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Idea for a marketplace that is a hybrid of Amazon and Shopify

I want to know whaat people think about a marketplace that’s half between Amazon FBA and Shopify: It’s a marketplace and so unlike Shopify you don’t need to invest time building a site and finding customers, but unlike Amazon, it gives you full control of your brand and you own the customer and the analytics.

There are many problems with the Amazon model as it pertains to small business (although they do get lots of things correct):

* They own the customer, and all the data associated with them.
* Merchants do not have their own brand: Their brand is mostly drowned out by Amazon.
* Amazon competes with their merchants by selling their own products. Due to the above two items, Amazon will always have an edge over their merchants.
* It can be expensive.

Shopify is slated as the alternative to Amazon. However it too has its drawbacks:

* Merchants need to identity, target and acquire their customers.
* Time consuming and technical to set it up.
* Customers need to enter payment details for each site, thereby creating friction before purchase.
* Marketplace protection for a customer is absent thereby creating friction before purchasing.

I am a software engineer who is interested in building a marketplace that is a hybrid of Amazon and Shopify:

* Quick and simple to set up a store (like Amazon).
* Merchants own their customers and can market directly to them (like Shopify).
* Merchants own their brand (like Shopify).
* Customer friction lessened by marketplace guarantees (e.g. money back upon returns) and stored payment information (like Amazon).
* This marketplace will never compete with its merchants (like Shopify).

I am wondering if there is any need/want from merchants for such a model? What does this community think?

View Reddit by bazsouthafricaView Source

13 replies on “Idea for a marketplace that is a hybrid of Amazon and Shopify”

Building a marketplace application is easy. Getting people to use it is incredibly hard due to the chicken and egg problem. If you go this route, try to go as small as you can in terms of market.

Theres a new wave of consumers that will only want products “made in the U.S.” Maybe you can make a store where you vet sellers and they are only allowed to sell on your site if it was made in the U.S.

You are incorrect on the last three statements on Shopify. If you want to, sure you can go ahead and modify the crap out of it. But equally, you can use a prebuilt template, and get your ship going in an hour.

Shopify actually provides the functionality so that if you enter your details on one site, it can be used on another Shopify store.

Lastly, Shopify has full PayPal support, with all the buyer protection that comes with, as well as its own payment gateway with similar protections and people are still protected by consumer laws, so have the support of their banks/credit card. Seller protection is actually harder to come by these days.

On the first point, unless you are selling something really generic, that gets searched for often, and you somehow manage to come top in search results, marketing and customer acquisition are still going to be required. If your marketplace becomes successful, sellers are quickly drowned out.

On amazon, sellers don’t really care about they’re brand. They want to get they’re Chinese made dropshipped product in front of as many eyes as possible, and actually having the amazon brand to back them up, is better than some no name no ones heard off. If you care about your brand, you’d have your own site. You also forget a key part of FBA, the fulfilment part. Amazon store, and ship your product and handle returns. If you’re selling on mass, that’s a huge time saver worth paying for.

I’d say you need to revisit your competitor analysis. You need to look at other competitors. Etsy and it’s many copycats, eBay, facebook’s new storefront which is being rolled out. You are severely lacking in first mover advantage and say unless you are targeting some previously untouched niche, you aren’t going to get the traction you need unless you really nail the marketing and branding.

Customer friction lessened by marketplace guarantees (e.g. money back upon returns) and stored payment information (like Amazon).


This is vague. Who processes the payments? If you aren’t processing your own payments, you really aren’t in control of your business. If individual sellers provide their own processing, then there’s not much one can do to reduce payment friction until the entire world decides to adopt a cryptocurrency or something.

It’s an interesting thought – imo with retail it’s very hard to compete with Amazon re price. And they can use their higher margin AWS business to subsidize their retail business and out price competitors. But you could probably start building something like this in an industry where this niche solution is rly needed. That I think is the question you should think about – Amazon was really smart going into Books first. And Bezos also ruthlessly exploited lax sales tax in e-commerce in the beginning. Off the top of my head… Maybe paper supplies for restaurants? It’s not super sexy but takeout business is booming and there is no such thing rn to compare prices on takeout boxes for example

I think Shopify just launched this (or announced it) a couple of weeks ago.

Google “Shop app” and see if it’s similar to what you’re thinking.

Well with the integrations shopify offers into lore traditional marketplaces like eBay and Amazon i‘m struggling too see the niche here tbh.

As a shopify vendor I can easily setup sale via amazon and that would leave me ask: what other marketplace do I need?

It’s time for me to leave this subreddit. Too much retardation in one place. Good luck to everyone, and to the real entrepreneurs out there like myself, it’s time for you to stop reading this bull shit too.

I mean it just sounds like a complicated version of mixing amazon and Shopify together.

You can set up a store front with Shopify and sell and have amazon be shiping the products.

And don’t really see where you’re going to get customers in the first place , marketing is needed in all aspects idk.

As a E-com seller it doesn’t make sense to me.

But don’t let it discourage you do what you think will work and test different ideas out

Have you considered targeting a niche area and scaling up?

I’m part of a team that is currently building a small niche version of something like this for a group of merchants (non-US).

We handle the logistics of accepting payments or refunds, shipping, customer engagement and marketing while merchants handle inventory and maintain control of their storefront design. Customers are allowed to reach out to merchants directly, if merchants prefer, to handle payment & shipping themselves.

All goods are custom made so the immediate focus has been more on quality rather than quantity. Income model is based on a percentage of sales.

That’s a big project to take on. Even if you build it, it would require huge marketing costs to compete with Amazon.
My advice would be to build a handmade marketplace.
Etsy sellers are crying out for a new platform with all the fees they are introducing. I’d do it myself if I could come up with a decent name…

Mashing up two popular sites is not enough to be successful.

This is like building the database schema before you even know what the UI will be.

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