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woman doing online shopping on a smartphone

Different Types of Online Marketplaces

Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
January 4, 2023

Read about the different types of marketplaces to find opportunities in the mcommerce industry.

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Knowing the different types of online marketplaces can help you determine how to sell your products and services to find opportunities for innovation. By choosing the right marketplace type, companies can grow business models and discover opportunities.

Types of Mobile Marketplace Apps 

There are millions of marketplace apps out there. From the biggest ones like Amazon to small niche apps that sell customized jewelry or courses, mobile marketplace can be divided into the following categories:

Marketplace app types based on target audience 

B2B marketplace apps

A B2B marketplace app targets business buyers who want to buy from other businesses. A B2B marketplace lists mostly wholesale suppliers and vendors who want to sell their services or products to other business owners, entrepreneurs, and resellers. 

overview of Alibaba mobile app marketplace
Alibaba B2B marketplace has everything for business buyers. Source: AppAdvice

Alibaba is the most successful B2B platform that allows brands to connect with wholesalers in China. Buyers can quickly find the best manufacturers, discuss their requirements, and enjoy order protection while dealing with overseas suppliers.

B2C marketplace apps 

A B2C marketplace connects businesses directly to end customers. A business lists a product or service on a marketplace app (that charges a commission on every successful sale) where buyers discover the product/service and buy directly. 

B2C marketplace apps offer a huge variety to customers making them wildly popular all over the globe. 

Amazon is currently the world’s biggest marketplace with millions of products listed by all kinds of businesses. There are B2C marketplaces other than ecommerce platforms, too. 

teachable a marketplace for courses and coaching
Teachable targets coaches and teachers who want to create and sell digital products. Source: Teachable

Teachable is a great example of a B2C marketplace that sells digital products. Teachable allows teachers, coaches, and gurus to create, promote, and sell their information products like eBooks, courses, etc.

P2P marketplace apps 

A peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace app connects two individuals who want to enter a contract of exchange. For example, a listing platform that allows one user to upload a listing for his old car and another user to connect with the seller directly to buy the car. 

P2P networks and marketplace apps allow a user to become a seller or a buyer at different times according to the need. 

Airbnb, Etsy, Uber, Quikr, and OLX are all types of P2P marketplaces where people list their products, services, or properties for others to buy or rent. 

Upwork powers the skill-based sharing economy via a P2P marketplace. Source. Play Store 

Upwork is a great example of a successful P2P platform where buyers (businesses) and sellers (freelancers) find each other, complete projects, and pay securely.

Marketplace app types based on focus

General or horizontal marketplace apps

A horizontal marketplace app offers products across multiple product or service categories. Think of it as an online shopping mall where you can buy different products under a single roof. A horizontal marketplace app has the following characteristics: 

  • Large group of customers coming from different socio-economic groups and having diverse needs 
  • Wide range of products across multiple categories and industries 
  • Sellers come from different industries and segments to promote their business on the same platform 
  • Cross-selling, upselling, and personalized recommendations can help increase the average order value

Amazon, Flipkart, and eBay are examples of a horizontal marketplace. Customers with different needs browse these platforms to find products that meet their needs.

Niche marketplace apps or vertical marketplaces 

Niche marketplaces are more evolved in terms of users. These marketplaces offer specialized goods or services only in a specific segment or industry. 

Vertical marketplaces work really well in the B2B space by simplifying procurement and operations.

Marble is a B2B vertical marketplace in the grocery space that digitizes grocery procurement for retail stores. Chemnet is a vertical marketplace for businesses in the chemical industry. 

With evolving needs of modern consumers, vertical marketplaces have also conquered the B2C segment. 

specialized B2C marketplaces
The vertical B2C marketplace ecosystem. Source: Applico

Marketplace apps based on supervision

Unmanaged marketplaces

Unmanaged marketplaces are mostly P2P marketplaces where buyers and sellers discover each other.

The marketplace owner often doesn’t provide quality assurance or background checks. Buyers are expected to do due diligence on their own.

Buyers and sellers interact directly on unregulated marketplaces.
Buyers and sellers interact directly on unregulated marketplaces.

Reviews and ratings affect purchase decisions on such platforms. These marketplaces usually charge very little commission or work or freemium model.

Classified listing portals like OLX, Quikr, and eBay are the best examples of unmanaged marketplaces. Anyone can upload their listing to get discovered by the buyer and move ahead with a sale.

Partially managed marketplaces

Service delivery startups or aggregator platforms like Uber, Zomato, GrubHub can be considered as a partially-managed marketplace.

These marketplaces invest time, money, and effort in developing an onboarding process for sellers.

Partially-regulated marketplaces vet users and provide support at all steps.

Marketplace-guided onboarding assures buyers that purchases are supervised to some degree. For example, when you book a ride via Uber, you expect the driver to be well-behaved and trained. Or when you book a stay via Booking, you don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the room.

These marketplaces give buyers the best of both worlds — a large variety of independent choices, plus customer support to address any complaints or suggestions. 

Fully managed marketplaces

A fully managed marketplace assists both buyers and sellers throughout the entire sales process. Such marketplaces operate in specialty industries where quality matters most.

A managed marketplace acts as an intermediary in a transaction, conducts background checks, and ensures minimal chances of fraud.

Managed marketplaces act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers.

Notch, previously known as ChefHero, is a fully-managed marketplace for the restaurant industry. Notch acts as an aggregator for restaurant owners that assures them of high-quality restaurant supplies by onboarding select vendors and distributors in Canada and the USA.

a prototype of a mobile phone

What Is a POC, Prototype, and MVP — Explaining the Differences

Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
May 9, 2022

Learn the differences between a proof of concept (POC), prototype, and minimum viable product (MVP) to know how to approach product development.

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Building good digital products is a combination of being innovative and following tested mobile app development methods. A proof of concept (POC), prototype, and minimum viable product (MVP) help test a product idea before you spend funds on product development.

What are the differences between a POC, prototype, and MVP, and how to choose the one that fits your project best?

POC vs. MVP vs. Prototype: Short Definition

Proof of concept — A POC is a method of validating assumptions with target users and checking if your idea is feasible technically.

Prototype — A mobile app prototype evaluates the general “shape” of your idea (e.g., look, flow, user interaction).

Minimum viable product — An MVP is a fully working version of your product but with only the core features that let you collect initial user feedback.

We talk in detail about how to build an MVP in our guide.

What Is a Proof of Concept?

In the world of mobile app development, a POC is a simple project that validates or demonstrates an idea. The purpose of a POC is to check if an idea can be developed and won’t consume excessive resources or time.

With a POC you essentially evaluate core functionality. If your app idea is complex, you can have many POCs to test each functionality.

User experience is pushed aside when you build a POC. That’s because it takes lots of time and work to create an optimal user experience, and that’s not the point of creating a POC. The goal is to validate technical capability.

Features of a proof of concept

Catch early investor interest. You can build a POC to present your idea to investors to acquire seed funding for further development.

Innovate. Innovation happens at the intersection of technological viability and market demand. A POC will help you check if your idea can be built using current technology.

Save time. When you check if your idea can be built, you automatically save time that would be wasted if you were to figure out technical viability issues once you hired developers and committed significant resources and time.

Pick the technology. Creating many POCs using different technologies can help you decide which technology stack is the most suitable for your project. This way, you’ll know early on what’s possible as you move forward and how to structure your product’s roadmap.

Check against the competition. If you plan to release a mobile application in a heavily competitive market, a POC will help you validate unique features in your offer. Your product will need to include a unique approach to solving the same problem to be a better alternative to what’s already out there.

Example of a proof of concept

PONS XR Interpreter

Companies around the world are increasingly embracing remote-work solutions and collaboration methods. We worked with PONS — a global publishing house and our long-term partner — to create a proof of concept for an XR cross-language communication solution supported by AI.

The POC helped validate if XR Interpreter could be used in a professional environment to make communication easier.

product validation augmented reality
The POC was built to prove that professionals could communicate in different languages in real time to discuss complex mechanical issues. Source: nomtek

human and robot hands touching

Technology Trends for 2022

Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
February 2, 2022

The technology trends for 2022 are likely to be the continuation of the technological evolution and adoption that started in 2020.

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One thing in 2021 was certain — the uncertainty. All the trends and projections announced for 2021 have either been modified or their emergence delayed. But in technology, we’ve seen an unprecedented evolution.

E-commerce sales soared, online education matured, and on-demand services rose to huge popularity. To meet the sudden customer demand, companies across the globe have increased their spending on digital transformation.

This demand has in turn spurred the growth and branching out of multiple related services. Will 2022 be the continuation of that expansion or maybe other technologies will see increased adoption?

5G Fuels the World

5G is a gateway to the realm of a mind-bending technological revolution. That’s not an overstatement — most of the technology trends of the future will be relying on that connectivity.

According to the annual state of the global mobile economy report by GSMA, by 2025, 5G will amount to 20% of global connectivity. And while the rollout pace isn’t yet astonishing, the hype around 5G keeps the public’s interest and curiosity up.

5G is rolling out for good
5G is rolling out for good.

In 2022, we’re likely to see the expansion of 5G networks and the doubling of devices with 5G capability.

Internet of Behavior

Activity trackers, phones, smartglasses, cars, cameras, and plenty of other devices collect data about you and your close ones. From your physical geographic location to your browsing history to even face recognition, companies have data galore about you.

The analysis of this highly personal data (your behavior, interests, and preferences) gathered by the Internet of Things devices is dubbed the Internet of Behavior (IoB).

internet of behavior and internet of things
Connected everything — an increasing number of devices can collect and share data.

The more we use online services and connected devices the larger amount of personal data we leave behind. Companies know very well about our political preferences, where we live, what we do, what we believe in, what our interests are, who we associate with, etc.

This data along with a slew of information coming from devices that are yet to enter the market (e.g., smartglasses that know exactly where you look at any given moment) will give businesses an unprecedented wealth of information to use to influence our behavior.

But the IoB also means several customer benefits — for example, the more data about driving patterns is collected from connected cars, the better driving experiences the automotive companies can build.

In 2022, we’re likely to see companies use the data from connected devices to create extremely personalized offers and products.

screens with various stages of project scope

Preparing the Scope for Your Project — What to Know Before You Start

Maciej Puchała
Maciej Puchała
December 1, 2021

Developing a project’s scope can be a challenge. Learn what to know before creating a scope for your product.

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Just like it takes time, perseverance, and patience to build your character, developing a project’s scope can sometimes be similarly challenging.

There are two most common ways of cooperation with vendors:

  • When you want a vendor to develop the product and support you during the ideation and design phase.
  • When you have everything defined and just need the vendor to develop the solution.

This article talks about the first example: when you need your idea to be translated into a more tangible form.

Key Takeaways

Be prepared that defining the scope takes time — the scope will be changing, evolving. This is a never-ending back and forth game. During the development, new things and ideas will come up that will further influence and change the scope. It’s fine.

Talk to people about problems to gather ideas and feedback. The vendor will help you make sense of it — without enough product experience, you might miss key insights from user interviews. Bring user problems and feedback you’ve gathered to the discussion with the vendor.

Don’t try to use every template — even though there are numerous templates such as Lean Canvas, whether you should use them all depends on many factors. For example, if the product will be the core of your business or maybe an extension to a process. A vendor’s product managers will help you go through these templates in the most efficient and results-oriented way.

Be proactive — scoping the product is an ongoing process. You need to actively participate in all discussions, giving feedback and sharing your thoughts as much as possible. This way you will transfer the knowledge to the people who are the experts so that they can help you scope the best first steps of your product.

The Anatomy of Project Scope

Creating a project’s scope depends on many factors like business goals, product vision, users needs, and product feature requirements. Scoping requires close partnership and collaboration between the vendor and the client. It also takes time to turn your vision into specifications ready for the next phases.

Here’s how the scope progresses in granularity:

  • High-level assumptions
  • Mid-level requirements
  • Low-level specifications

High-level assumptions

The high level contains more general assumptions like what you want to achieve, initial technology assumptions (e.g., tech stack, platforms, and other systems and integrations). It’s the description of what you want your product to be: a simple overview, without anything tangible like feature descriptions, mock-ups, or designs.

Mid-level requirements

Here things get a little spicier because you’re getting into the details of your idea. For example, figure out use cases for different personas — what users should be able to do in the product. It’s also when the design enters the scope in the form of wireframes or mock-ups. In other words, the mid-level scope shows you how the app can look and what it can do. This stage ends in project requirements, general backlog (EPICs, first user stories), and general UI requirements.

Low-level specifications

It’s where your vision is translated into implementable backlog items, well-defined user stories. In other words, features developers will be working on. In this level of granularity, you’ll also consider what’s technically available and viable. Think of low level as product specifications.

person buying goods and services online

How to Build an Online Services Marketplace

Mat Zaleski
Mat Zaleski
November 18, 2021

Online services marketplaces have bloomed with the shift in consumer preferences toward digitally delivered services. Discover more about services marketplaces.

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Global village, ocean of talent, or the universe of opportunities — however you want to call it, we’re sailing away from the physical world toward the digital. People shop on mcommerce platforms, consume digital goods, and work and communicate on mobile devices. The digital shift is palpable, and the demand for online services is at an all-time high.

Building an online services marketplace can be an inspiring business opportunity, letting you tap into an increasing number of markets.

What Is an Online Services Marketplace?

As a business owner, you’ve probably used talent sourcing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr for hiring. You’ve called for an Uber for your commute or booked an apartment at Airbnb.

But online services can also be pretty much anything where the product is a service. You can sell online fitness lessons, live meditation sessions, or product management courses.

How services marketplaces work

In an online services marketplace, service providers list their offerings. Buyers browse the app and hire a service provider to get things done. The marketplace charges commission (either from the seller or buyer or both) to facilitate the service delivery.

Online services marketplaces bring service seekers and providers closer.
Online services marketplaces bring service seekers and providers closer.

Why Build an Online Services Marketplace in 2022?

In 2019, consumers spent close to $10 trillion on services, but only 7% of the services have been digitized, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And while the pandemic has driven a lot of the services spending down in 2020, ecommerce and digitally delivered services grew to change the status quo moving forward.

The pandemic increased the demand for service digitization. People look for online classes, coaching sessions, and online on-demand services online. Also, as the economy is bouncing back, people are expected to spend more on services like travel, hospitality, and food delivery.

a forecast with consumer spending in 2021 and 2022
Share of the service sector will see the biggest spike in terms of consumer spending. Source: Delloite

Even workplaces are adopting hybrid work models with gig workers as an important part of their workforce. In 2020, on-demand services and the gig economy saw a 33% growth rate — much more than the US economy itself. COVID-19 and The Great Resignation have spurred the need for online services marketplaces.

Here are some of the benefits of an online services marketplace app:

Little inventory required: No inventory or stock is required for operating a service marketplace. You earn commissions on every successful service order fulfilled by service providers.

people playing with a mobile phone

What Are Push Notifications and How Can They Help Your Mobile App?

Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
September 28, 2021

Let’s look at how push notifications can help a modern mobile app.

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We’re exposed to upward of 10,000 ads per day. While this might be surprising news for some, it only proves just how difficult it is to catch a user’s attention. An ever-growing competition doesn’t help, forcing companies to find new ways to interact with users.

In the age of permission-based marketing, carefully executed push notifications are an amazing alternative to engage with customers. Let’s look at how push notifications can help a modern mobile app.

What Is a Push Notification?

A push notification is a short message that nudges a user to act. Introduced by Apple in 2009, push notifications have become a powerful user engagement tactic in recent years. Push notifications help catch a user’s attention in a busy, distracted world with low attention spans.

Push notifications notify users about an update, remind them of something, or prompt them to return to an app.

Push notification by the Calendar app on iOS. Source: Apple

Websites, web apps, mobile apps, and even wearable apps can all send push notifications. With people spending between 5 to 6 hours on average on mobile devices, mobile app notifications are an exciting opportunity for developers, marketers, and app publishers to spur users to action.

Modern mobile marketers utilize different types of push notifications to nudge users and increase engagement:

  • Ecommerce shops use personalized push to increase sales
  • Social media apps send real-time updates to keep users up to date
  • Media companies send content to deliver time-sensitive information

Types of Push Notifications

Time-sensitive push notifications: These push notifications create a sense of urgency among users. Great for launching limited-time deals or announcing flash sales in the ecommerce industry.

Reminders: Reminders help users avoid forgetting something important, like meeting someone, completing a daily task, etc. Great for to-do apps, personal assistants and health and wellness apps.

Personalized notifications: Personalized notifications are used for sending relevant content to mobile devices. For example, a personalized special offer to convince a user to buy something.

Triggered push notifications: These push notifications are a result of the user’s actions. A daily mobile notification about a workout streak after you sign up for a health or fitness challenge is a great example.

Transactional push notifications: Transactional notifications update users about their recent purchases, subscription renewal, order status, etc. Banking apps, fintech platforms, and ecommerce apps all use transactional notifications.

Abandoned cart push notifications: These push notifications remind customers to complete their purchase. Ecommerce platforms also use these notifications to remind buyers of the time-limited nature of a deal.

Rich push notifications: Rich notifications include video, GIFs, emojis, or images for grabbing attention and maximizing engagement. Online food delivery players use food images linked to restaurant menus to make users crave and order directly.

Informational push notifications: Informational notifications deliver information and updates in real-time. Think of news apps sending instant updates with world news, or a weather app updating you about weather.

Promotional push notifications: Apps send promotional and marketing offers to segmented user lists via push notifications. Promotional notifications can increase website hits and conversion rates, and also serve as an affordable marketing medium compared to PPC, social media, and other channels.

Location-based notifications: Users receive location-based notifications when they visit a particular location. Think of Google Maps telling you about the nearest places of interest based on your recent travel history or a dating app reminding you to find your date in a new city.