hotel bookings, which often impose penalties for cancellations and have rigid check-in times. 
  • Accommodation marketplaces have responded to this demand by offering a diverse selection of unique and authentic travel experiences, including local-guided tours, treehouses, boat and RV rentals, cabins, and more, all in one convenient platform for travelers to explore.
  • Glamping Hub is an online booking platform of unique accommodations in nature.
  • Getaway offers tiny cabin vacation rentals.
  • Hipcamp and RVshare let you book RV and tent camping locations.

(🔒 MEMBERS-ONLY) +4 more insights to find customer needs:

🔑 (2/5) How to monetize by simplifying buyer's processes (4 examples)

🔑 (3/5) Opportunities in e-commerce and online shopping (5 examples)

🔑 (4/5) Solving the income opportunity gap (4 examples)

🔑 (5/5) Solutions for the knowledge economy (6 examples)

Section 4: Startup Opportunities & Predictions

(1) Etsy-inspired marketplaces:

  • As small businesses continue to grow, new opportunities arise to help creative entrepreneurs monetize their art, reach new audiences, and open their own shops without the need for a physical storefront or the hassle of creating e-commerce websites.
  • Amazon Handmade is vying with Etsy by offering a platform for artisan products.
  • Goimagine is a handmade marketplace that supports charitable causes with every purchase.
  • Redbubble is known for its high-quality stickers and posters.
  • Storenvy enables independent brands to establish their own art marketplace and adopts a social-oriented strategy featuring tailored product feeds based on personal style and favorite brands.
  • Threadless is where independent artists sell their t-shirt designs, art prints, and phone cases.
  • Society6 is an independent designer marketplace that sells framed art, wall art, and pillowcases.

(2) Help entrepreneurs build marketplaces without code:

  • The emergence of no-code tools as enabling technology offers a major opportunity for startups. These solutions will continue to proliferate, allowing entrepreneurs to create their own marketplaces and launch online stores without the need for technical skills.
  • Sharetribe is a no-code builder that allows you to build a complete and functional online marketplace with back-end integration functionality.
  • Softr transforms your Airtable database into a functional online marketplace and provides payment integration tools to streamline transactions.
  • CS Cart is a no-code platform for creating multi-vendor and e-commerce marketplaces.
  • Kreezalid is a no-code platform for building product, service, and rental marketplaces.
  • My Marketplace Builder is a fully customizable marketplace software.

(3) Utilize second-hand products:

  • As consumers become more environmentally conscious and seek more sustainable products, startups can tap into the “resale economy” by creating marketplaces specializing in second-hand, thrift items.
  • AptDeco is a marketplace for buying and selling used furniture.
  • Flyp is a platform that empowers resellers to discover and sell second-hand branded clothing, with a commission-based business model.
  • Poshmark is using a horizontal approach: users can buy and sell new and secondhand fashion, home goods, and electronics.
  • thredUP focuses on selling high-quality secondhand clothes.
  • Chrono24 and WatchBox are online marketplaces where you can buy and sell luxury watches.
  • Depop is a community-based marketplace for buying and selling unique fashion pieces.

(🔒 MEMBERS-ONLY) +4 more startup opportunities:

🔑 (4/7) Create multiple revenue streams with adjacent products (5 examples)

🔑 (5/7) Monetize by using hybrid business models (5 examples)

🔑 (6/7) Monetizing consumer-focused resale economy (6 examples)

🔑 (7/7) Niche marketplace businesses to start (6 examples)

Section 5: Product Strategy & Recommendation

(1) Create network effects in marketplaces:

  • Focus on onboarding. Many successful social media apps leverage the "access to phone contacts" feature to simplify the process of inviting friends to join the platform, leading to a stronger network effect as more friends start using the app.
  • Referral loop. Dropbox’s used a viral loop tactic to grow its user base, i.e. ‘Get 16GB of free space by inviting friends to Dropbox.” Discord’s community features allow users to start their own communities around their interests, which directly perpetuates more users who were invited by the host.
  • Incentive program. The more you refer, the more you earn (e,g, credit, cash, point). Paypal incentivized early adopters with a referral bonus of $10 for signing up using a referral link.

(🔒 MEMBERS-ONLY) +4 more actionable ideas and recommendations:

🔑 (2/5) 4 ways to choose the right no-code tools for marketplaces (4 strategies)

🔑 (3/5) 3 strategies to differentiate marketplace businesses (3 strategies)

🔑 (4/5) 4 ways to populate inventories for marketplaces (4 strategies)

🔑 (5/5) 3 types of MVP (minimum viable product) for marketplaces (3 strategies)

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