Marketplaces: The ultimate bloodline for local businesses

13 best examples of the most recent innovations coming out of marketplace and platform economy that tangibly support other businesses in these challenging times

Marketplaces: The ultimate bloodline for local businesses

How many times have you seen articles with titles like 'Uber drivers feel poor and powerless” or “Amazon is everything that’s wrong with the 21st century”? I bet quite a few! Whereas there might be reasons to be envious or scared of the platform economy revolution, COVID-19 crisis has ultimately proven why platform and marketplace companies are here for good (and by good i mean "providing benefit or advantage to someone or something.)

Below are the 13 best examples of the most recent innovations coming out of marketplace and platform economy that tangibly support other businesses in these challenging times.

Marketplaces for Good - For Restaurants and Bars

Local bars, pubs and restaurants are amongst the most negatively affected by Covid-19. AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer with household names like Budweiser, Corona (no pun intended), and Stella Artois, have enabled 5000+ pubs and restaurants across the world to reach customers online using Marketcube’s marketplace solution.

  • At Cafe Courage in Belgium customers can pre-order and pay for their favorite beer from local bars.  In the UK, at Save Pub Life customers can buy gift cards to spend at local pubs when they reopen. At Rally for Restaurants in Canada users can buy gift cards for local restaurants.
  • Another great initiative for bars and restaurants has been launched by Alibaba Group. To rejuvenate the Chinese food and beverage industry, Alipay, an online payment platform, has partnered with on-demand delivery service Ele.me to equip 300,000 restaurants with digital capabilities for everything from order-processing to deliveries.

Marketplaces for Good - For Retailers

  • Farfetch, an online luxury fashion retail platform, has launched “#Supportboutiques” initiative. It enables 700+ boutiques in 50+ countries that had to shut their doors to sell online. Farfetch also offers free logistics and warehousing support; this includes moving stock from boutiques to Farfetch warehouses, when boutiques cannot ship themselves due to regional lockdowns or staff shortages.
  • Alipay has committed to help 50,000 offline merchants bring their businesses online and they offer free online training courses to more than 3 million people in the service industry to prepare for the platform transformation.
  • Zalando, a leading fashion and lifestyle platform in Europe, has just launched a digital accelerator program for fashion brands and retailers. The program enables the participants to sell online in 17 European markets via Zalando and take advantage of their fulfilment, insights and omnichannel partner offers.
  • Alibaba Group has launched the '2020 Spring Thunder Initiative' to help small and medium enterprises in China to expand into new markets through AliExpress, Lazada and Tmall World. Measures from the initiative include helping SMEs expand into new markets through Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, alleviating immediate financial challenges, fostering digitised manufacturing clusters and accelerating the digital transformation of China’s agriculture sector.

Marketplaces for Good - For Healthcare

  • Disinfect Connect, a platform that connects organisations in need with distilleries producing disinfectant, has launched its marketplace to support healthcare workers and organisations in need of basic protection necessities.
  • The hosts at Airbnb, the world’s largest marketplace for homestays, offer healthcare staff and first responders places to stay that allow them to be close to their patients and safely distance from their own families. Airbnb has waived all fees for these stays.

Marketplaces for Good - For Fitness Studios

  • ClassPass, the world’s leading fitness platform, has empowered its 30,000 fitness and wellness partners to offer live-streamed classes through the ClassPass app and website. Through June 1, 2020, one hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to the studios and fitness instructors who are unable to host in-person classes due to COVID-19.
  • Instagram with its livestream and IG TV features have enabled thousands of fitness studios to continue run their workouts online. Check out Barry’s bootcamp in London or PLTS in Amsterdam for some of the examples.

Marketplaces for Good - For Events & Activities

  • 'Ask Phoebe', An AI-driven chatbot has been created to offer social distancing-friendly activity ideas during the coronavirus pandemic.The chatbot reated by Taiger is also intended to help businesses market their services online, keeping them in business.
  • Airbnb launched AirBnB experiences, enabling locals to host online classes, concerts and tours. (my favourite must be this tango concert!)
  • Eventbrite, the world’s largest online event management and ticketing platform, has launched Zoom integration to enable event organisers to host both paid and free events online.

Do you know of other examples of platforms and marketplaces supporting local businesses? We would love to hear about them!