During the past few months, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking on what is the focus of the Sharetribe platform. We have now come to a conclusion. Our goal is to make Sharetribe the best possible platform for creating marketplace websites, just like Shopify is a platform for online stores and WordPress for blogs.
We came to this conclusion after being contacted by dozens of people who all had the same problem. They wanted to create a marketplace website, but had no technical experience.
We realized that all these requests had many things in common. They wanted to have a site where all the members can browse, search, filter and sort listings, and post new ones. People need to be able to send messages to each other, rate each other after the transaction, and often also to handle the payment through the platform, Airbnb style. Indeed, “Airbnb for X” seems to be a very common idea these days.
This is the problem we want to solve. We want to democratize the online marketplace business, the same way than Shopify has democratized online shopping and WordPress online publishing. Anyone should be able to make their marketplace ideas come true without the need to raise venture capital and hire external developers.
Our definition of a marketplace website is simple: it’s an online portal where multiple parties can engage in exchange of goods and services. The parties can be companies or individuals. The exchange can be facilitated by money, by barter, or by gifting. Our platform handles them all.
Online marketplaces are the ultimate technological solution that is powering the sharing economy. They help the supply and demand to meet, and thus our resources are used more effectively.
Sharetribe currently powers more than 1000 online marketplaces all over the world. Here are some examples of the marketplace sites that have already been created on Sharetribe.
Mpankki (“raw material bank”) is a place where companies are getting rid of their excess waste material (fabric, metal, wood, plastic, etc) by selling them to design companies like Globe Hope, which use them as raw material for their products. This means that the companies that participate are making money by wasting less resources.
UbrLocal is a network for urban farmers in Seattle. They can sell, swap or gift the food they produce with the community. The goal of the community is to bring the locally produced food to the hands of the people and to make the local economy thrive.
University of Helsinki Community Marketplace is a portal where the university students can recycle their school books, borrow tools from fellow students, and help each other out in various ways. It’s a perfect example of the win-win-win model of the sharing economy: some people save their money, others make some money, natural resources are saved, and in the process everyone gets to meet new people.
All these three sites have very different branding and functionality. With the Sharetribe platform, all this customization can be done with no coding required. And we are just getting started. In a few weeks we will roll out an international payment system, so that people around the world (starting from eurozone & US) can make and receive payments via Sharetribe marketplaces. In the future we will be offering a lot more options for marketplace creators, including custom themes and plugins.
Do you want to create your own marketplace?
If you have a marketplace idea you’d like to see come true, contact us and let’s get things rolling. Our process is very easy: after you get started, the marketplace will be ready in a matter of hours, and you can start inviting people. Contact us to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org.