October 6, 2022

10 Online Marketplace Ideas That You Can Build Without Coding For As Low As $99 Per Month

Are you a solopreneur or a bootstrapped startup wanting to build an online marketplace that has the potential to scale up to $million+ ARR? Here are 10 profit-making online marketplace ideas that you can build with no-code.

Ecommerce was already on a high growth trajectory. And pandemic has further accelerated this growth to unprecedented levels.

While thousands of new marketplaces emerged during this period, the existing ones also saw a major boom. Walmart's marketplace, for example, reported that the number of sellers on its platform more than doubled in July 2020.

Take a look at this graph showing the most popular online marketplaces in the United States in 2021, based on gross merchandise value:

Online marketplace ideas - Leading US marketplaces graph
2021 GMVs of popular online marketplaces in the United States

There is a clear new trend in this ecommerce growth story: The increasing demand for the niche marketplaces.

This opens up unique opportunities for solopreneurs and bootstrappers to build their on tiny, happy, niche ecommerce empires.

Now, you might be asking:

"All this sounds great! But, how do I come up with a profitable online marketplace idea?"

Don’t you worry :)

We have curated this list of best online marketplace ideas, along with loads of intriguing niche ideas, successful examples, their demand story, and the absolute basics to give you a foundational perspective.

Excited much?

Good. Let's first get a few basics out of the way.

What is an Online Marketplace: A Quick Definition

An online marketplace is an e-commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers, also known as an e-marketplace.

Marketplace owners/builders provide a platform for buying & selling and don’t sell anything themselves.

In an online marketplace, sellers offer their products and buyers can buy products from multiple sellers. The best examples include Amazon, Airbnb, Etsy, eBay, and the list goes on.

Types of Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces can be categorized on the basis of target audience and focus.

Based on the Target Audience:

  • B2B: Marketplaces where buying and selling take place between two businesses, that is Business-to-Business. Companies usually buy and sell products in bulk.
    Example: Alibaba
  • B2C: Marketplace where businesses sell their products directly to customers, that is Business-to-Customer. 
    Example: Amazon
     
  • C2C: Also called peer-to-peer (P2P), a marketplace where buying and selling take place between two customers or private individuals, that is Customer-to-Customer.
    Example: eBay
     

Based on Focus

  • Vertical Marketplace: Marketplace that focuses on a niche or specific area of products or services.
    Example: Etsy is a marketplace for artists and Airbnb focuses on vacation rentals.
  • Horizontal Marketplace: Marketplace that focuses on a large variety of products or services in different niches. It lets the buyer purchase everything under one roof.
    Example: Amazon is a horizontal online marketplace.

Now, let’s take a look at several online marketplace ideas that you can build and the niche opportunities for each of these ideas.

Our List of Top 10 Online Marketplace Ideas

1. Online E-commerce Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - ecommerce
Online Ecommerce Marketplace

What is an online ecommerce marketplace?

An online e-commerce marketplace is a platform where buyers can discover products from multiple third-party sellers, allowing buyers to purchase directly from the vendors.

In short, it connects buyers and sellers of physical goods.

Reasons why should you consider this?

For entrepreneurs seeking to step foot in the e-commerce market, there are tons of opportunities out there. 

Pet food and pet supplies are the second and third biggest e-commerce CPG categories across the industry. Chewy, a pet supplies company made it to Fortune 500 in 2021.

The cosmetic and skincare industry is one of the most sought-after e-commerce verticals. You can niche down to several options like men’s skincare, natural beauty products, vegan products, women’s facial beauty products, etc.

BluAtlas is one such successful niche example.

Since COVID happened, consumers flocked to buying products through e-commerce platforms. 

IBM’s research says, the pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce by roughly five years.

This clearly proves a good chance for you to grow in the e-commerce marketplace sector.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Fitness Equipment: Build an e-commerce marketplace dedicated to one of the most profitable niches, fitness. You can include equipments for yoga, home workout or Zumba. 
    Example: TheCubeClub
  • Pet Food, Toys and Grooming: Pet owners are ready to spend any size of amount on their pets. Build a marketplace for pet products, selling all things pet-related or focusing on a niche category.
    Example: Chewy
  • Fashion & Beauty: Fashion and beauty is a vast market. Build a marketplace dedicated to men’s or women’s products. It’s better to further niche down in this category.
    Example: Asos, Sephora
  • Gadgets & Technology: Tech is a highly profitable market to focus on. Build an e-commerce marketplace for the latest gadgets and trendy tech products. Gaming is an emerging profitable niche within this category.
    Example: Newegg

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Business (B2B) 
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C) 
  • Consumer to Business (C2B) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Listing Fee Model
  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Advertising-Based Revenue Model

Successful examples: Amazon, eBay, Etsy

2. Online Services Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - service
Online Services Marketplace

What is an online services marketplace?

An online services marketplace is a platform where customers can discover services from multiple third-party service providers who can be individuals, professionals or companies. 

These are generally vertical marketplaces that focus on a niche service.

Reasons why should you consider this?

The service marketplace has a huge opportunity circle you can dive into. 

The online on-demand home services market share is expected to increase by $4.75 billion from 2021 to 2026.

UrbanCompany is an excellent example of a home-service marketplace and has become the market leader in India and UAE.

As the world is becoming more internet-savvy, the need for online freelancing services like SEO, web development, content writing, and marketing is rising constantly

You can build a niche freelancing service platform like Narrato which is a content marketplace.

With sooo many options available, launching an online service marketplace might prove to be the kick.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Freelancing services: Online freelancing services such as content writing, designing, and development are in high demand as the world shifts to computers. Build a freelancing marketplace focusing on a niche service.
    Example: Fiverr
  • Home & Cleaning services: As more people started doing jobs and have limited time, they are outsourcing their home errands to professionals. You can include various home services in your marketplace. 
    Example: Handy
  • Mechanic services: Going around the city to find the perfect mechanic for your vehicle is tough. Build a marketplace listing local mechanics.
    Example: RepairSmith
  • Salon services: Bring the salon to people’s homes with your on-demand salon services marketplace. You can also niche down to men’s or women’s salon services.
    Example: UrbanCompany

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Business (B2B) 
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Membership or Subscription Revenue Model
  • Advertising Revenue Model
  • Listing Fee Model

Successful examples: Fiverr, UrbanCompany, Handy

3. Online Learning Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - learning
Online Learning Marketplace

What is an online learning marketplace?

Online learning also known as the e-learning marketplace is a platform where students or learners can take education offered by various course providers. 

Online learning marketplaces are generally focused on a niche category, also called the vertical marketplace.

Reasons why should you consider this?

The pandemic resulted in the shutting down of educational institutions and the world shifted to computers.

Not only school and college students are learning online but 41.6% undertaking online learning are aged 30 and above.

From educational courses to skill courses, anything can be learned online.

SkillShare, for example, is a creative skills marketplace and its estimated annual revenue is around $143.5M per year.

Online learning is not just confined to online courses but involves 10s of niches you can focus on while building an e-learning marketplace.

The online-learning marketplace building opportunity is huge and you can become instantly profitable in this sector. 

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Courses: Online course enrollment is on a constant rise. Build a marketplace where educators of a niche industry can sell their courses and learners can buy courses of their interest.
    Example: Udemy 
  • Info-products: Info-products is informational and educational in nature. It generally includes e-books, guides, cheat sheets, webinars, etc. Build a marketplace for a specific info-product industry.
    Example: Gumroad
  • Tutoring: The tutoring marketplace allows learners to hire tutors in a niche industry from around the world and learn from the best. You can build a marketplace for language, software, skills, or exam tutoring.
    Example: Tutor.id
  • Training: Fitness or yoga training is the most profitable industry in the training sector. You can build a training marketplace allowing individual trainers and trainees to connect.
    Example: Onekeelo

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Subscription Revenue Model
  • Freemium Model
  • Pay Per-Course Model

Successful examples: Cambly, Skillshare, Gumroad

4. Online Health & Wellness Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - health & wellness
Online Health & Wellness Marketplace

What is an online health & wellness marketplace?

Online health and wellness marketplace connects health-care providers with seekers. 

Health and wellness is a broad term and contains several niches.

Reasons why should you consider this?

As people are paying more attention to their health and wellness, this already-mighty industry is growing constantly.

Personal care and beauty is the largest sector of the global wellness industry at a value of $955 billion

Nykaa is India’s top beauty retail e-commerce marketplace.

According to Practo, online medical consultation saw a 500% spike during the lockdown period.

Felicity, for example, is a mental health consultation platform.

Beauty, nutrition, physical activity, medicine, mental wellness, and the list goes on. There are endless opportunities in the health and wellness marketplace industry for you to earn riches.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Health Consultation: Build a platform allowing people to take doctor consultations from the comfort of their homes. It will connect qualified doctors in various specialties to those in need.
    Example: DoctoronDemand
  • Medicine Delivery: Build a platform that connects local medicine stores to customers and gets medicine delivered in 2-3 hours. Pharmacies can list themselves on this platform and reach a wider audience. 
    Example: PillPack
  • Yoga, Meditation or Fitness Training: Fitness is one of the most sought-after industries. You can build a marketplace in any fitness-related niche like yoga, meditation or workout.
    Example - TrainHeroic

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Subscription-Based Revenue Model
  • Pay Per-Order Business Model
  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Advertisement Revenue Model

Successful examples: DoctoronDemand, Cult, PillPack

5. Online Food Ordering Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - food ordering
Online Food Ordering Marketplace

What is an online food ordering marketplace?

Online food ordering marketplace is a platform where restaurants or home chefs can list themselves and consumers can order food from those providers.

The food providers put out their menu and consumers can get their food delivered to their doorstep. 

Reasons why should you consider this?

Nearly everyone orders food delivery in the US; Gloria Food’s study found that 86% of Americans had ordered food delivery at least once a month.

Food-ordering might sound like a small industry but that’s not the case. There are multiple options inside this industry you can build upon.

AtYourGate is an airport food delivery platform. You see how specific you can go with your marketplace?

Meal prep kit delivery is another trend that is emerging nowadays.

There are several options in this industry that can make your business profitable in no time.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • General Food Ordering: Build a marketplace to connect local restaurants with their customers. People can choose and get their favorite food items delivered to them from a variety of listed restaurants.
    Example: UberEats
  • Hospital, Office, or Airport Food Delivery: People might require food while in the hospital or airport or when they forgot to carry lunch in the office. You can build a marketplace that connects restaurants or home chefs with those in demand of food at these places.
    Example: AtYourGate, Feedr
  • Meal Prep Delivery: As people have got busier they don’t have time to decide food menu every day and go grocery shopping. You can build a marketplace that connects meal prep kit providers with their customers. 
    Example: BlueApron

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 
  • Business to Business (B2B) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Subscription-Based Revenue Model
  • Pay Per-order Revenue Model
  • Advertising Revenue Model

Successful examples: DoorDash, UberEats, Zomato

6. Online Hyperlocal Delivery Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - hyperlocal
Online Hyperlocal Delivery Marketplace

What is an online hyperlocal delivery marketplace?

In an online hyperlocal delivery marketplace, the product is delivered directly from the seller to the consumer. 

Sellers can list themselves on the platform and consumers can order from them.

Hyperlocal delivery aims to deliver the product in a span of 2 to 3 hours.

Reasons why should you consider this?

Hyperlocal delivery apps market currently represents around 25% share of the e-commerce platform market.

The pandemic played a major role in the re-birth and growth of this industry.

Demand for hyperlocal grocery delivery has been rising among the urban working population. Its market is likely to grow at a promising CAGR of 7.8% between 2022 and 2032. 

Instacart is a successful example that reportedly generated $1.5 billion revenue in 2020, with $35 billion worth of sales.

Another major hyperlocal opportunity is medicine delivery. Amazon acquired PillPack revolutionized the pharmacy industry with its innovative startup idea.

Hyperlocal delivery marketplace is relatively new which means there’s room for several opportunities and growth for you to jump into the hyperlocal delivery bandwagon.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Grocery Delivery: Sometimes we run out of groceries in the middle of food preparation or are too lazy to go out and purchase. Build a grocery marketplace connecting local grocery stores with their customers.
    Example: Instacart
  • Medicine Delivery: Build a platform where local pharmacy stores can list themselves and customers can order required medicines. 
    Example: PillPack
  • Tiffin Boxes Delivery: People may not have time to cook every day or don’t know how to cook. Build a marketplace where home chefs and restaurants can list themselves and customers can choose from a wide variety of tiffin box options. 
    Example: TiffinStash

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Subscription-Based Revenue Model
  • Pay Per-order Revenue Model
  • Advertising Revenue Model

Successful examples: AmazonFresh, Instacart, PillPack

7. Online Travel Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - travel
Online Travel Marketplace

What is an online travel marketplace?

Online travel marketplace is a platform that connects travel service providers to customers or travelers.

Customers can book various travel-related services as per their travel schedule.

Reasons why should you consider this?

The global travel and tourism market was valued at USD 4.06 Bn in 2021. As the world recovers from the pandemic, the industry will increase its market size further.

With the rise of internet penetration, travelers are increasingly booking their travel experiences online.

Hiking and trekking are such interesting travel experiences. Close to 59 million people in the United States participated in hiking activities at least once in 2021.

BookATrekking is a successful example of providing booking for worldwide treks.

Another micro-niche idea you can build upon is a cruise booking marketplace. 

The travel industry is huge, you just need to dig deeper and build niche marketplaces.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Vacation Packages Booking: Vacation packages include a group of travel-related services sold together such as transportation, accommodation and activities. Build a marketplace to connect vacation package providers with travelers. 
    Example: TourRadar
  • Travel Activities Booking: Every tourist spot has some special activities that they're famous for. You can build a marketplace where travelers can book these activities. 
    Example: Viator
  • Hotels & Vacation Rentals Booking: Hotels and rentals are the most important element of traveling. There exist several accommodation marketplaces that list several hotels that travelers can book and you too can build one.
    Example: TripAdvisor
  • Hiking & Trekking Booking: Hiking and trekking have emerged as amazing group experiences. Build a marketplace to list upcoming treks and hikes in various locations which people can join.
    Example: BookATrekking

Possible business model/s:

  • Peer to Peer (P2P)
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Listing Charges Model
  • Advertisement Revenue Model

Successful examples: Booking.com, Viator, Airbnb

8. Online Rental Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - rental
Online Rental Marketplace

What is an online rental marketplace?

Online rental marketplace is a platform where companies or private individuals can rent out their items to those in demand.

The customer takes over an item for a fixed period and returns when time completes, paying some renting charges.

Reasons why should you consider this?

There is end number of items you can rent out, from a house to toys, everything has a market.

The global furniture rental service market size was valued at USD 67.83 billion in 2021. There are further micro-niches in this category. Boomerang is an example of an office furniture rental marketplace.

Vacation, clothing and equipment rental are some of the most profitable niches in the rental marketplace industry. 

There are numerous rental marketplaces options that can turn out to be successful and mint money.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Vacation Rental: House owners can rent their house or rooms to people for a fixed vacation period just like hotels. You can build a marketplace where homeowners can list their properties and travelers can book them.
    Example: Airbnb
  • Car Rental: People can rent cars whenever and wherever they want by giving a fixed hourly or daily fee. Build a marketplace to connect car renters to customers. 
    Example: Getaround
  • Fashion Rental: People can rent clothes, jewellery or accessories from fashion rental marketplaces. You can build a rental marketplace in any fashion niche.
    Example: StyleLend
  • Sports Rental: Sports equipment or gear are not used on a daily basis so people can rent them instead of making a purchase. Build a marketplace to connect sports gear or even e-sports equipment providers and customers.
    Example: Sportsltdrentals

Possible business model/s:

  • Peer to Peer (P2P)
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 
  • Business to Business (B2B) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Listing Charges Model
  • Subscription-Based Revenue Model

Successful examples: Airbnb, Lyft, Getaround

9. Online Real Estate Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - real estate
Online Real Estate Marketplace

What is an online real estate marketplace?

Online real estate marketplace is a platform that connects realtors, brokers and property managers with their customers.

Realtors can list their properties and customers can browse through various options. 

Reasons why should you consider this?

Real estate in itself is one of the most profitable industries. The global real estate market reached a value of USD 6,883 Billion in 2021.

There are multiple ways to invest in real estate – commercial, residential or fractional rentals.

Building a marketplace on top of real estate can prove to be a good chance to make riches.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • Residential Real Estate Rental/Sales: Build a marketplace where realtors or brokers can list residential properties and prospects can explore and rent or buy those properties.
    Example: Zillow
  • Commercial Real Estate Rental/Sales: Build a marketplace where realtors or brokers can list commercial properties and businesses can rent or buy according to their business needs.
    Example: LoopNet
  • Virtual/ Fractional Real Estate Marketplace: Fractional real estate ownership refers to a situation when people buy only a fraction or part of a property with several other investors. You can build a marketplace to list real estate and potential investors can buy a fraction of those properties.
    Example: hBits

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Business (B2B) 
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) 
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C) 

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Consumption-Based Model
  • Listing Fee Model
  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Advertising-Based Revenue Model

Successful examples: Zillow, Housing.com, LoopNet

10. Online B2B E-commerce Marketplace

Online marketplace ideas - B2B ecommerce
Online B2B E-commerce Marketplace

What is an online B2B E-commerce marketplace?

Online B2B E-commerce marketplace is a platform that connects one business to another, for the exchange of goods or services.

In this type of marketplace, trade or purchase takes place between two businesses instead of business and consumer.

Reasons why should you consider this?

E-commerce market is huge and niching down to just one category of business model, like B2B is a wise option.

B2B e-commerce market size was valued at USD 8,523.3 Billion in 2021.

IT products segment held the largest share in the B2B e-commerce market in 2021.

SaaS industry is hugee and is constantly growing. MicroAcquire is a SaaS startup marketplace. 

You can build a B2B e-commerce marketplace based on any product or service. Think of the endless opportunities you have.

Marketplace Ideas within this category:

  • B2B Saas Marketplace: Build a platform where businesses can list their SaaS and other business can buy.
    Example: Appsumo
  • B2B Industrial Supply Marketplace: You can build a marketplace that connects industrial suppliers with businesses.
    Example: Grainger
  • B2B One-Stop Marketplace: Build a one-stop shop for all business needs. Businesses can list their items and other businesses can buy in bulk from them.
    Example: Alibaba 

Possible business model/s:

  • Business to Business (B2B)

Possible revenue model/s:

  • Listing Fee Model
  • Commission-Based Revenue Model
  • Advertising-Based Revenue Model

Successful examples: Alibaba, MicroAcquire, eWorldtrade

Great ideas!

But how can you build these marketplaces without coding?

Below are our choice of good no-code online marketplace builders:

Top 5 Online Marketplace Builders

1. Sharetribe

Sharetribe is an advanced online marketplace software you can use to build a niche marketplace or even a global business. It offers all the marketplace-essential features.

2. Kreezalid 

With Kreezalid, you can build and customize your online marketplace without a single line of code. You can use it to build products, services or rental marketplaces.

3. Softr 

With Softr, you can turn your Airtable data into a full-stack marketplace, that too without coding. You can create two-sided marketplaces and sell services, and goods and pay securely.

4. CS-Cart

CS-Cart can be used to build any type of e-commerce marketplace on the web as well as mobile, from MVP to enterprise marketplace, it handles all and provides features for any business scenario.

5. Hatch.li

Hatch is a service marketplace-building solution. It assigns you a team of experts who does the work for you according to your needs, so you need not develop anything yourself.

Let’s conclude. Shall we?

Over To You

The boom of online shopping has resulted in a plethora of online marketplaces and you too can mint thousands if not millions. It’s all a matter of taking the right steps.

With a majority of people making purchases online, your odds of succeeding in this business have increased multifold.

However, building an online marketplace is a relatively competitive business but if you can find the sweet spot of a profitable niche, you can make good money.

We’ve listed a variety of marketplace ideas that you can try out. 

However, you have to ensure that your chosen idea is backed by a sizeable addressable market. That said, avoid falling into the trap of picking something because it’s popular.

Lastly, here's a step by step guide to building a marketplace without coding:

Can’t wait to see your online marketplace up and running.

Now, time to answer some of your most common questions on Online Marketplace Ideas:

How do I start my own marketplace?

Once you choose a solid idea from this list, you need to follow these next steps to start your marketplace:

  1. Validate your online marketplace idea.
  2. Choose the business and revenue model you’ll follow.
  3. Build your MVP and create a waiting list.
  4. Once you receive good feedback, go live and launch your online marketplace.

How do I market my online marketplace?

There are ample methods you can use to market your online marketplace. Some of them are:

  • Reaching out to your contacts for the first few sign ups
  • Talking to suppliers and sellers
  • Building a landing page and promoting it
  • Using the power of social media
  • Marketing through email

How long does it take to build a niche online marketplace?

From brainstorming ideas to making your online marketplace live, it’ll take months.

However, with the advent of no-code tools, the development part has gotten easier. Now, you can go live not in months, but days.

How much does it cost to build an online marketplace?

Using the tools we mentioned above, you can build your online marketplace for as low as $99 per month. 

However, developing a high-end marketplace business will call for high investment, anywhere between $700 - $1000 per month.

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