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Five Profitable Online Marketplaces (And Why They Are So Successful)

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Rover is a Seattle-based marketplace that now offers its services in 10,000+ cities over the United States. 
In 2014 its CEO, Aaron Easterly, won Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Pacific Northwest region in the category “Emerging Companies”. 
Currently, Rover’s account base totals over 85,000 sitters.
The list of services includes dog boarding/sitting/walking, day care, drop-in visits, and house sitting. Apart from that, the company offers premium insurance, 24/7 support, background checks, ongoing education, photo updates, vet consultations and secure online payments.

How Does It Work?
Accounts for dog owners are free, while pet sitters and walkers pay a fee for a background check (ranging from $10 to $35). 
Owners are charged a service fee that is up to 5–7% of the booking whole. 
While sitters and walkers get around 75–85% of their earnings for every booking.

What Makes Rover Stand Out From The Crowd
  • Connects pet parents with dog lovers;
  • Nation’s largest community of dog walkers and pet sitters;
  • Android and iOS apps to share any updates, like walking summary, photo proofs, and other details;
  • Premium insurance for both owners and sitters/walkers;
  • Ongoing sitters’ education;
  • General background checks for every dog walker/sitter;
  • Verified reviews system.
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Bonanza was launched back in 2007.
In 2012 it was named “The Best Place to Sell Online” by About.com Collectibles, “Best Ease of Use” in 2013 by eCommerceBytes, “Best Marketplace Overall” in 2014, and “Company of the Year” in 2015 by Best in Biz Awards.
This versatile marketplace has definitely got their fair share of awards since then, bagging “Most Recommended Marketplace” in 2016 by eCommerceBytes. 

This seller-centric platform offers good opportunities to small businesses and entrepreneurs by creating online shops easily and quickly. It focuses on buying and selling new and pre-owned clothes, accessories, jewelry, items for home and garden, art pieces, collectibles and antique.

How Does It Work?
Users create Bonanza account for free or can login using Facebook and Google. 
Creation of listings and uploading photos are at no charge. Sellers pay as they sell, final offer value (FOV) starts at 3.5%.

What Makes Bonanza Stand Out From The Crowd?
  • Free listings that never expire and lower fees, comparing to Amazon or eBay;
  • Automatic Amazon / eBay / Etsy / Shopify / CSV import or sync;
  • Convenient batch editor for editing groups of items;
  • Tools for launching Customer Marketing Campaigns;
  • The platform takes care of advertising and every listing is published directly to Bing, Google, Nextag, Pricegrabber and other popular buyer channels;
  • Highly-rated customer service.
  • Customized chat facility.
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Etsy is a marketplace of various stores specifically selling handcrafted goods, of novelty, vintage, jewelry, clothing, toys and art pieces. 
Launched back in 2005, Etsy has grown to be one of the most popular e-commerce websites, with a database of more than 45 million items for sale.
It currently has over 1.7 million active sellers and 28.6 million active buyers.

How Does It Work?
Creating an account is free and there is no binding monthly payment. 
Like Amazon or eBay, Etsy takes a listing fee ($0.20) for every listed item and 3.5% fee for sales. 
Its seller’s services include advertising platform, discounted shipping labels, and payment processing.

What Makes Etsy Stand Out?
  • Large listings include unique handmade products, hard-to-find items, and vintage goods;
  • Curated recommendations and personalized email notifications, based on buyers’ browsing/shopping history;
  • List of boutiques and flea markets to shop from Etsy merchants offline;
  • Comprehensive and easy-to-use navigation system with detailed search system;
  • Promotional and marketing tools for vendors, including Google Analytics and Facebook integration;
  • Strong Etsy community.
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eBay is one of the pioneers and movers in online shopping. 
eBay currently has over 168 million active buyers in 190 markets, making it the second largest online marketplace in the world.
As the eBay community love to describe it, it's “where the world goes to shop, sell, and give”. 
eBay has exciting incentives like the eBay auction and 'deals.'
It also has local marketplaces in more than 30 countries from pole to pole.
Apart from eBay.com the company also includes other commerce brands, like eBay Classifieds Group, that helps users find necessary things within their local communities, and StubHub, the world’s largest platform for online tickets.

How Does It Work?
The selling cycle is similar to Amazon. 
You create a listing, write a description, add photos, select a category, provide shipping options, and so on. 
The company provides sellers with useful tips and tools, like spell checking or auto-replies.

What Makes eBay Stand Out?
  • Broad selection of goods and services for sales, offered by both large and small businesses;
  • Extensive range of payment options;
  • Comprehensive tutorials and tips;
  • Various shipping options (free / flat-fee / calculated).
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Amazon is the largest online marketplace with 12 global marketplaces that sells all types of goods, including food, toys, books, electronics, art pieces, and more. 
It's grown so large that it's extended into SAAS, with two powerfully robust cloud solutions (AWS) and analytics services (Alexa).

It's interesting to note that Amazon began as an online bookstore. 
Since then, it's grown to be the most profitable online brand ever, with a huge customer database from 180 countries and millions of sellers reaping big rewards from selling their goods and wares on the Amazon platform.

How Does It Work?
Amazon is among the best online marketplaces for sellers worldwide. Third-party vendors add products, which are then included into site inventory. Once a consumer decides to make a purchase, a vendor is liable for filling the order.

What Makes Amazon Stand Out?
  • Probably the largest and richest selections of products;
  • User-friendly design, smart search system, and convenient filters;
  • Comprehensive review system with star rating;
  • Personalized offers and recommendations to consumers, based on their shopping and browsing history;
  • Various customer loyalty programs with free shipping and other goodies.

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