Over the last 25 years the internet has changed the way consumers purchase goods and services. Using the internet as a research tool has armed consumers with the knowledge required to make an informed decision. And moreover, consumers have more choices than ever before.
Pioneers such as eBay, Amazon, Orbitz, Priceline, HomeAdvisor, LendingTree, and others have created online ‘marketplaces’ that have provided options for consumers to acquire quality goods and services at competitive prices. LendingTree’s slogan was simple “when banks compete, you win”. The phrase ‘comparison shopping’ is now apart of our everyday vocabulary.
What is the future for other online marketplaces? The next wave has started to be and will be centered around marketplaces for small to medium sized business owners. They are consumers to a different scale and because of their smaller size typically do not enjoy the benefits of lower priced goods or services. In this US, there are roughly 30 million small business owners and the pressure to compete and succeed is as challenging as it has ever been.
Insurance, Credit Cards, Travel, are just a few big-ticket items for business owners. Companies that can structure targeted marketplaces that address specific needs of small to medium businesses will find that there are great opportunities to be had.