Published: May 23, 2014 Last updated: Apr 8, 2022 Yan Kulakov

With the development of technology eCommerce has become a flourishing business sphere. The more people explore the Internet, the more opportunities open up for business.

eCommerce is a lucrative and prospective business. The interest in online shopping has sharply increased globally for the last two years. Today marketplaces are demanded as never before.

Marketplaces is a branch of eCommerce. It differs from common websites according to a number of vendors. A common online store has one vendor, mostly they are the owner of a business and a website in one person. Marketplace has several vendors and one administrator.

Types of marketplaces

Marketplaces have a wide range of classification. They may be divided according to the target audience, a number of product types, and the object of a business.

By target audience:

  • B2B—business-to-business—type of relationships when products or services are provided by a legal person and are used by a legal person.
  • B2C—business-to-customer—type of relationships when a seller is a legal person and buyer is an individual.
  • C2C—customer-to-customer—type of relationships when buy-sell deals happen between two individuals.

By a number of product types:

  • Vertical—this type takes place when a marketplace has only one type of product. For example: only books, CDs or DVDs, board games, etc.
  • Horizontal— this type implies that a marketplace has several types of products but they have one common feature. In other words such marketplaces specialize in a certain category of products. For example: electronics, cosmetics or jewelry etc.
  • Global—such marketplaces have absolutely different types of products. They have a lot of categories of products from utensils to bicycles. Amazon and eBay arу good examples of this type.

By the object of a business:

  • Products—a marketplace sells physical goods
  • Services—a marketplace can offer different services
    1. Booking services (car sharing, apartments booking)
    2. Subscription related (services for watching film, reading books)
    3. Money related (loans and other transactions)
    4. Certain skills (creative, professional, helping, educational)

In this article we focus on marketplaces of services with certain skills. There is a more detailed explanation of marketplace classifications in this article.

What is a marketplace for professional services?

There is a wide classification of eCommerce and marketplaces. One of them is related to the object of a business. There might be services and products for sale. Products are any physical goods; services are any work that can be performed professionally.

A service marketplace usually connects sellers and buyers and takes fees for its usage. Sometimes such platforms have some kind of filter that helps to find a specialist for your request.

What differs service marketplace from other marketplace types?

Service marketplace has the same start plan as any other type of platform. There are some features inherent in the service marketplace platform.

  1. Convenient messenger—it should be user-friendly, and has such features as opportunity to add files (additional photos or documents).
  2. Conflict-saving policy—when people communicate directly, they might have conflicts. The administrator of the platform should prevent or save them by implementing special measures.
  3. Advanced booking—it is a must-have feature of a service marketplace. People should have an opportunity to book services on a certain date and time.
  4. How to create a service marketplace for professional services?

    The simplest way is to choose a reliable developer team that can perform your project well. But how to find skilled professionals and define whether they are good enough for your project?

    The requirements on how to choose developers and which preparation are needed before work starts:

    1. Preparation. Decide the scope of work. You will need a detailed plan of the project. Also it is better to find references—examples of how your future marketplace will look like. Consider important steps from the users’ point of view and make your marketplace logical.
    2. Consultation with businessmen and developers. You should adequately assess your project and plan the steps from start to expansion.
    3. Choose a contractor. It might be a challenging process. There are some tips how to do it:
      - Pay attention to the specialization of the developer team. It should be marketplaces and may be some other characteristics which suit your ideas.
      - Look at their portfolio. Try to find examples that can become a prototype of your marketplace. A large portfolio indicates expertise and credibility of a company.
      - Esteem the feedback, reviews, and testimonials on different websites. If you have an opportunity to talk with their current clients, do it to get more details.
      - Esteem it whether you can establish long-term relationships. It depends on the opportunities that are provided by this company.
    4. Start MVP. It is a minimum viable product—a marketplace with minimum features but it should provide a complete deal from the ordering process to getting payment. MVP should be cheap and fast launched.
    5. Launch your marketplace and follow a marketing strategy. Divide your development according to purposes and dates not to postpone your development and expansion.

    We know how difficult and challenging it might be to choose a good contractor. That is why our developer team is ready to help you and show how many opportunities our product has. It is not a tall claim glorifying our product. It is facts:

    • More than 2000 addons
    • 26 languages are available
    • Unlimited number of products and vendors
    • User-friendly no-code technology for design
    • You can start MVP marketplace within 1 week
    • You can get a marketplace app adapted for both IOS and Android

    With our product you will have no limits for expansion. Our customers appreciate our platform. We are honest with our clients, so you can check feedback from our customers to form an objective point of view about us. This is one of the feedback from one of our customers:

    You can try a demo versionof a marketplace made on CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.

    The marketplace for creative & professional services in USA

    Marketplaces of professional services are widely spreaded. We will learn them from the example of the USA. They can be represented by services:

    • Helping—it is usually local services. They might be such workers as plumber, electrician, babysitter, cleaner, etc.
    • Certain skills—Services that imply distant work. They are specialists such as developer, designer, composer, and others.
    • Creative—Such platforms may be mixed type: product and services. You can buy a ready made product or order something special. There also can be composers, designers, artists.
    • Educational—Services related to education. It might be individual tutors, couches or educational courses.

    A prime example of services marketplaces are:

    • Etsy—It is a platform for creative people who can sell their hand-made works. Despite the fact that the platform is available globally, there are three countries which stay on top: USA, UK, and Canada. It is a creative marketplace of mixed type.
    • Taskrabbit—a USA marketplace for freelance labor in a local district. It is needed for helping services.
    • Fiverr—a platform that specializes in creative services. There you can find musicians, voice actors, designers, and video specialists.

    Niche service marketplace: photography services

    The success of a platform partially depends on a niche. Niche is a narrow field of business. Globalization and monopolization of the market pursue businessmen to choose a certain niche. It makes them opinion leaders and helps to dominate over global marketplaces in a certain field.

    Why niche is important:

    • A certain audience—It is easier to predict what type of people will use your product or service. Therefore it is easier to set a marketing strategy.
    • High demand—As you have a niche product, it means that you focus on the quality of your products or services. This makes your offer unique and demanded.
    • Less competition—There are less competitors in a niche market. A certain niche might be not overfilled with other businesses.
    • Extensive expertise—As you specialize in a certain sphere you become a professional. Competent businessmen attract both sellers and buyers.

    Some people consider a niche as a limitation. However, it has a contrary meaning. At the age of globalization it is a reliable strategy. You choose quality instead of mass production. A nice example of a niche service marketplace of photography services. Let’s turn to this example and see how they function.

    Online marketplace for booking professional photography services:

    • SweetEscape—This platform is for travellers. The platform connects photographers and users. When travelling people can choose a destination and find a photographer there. Then they can agree on certain conditions and organize a photoshoot.
    • Canvera—is a service for hiring photographers and printing products. A company can offer printing calendars, posters, and photobooks. Photographers can display their works and then other people can find them and decide where to use them.
    • Snappr—The company finds a photographer according to the customer’s request. You can take a test which defines which photographer is the best for your project. The photographers work fast and within 48 hours customers can get pictures.
    • Scoopshot—the company allows professional photographers to display their profile to attract customers. Customers can get a service for one-time projects or subscription for long-term cooperation.
    • SmartShoot—is a service for professional filmmakers and photographers. They can display their works for free. Customers can choose the best offer for cooperation.

    These are the most interesting examples of online marketplace for booking professional photography services. They are all intended on photography services but differ in their structure, geographic location, and offers. They stay relevant since this niche is unusual and narrow.

    Future of marketplaces

    With COVID pandemic measures more people have switched to online shopping. The circumstances of the last few years increase the demand for online stores of all types.


    These graphs show the number of people who prefer online shopping. For the last decade the popularity of this type of shopping has been steadily climbing.


    Three main reasons why people prefer online shopping are free delivery, discounts, and reviews. The last reason is the most interesting one. It is a feature that can be realized only online - community. The supportive community that provides feedback and advice has become a game-changer in business. With the development of online technology it has become easier to get the information about a certain company and easier to share the opinion about a product or service.

    eCommerce industry will grow to account for 22% of all global retail sales by 2023

    The potential is not limited for eCommerce. The specialists expect future growth for the next few years. We hope that these figures can inspire startups to start a new business and experienced businessmen to broaden their horizons in the eCommerce sphere.


    All in all, we look through the types of marketplaces, the way how to start a service marketplace, and its features. A niche business looks appealing on the market and the examples of online marketplace for booking professional photography services prove that. The statistics show the great interest of people in online shopping that proves the perspectives of this business model. Taking into account world situations, this growth is totally understandable. A marketplace for professional services is a narrow field itself since it is not a global marketplace. It has a great potential for growth and expansion.

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