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Top 5 digital marketplace trends in 2021 that you should know

Online marketplaces are experiencing rapid growth across various sectors, including e-commerce, e-learning, food service, healthcare, FinTech, and insurance. Bringing together vendors with consumers, marketplace solutions allow users to make orders and payments without leaving the system.

Providers of goods and services, in their turn, receive access to a large audience without the need to build their e-commerce websites and launch costly advertising campaigns for customer attraction. By matching organizations and their clients in one place, the owners of an online marketplace platform generate profit through monetization, for instance, a subscription-based or commission strategy.

Thanks to this business model, marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, Airbnb, Uber Eats, Upwork, Coursera, Udemy, and Zocdoc gained worldwide popularity. According to Digital Commerce 360, sales on top marketplace websites such as Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay valued at 62% of web sales made globally last year. Analysts also revealed that the world’s leading marketplaces were able to sell nearly $2.7 trillion in 2020.

Aiming to meet changing consumer demand and stay competitive, organizations in different industries focused on digitizing their processes and boosting online presence. The COVID-19 has accelerated this movement, evoking a wave of marketplace startups and contributing to the increased popularity of the existing projects.

In this article, we will consider the main digital marketplace trends for 2021 to discover the best investment opportunities. Let’s get started.

The key digital marketplace trends for 2021

1. Online vertical marketplaces

The fast growth of online vertical marketplaces is among the primary online marketplace trends for 2021. A vertical marketplace belongs to a certain category or industry.

For example, AngelList connects startups with angel investors while also helping job seekers to find employment. Houzz is a home renovation and design platform that brings together homeowners and experts enabling customers to find the necessary professionals and make online purchases.

Vertical marketplace development can be an excellent investment opportunity if implementing a project properly: ensuring a seamless user experience, choosing the right monetization strategy, creating an engaging design.

When targeting a specific niche, it is much easier to stand out from competitors and attract the audience, the more so as giants such as horizontal marketplaces Amazon and AliExpress offer a variety of products that align with pretty much every taste and budget.

To learn more about the main types of marketplaces, read this article on the topic.

As a result, now the demand for online vertical marketplaces is growing. In 2020, Etsy—an online e-commerce marketplace providing vintage and handmade goods—increased by virtually 100%.

App downloads of Cortilia specializing in grocery delivery rose by 139% last year. A marketplace startup MilkRun that matches local farmers with restaurants and customers managed to raise $1.75 million in 2020.

2. Personalized recommendations

Personalized service is another important digital marketplace trend in 2021. Experts at Forrester found that 77% of the survey participants preferred, recommended, or spent more with a brand that offered personalization.

By providing recommendations tailored to the needs and tastes of a particular customer, vendors significantly improve user experience, increase loyalty to their brands, and boost sales.

With the view of achieving these goals, an organization can deploy machine learning or data analytics algorithms that will monitor and analyze user activities, for example, purchases that have been made via a marketplace website or application.

To implement this functionality, a company should turn to a trusted software engineering firm specializing in online marketplace development and data analytics solutions. By now, numerous popular marketplace platforms have enabled personalized advice, involving Amazon and eBay.

3. Marketplace mobile apps

The average US adult spends 3 hours and 43 minutes on their smartphones while most people check their mobile devices 58 times a day. Popular activities involve online shopping, food ordering, online booking, digital training, consultation, and payments for various services.

If you want to create an online marketplace like Uber Eats, explore what features you should implement, how much time software development may consume, and what budget you should have.

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