Millions of users frequent online marketplaces such as Airbnb, Uber, eBay and Amazon daily. With businesses increasingly operating online, anyone with an internet connection and a laptop can build a community to connect users with others.

Marketplaces are platforms that pair buyers and sellers with particular products or services. Online marketplaces are becoming one of the most profitable and popular ways of starting a business. Whether you’re a first-time entrepreneur or a traditional business looking to expand, this article explains how to set up a marketplace as well as common pitfalls to avoid.

Quality Assurance

It can be difficult for the marketplace operator to control the quality of products or services that service providers or users supply. Although it may be impractical to monitor every transaction, you can manage customers’ expectations by: 

  • establishing a review system, and 
  • allowing customers to review suppliers and provide feedback.

There are various ways to operate a review system. For instance, Amazon leaves it up to the consumer to base their decision on previous customer reviews. Uber monitors the performance of its drivers and may decide to remove a driver from their system due to negative reviews. Either way, it is important to provide a platform for comments and feedback, especially when your control over the supply is limited.

Striking the Right Balance

On face value, it may seem that marketplace operators can take a step back and leave consumers and suppliers to take care of the transactions. But this is not the case if you wish to operate a successful and reliable marketplace. A marketplace operator is essentially a mediator between the buyers and sellers, and it’s then important to create a managed environment.

Transparency is key to facilitating a great experience with both your service providers and users. Providing clear and concise information will help manage the expectations of both parties. You can achieve this through your terms and conditions, creating a clean and easily accessible website, and providing a platform for feedback or dispute resolution.

Structuring Your Marketplace

The most important issue to work through when creating your marketplace is how to structure your platform. We have set out some questions to ask yourself below.

What is Your Brand?

Selling someone else’s goods and services should not deter you from creating a brand for your business. Try and avoid names that use descriptive language that merely captures what you are offering. Think of something catchy and distinctive that people will remember.

What is Your Role in the Marketplace?

The role you play as the platform operator is up to you. For example, you can provide a platform that facilitates an introductory service between the parties and then takes a step back as soon as a customer proceeds with a supplier’s product. Alternatively, you may wish to operate as a directory, by providing information and contact details of certain suppliers.

Who are Your Target Customers?

Identify your target market and ideal customers – what are their interests? What content do they enjoy consuming and in what medium? Use this research to inform how you design your website. For instance, if you are targeting creatives, try and make your site aesthetically appealing. Or, if you are targeting business professionals, you may prioritise more formal language on the page and a minimalist feel.

How Do You Want Your Customers to Pay?

There are a variety of payment options you can choose from including: 

  • credit card, 
  • bank transfer, 
  • PayPal, 
  • Bitcoin, or 
  • gift cards and vouchers. 

Legal Essentials

The clearest way to outline your role on the platform, the relationships between you, your suppliers and customers, as well as the payment structure, is through your website terms of use and terms and conditions. These should be tailored specifically to your business and need to be comprehensive, especially for a marketplace. You should also take steps to protect your brand by registering your business name, domain name and any relevant trade marks.


If you have any questions or need assistance setting up your marketplace, get in touch with our specialist e-commerce lawyers on 1300 544 755.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Alexandra Shaw
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy