What are the main differences between Marketplace and e-commerce?

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In the world of digital business models Marketplace and eCommerce are two concepts that are widely used but, despite the similarities they may have, they do not mean the same thing. If you are interested in learning more and getting introduced to the new digital systems that influence a large part of the contemporary economy, it is important for you to know what each concept refers to and what the differences are between them. This will allow you to know which are the best strategies to implement, how to differentiate yourself from the competition, how to achieve greater brand presence and, above all, how to increase your sales and your market share.

While e-commerce is a website where a single buyer sells its products and services, the marketplace is a digital platform where different sellers and buyers can sell or buy their products or services. Thus, the main difference is that in an e-commerce there is only one seller (the owner of the site) and buyers can access the seller's entire product catalog in one place. In a marketplace, on the other hand, buyers can find more than one seller offering the same type of product or service. This possibility of finding more than one merchant allows the buyer to shop for prices and a variety of offerings in relation to the same product.

On the other hand, in e-commerce, the seller is in charge of administering his website (publishing products, making the necessary updates and managing the purchasing processes) and, in addition, is responsible for formalizing sales and determining the logistics of product delivery. The Marketplace, on the other hand, allows sellers to choose their sales strategy (B2B, B2C, or C2C) according to the volume of their business and, in many cases, is only responsible for managing the publication of their products or services (the rest is taken care of by the marketplace).

Although the purchasing process in both formats is usually the same (there may be small variations), one of the advantages of e-commerce is that the seller has no competition, since there are no others on the site that publish the same products, whereas in marketplaces consumers are faced with a large offer of the same product offered by different sellers.

Last but not least, although it is necessary to have a minimum investment to start up an e-commerce (development and maintenance of the website and own hosting), online shops have the advantage that the profits go to the seller and that the development of the site can be customized according to the visual identity of the brand.

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On the other hand, in a marketplace, merchants have the possibility of finding different safe and reliable platforms, such as selling on mercari, where they can sell their products or services. The choice of site will depend on the strategy you want to implement, the size of your target audience, the size of your business and the reach you have. 

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