With recent events forcing people to spend more time at home, online shopping sales have risen dramatically over the past few months – with physical businesses shut down everywhere, online merchants are seeing historical increases in sales.
As online shopping becomes the new norm, many people are moving towards online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to buy their products, which can definitely come in handy if you’re looking to choose between a wide variety of options.
But what exactly are online marketplaces? And in what ways are they different from regular shopping, or even buying directly from online merchants?
Before you dive fully into the world of online marketplaces, here’s some info you need to know so you can get a full understanding of the ins and outs of online shopping.
What is an Online Marketplace?
An online marketplace is a website or app that allows people to do their online shopping from a variety of different sources. The marketplace owners do not own the products they’re selling, but instead showcase other people’s products for purchase.
Amazon and eBay are examples of general online marketplaces, since you can pretty much buy everything, and even stores like Best Buy are considered online marketplaces. It’s not only about the broad range of products, it’s also that multiple sellers can sell one single product.
Rather than buying directly from retailers, you can browse a broader range of products at varying prices, allowing you to get more variety from your shopping experience!
Types of Online Marketplaces
Generally, there are three types of online marketplaces
Vertical marketplaces are marketplaces in which only one type of product is sold, but it’s being offered by a variety of different sources. Shoppers interested in a particular industry or topic can go to these sites to purchase goods directly related to their interests.
Best Buy is a great example of a vertical marketplace, as customers are able to purchase products related to their tech needs, but if they’re looking for different types of goods, they’ll need to go elsewhere.
Horizontal marketplaces are marketplaces that are less specific and can cover a broader range of industries and sectors. While shoppers can go to these sites for a particular product, they will also be able to browse different products that aren’t directly related to what they were initially looking for.
Etsy can be considered a horizontal marketplace, as it sells many types of crafted and vintage clothing, but is limited to that market – with horizontal marketplaces, many types of products with shared characteristics are being sold.
Global marketplaces are marketplaces that essentially sell everything. From technology to clothing, you can typically get anything you’d like from these sites.
Sites such as Amazon and eBay would be considered global marketplaces, as they pretty much sell anything you can think of.
Easier Does Not Always Mean Better
While online marketplaces are definitely convenient, you can miss out on the many perks of buying directly from a retailer, so make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into with online shopping.
Buying directly from the retailer will often give you better deals and savings compared to buying from an online marketplace. However, marketplaces such as Amazon pride themselves on having the cheapest prices.
The original retailers will always give you the basic pricing, as there are no middlemen involved in the transaction – plus, you can take advantage of any ongoing sales or discounts being offered at the time.
While online marketplaces definitely offer variety, it may be difficult to truly gauge the quality of the product you’re buying. Many marketplaces allow for used or refurbished items to be sold, so while you may be getting better pricing, you may not be getting the high-quality item you were expecting.
With the FixMeStick, while some marketplaces may sell you a used FixMeStick at a discounted price, you may receive the stick damaged, or the FixMeStick may already be activated, leaving you with shorter subscription time.
When ordering from online marketplaces, the package usually passes through many hands before it actually reaches you.
With online marketplaces, it’s important to note that sellers can be located anywhere in the world, so make sure to verify where exactly your seller is shipping from. There’s nothing worse than having to deal with unnecessary fees and shipping times when you could buy from a local seller instead.
If you buy from the original retailer, you’ll have a much easier time using the warranty associated with the product.
Buying directly from the retailer will give them proof of purchase as well as a clear set of guidelines associated with the warranty, whether it be for refund, or replacing damaged products.
Trust us when we say that navigating warranties through online marketplaces is never an easy task.
With FixMeStick, though our warranty is generally quite straight forward, it can get a bit tricky if you’ve bought the device from a third-party seller, since you’ll need to contact them in order to receive the refund for the purchase.
Though some questions might be covered in the online marketplace, nothing beats the customer service and knowledge being offered by the original retailer. They tend to be more knowledgeable and helpful compared to that offered by the online marketplace.
Take FixMeStick as an example – while online market places will provide general answers, if you’d like to get into the specifics about the product you’re ordering, it’s always best to contact the original retailer! We pride ourselves on our top-notch customer service, and we’re willing to lend a hand regardless of where you purchase.
Making Sure You Buy From a Legitimate Seller
Because online marketplaces offer you a multitude of sellers to buy from, it’s always good to make sure you’re buying your product from a legitimate source.
When buying the FixMeStick there are clear indications regarding whether or not the seller is legit. While we sell our product through several online marketplaces, there are always counterfeit products being sold by unauthorized sellers.
When buying from Amazon, one thing you’ll want to look out for is the “Sold by FixMeStick and Fulfilled by Amazon” notice, which lets you know that you’re buying from a verified seller.
You can apply the same rules when buying from sites such as Walmart and Best Buy! You’ll want to look for the “Sold and Shipped By” notice to see whether or not you’re buying from a legitimate seller.
Take Advantage of What Online Shopping Has to Offer
With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with shopping through online marketplaces – there’s definitely a lot of convenience, and it can be very beneficial to compare and contrast the variety of products being offered!
As many companies transition to the online world, it can get a bit overwhelming to keep track of all the comings and goings of online shopping. We recommend checking out our online shopping guide, to make sure you avoid all the scams that may be lurking around the corners of the internet.