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Posted By ECT News Network on 04/08/2019 in Ecommerce

Where Will Online Marketplaces Be in 2020?

Where Will Online Marketplaces Be in 2020?

By Eric Prugh 

Back in 2017, Uber Eats and GrubHub reported $37 billion and $683 million in revenue respectively. What is crazy is both did this without owning a single car or restaurant. These are just two examples of many companies that are going against the grain and pioneering the online marketplace.

An online marketplace is any digital space in which the two sides of a transaction are connected via technology and the owner or seller does not own any inventory. Instead, they simply facilitate the transaction. As companies like Uber and GrubHub clearly display, this business is booming. The 75 largest online marketplaces grew by 30 percent in 2017, accounting for nearly half of all global online shopping.

2019 is well underway and the predictions have already been made for what to expect this year. Since everyone has had time to catch up on those predictions, it is time to look ahead to 2020.

Online Marketplaces Will Become the Starting Point

Every interaction businesses and consumers have with goods and services will start with online marketplaces. It is more and more common for consumers to purchase products online, as evidenced by e-retailers like Amazon generating over $140 billion in product sales in 2018. Marketplaces are continually working to provide more choices and flexibility to customers.

Apps Will Be Commonplace

People still occasionally ask, "Is there an app for that?" Moving forward, this assumption will be a given. Speed and mobility will become musts for a marketplace to thrive.

Being Niche Will Become the Norm

It is safe to say that online marketplaces will continue to grow, but how they go about sustaining that growth is a different question. Continued growth will require online marketplaces to become even more verticalized and hyper-focused than they currently are. This allows them to focus on providing the best possible customer experience and delivering value on each transaction.

Businesses Will Move to Digital

More and more businesses will begin to succumb to the online movement. They will begin to leverage online marketplaces to bring their goods and services to market. They will see this as a way to access revenue streams and expand their existing model.

Recently, we have seen clothing store Marshalls finally jump on the train and announce an online presence. More and more businesses will have to follow suit in order to remain competitive.

Clickthrough Will Become More Common

Marketplaces face liability in each transaction that they facilitate. The rate at which marketplaces onboard new consumers and providers come with legal risk that has to be mitigated without impacting conversion rates. The best way to do this is through clickthrough agreements. This offers high-velocity contract acceptance that is scalable, standardized, and saves time for legal teams, while simultaneously reducing risk and exposure to liability.


2020 might seem far away, but it will be here before we know it. Some of these predictions might seem far off, but each day they get closer to becoming a reality. Each day more and more companies are popping up in the online marketplace space, apps are being built, and clickthrough agreements are being utilized. Now is the time to join this growing space.

About the Author
Eric Prugh, CPO of PactSafe, oversees product, customer success, solutions engineering, and partnerships. PactSafe is a SaaS company that securely powers high-velocity acceptance for contracts. Prior to his current role, Prugh spent seven years at ExactTarget and Salesforce, supporting sales exceeding $30M. He worked for two years in Australia developing the APAC business, which grew over 10x in his tenure, and led product and engineering for content management products for what became Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Prugh is a proud Purdue grad and lives in Indianapolis with his wife Liz, their daughter Valentina, and their two dogs.

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