Case Study
Aug 10, 2023

How to start a marketplace for Chicago

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With a population surpassing 2.7 million and 92% internet accessibility, Chicago stands as a promising hub for an online shopping marketplace. The city's vibrant consumer landscape, combined with a sustained increase in online retail activity, presents a compelling opportunity to bridge local businesses with tech-savvy residents.

Chicago is blowing up - let the numbers do the talking. But the itch for top-notch products, curated into killer collections and displayed with flair? No dice with existing marketplaces. Say hello to Vendo, your shortcut to setting up a swanky Chicago marketplace in a matter of weeks. 

If you don't have a whopping six-figure sum for an upfront investment and don't want to spend the next 12-18 months building from scratch, here's an alternative: go live and test the waters within weeks with Vendo. It's the go-to choice for entrepreneurs and founders in a hurry.


Vendo is a one-stop-shop for all your marketplace needs, providing you with a marketplace platform automating day-to-day operation, a catalog of brands to pick from or an ability to invite your own brands, merchandising and promotional tools, ability to sell through multiple channels (your existing website, emails & SMS, mobile app, social media), and ongoing daily support scaling your marketplace business.   

Why start a marketplace for Chicago

Economic Dynamism and Neighborhood Diversity:

Chicago's economic dynamism is reflected not just in its iconic skyline but in the industries that fuel its growth, from finance and manufacturing to technology and culture. Amidst this economic vigor, however, lies an untapped market—a diverse consumer group with unique tastes and preferences. 

The neighborhoods of Chicago, each with its distinct character, contribute to a dynamic tapestry that current online platforms fail to fully capture.

Unmet Needs of a Discerning Consumer Group:

From the trendsetting streets of Wicker Park to the historic charm of Hyde Park, there exists a discerning consumer group in Chicago yearning for a more tailored and localized online shopping experience. Current platforms may offer convenience, but they fall short in resonating with the multifaceted tastes of Chicagoans. 

The opportunity lies in creating an online marketplace that not only caters to the diverse preferences of Chicago's residents but also fosters a sense of community and engagement specific to each neighborhood.

The Quest for Localized Engagement:

In a city known for its architectural marvels and cultural richness, the quest for localized engagement is paramount. Chicagoans seek an online shopping experience that goes beyond transactions, offering a curated and locally infused journey that aligns with the unique character of each district. From the North Side to the South Loop, an online marketplace has the potential to become a digital counterpart to Chicago's diverse and thriving communities.

Products for Chicago 

Fashion Finds in Wicker Park:

Cater to the trendsetting denizens of Wicker Park with a curated selection that includes local designer apparel, streetwear capturing the neighborhood's eclectic vibe, and accessories reflecting the artistic spirit of this creative enclave.

Wellness and Fitness in Lincoln Park:

Address the wellness needs of Chicagoans in Lincoln Park with offerings such as organic skincare products, health supplements, athleisure wear, and fitness equipment. Virtual wellness classes and personalized fitness programs could enhance the online shopping experience.

Tech Gadgets for the Loop:

In the Loop's central business district, the marketplace must spotlight the latest tech gadgets, wearables, and innovative smart home solutions. Featured products could range from cutting-edge wearables to futuristic home automation devices.

Culinary Delights in West Loop:

Celebrate West Loop's burgeoning culinary scene with a selection of gourmet products. Include artisanal chocolates, specialty coffees, locally sourced ingredients for home cooks, and virtual cooking classes. The marketplace becomes a culinary journey through this food-centric district.

Artistic Home Decor in Pilsen:

Embrace the artistic spirit of Pilsen with a category focused on artistic home decor. Showcase locally crafted artwork, unique furniture pieces from Pilsen-based artisans, and decor accessories that capture the vibrant and cultural essence of the neighborhood.

Outdoor Adventure Gear for Lakeview:

Cater to the outdoor enthusiasts in Lakeview with specialized hiking and adventure gear. Include sportswear designed for urban explorers, eco-friendly outdoor essentials, and gear that resonates with the spirit of exploration in this vibrant district.

Success factors for selling products in Chicago

Local Business Collaboration:

Forge strategic partnerships with iconic boutiques in Wicker Park, onboard diverse businesses from each neighborhood, and initiate collaborative marketing campaigns amplifying the voices of local businesses.

Personalized Shopping Experience:

Implement advanced algorithms for personalized product recommendations, ensure an intuitive and user-friendly interface for seamless navigation, and offer tailored promotions based on individual preferences.

Community Engagement and Local Events:

Host virtual events featuring local influencers and businesses, showcase behind-the-scenes content and stories of Chicago entrepreneurs, and initiate collaborative campaigns supporting community initiatives and causes.

Efficient Logistics and Quick Deliveries:

Establish strategic partnerships with local delivery services for fast and reliable shipping, and implement a responsive and efficient customer support system.

Innovative Marketing Campaigns:

Leverage social media platforms to showcase Chicago-centric products, collaborate with influencers to highlight unique products and experiences, and deploy targeted digital marketing campaigns focused on Chicago neighborhoods.

Adaptability to Cultural Diversity:

Provide multilingual customer support to cater to Chicago's diverse population and curate a product range that reflects the cultural diversity of each district.

Seamless Mobile Experience:

Design a mobile-friendly app for on-the-go shopping and implement mobile payment options for quick and secure transactions.

Agile Inventory Management:

Ensure real-time inventory updates to prevent stockouts and disappointments, and maintain efficient supply chain management to meet the demands of a fast-paced market.

Responsive Social Responsibility Initiatives:

Implement eco-friendly packaging and sustainable practices, and support local charities and community projects through proceeds.

In the sprawling landscape of Chicago, launching an online marketplace isn't just about commerce; it's about curating an experience that resonates with the diverse and dynamic spirit of the city. By showcasing urban essentials across fashion, wellness, tech, and more, this online marketplace connects local businesses with their communities and provides Chicagoans with a personalized, engaging, and locally infused shopping journey. 

Elevate the economic vibrancy of the Windy City by transforming the way residents shop and connect with the unique tapestry of Chicago.

Here’s how to start a marketplace for Chicago

Want to jump into the Chicago marketplace scene? Rapidly launch it on Vendo within weeks, not months. Analyze the harmony between your product catalog strategy and audience needs, fine-tuning customer acquisition methods based on tangible results.

Here’s what you’d be getting with a Vendo free trial:

  • Book a marketplace demo call: We’ll set up your marketplace demo and populate it with products, so you could give it a try and start selling in 14 days
  • Customize your Storefront: Use the drag & drop page builder or custom CSS
  • Onboard Brands: Invite your brands or choose brands from our catalog
  • Select Products: Curate products and collections manually or automate it
  • Embed products: Make your content, newsletters, social media shoppable
  • Get Paid: Get paid as soon as products are shipped by the brands
  • End-to-end automation: brands sync, fulfillment, payouts, invoicing, taxes 


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