To a consumer what could be better than using an online marketplace? A consumer will essentially get pricing from market leaders without having to do any of the shopping, nor will they have to pay a service fee. In almost all cases any fees associated with the online marketplace are paid for by the firm that ends up winning the business of the customer. In most cases the online marketplace will take the specs from a customer, whether that be of a particular product or service and shop it to a handful of partnering companies. This saves the customer a lot of time but also creates a competitive pricing environment which usually ends with the customer getting a great deal!
Not only do these sites benefit customers but they are also a great source of lead generation for businesses as well. They provide highly qualified leads that are very low in the sales funnel and have very high conversion rates. Online marketplaces usually provide the companies within their marketplace a customer that is ready to transact and this type of lead is invaluable. It is in this value that the consumer sees the most benefit. Because an online marketplace is generally able to aggregate higher lead volumes than the market players themselves, there is typically more data to predict buyer behavior and offers these players insight into how to make their offerings better and more customized to their target audience. They also don’t have to spend their resources to try and locate these folks, which in some industries can be a substantial investment.
So why call 5 companies for pricing, go through the game which each sales department and then get harassed with follow up offerings for months? The answer is easy, don’t, especially considering the alternative is to make one call to a company that’s sole purpose is to find you the best deal. Unless you enjoy the game of haggling and have a ton of free time, you should seek out an online marketplace whenever possible; save your time, and more importantly save your money!