Everybody wants to rule the world - thing about marketplaces

The idea of a marketplace is as old as the world, and trade has existed in communities for many thousands of years. Nowadays we are witnessing changes that are taking place thanks to the development of technology in this field.

One thing is certain, for a market to exist there must be two parties willing to participate in the process - the buyer and the seller and the PLACE to bring them together. This is where it all begins.



The basis of each marketplace is the same. It connects two or more distinct types of users to enable transactions, i.e. buy and sell products or services. The addition of each seller increases the value of the marketplace for all buyers and vice versa — this network effect is a critical facet that fuels the scalability and defensibility of marketplaces.

However, the marketplace can be very different from each other. Here's what you should know to understand this business model.

Marketplace glossary

Before you dive in, check out the 20 popular terms that Maria Polonska has prepared for you to make the "secret language" of the market more understandable.

Maria Połońska

Maria Połońska

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"It’s easy to start selling on the marketplace. New sellers have numerous analytical tools at their disposal on most platforms, including sales tools, price monitoring tools, and competition reports. Very often, these websites also provide extensive educational materials. Yet, there is no doubt that the industry language in this market segment is specific and may seem difficult."


The Marketplace Business Model – A Complete Guide

Explanation of different types
of Marketplace Business Models.

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"Marketplaces come in many shapes and forms. While most people probably think of online e-commerce companies such as Amazon or eBay, it certainly isn’t the only area and industry of application."



Key Players

on marketplace


The last two years were a blow to many categories of marketplaces, but many of them have proved remarkably resilient that time. It was marketplaces that ensured people could access the products and services they needed when face-to-face contact was reduced.

See top 12 marketplaces


top 100 marketplaces

Olivia Moore and Brandon Barros uncover 100 startups in Future’s yearly report. It may make you wonder how a pandemic has changed the top 100  list.

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"The third edition of the Marketplace 100 uncovers the top companies and categories of the year, and also highlights how each startup’s ranking has changed since 2021"

Olivia Moore,
Brandon Barros



We closely follow the changes taking place in the e-commerce industry. The marketplace in particular. Will the coming years be the best for marketplaces? Is the world ready for the omnipresent marketplace business model? Is this A DECADE OF MARKETPLACE?

Over two years of the global pandemic, the e-commerce market recorded huge growth. Trading goods and services using online platforms is becoming the norm even in sectors that only a few years ago you might have thought would remain unchanged for a long time to come. The Top 100 global online marketplaces are making gross merchandise value (GMV) of $2.68 trillion in 2021, which is 32.4% higher than in 2020. A year ago, it was predicted that in 2022 they will achieve sales of $ 5 trillion, although taking into account the current economic situation this result may change.

What is behind this impressive result?

First of all, customers love marketplaces for their ease of use. Online shopping can be done from anywhere, including your own couch. Shopping on the marketplace has the added benefit of allowing consumers to compare and purchase products and services from different sellers on one convenient site. In addition, they will greatly facilitate the return of goods.

Secondly, the marketplace is a chance for growth. They allow you to reach new customers and improve brand visibility. Presence in an existing marketplace or building your own marketplace is also an opportunity to expand the company's offer. Many companies are now going beyond just simply selling products and are offering additional services as part of shopping memberships as well as increasing incentives for sellers, which makes the platform even more attractive to both buyers as well as third-party merchants. With an increasing number of shoppers making their purchases online, it's unlikely that marketplace growth will slow down anytime in the near future. This means that many new players appear on the market.

You can’t build a successful marketplace without understanding your competitive environment well, knowing the needs of your target group, and finding the right value proposition.


a marketplace

When creating a marketplace, you are dealing with people: buyers and sellers. As we know, people’s needs are changing constantly and it’s crucial to be aware that the marketplace ecosystem is dynamic. This is why there are a few important things to know before the start and also a couple of features to consider while developing a marketplace.

Four Questions Every Marketplace Startup Should Be Able to Answer

There are four key factors that shape every marketplace: network effects, type of supply, incentives, and size and frequency of interaction. Read this piece to understand those factors and build a successful marketplace.

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“Marketplace leaders need to be experts in the dynamics of their platforms. Identify those dynamics in the early days, and you can position yourself to build an enduring and deeply liquid market that creates competitive moats."

Jonathan Golden

Top 15 features you need
to include in your marketplace

To attract customers and provide them with a positive shopping experience you need to know those tips on good practices, proven standards, and features that should be considered while designing a well-working marketplace.

Joanna Tulińska-Ładomirska

Paulina Figlewicz

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"Marketplace leaders need to be experts in the dynamics of their platforms. Identify those dynamics in the early days, and you can position yourself to build an enduring and deeply liquid market that creates competitive moats."

egg or chicken?


Why NOW is

a good time

to do it?

The e-commerce industry has gained huge popularity – which means that the competition is tremendous and new players are walking into the market. So now you are wondering – when is a good time to do it?

The answer is the faster, the better. Even young platforms can compete with the giants. You shouldn’t delay the launch because as long as you weigh the risks and wonder about the prospects, your future buyers are settling on your competitors' websites and expand their earnings.

When you set up a working platform for trading and provide beneficial prices and competitive products, don’t postpone it. By biding your time, you lose your future customers and in the beginning, one thing you shouldn’t focus on is creating the perfect platform.


thanks to the


12 ways to grow and scale the marketplace

Maria Polonska describes 12 tactics to help you choose what to look for when planning for growth and scaling.

Joanna Tulińska-Ładomirska

Maria Połońska

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"The chicken-or-egg question here is what came first: Supply or demand? The stakeholders often wonder which one they should focus on first. Who to address: The suppliers or the ones in need of service? Answering this question is one of the keys to success. What are the others? We decided to gather together the 12 important ways of growth for the marketplace business."

How fast can a marketplace grow? Top 1 example.

Are you wondering when will Amazon reach 1 $ trillion GMV? Predictions of Juozas “Joe” Kaziukenas Founder of Marketplace Pulse.

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“(...) sales by Amazon reached $210 billion, up 11% year-over-year, and third-party marketplace sales reached $390 billion, up 30% year-over-year.”

Juozas Kaziukenas

Would you come up with a new business model?

Have you heard about aggregators and their difference from platforms? Ben Thompson's article uncovers all you wanted to know about the Shopify model where all benefit.

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“What is powerful about this model is that it leverages the best parts of modularity — diversity, and competition at different parts of the value chain — and aligns the incentives of all of them. Every referral partner, developer, theme designer, and now 3PL provider is simultaneously incentivized to compete with each other narrowly and ensure that Shopify succeeds broadly because that means the pie is bigger for everyone.”

What makes the online marketplace disruptive

Clifford Maxwell and Scott Duke Kominers discuss how marketplaces can create new consumers, producers, or both, functionally creating new transactions (and new kinds of transactions) that weren’t possible before.

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“The past two decades have seen the rise of many valuable marketplace businesses, but the most iconic, category-creating ones have disrupted traditional value networks with the novel transaction types described here. Understanding such disruption helps us understand how those marketplaces succeeded — and provides a framework for innovators looking to identify the next big marketplace opportunities.”

Clifford Maxwell 
and Scott Duke Kominers

The inside story of Facebook Marketplace

How Facebook used the social dimension as an engine to drive buy/sell.  Deb Liu tells how the team found a way to connect sellers and buyers.

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"Almost every two-sided marketplace struggles with bringing on enough supply and/or bringing on enough demand. Facebook didn’t. We already had both buyers and sellers, but we weren’t succeeding in making the connection between the two."

Lenny Rachitsky
and Deb Liu

Find out how to kickstart and scale a marketplace business by Lenny Rachitsky (ex-Airbnb)

case study



The coming years could turn out to be very lucrative for the B2B marketplaces. B2B markets are many times bigger than B2C ones. Annual global B2B spend is more than $100 trillion and, according to Forrester, transactions on US B2B platforms are expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. Covid has changed B2B sales forever – they were forced to digitize the operations and ensure customers' safety.

Now, having lots of players on the market, the most successful ones need to understand the competitive advantage they provide. Most of the greatest functions are similar across platforms and they have one desire: to create an enjoyable experience based on strategic advantages and ease of use.

four types of B2B marketplace


  • Commodities (office supplies, furniture, equipment, packaging)
  • Structured services (such as maintenance, repair, and operations providers


  • IT services
  • Travel services
  • Freight services


  • marketing services
  • telecoms
  • utilities
  • rent and real estate
  • insurance and professional services


  • Evolved from earlier captive platforms that large companies created for their own supply networks users invite others to join

James Currier, NFX, uncovers 24 success factors for B2B marketplaces.

how b2b marketplaces work

How B2B online marketplace could transform indirect procurement

In this article, you can find out how the approach of the new generation of leaders to online buying has changed, what are the types and benefits of marketplaces and how they can evolve over time.

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“For smaller companies that lack a formal procurement function and procurement expertise, procurement-as-a-service would help offload the lion’s share of procurement activities to a marketplace, thus saving money while improving results. Marketplaces would gain in multiple ways, including having access to the demand-planning needs of a whole new segment of buyers.”

Pierre de la Boulaye,
Mauro Erriquez,
Manuel Gener Bago,
Alejandra Jiménez, Iribarren,
and Fabio Russo

Leverage the power of partnerships with a b2b marketplace

Yoav Kutner, CEO of Oro Inc presents three key signs to unlock the power of partnerships and launch a niche B2B marketplace​​​​.

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“Fortunately, there’s one approach that’s guaranteed to make your brand stand out, even in the crowded digital ecosystem: launch not just a sales website but a fully-fledged online marketplace.”

Yoav Kutner

Our latest



We recently had a hand in building a marketplace for the logistics industry. We started by going through the Product Discovery phase, then designed UX mockups which we tested with users to ensure processes satisfied both Shipper and Carrier.

Further work consisted of a continuous workshop and analytical work with the client, the final results of which were UI views of ready-to-implement functionalities. See what it looks like!

Prilo case study

Prilo is a unique solution for car transport management on the market. The platform connects carriers with people and companies that are looking for a partner to transport their cars. The whole process takes place in Prilo – from placing an order to safe unloading of cars. Effortlessly saves time.


How can a modern marketplace benefit from AWS Cloud solutions?

How Prilo benefits from being a cloud solution, what difficulties we had, and how we solve them.

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“From the perspective of the work done and the initial results, we can safely say that microservices architecture, applied in a cloud-native approach, fits very well with the needs of such a solution as a publicly available marketplace. The AWS cloud provides many ready-made components, significantly shortening its creation time and improving its efficiency and security.”

Altkom Software&Consulting

What else

awaits the


Forecasting the future … thanks to Infuture Institute we can see a map of trends for the coming years. What may seem to be an interesting direction of development for marketplaces is the mirror world and metaverse.

The great boom in NFT which we are already observing may indicate that virtual, mirrored digital reality has a chance to develop into a faithful representation of the real world, and therefore it gives a good chance to enter the market and develop completely new businesses in the marketplace model.

trend map
Darek Knopinski

Darek Knopiński

UX & Conversion Director, leading designers, researchers, analysts and product communication specialists in delivering state-of-the-art experience on Allegro platform for Consumers and Merchants.

He specializes in business and functional development of high-scale products and transactional platforms, developed in agile environments (Kanban, Scrum) and is devoted to Metrics Driven Design and conversion funnels. 

Can you share your experience in business development, and how you are doing it now? Are you still looking at other platforms or do you focus only on your users and the needs of the local market?

My beginning at Allegro was about patching big holes, even though I previously mentioned individual features that we had on the marketplace platform. At that stage, eBay was our role model and role model in the world - it was the largest marketplace at that time and we focused on it. We checked the differences, what to introduce on our platform based on eBay, and the needs of our users were rather a supplement. You could actually say that we copied the most interesting solutions from the largest player that could be attractive to our customers, both buyers and sellers. Now our approach is much more mature. The platform is much more feature-rich and there are fewer quick wins because the feature set we work with is already quite exhaustive. Very often we think about simplifying or even removing certain features, replacing them with others, or even replacing them with new processes. A certain set of features at a given stage was sufficient relating to the platform's effectiveness or user convenience, but this state may change as the platform’s complexity grows further. For example, along with the scale of sales - some processes must be automated to be practical for the merchants, e.g. Order status changes or integration with an external process management systems like external warehouse.

Now, with such a high level of complexity of the platform and the entire business, serving tens of thousands of merchants and millions of consumers, how do you structure the approach to further development? Do you create hypotheses relying on research or benchmarks in other markets? What is your process now?

We start from certain hypotheses, although these hypotheses are more often posed in the context of consumers and their behaviour, e.g. “by changing this or that feature/process, we could improve the convenience of using certain parts of the platform”. When it comes to sellers, here we also study their needs and problems, but these are less often hypotheses, and more often specific observations of what this group is struggling with. Usually, each of these entrepreneurs strives to develop their business and they do it at a different pace, and we (as a marketplace to serve many differently developing businesses) usually chase them because we have to adapt to many different groups with different needs. This needs a lot of focus, and many decisions on prioritisation. Hence, our research is very well developed here. We have a large team that constantly analyzes how merchants work, and what tools they use - whether they are ours or, whether they are external. Sometimes we even analyse these external tools, looking for some efficiency or ineffectiveness, because these tools must also work well with our marketplace.

Do you think that the Polish market has a lot of space for new marketplaces?

The first thing is the space in the market. Poland is very enterprise oriented and our market is growing very fast. The share of e-commerce in Poland is growing, and the adoption of all mobile solutions is usually in the top 3 in Europe. Therefore, here e.g. Apple Pay and Google Play appeared very quickly. Other example - banking applications are also very well developed compared to western countries, they win various awards for the experience. Generally speaking, Poles are adopting new digital and mobile solutions very quickly. This demand is creating is a lot of space on the market. The confirmation of this observation is the very fact that many different platforms enter Poland’s digital market and try to take-off here.

What I am observing is a large increase in marketplace initiatives in the B2B segment in various industries. Is it a strategy for every company or a new buzzword? What do you see as the prospects for the development of this business model?

The meaning of this buzzword is changing, because some time ago it probably meant something a little different. With the development of e-commerce platforms, it meant meeting the buyer with the seller. Today, more and more often it means different things. It is not a combination of the buyer and the seller because it is actually just a combination of different parties in order to optimize business activity. I do not want to mention the transaction here, because marketplaces are not always focused on the transactions. Sometimes they just serve to facilitate certain activities. Again, this is the art of discovering a need or a problem to be addressed on the market, i.e. this famous strived for product-market fit. If only we start to connect sides of the market, we are already slowly talking about the marketplace. There might be a discussion about whether this is the correct interpretation or not, but I don't think it matters. I think more and more this concept of a marketplace is just generalising and starting to mean ‘linking sides of the market’. The key is: what problem are we solving for the sides, in what business model, how to make money on it, and what responsibility to take?

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A marketplace connects two or more distinct types of users to enable transactions, i.e. buy and sell products or services. The addition of each seller increases the value of the marketplace for all buyers and vice versa.


Trading goods and services using online platforms is becoming the norm even in sectors that only a few years ago you might have thought would remain unchanged for a long time to come. These are the five different types of marketplaces: Commission Model, Subscription Model, Freemium Model, Listing Model, and Featured Ad Placement.


Marketplaces' core value is the facilitation of discovery of supply and demand and providing trust.


There are four key factors that shape every marketplace: network effects, type of supply, incentives, and size and frequency of interaction.


Every marketplace has to solve an egg or chicken problem. Go after the side which is more challenging!


You can’t build a successful marketplace without understanding your competitive environment well, knowing the needs of your target group, and finding the right value proposition.


Now is the time for B2B businesses to scale up through the marketplace business model.
we devise

Creatures responsible for this newsletter

Maria Połońska

Joanna Tulińska-Ładomirska

UX Designer at Kreatik. She works on digital products from the first idea to implementation. She researches, and tests, and is not afraid of change and improvisation. Defender of accessibility and fan of the Jobs To Be Done framework. 

Privately, a professional violinist and organizer of virtual and hybrid conferences. She is nuts about her teenage daughters and.... plants in her own garden.

Maria Połońska

Maria Połońska

CEO at Kreatik. Creates marketing, sales, and go-to-market strategies. She advises startups, builds digital products, and conducts workshops in the spirit of design thinking.

She is the founder of Kreatik. As a traveler, she reached Beijing by Trans-Siberian railroad and Istanbul by Fiat 125p, but South Korea stole her heart. 


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