How to build an online marketplace?

How to build an online marketplace?

Online Marketplace is one of the major trends in the Russian eCommerce market. In the US and Europe, Marketplaces became popular a long ago, in 2000-2004, after Amazon had grown to become a huge online retailer and established relations with a lot of suppliers.

As you may already know, an online marketplace (or online eCommerce marketplace) is a type of eCommerce website where products and inventory information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. Online marketplaces are the primary type of multichannel eCommerce. The most famous ones to date are eBay and Amazon.

Is building an online marketplace really that hard? Nowadays, with readymade software available, creating an eCommerce marketplace has become easier than ever. It is actually one of the best ways to grow a business in the easiest way possible. In this article, I’d like to share a story of the company that provides an online marketplace platform that enables retailers and publishers to launch their own online marketplaces.

Ixtens Inc., a company founded in Russia, has been successfully growing in the sphere of support and maintenance of a supplier onboarding process for online marketplaces. In 2004, they created an engine for Amazon with an API for sending products from different suppliers to them. In 2011, they launched the world’s first Media Marketplace. At this moment Ixtens has a research and development office in Novosibirsk and sales offices in New York and London. The company now has over 90  highly qualified employees.

Ixtens Platform Specifics

особенности платформы ixtens

The Ixtens platform has been developed in Java. It enables every eCommerce storefront solution to become an online marketplace powered by the marketplace backend. The marketplace backend provides a portal for suppliers, delivery services, and marketplace owners. It aggregates product and inventory information into a single, unified catalog and routes the orders to the appropriate supplier(s) for fulfillment. The portal works as a web service and supports popular protocols and data formats like

  • Flat files,
  • EDI (Electronic data interchange),
  • Data formats of popular ERP systems.

The platform helps to automate the Marketplace as much as possible. Some of its functions are:

  • automated product import/export from suppliers’ ERP systems/websites to Marketplace;
  • automated verification of imported products to meet Marketplace criteria;
  • automated aggregation of inventory of the same products came from different suppliers;
  • automated analysis of product descriptions to provide customers with comprehensive information about products;
  • large document exchange system with order routing and invoice management business logic;
  • easy interface for supplier profile management and configuration of the portal.

платформа ixtens

Company’s Success

The company customers include Amazon.com, MTV, Tesco, Benefit, Lifetime brands.

In 2013 a New York office of Ixtens Inc. was rebranded to Merchantry Inc. It raised $7m in Series B financing. The round was led by Kite Ventures, with the participation of Greycroft Partners and e.ventures. The company intends to use the funds to continue expanding its sales team and its client base throughout the U.S. and Europe.