ArticlesNews and announcements

7 Marketplace Trends You Can’t Ignore When Starting a Marketplace in 2024

Introduction

The way we shop online is changing fast, thanks to new technology, consumer behaviors, and what customers expect from online marketplaces. For any business in the digital marketplace industry, staying up-to-date with these changes is essential. If businesses don’t keep up with these trends, they might fall behind, lose customers, and see their online sales drop.

Companies that don’t follow the latest marketplace trends may find themselves out of touch with what their customers want. It’s very easy to lose market share to competitors who consistently implement online shopping trends. This all leads to fewer people visiting an online marketplace which can hurt the business.

Yan Anderson

Yan Anderson, seasoned marketplace expert at CS-Cart:

At CS-Cart, we make sure we understand these changes. We always talk to our customers to find out what they need and what problems they face. This helps us keep up with the fast-moving world of online marketplaces.

In this article, we’ll share what we’ve learned and our expertise about the future online marketplace development trends.

Table of Contents

Trend #1. Seamless Omnichannel Experiences

What is Omnichannel?

Omnichannel is a fancy word that means using many ways to sell things so that shopping is easy and seamless for customers. For example, you might start looking at a product on your phone, check it out in a physical store, and then buy it online from your laptop. All these steps feel connected, and the experience is smooth from start to finish.

Why Omnichannel Strategies Matter

Using omnichannel strategies is important because it lets businesses meet customers wherever they are—online, in a physical store, or even on social media. This approach helps companies keep up with the latest online marketplace trends, making shopping easier and more enjoyable for customers.

omnichannel
Omnichannel has its advantages for customers

Examples in Action:

  • Retail Stores: Some stores let you order a product online and pick it up in their physical stores. This saves you time and shipping costs. BestBuy has this option—you can reserve an item online and pick it up in your closest BestBuy store.
  • Apps: Many companies have apps that let you shop online, track your orders, and even receive personalized discounts, connecting online sales with in-store experiences.

Pro tip: When shopping is easy and enjoyable, customers are likely to come back. They feel valued and well-served, which boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty. This approach is great for keeping customers engaged and connected to the brand.

Omnichannel works best for:

  • Large Retailers: Big stores with both physical locations and an online store.
  • Fashion and Electronics: Industries where customers often browse online but want to see or try products in person.

This approach to online shopping helps businesses in the marketplace industry create a strong bond with their customers, increasing both sales and customer satisfaction.

Omnichannel in CS-Cart:

  • CS-Cart offers you a marketplace mobile app where customers can shop on the go. The app is seamlessly synchronized with the marketplace, which means customers choose the best way to place orders and pay for them—whether from a mobile phone or a computer.
  • CS-Cart ships with the Stores and Warehouses feature, which allows customers to order items online and pick them up offline.

Trend #2. Recommerce

What is Recommerce?

Recommerce means selling used or pre-owned items through online platforms. It’s becoming very popular because more online shoppers are looking for affordable, sustainable options. This trend is all about giving products a second life instead of throwing them away.

recommerce
Recommerce is good for environment and psychological calm

Why Recommerce is Growing:

  • Environmental Benefits: Recommerce helps reduce waste and the need for new resources, which is good for our planet.
  • Economic Benefits: It offers great deals for shoppers and a way for sellers to earn money from items they no longer need.

Who’s Leading in Recommerce:

  • Fashion Giants: Big brands like ThredUp and Poshmark are making it cool to buy and sell used clothes.
  • Tech Marketplaces: Sites like Gazelle allow customers to buy used electronics at a lower cost.

Recommerce works best for:

  • Fashion and Accessories: Where trends change quickly, and there’s always a demand for different styles.
  • Electronics: Where people often want to upgrade to the latest tech without paying full price.

Case Study by CS-Cart

We have a cool reCommerce marketplace built with CS-Cart—Semexe. It’s a second-hand marketplace for bicycle enthusiasts. They have a community of over 500,000 riders and support of Brazilian companies such as Ironman Brazil, Brazil Ride, and iFood. They also have a chain of 200 bike shops in the country.

semexe recommerce marketplace
Semexe, a reCommerce marketplace by CS-Cart

This trend is a great fit for any eCommerce store or digital marketplace that wants to engage customers by meeting their preferences for affordability and sustainability. By focusing on reCommerce, you can attract a broad target audience interested in both saving money and supporting environmental causes. This strategy not only boosts eCommerce sales but also builds a positive brand image.

Trend #3. AI and AR Integration

Understanding AI and AR in eCommerce

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two technologies reshaping how we interact with online marketplaces. AI refers to machine learning, the capability of machines to mimic human intelligence, making decisions, recognizing patterns, and processing language. AR involves overlaying digital information (like images, 3D objects, and sounds) onto the real world, enhancing what we see, hear, and feel.

The Role of AI in Enhancing Customer Experience

AI is revolutionizing the marketplace by using machine learning in creating more personalized and efficient shopping experiences. For instance:

  • Chatbots: Virtual shopping assistants powered by AI can interact with customers, answer their queries, and offer help throughout their shopping journey. They make shopping smoother and quicker, which 97.2% of businesses recognize as they invest heavily in AI.
  • Personalized Recommendations: AI algorithms analyze customer data to predict and suggest products tailored to individual preferences. This customization not only meets customer expectations but also boosts eCommerce sales.
  • Inventory Management: AI helps predict purchasing trends, thus optimizing stock levels and reducing overstock or stockouts. This efficient management is crucial as 91% of top businesses continuously invest in AI to refine their operations.

Augmenting Reality to Enrich Shopping

AR allows customers to visualize products in their own environment before making a purchase, greatly enhancing confidence and satisfaction in the shopping process. The impact of AR is significant:

  • Product Visualization: Tools like IKEA App let customers see how furniture fits and looks in their actual living space, bridging the gap between imagination and reality.
  • Reducing Returns: With 66% of AR users less likely to return purchases, AR proves its value in helping customers make more informed decisions.

Real-Life Applications and Benefits:

  • Fashion and Beauty Trials: Sephora’s Virtual Artist app, for example, uses AR to let users try on makeup virtually. This not only enhances the fun of shopping but also aligns products with customer preferences.
  • Furniture and Home Decor: By allowing shoppers to visualize products at home, AR reduces the uncertainty that often accompanies online purchases of big-ticket items. IKEA was one of the AR pioneers.
Sephora Virtual Artist app.
Sephora Virtual Artist app. Source: New York Times

Facing the Future: Potential and Challenges

As promising as AI and AR are, they come with challenges such as high implementation costs and the need for continuous technological updates throughout customer journey in the marketplace development. However, the potential for further market penetration and enhancement of the customer experience keeps businesses investing.

Ideal Marketplace Candidates for AI and AR

These technologies are particularly beneficial in sectors where visualizing the product plays a critical role:

  • Fashion and Accessories: Customers get to see how products look on them, increasing confidence in their purchase decisions.
  • Home Decor: Enabling customers to see how furniture fits into their spaces helps in making more satisfactory choices.

AI and AR in CS-Cart

To simplify and optimize the marketplace routine for admins and managers, CS-Cart integrates with a number of AI-based add-ons that introduce chatbots and AI-assistants to the marketplace. Check out what AI-tools are available on the CS-Cart Add-on Market.

AI in CS-Cart
AI-based tools available on the CS-Cart Add-On Market

There are also AR-tools that show products in 3D and visualize them in a customer’s space virtually. 3D Viewer by Webkul is one of them.

AR in CS-Cart
3D Viewer for CS-Cart by Webkul

The integration of AI and AR into digital marketplaces caters directly to evolving customer engagement and satisfaction, making them essential components in the development of modern eCommerce platforms. This is a growing eCommerce trend that is shaping the future of online shopping.

Trend #4. Social Commerce

What is Social Commerce

Social commerce is when people buy products directly through social media platforms instead of having to visit a traditional online store. It’s a fast-growing part of mobile commerce, as platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook make it easier for users to shop with just a few taps on their mobile devices. With 96.9 million people in the US shopping on social media, it’s clear that this trend is reshaping how we think about online and mobile shopping together.

Driving Sales on Social Media

Here’s how social media platforms driving sales:

  • Instagram: Instagram integrates shopping features directly into its platform, allowing users to shop from posts and stories. The app includes detailed product descriptions and direct links to purchase, making it convenient for users to buy as they scroll. This integration is seamless and taps directly into the habitual usage patterns of Instagram users.
  • TikTok: TikTok has the TikTok Shop, an in-app shopping feature where businesses can create a storefront that users can access directly from the main navigation bar. TikTok’s algorithm promotes products through user-generated content and special features like product tags in videos, making shopping interactive and spontaneous.
  • Facebook: Facebook Marketplace and shopping tabs in business pages allow users to browse and purchase directly within the platform. Facebook also uses sophisticated targeting to show users products that match their interests, which increases the likelihood of purchases.
tiktok shop
TikTok Shop

Successful Social Commerce Strategies

  • Influencer Partnerships: Brands often partner with influencers to tap into their large and engaged followings. For instance, a beauty brand might collaborate with a popular beauty influencer on Instagram to create sponsored posts or stories that feature their products. These posts typically include direct shopping links, allowing followers to buy products in just a few clicks.
  • Live Shopping Events: Many platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, have introduced live shopping features where brands can host live events to showcase their products. During these events, products are displayed in real-time, and purchases can be made directly through the live interface. This approach not only engages customers but also creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
  • User-Generated Content Campaigns: Encouraging customers to post their own content with products can significantly enhance credibility and attract new buyers. For example, a clothing brand might encourage buyers to post pictures wearing their outfits and tag the brand. These posts can be shared by the brand in their own feed or stories, providing authentic endorsements that resonate more effectively with potential customers.

Social Commerce in CS-Cart

CS-Cart has tools to arrange live streams where customers can buy showcased products directly on the stream. Also, there’s a number of tools to create dynamic advertising on Facebook and Instagram to promote products using data feed.

Live stream with the ability to buy promoted products on the spot

These strategies leverage the unique strengths of social media—visual appeal, immediacy, and community—to create compelling reasons for smartphone users to engage with brands and make purchases directly through their mobile devices. By incorporating these methods, marketplace owners can significantly enhance customer engagement and drive sales, aligning with the latest trends in mobile commerce and eCommerce platform development.

Trend #5. Personalized Subscription Models

Understanding Personalized Subscription Models

Personalized subscription models are revolutionizing online shopping by offering tailored experiences directly to consumers’ doorsteps. These models adapt to individual preferences, delivering products or services at set intervals—usually monthly or quarterly. This customization is what sets them apart, making them highly popular in today’s digital commerce.

subscription products
This guy went too far with his sports shoes

Why Consumers and Businesses Love Subscriptions

Consumer Benefits:

  • Convenience: Customers enjoy the ease of having products delivered regularly without needing to reorder.
  • Personalization: Products are selected based on individual preferences, which enhances satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of returns.
  • Surprise Element: Many subscriptions add a surprise element by including new or exclusive items, which can make receiving the package more exciting.

Business Benefits:

  • Predictable Revenue: Regular subscriptions provide a stable income stream, helping businesses manage inventory and cash flow better.
  • Customer Loyalty: Regular interactions foster a stronger connection between the brand and its customers, increasing loyalty.
  • Rich Data Insights: Ongoing customer feedback from subscription preferences provides valuable insights into trends and consumer behavior, allowing businesses to refine their offerings and marketing strategies effectively.

Innovative Subscription Models Across Industries

  • Health and Wellness: Companies like Peloton offer subscriptions for virtual fitness classes, tailoring workout plans to individual fitness levels and goals.
  • Pet Supplies: Services like BarkBox provide monthly themed boxes with toys, treats, and grooming products tailored to pet size and dietary restrictions, ensuring pets enjoy new and engaging products.
  • Books: Book of the Month Club offers readers a selection of books each month, chosen based on their reading preferences, which encourages discovery and consistent reading habits.

Optimal Use of Subscription Models in Marketplaces

  • Vertical Marketplaces Focus: Subscription models excel in vertical marketplaces, where products are targeted towards specific consumer interests, such as specialty foods, boutique wines, or artisanal crafts.
  • High Engagement Niches: Marketplaces that deal with products requiring regular replenishment or updates, like cosmetics or health supplements, are ideal candidates because they benefit significantly from ongoing customer engagement and retention.

Personalized subscription models represent a powerful marketing strategy in an online marketplace, appealing directly to the evolving expectations of modern consumers. They not only streamline the shopping process but also create an ongoing relationship that can adapt and grow with the consumer’s changing needs and preferences in digital commerce. This trend is shaping up to be a major factor in the success of online stores looking to capitalize on consumer behavior and marketplace trends.

Trend #6. Emphasis on Value and Personalization

In online marketplaces, it’s important to offer both great deals and a personalized shopping experience that fits each customer’s needs. This trend shows that businesses are not just trying to sell things at low prices but also trying to give a shopping experience that feels special and personal. This helps meet the unique tastes and needs of each shopper, which is a big part of today’s consumer behavior.

personal approach
Personalization in eCommerce matters

How to Mix Value and Personal Experiences

  • Using Smart Tech: Tools like natural language processing help online stores understand what customers are saying and asking for, making the shopping experience more personal.
  • Subscription Services: These services send products regularly at a good price and are tailored to what customers like. This helps businesses understand what their customers want over time, making the shopping experience even better.
  • Marketing Smartly: By looking at how consumers behave, online marketplaces can create marketing that targets specific types of customers. This makes shopping better because promotions fit exactly what different customers want and need.

How This Changes Shopping Choices and Loyalty

  • Making Decisions Easier: When online shopping sites leverage their understanding of marketplace trends and consumer behavior to personalize experiences, it becomes easier for customers to make purchasing decisions. They feel like the marketplace knows what they like and need, which makes them more confident to buy.
  • Building Loyalty with Personal Touch: An online marketplace that remembers what a customer likes and recommends products accordingly is more likely to keep those customers coming back. Using personalized touches, like subscription services and tailored messages, makes customers feel important and understood.

Best Types of Marketplaces for Personalization

  • Fashion and Lifestyle Shops: Personal touches are very powerful here because products are closely tied to a customer’s personal style. Tailoring items to individual preferences like style, size, and color can make online shopping much better.
  • Health and Wellness Stores: These stores benefit from knowing each customer’s health needs and habits, offering products that are just right for their health goals.
  • Tech and Gadget Stores: In tech, where new products come out fast, personal recommendations based on past shopping can help customers find the best new gadgets at good prices.

Case Study by CS-Cart

There’s a fashion marketplace from New Zealand built with CS-Cart called Mode. The cool thing about this marketplace is that it caters to those who want to support New Zealand businesses: the marketplace offers apparel from New Zealand companies only.

mode vertical fashion marketplace
Mode.co.nz, a vertical fashion marketplace from New Zealand

Focusing on both good prices and personalized shopping helps online marketplaces stand out. This approach meets and predicts customer needs, leading to happier customers and stronger loyalty. This strategy shows how online marketplace trends are changing to meet the advanced needs of today’s online shoppers.

Trend #7. Diverse Payment Options

Today’s online marketplaces are starting to accept more types of payments than ever before. This includes everything from digital wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay to newer options like cryptocurrencies and Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) plans. These options make it easier for customers to buy things in ways that work best for them.

buy now pay later
Literally me when I have $10 left in my wallet

Benefits and Risks of Different Payment Options

  • Digital Wallets: Services like Google Pay and Apple Pay are secure and fast, letting customers pay with a tap on their mobile phones. They are simple to use and keep customer information safe. However, not everyone uses these services and they are not available in some countries, so marketplaces still need other payment options.
  • Cryptocurrencies: These offer privacy and lower transaction fees, but their value can change a lot, which might be a risk for both buyers and sellers.
  • BNPL: This option lets customers buy now and pay later, often interest-free. This can increase sales but might encourage customers to buy more than they can afford, leading to debt issues.

Future Trends in Marketplace Payments

As technology and consumer habits evolve, we will see even more innovative payment systems. These might include even more integration of digital wallets, greater use of biometric payments (like fingerprint and facial recognition), and perhaps more stable cryptocurrency options designed for online shopping.

Where Diverse Payments are Essential

Diverse payment options are crucial for:

  • Global Marketplaces: These need to accept various types of payments to accommodate customers from different countries.
  • High-Tech and Luxury Sales Channels: These often involve larger transactions, so offering more payment flexibility can help close sales more effectively.
  • Marketplaces with a Younger Audience: Young shoppers often prefer modern payment methods, such as mobile payments and BNPL, which match their digital-first habits.

Offering a variety of payment methods on an e-commerce platform is a key part of the latest marketplace trends. It not only enhances the customer experience by providing flexibility but also supports the growth of online shopping by making transactions smoother and more secure.

As digital tools and payment gateways evolve, online marketplaces must continue to adapt and offer diverse ways to pay, keeping up with consumer expectations and technological advancements.

Conclusion

Summary of Key Trends. We’ve looked at several important trends shaping online marketplaces in 2024. These include everything from better-connected shopping experiences across different channels to selling used items, using AI and AR technologies, focusing on social media sales, offering personalized subscriptions, ensuring value and personalization, and providing a variety of payment methods. Each of these trends is changing the way we shop online, making it more suited to what customers need today.

Impact on the Marketplace. These trends are going to make a big difference in the online marketplace domain in the long run. They will help online stores attract more customers, sell more products, and build stronger loyalty among shoppers. As online marketplaces keep adopting these new ways of doing business, shopping will become even more personalized and easy, helping stores grow and change the shopping experience.

If you’re looking to succeed in this fast-changing market, now is the time to get started. We can help you understand, plan, and build your marketplace project with CS-Cart, providing the tools and support you need to stay innovative and ahead of the competition. Talk to us and discover how we can assist you.

FAQ

1. How does AI make online shopping better?

AI improves online shopping by making sure each internet user sees things they like. It learns what you usually buy or look at and shows you similar items. AI can also help answer your questions quickly, making your shopping smoother and more personal.

2. Besides furniture and beauty, where else is AR used?

AR is also used in the car industry to let you see different car options in real life through your screen. In real estate, AR can show you around a house or apartment, even how your furniture might look inside, before you visit or buy.

3. What are some tough parts about selling used items online?

When you sell used items, you have to make sure they’re good enough to resell, which can cost a lot of time and money. It’s also hard to convince customers that used items are still worth buying.

4. How can small shops keep up with big stores online?

Small shops can use social media to help people find them and make it easy to pick up online orders in the store. It’s all about using their size to be quick and personal.

5. How do marketplace owners keep their payment methods safe?

To keep payments safe, owners need to update their systems often and follow important safety rules. It’s also good to work with well-known payment companies like PayPal and Stripe and keep an eye out for any new risks.

6. What kinds of products sell well on social media?

Products that look good in pictures, like clothes or makeup, usually do well on social media because people like to buy things that look nice. Cheaper items also sell well because people might buy them without thinking too hard.

7. What should businesses think about before starting a subscription service?

Businesses should think about whether they can send out products regularly and keep enough in stock. They also need to use customer data carefully to see customer behavior and make sure they are sending things that customers really want.

Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.