Case Study
Aug 1, 2023

How to start a marketplace for Columbus

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Columbus, with a population exceeding 900,000 and robust internet accessibility at 93%, stands as a promising market for an online shopping marketplace. The city's dynamic consumer landscape, coupled with a sustained rise in online retail, provides a strategic opportunity to connect local businesses with digitally-engaged Columbus residents. Cue Vendo, your fast track to launching a slick Columbus marketplace in just a few weeks. Here's the rundown.

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 Columbus

Nestled in the heart of Ohio, Columbus beckons entrepreneurs to foster economic growth by reimagining the way the Arch City shops. Beyond its rich history and Midwestern charm, the city provides a unique canvas for launching an online shopping marketplace, connecting local businesses with their communities, and contributing to the economic vibrancy of the Buckeye State.

Heartland Spirit and Diverse Neighborhoods:

Columbus' allure isn't confined to its heartland spirit but extends to a city that seamlessly blends urban innovation with diverse neighborhoods. Within this unique blend lies a consumer group shaped by the city's Midwestern roots and the evolving needs of a dynamic community. Each neighborhood, from German Village to the Short North, contributes to a dynamic market that current online platforms have yet to fully embrace.

Unmet Needs of a Diverse Consumer Group:

From the cultural richness of the University District to the modern appeal of the Arena District, there exists a discerning consumer group in Columbus seeking a more personalized and locally infused online shopping experience. While current platforms offer convenience, they fall short of capturing the diverse tapestry of Columbusites. The opportunity lies in creating an online marketplace that caters not just to the varied preferences of residents but also fosters a sense of community and engagement specific to each neighborhood.

The Quest for Columbus-Infused Innovation:

In a city known for its vibrant arts scene and college town vibe, the quest for localized engagement is paramount. Columbusites are not just seeking products; they are yearning for an online shopping experience that mirrors the city's dynamic spirit. From the historic charm of Clintonville to the bustling energy of Downtown, an online marketplace has the potential to become a digital representation of Columbus' unique blend of heartland spirit and urban innovation.

Products for Columbus

Local Art and Creative Expression:

Embrace the artistic spirit of the Short North with a category focused on local art and creative expression. Spotlight handmade items, unique artworks, and crafts created by local artisans, capturing the diverse and creative essence of this culturally rich neighborhood.

Tech Gadgets for the Innovation Hub:

Cater to the tech-savvy residents in the Arena District with a curated selection of the latest gadgets, smart home solutions, and innovative tech accessories. Reflect the fast-paced and forward-thinking lifestyle of this dynamic and tech-focused neighborhood.

Culinary Delights in German Village:

Celebrate the culinary scene of Columbus with a selection of local foods, specialty ingredients, and culinary gadgets. The marketplace becomes a virtual exploration of the diverse and delicious offerings in this historic and food-loving district.

Fashion with Urban Flair:

In the Downtown neighborhood, spotlight fashion with an urban flair, featuring local designers, unique fashion, and accessories inspired by the region's modern and energetic vibe. Offer products that resonate with the fast-paced and sophisticated tastes of Downtown residents.

Outdoor Gear for Nature Enthusiasts:

Celebrate Columbus' connection to nature with a category focused on outdoor gear. Showcase locally designed hiking equipment, biking essentials, and adventure-ready accessories that align with the city's love for outdoor pursuits.

Local Wellness and Fitness:

Cater to the health-conscious residents in Clintonville with a category focused on local wellness and fitness products. Showcase items such as locally crafted wellness products, fitness equipment, and health-focused accessories that align with the active and health-conscious lifestyle of this neighborhood.

Success factors for selling products in Columbus

Local Business Collaboration:

Forge strategic partnerships with local artists and creative businesses, onboard tech retailers from the Arena District, 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 Cultural Events:

Host virtual events featuring local musicians and artists, showcase behind-the-scenes content and stories of Columbus 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 Columbus-centric products, collaborate with influencers to highlight unique products and experiences, and deploy targeted digital marketing campaigns focused on Columbus neighborhoods.

Adaptability to Diverse Lifestyles:

Curate a product range that aligns with the diverse and dynamic lifestyles of Columbusites, from tech gadgets to fashion with an urban flair that complements the city's unique cultural blend.

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 diverse and dynamically evolving market.

Responsive Social Responsibility Initiatives:

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

In the heart of the Buckeye State, launching an online marketplace in Columbus isn't just about commerce; it's about igniting commerce in the diverse communities and businesses that make up the Arch City. 

By curating a selection of Columbus-inspired essentials across local art, tech gadgets, culinary delights, and more, this online marketplace aims to provide Columbusites with a personalized, engaging, and locally infused shopping journey. In doing so, it contributes to the economic vibrancy of Columbus, transforming the way residents connect with the unique blend of heartland spirit and urban innovation that defines the Heart of Ohio.

Here’s how to start a marketplace for Columbus

If you would like to start a marketplace for Columbus, consider launching it on Vendo within weeks not months, testing the fit between your product catalog strategy and your audience needs, iterating your customer acquisition methods based on real-life 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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