Starting own marketplace as alternative to FB

This discussion was created from comments split from: Selling on Facebook Marketplace.
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  • goled
    goled Posts: 20 Forumite
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    edited 29 February at 1:20PM
    Did anyone think (or maybe even have experience) about starting their own niche marketplace instead of selling on Facebook? I'm currently playing with this idea, so it would be great to find out other people's thoughts.

    I checked sites like Onbuy or Vinted, but creating my own site seems to be a better option as it can help me expand my business a reach a hugher level faster.
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,199 Ambassador
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    edited 27 February at 9:20AM
    goled said:
    Did anyone think (or maybe even have experience) about starting their own niche marketplace instead of selling on Facebook? I'm currently playing with this idea, so it would be great to find out other people's thoughts.
    Assuming you mean a site others can join, and not just your own website then I haven’t seen mention of this idea for some years now, it used to be a popular topic on forums like this. Some people had even started the process of setting up sites intended to be a very niche eBay ‘lite’, perhaps concentrating on a particular area only I don’t think any really got off the ground due to the massive costs involved , I recall one or two struggling on for a few months before admitting that the costs were too great compared to income. It would need a decent website with proper functionality, not just an off the shelf one. Insurance would be an expensive necessity and the legal aspects like data storage would need to be investigated. 

    Sites like Vinted are niche in that they have very limited categories that you can sell in, they also ban anyone that looks like a commercial seller, but then Vinted we’re popular in Eastern European countries before they launched here and have money behind them. Their business model is to charge the buyers for purchasing which brings issues around financial liabilities. It could be argued that Etsy is niche as well as again there are limits to what can be sold, their model is to charge fees to the sellers.

    There are numerous smaller sites selling ‘members to members’ in very niche areas, I use quite a few myself. Their model is that some rules are imposed, like the need to only use PayPal G and S for  security , buyers and sellers exchange details between themselves and deal with issues themselves. This model works well (I have 2 packages going out today) but the admin running the site take no income at all so can operate via Facebook private selling groups. 
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  • noitsnotme
    noitsnotme Posts: 908 Forumite
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    edited 27 February at 8:05PM
    Onbuy is a relatively new eBay-alike on the scene, although aimed at business sellers.  They have had millions of pounds of investment from angel investors and still not that well known by many.    Unless you can raise similar millions from investors to enable you to raise your profile I’d say you don’t stand a chance.
  • RFW
    RFW Posts: 10,020 Forumite
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    Onbuy is a relatively new eBay-alike on the scene, although aimed at business sellers.  They have had millions of pounds of investment from angel investors and still not that well known by many.    Unless you can raise similar millions from investors to enable you to raise your profile I’d say you don’t stand a chance.
    It depends what they're doing. If they're competing with Amazon/Ebay I agree but the OP says a "niche marketplace", so if they're opening a marketplace selling size 5 right foot shoes in red they may have a chance. It all depends on how niche and if they already have a network.

    There are quite a few niche marketplaces around doing well that no one outside the niche knows about.

    @soolin I've weirdly just seen the first one in a few years, within the last ten minutes. Someone started planning it a couple of years ago and set up the company. It looks a bit meh to me. The amount of investment needed to start a general marketplace from scratch is off the scale.
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  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 10,389 Forumite
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    goled said:
    Did anyone think (or maybe even have experience) about starting their own niche marketplace instead of selling on Facebook? I'm currently playing with this idea, so it would be great to find out other people's thoughts.
    How wide is your niche?

    How much capital do you have to invest?

    What are your skills relative to the venture? Are you a marketing guru? A coding genius? A billionaire investor? 


    The tighter the niche the more potential there is but if you chose "second hand clothes" as your niche you are against people with multi-million pound marketing budgets. Its never been a "build it and they will come" world online.
  • noitsnotme
    noitsnotme Posts: 908 Forumite
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    edited 27 February at 9:52PM
    RFW said:
    Onbuy is a relatively new eBay-alike on the scene, although aimed at business sellers.  They have had millions of pounds of investment from angel investors and still not that well known by many.    Unless you can raise similar millions from investors to enable you to raise your profile I’d say you don’t stand a chance.
    It depends what they're doing. If they're competing with Amazon/Ebay I agree but the OP says a "niche marketplace", so if they're opening a marketplace selling size 5 right foot shoes in red they may have a chance. It all depends on how niche and if they already have a network.
    The OP says as an alternative to Facebook marketplace which is hardly small.  The reason I gave Onbuy as an example was more for the fact that they have had millions in investment but are still not that well known.  To be an alternative to Facebook marketplace as the OP stated, they’re going to need quite a few millions.

    Anything small or too niche is never going to be an alternative to FB marketplace other than to a handful of people.  Perhaps the OP didn’t give the best example for comparison.  Niche and FB marketplace don’t really go together.
  • I think it would be better to invent a time machine and set up Amazon before Jeff got the chance :) 

    A lot of site seem to operate a marketplace format, B&Q for example, but they already have the traffic and I assume they keep it limited as aside from the advertising, how are you going to handle buyer disputes? 

    Companies like eBay and Amazon are often criticised for being too far on the buyer's side but they can't pay staff to scrutinise all these issues in great depth and without some kind of protection or existing brand why would someone trust a small marketplace. 

    Credit to anyone who manages it but I think the big companies have the market and anything fairly small would stay fairly small without vast investment and if they ever made it big would end up chasing profit and just be another eBay, Amazon or Etsy for people to moan about. 
  • RFW
    RFW Posts: 10,020 Forumite
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    RFW said:
    Onbuy is a relatively new eBay-alike on the scene, although aimed at business sellers.  They have had millions of pounds of investment from angel investors and still not that well known by many.    Unless you can raise similar millions from investors to enable you to raise your profile I’d say you don’t stand a chance.
    It depends what they're doing. If they're competing with Amazon/Ebay I agree but the OP says a "niche marketplace", so if they're opening a marketplace selling size 5 right foot shoes in red they may have a chance. It all depends on how niche and if they already have a network.
    The OP says as an alternative to Facebook marketplace which is hardly small. 
    I was assuming they were referring to an alternative to using Facebook marketplace not that they wanted to recreate the entire marketplace.

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  • RFW
    RFW Posts: 10,020 Forumite
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    A lot of site seem to operate a marketplace format, B&Q for example, but they already have the traffic and I assume they keep it limited as aside from the advertising, how are you going to handle buyer disputes? 



    There's been a growth of those but it tends to be existing large companies using companies they already deal with. For example M&S has a marketplace but you'd never know it. There are a few brands on their website that they don't stock themselves. Next does similar.
    The only other marketplace that seems to follow its own path is NotOnTheHighStreet. They're quite selective of who they allow on.
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  • RFW
    RFW Posts: 10,020 Forumite
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    Credit to anyone who manages it but I think the big companies have the market and anything fairly small would stay fairly small without vast investment and if they ever made it big would end up chasing profit and just be another eBay, Amazon or Etsy for people to moan about. 
    There are a few creeping in, it's often hard to tell how big they are. Temu is the big grower and spending billions on marketing.
    Channel X tends to keep up with new marketplaces and you can check out some of the older ones that dwindled away.
    I've looked at OnBuy a few times and had their hard sell but I saw no evidence that I'd ever sell anything on there.

    If you're starting from scratch it's almost impossible to get sellers and customers. There'll always be a few but they'll be disgruntled Ebayers and Amazonians, so almost by definition they'll have their own problems and will generally have poor customer service.


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