E-marketplaces, online auctions and exchanges

Types of e-marketplace


There are many different types of e-marketplaces based on a range of business models. They broadly fall into different categories based on how they operate.

Independent e-marketplace

An independent e-marketplace is usually a business-to-business online platform operated by a third party which is open to buyers or sellers in a particular industry. By registering on an independent e-marketplace, you can access classified ads or requests for quotations or bids in your industry sector. You may be required to pay to take part.

Buyer-oriented e-marketplace

A buyer-oriented e-marketplace is normally run by a consortium of buyers to establish an efficient purchasing environment. If you are looking to purchase, participating in this type of e-marketplace can help you lower your administrative costs and achieve the best price from suppliers. As a supplier you can use a buyer-oriented e-marketplace to advertise your catalogue to a pool of relevant customers who are looking to buy.

Supplier-oriented e-marketplace

Also known as a supplier directory, this marketplace is set up and operated by a number of suppliers. Each supplier is looking to establish an efficient sales channel through the internet to a large number of buyers. You can typically search these marketplaces by the product or service being offered.

Vertical e-marketplace

Vertical e-marketplaces provide online access to businesses vertically up and down every segment of a particular industry sector such as automotive, chemical, construction or textiles. Buying or selling using a vertical e-marketplace for your industry sector can increase your operating efficiency and help to decrease supply chain costs, inventories and procurement-cycle time.

Horizontal e-marketplace

A horizontal e-marketplace connects buyers and sellers across different industries or regions. You can use a horizontal e-marketplace to buy indirect products such as office equipment or stationery.

    • Invest NI Helpline
      0800 181 4422