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7 Most Promising Service Marketplace Ideas

The online marketplace, once dominated by products is slowly making way for services. A service marketplace is a two-sided online marketplace platform, which aims to connect service providers with service seekers. AirBnB is an example of the same with accommodation being the service offered. Urbanclap is yet another popular example. The Indian company provides a wide array of services ranging from AC repairs to salons and cleaning services.

The success of companies such as Fiverr, Uber, and Freelancer is luring more and more entrepreneurs to service marketplace, and they are on the right path. The global on-demand service market is expected to grow at a rate of 49% in the forecast period of 2017-2021.  

A fledgling startup pitting against titans such as Uber or AirBnB can hardly fancy their odds. However, there are plenty of open marketplaces where an entrepreneur can give his best shot and successfully generate revenue from the same. Technical expertise such as progressive app design, voice search, and hyper-personalization helps budding entrepreneurs carve their niche in the market. This along with the right investment helps the startups make progress in the right direction during their formative years. This is one of the reasons why more and startups are seeking the guidance of incubators and accelerators. Incubators while providing the much-needed know-how and positive workspace, also help them build a wide network of investors.

  1. Home services

As one of the fastest growing service marketplaces, it is not a matter of surprise that home services feature on the first spot in the list.  In the US alone, on-demand home services boast of a $600 billion sector. Moreover, it’s predicted to grow steadily at almost 49% CAGR by 2021 according to a report by the New York Times.

Technology is often the only differentiator keeping the different competitors apart. A user-friendly app with live tracking features is a must to survive the competitive landscape of this segment. Your Mechanic, Hello Alfred, and Handy are some of the prominent players in the US market, while UrbanClap and House of Joy have carved their name in the Indian home services segment.

Home services include a vast array of services including repair, decoration, and refurbishment. Landscaping, flooring and even technical setups and installations are sometimes offered as a service

2.   Beauty services, Hairdressing salons, and other personal care

With more and more women employed and dealing with busy schedules, on-demand beauty services have made a huge leap and are now one of the most promising segments,  taking the service marketplace by storm. Estimated to a $46 billion segment in the US market, beauty services are also making their mark on Indian faces with Belita, Vyomo and GetLook all successfully making the Indian scenario beautiful.

The hassle of booking beauty parlor appointments, the long wait and cancellations have all made the migration to an online platform all natural in the case of beauty products providing the perfect opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Apart from beauty care services, hairdressing, manicures, pedicures are all services rising in demand.

3.   Laundry and dry cleaning services

Saying the on-demand laundry service growth was quick would be an understatement. It was valued at $ 9,358 million in 2016. The same sector is expected to reach $96.155 million by 2024, almost a tenfold increase according to Zion market research report. Cleanly and Rinse are some of the major players worldwide while Pick My Laundry is making its mark in India.

More and more on-demand laundry service providers are leveraging technology to automate the process and thereby decrease the turnaround service time. Live dashboards and real-time tracking of drivers help them gain a competitive edge over rivals and improve their core competence and gain a competitive edge over rivals. Social media marketing and CRM tools also help increase and retain their customer base.

4.  Freelancer services ( Consultants,  Developers, Designers, and others)

The very fact that some of the most successful on-demand service marketplace deal with freelancers underlines the attractiveness of the marketplace. Fiverr, Upwork, Peopleperhour, and freelancer.com are all firms that have tasted success.

With the guidance of incubators and accelerators, more and more entrepreneurs are taking their business online. This has spurred an increase in the number of people ready to be freelancers and self-employed, thereby creating the perfect space for the growth of freelance marketplaces.

But it is necessary for marketplaces to add value beyond, being the link between the two to increase their lifetime value.  These marketplaces equip customers and service providers with better insights and past data with the help of business analytics tools, thereby helping them to make better decisions. These business analytics tools give them a competitive edge over those who do offer such insights.

5.   Childcare, elderly care and care for disabled

An unexpected entrant in the list, the childcare segment has been making waves in the on-demand marketplace. In most modern families, often both families are working, making finding the right childcare a necessity. Online platforms provide multiple options, reviews from previous clients which builds credibility, and trust. It is no surprise these service marketplaces are gaining more traction with each passing day.

Care.com is one of the firms that has successfully captured the market and trust. UrbanSitter and Sittercity are others who own major chunks of the market share globally. Care of the elderly, care for handicapped, care for specially-abled children/ adults are other emerging lucrative service marketplaces for an aspiring entrepreneur to kickstart.

6.  Education: Online tutors, online courses and private tutor marketplaces

With edtech start-ups trying to revolutionize the education industry, there are plenty of opportunities for a new entrant to carve out space and generate revenue from the same. Firms such as Byju’s learning App and Toppr are already vying dominance in the edtech scene.

The top emerging trends in the sector are:

  • Emergence of virtual learning
  • Mobile-based online tutoring
  • Increasing customization of tutoring services

An education based service marketplace can easily bridge the gap between students and their demand, by connecting them to the online courses they need.

Online marketplaces can also be used to help students find private tutors in their locality based on their requirement. Thus the sector also shows tremendous opportunity for growth.

7.   Car wash, maintenance and repair services

The unorganized nature and vast potential make the car wash industry indisputably one of the best options for an entrepreneur searching for an ideal entrance. According to the Census Bureau, Americans spend $5.8B a year at car wash facilities. With more and more customers moving towards car wash services instead of doing it themselves, an online marketplace can facilitate it, making the process simpler.

Increase in spending power, ever increasing vehicles on the road, and the increase in per capita disposable income are all expected to contribute towards the boom of the car wash industry. Entrepreneurs can easily capture market share by providing quality service and making the customers’ lives hassle-free with user-friendly apps and website.

In conclusion, the online landscape is changing and service marketplaces are here to stay. With the advent of technology and several firms providing technical support to help startups build their way, there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. Indeed with incubators and accelerators, readily providing opportunities to connect with investors and grow your brand, this is the optimal time for a new entrant to step forward into the domain of service marketplace. JCurve, a Chandigarh based incubator provides mentorship and networking opportunities to such new service marketplace ventures and other similar startups