Open vs. Curated Marketplaces: Deciding Which One is Right for your Brand

For brands scaling their digital operations and expanding their sales channels, marketplaces are an attractive option. 

They’re a golden ticket for increasing sales, growing brand visibility, widening your customer base, and maximizing your existing workforce and budget by making them work for you. Marketplaces are the easiest way to get the most for your business without increasing workloads for employees or marketing expenses. 

But understanding the wide world of marketplaces out there and picking the right one for your brand will be crucial to your strategy and success. Not all marketplaces are the same, and so knowing which one will best serve your business is important. 

There are two main types: open marketplaces and curated marketplaces

Open marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, allow for any product from any brand to be sold on their site. Curated marketplaces are selective, and may focus on a certain type of product, aesthetic, or set of values. Whereas open marketplaces aim to present consumers with every possible product their customers could want and that sellers would want to provide, curated marketplaces present a very specific customer base with the products they might want. 

So which one is right for your brand? Here are a few differences between the two models that you should consider in making your determination.

  1. Visibility

Open marketplaces offer brands the ability to showcase their products to a massive customer base – just think of how many people browse through Amazon every day. This alone makes open marketplaces super attractive for brands looking to grow, but there’s a downside to it as well. Because open marketplaces are so large, and offer such a diverse array of products from so many brands, the actual number of consumers who may see or interact with your brand is probably lower than what you might expect. If your products are not featured on the first couple of pages of their on-site search, it’s likely your products will get overlooked.


  1. Customer Targeting

Do you want to simply grow your business, or do you want to grow it effectively? Curated marketplaces allow brands to reach exactly the customers they’re looking for. Say your brand sells kids’ shoes. Listing your products on Walmart will be great, because there will definitely be parents on the site looking to purchase sneakers for their children, among other things. But listing on a curated site like Maisonette, where the entire customer base is parents, makes it much more likely that you’ll connect with exactly the type of customers that fit your target persona. While on Walmart a customer might “run into” your product by accident, on a curated site, they’ll be actively looking for it, and those are your target customers.


  1. Brand Values

If part of your branding is that you’ve cultivated a strong association with a particular set of values, then a curated marketplace will probably be the best bet for you. If environmentally friendly practices, supply chain transparency, or corporate responsibility are of utmost importance to your brand and your customers, then a curated site will be more likely to be a potential match for your scaling needs. A site that aligns with your brand’s particular set of values or ethos, will be selling products that are in line with your customer’s values as well, so that partnership will be a win-win for all parties involved. If your target customer base aligns with the curated marketplace’s customer base, it’s also win-win when it comes to increasing the reach you’ll have with the right customers.


  1. Credibility

Having your products listed on a popular, known marketplace is a great way to show customers that your brand is trustworthy. Not just any business can sell on a marketplace, especially a curated one. But having the ability to list and sell on widely-used retail sites gives your brand the boost of reliability and credibility that could make a huge difference in your sales and growth. When the marketplace trusts your brand and customers trust the marketplace, then they’ll trust you, too.


Whether your brand is looking to expand to a curated or open marketplace, having an automation platform like Cymbio can be the key you need to do so quickly, efficiently, and easily. Our one-to-all connection takes your product data and makes it readable for every retailer, so you won’t have to worry about building unique integrations every time you want to add a new sales channel.

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