While the marketplace infrastructure has many advantages, it’s important to remember that it can cut both ways. Marketplaces don’t exist to help you, but to help themselves. They want the focus to be on the products, not the sellers. And that means they might restrict the degree to which you can brand your presence, communicate with customers, dictate what items you can and cannot sell, and so on.
With more than 100 million members worldwide, Amazon Prime gives customers access to streaming video, free shipping, Prime Day discounts, and a variety of other Amazon-specific services and deals for $119 per year. For many, the service is a no-brainer for the shipping perks alone, but there's a lot more to a Prime membership than free shipping and streaming services.
Social commerce is heating up as Instagram launches Shopping tags in Stories and a dedicated Shopping channel in Explore, while Pinterest opens up Shop the Look pins and hits 250 million monthly users. The feature should mesh well with Snap’s young and culture-obsessed audience. In the U.S., its users are 20 percent more likely to have made a mobile purchase than non-users, and 60 percent more likely to make impulse purchases according to studies by Murphy Research and GfK.
But Amazon holds a unique position in the global marketplace. From its beginnings in 1994, Amazon’s platform was designed to democratize retail. Small vendors or manufacturers could sell outdoor grills, computer bags, and children’s toys alongside established brands. Now, with its expansion into private label, Amazon has shifted away from being an impartial, may-the-best-product-win distribution partner to being a direct competitor to those other vendors.
In August 2013, Amazon launched Amazon Art as an online marketplace selling original and limited edition fine art from selected galleries. The initial 40000 items listed for sale included Norman Rockwell's painting Willie Gillis: Package from Home priced at $4.85 million, L'Enfant a la tasse by Claude Monet for $1.45 million and Andy Warhol's Sachiko for $45 000.