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EDITORIAL Etsy crowned best marketplace by buyers and sellers as marketplaces seal the deal

Marketplaces have long provided smaller retailers with an ideal way to gain a foothold in ecommerce without having to make substantial investment in transactional websites. While Amazon has long dominated, the move to using more niche marketplaces for specific product types and categories is continuing to move at pace – and it is making for an interesting shift in the ecommerce landscape.

Data out this week reveals that, for buyers and sellers, Etsy is getting a lot of praise. Etsy is delivering that unique combination of massive marketplace reach with an almost intimate, curated feel from a range of experts that are on hand to help and advise buyers and sellers. This is giving the arts and crafts site huge kudos and results: almost 94 million people are active buyers on Etsy, it has 7.3 million sellers and in 2022 it generated a revenue of $2.5bn, 10% up on the previous year.

A scan through the news reveals that this is part of a wider trend, with marketplaces with more niche offerings starting to exploit that position to tap into a range of specialist buying habits. 

eBay has spent the past 18 months establishing itself as a hub for preloved and vintage fashion, first by sponsoring Love Island, and now by promoting itself as the place for vintage sneakers. This week, in fact, it has extended that to authenticating kids high-end sneakers, so that they can be treated as more of an heirloom than a commodity.

Not only is this a prescient move in terms of tapping into the vintage sneaker market from cradle to grave, but it also comes as sneaker sales are seen as one of the most risky.

Meanwhile, Alibaba, already enormous in consumer sales worldwide, is making a concerted play into B2B and is starting to get results. Interestingly, it is seeing a knock-on effect of this growth in delivering more sustainable goods to B2B buyers. It seems that by opening up the B2B market the marketplace has helped business find the more sustainable options that they have craved.

And let’s not forget Amazon. While it has reported record sales in 2022, the company continues to try and service smaller sellers in new ways. While the antithesis of niche marketplace selling, the behemoth is using its clout to help offer sellers not only access to its enormous marketplace, but also to help them list in its growing number of stores.

These are just some of the marketplaces doing things for smaller businesses, but the overall tenet is that marketplaces have the scale to help businesses reach consumers with the products they want and how they want with relative ease. As the consumer market gets ever more fickle, this is something that all retailers should be working into their online strategy.

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