The difference between online marketplaces, shops, portals, platforms and stores

Series: Online Marketplace Info
Online marketplace, shop, portal, platform or store? All the same?

In e-commerce there are many different terms that are also not used uniformly. This can be a little confusing at first. That's why we would like to shed some light on the subject in this article.

The difference between marketplace and shop:

In an online shop, products or services are presented and ordered virtually. The operators are usually companies such as traders and (brand) manufacturers.
The customers can either be private individuals (Business to Consumer = B2C) or companies (Business to Business = B2B).
While buyers in a shop can only obtain offers from a single seller, in a marketplace they have access to the offers of several sellers. Marketplaces thus generally increase transparency between supply and demand and, depending on their type, can bring further advantages for the demand, supplier and operator sides.

The difference between marketplace and online platform:

In the online context, "platform" is an umbrella term for software that runs in the browser and is often used synonymously with other terms such as "web application". The fields of application are correspondingly diverse: from distributing content, to facilitating communication, managing data flows and mediating supply and demand.
Online marketplaces can therefore be described as special online platforms that specifically deal with the mediation of supply and demand.

The difference between marketplace and portal:

A portal offers users a comprehensive collection of information and services, for example on news, weather reports, sports results or other content. Examples of portals are search engines, news sites or social networks.
While marketplaces usually mediate supply and demand with the intention of making a profit, portals can also have a purely informational purpose or other orientations.

The difference between marketplace and store:

A store is a classic retail outlet and thus the physical equivalent of a digital web store or (online) shop. In the retail sector, local chain stores, (flagship) stores or outlets are often linked with online shops and (social media) marketing activities to offer customers a seamless cross-channel shopping experience. This is then referred to as omni-channel.
Online marketplaces, on the other hand, are more like a (specialist) department stores' or a weekly market where different sellers present very different offers.

If you have questions about online platforms, marketplaces or shops, just get in touch! We will be happy to advise you on the best solution for you.

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