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Published On: Sat, Jul 7th, 2018

How today’s Web marketplaces are helping consumers make smart choices

Web marketplaces are changing the way consumers do business, even when those consumers don’t necessarily realize it. Airbnb–the biggest home-sharing platform in the world–is considered a marketplace. Alibaba is another great example of how marketplaces are springing up left and right, aiming to cater to customers in a variety of ways, all under one roof.

photo/ William Iven

As technology continues to see a fast upward trend, you can bet that more startups will continue to cater to those growing needs with versatile marketplaces and thorough information centers. After all, every 18 months, computer processing speed doubles, accordance with Moore’s Law. This means that in 100 years, we can expect to make 20,000 years worth of technological advancement. Furthermore, more entrepreneurs launched startups in 2017 than during the previous four years combined.

One way to examine the marketplace trend occurring as a direct response to these advancements is to take a deeper look at some of those marketplaces paving the way. These include Cratejoy, Boat Planet, and Vroom.

Cratejoy

Today, there are hundreds upon hundreds of subscription services. Subscription services are those that send their customers packages once per month, based on the customer’s preferences and/or the business’s core offerings. Some of the more popular boxes include Birchbox, Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and LOLA.

According to a HitWise study titled, “The rise of subscription boxes and the consumers behind them,” as of April 2017, the monthly visits to subscription-based sites increased by 831% in just three years. Today’s subscription boxes have traction that match those of retail stores that have worldwide locations. Dollar Shave Club, for example, has just as much traction as the retail store, Uniqlo.

Cratejoy is an online marketplace that curates the 2,000+ subscription boxes that exist around the world. Cratejoy caters to two core audiences: those who are searching for the perfect subscription package, and those who are looking to start their own subscription boxes. For those looking for the right subscription box, you can use their online marketplace to locate offerings that are in line with your needs. For example, in the Food & Beverage subscription box section, you’ll find several niche offerings: coffee, chocolate, vegan, gluten-free, cocktails, and much more. You can then filter those results based on the price point that’s ideal for you.

photo/ Manuel Alejandro Leon via Pixabay

If you’re launching a subscription box, Cratejoy aims to help you get off the ground. In this way, you can think of Cratejoy as a Kickstarter for subscription-based businesses. In addition to providing a sales platform, they also offer free resources for launching and maintaining a successful business.

Boat Planet

Not all marketplaces are transactional in nature. Some Web marketplaces, like Boat Planet, act as comprehensive web resources for consumers, providing them with the best information for making smart boating decisions. Whether you plan to charter a boat near the Miami coast and need inspiration on what to look for, or need advice on how to revamp your boat at the Lake of the Ozarks, Boat Planet strives to cater to all boat-related needs.

Boat Planet comes during a time where boating is quickly becoming the next big thing in the sharing economy. And contrary to popular belief, boating isn’t just a lifestyle reserved for the rich–72% of Americans who own boats have household incomes of less than $100,000, according to The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

At its core, Boat Planet also caters to two types of audiences: leisures boaters and pros. Many boat owners are offsetting costs by chartering and renting their boat property and equipment, while those who are renting use the opportunity to explore a hobby and learn more about boat management. Users exploring leisure boating opportunities can connect with trusted professionals, browse photos for inspiration, and learn more about operations.

Pros can create free profiles to connect with other boat owners, showcase work, and interact with potential customers. Its blog guides also provides a slew of useful information that will help boat owners year-round. For example, in one blog post, Boat Planet discusses the importance of “winterizing” their boat, saying, “The first step in boat winterizing, and this will sound like odd advice, is to check with The Old Farmer’s Almanac.  It has been predicting the weather since 1782 and has a handy breakdown by city, state and zip code.”

Vroom

Vroom is still a relatively new vehicle buying and trading marketplace, but it continues to do well among consumers. Today, the web is revolutionizing auto sales, and it’s very easy for consumers to make an auto purchase online.

As companies like Vroom grow, they’re putting in parameters that make these types of transactions as seamless and accurate as possible. This means several reports are made for each vehicle, giving consumers piece of mind, and they’re able to see dozens of detailed photos for each option. They would also be able to return the car if they were unsatisfied–much like a standard retail transaction–at no loss to them.

Surprisingly, many consumers prefer not to work with car dealerships, as detailed in an article by the New York Times, “Online Upstarts Seek To Disrupt Used-Car Buying.” This is because, according to many vehicle seekers, car dealerships often work hard to swindle you and make the most of their commission. Although some online auto marketplaces work with dealerships, they help consumers avoiding dealer markups and promoting the best buyer and seller experiences.

Over all, traditional dealers have missed opportunities to attract and better serve customers,” Vroom CEO Paul Hennessy told the New York Times. “There’s already an appetite for doing research online; now, the next step is actually quite small.”

Author: Ravi Kumarr Gupta

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