Case Study
Aug 19, 2023

How to start a marketplace for Hawaii

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Launching a marketplace in Hawaii presents a unique opportunity, given the state's distinctive blend of tourism and local markets. With a population of around 1.4 million people and a GDP of approximately $93 billion, Hawaii offers a specific market niche, especially catering to the tourism industry and the unique needs of the island communities. 

However, existing marketplaces are falling short when it comes to satisfying the demand for top-notch products manufactured and sold by local businesses. With Vendo, kickstart your own Hawaii marketplace in just a few weeks. Here's the scoop.

Don't have a massive six-figure sum to invest upfront and not willing to wait 12-18 months to build from the ground up? Want to dive in, go live, and test the waters in just a few weeks? Entrepreneurs and founders like you see Vendo as the perfect match for their marketplace projects.


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 Hawaii

Hawaii's Economic Landscape: A Business Oasis

Embarking on the journey to start an online shopping marketplace in Hawaii is grounded in the state's unique economic landscape. Hawaii, with its thriving tourism industry and a growing local population, offers an enticing opportunity for entrepreneurs. The economic vibrancy and the continuous influx of tourists create a fertile ground for an online marketplace to thrive. By positioning oneself at the intersection of this growth and the evolving shopping habits of Hawaiians and visitors, entrepreneurs can spearhead a business venture with substantial potential for success.

Untapped Market Potential: Catering to Unmet Needs

Within Hawaii's diverse economy lies an untapped market potential—a consumer group dissatisfied with existing online shopping options. Despite the state's plethora of retail options, there exists a gap waiting to be filled by a centralized online marketplace catering specifically to the preferences of Hawaiians. Entrepreneurs have the chance to address this unmet need, offering a platform that transcends generic offerings to provide a personalized and tailored shopping experience. Recognizing and fulfilling the unique demands of this consumer group positions a marketplace in Hawaii as an essential resource.

Digital Convenience for Hawaiians: Meeting Evolving Expectations

Starting an online marketplace in Hawaii is not just about entering a growing market; it's about providing a solution that brings convenience and variety to the diverse residents and visitors. In a state known for its cultural richness and natural beauty, the marketplace can act as a digital hub, connecting consumers with a diverse range of products that cater to their unique tastes. This amalgamation of growth, unmet needs, and local convenience creates a compelling pitch for entrepreneurs to embark on the journey of establishing an online shopping marketplace in Hawaii.

Hawaii: A growing market with distinctive consumer needs

Economic Growth in Hawaii: Creating a Fertile Ground

Hawaii's economic growth serves as a catalyst for creating a fertile market, attracting both businesses and residents. This economic dynamism positions the state as an opportune ground for entrepreneurs seeking to start an online marketplace. As the population continues to grow, so does the demand for digital retail options. Entrepreneurs can capitalize on this upward trajectory, positioning themselves at the forefront of a market that is evolving in response to changing consumer preferences.

Unsatisfied Customer Group: Identifying the Void

Despite the abundance of retail options in Hawaii, there exists an underserved customer group actively seeking a more centralized and specialized online shopping experience. The absence of a platform tailored to the state's diverse demographics leaves room for entrepreneurs to step in and provide a solution. This unsatisfied customer group is eagerly looking for a digital marketplace that goes beyond generic offerings, presenting a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to shape the digital retail landscape in Hawaii.

Digital Convenience for Hawaiians: A Solution to Evolving Expectations

The need for a comprehensive, accessible, and efficient online shopping experience is evident in Hawaii. Residents, driven by a desire for variety and local convenience, are seeking a platform that offers a diverse array of products while aligning with the lifestyle and culture unique to the state. Understanding and addressing these evolving expectations is key to building a successful online marketplace in Hawaii.

Products for Hawaii

Aloha Apparel:

Connect local fashion designers and boutiques with customers eager to embrace the spirit of Hawaii. From vibrant aloha shirts to accessories inspired by the islands, Hawaii-themed apparel becomes a celebration of the state's unique culture. This not only supports local designers but also stimulates the garment industry, creating jobs and contributing to Hawaii's economic vibrancy.

Island Adventure Gear:
Cater to the adventurers by connecting them with local outdoor gear retailers. From snorkeling and surfing equipment suitable for Hawaii's coastal adventures to hiking and camping gear for exploring the lush landscapes, become a hub for those seeking quality outdoor gear. Supporting local businesses in this category boosts the state's outdoor recreation sector, contributing to economic resilience and job creation.

Local Artisan Crafts:
Highlight the craftsmanship of Hawaii's artisans, offering handmade treasures inspired by the state's natural beauty and diverse traditions. From traditional leis to woodwork reflecting the islands' heritage, each piece tells a story of Hawaii's unique identity. By promoting and selling these artisanal products, the marketplace becomes a platform for cultural expression, sustaining local artists and contributing to the cultural richness of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Culinary Delights:
Facilitate the connection between local food artisans and customers eager to savor the flavors of Hawaii's diverse culinary scene. Monthly subscription boxes featuring locally made macadamia nut treats, pineapple-infused products, and other regional specialties bring the taste of Hawaii's vibrant food culture directly to doorsteps. This not only supports local farmers and producers but also stimulates growth in the state's food industry, creating a ripple effect that benefits the entire community.

Island-Inspired Home Decor:
Feature home decor items inspired by Hawaii's tropical landscapes. From traditional hula decor to items showcasing the vibrant colors of the islands, bring the essence of Hawaii into homes, creating a space that reflects the warmth and beauty of island living. This category becomes a catalyst for the local home goods sector, generating opportunities for businesses and artisans specializing in home decor.

Tech & Innovation in the Tropics:
Highlight the innovation happening in Hawaii's tech sector by offering gadgets, electronics, and smart home devices. Bridge the gap between local tech businesses and customers interested in cutting-edge products developed in the heart of the islands. By showcasing and selling locally developed tech innovations, the marketplace becomes an engine for growth in the technology sector, attracting investment and creating high-tech jobs.

Wellness in the Pacific Breeze:
Bring together local businesses offering natural remedies, wellness supplements, and fitness equipment. This category caters to customers prioritizing a healthy lifestyle in Hawaii's serene and tropical environment while supporting local wellness businesses. The impact is not only on individual health but also on the well-being of the local economy, as wellness-focused businesses flourish and contribute to the state's overall economic vitality.

Hawaii Heritage Arts and Crafts:
Showcase the rich history of Hawaii by featuring traditional art, crafts, and handmade items. Each piece becomes a cultural gem, telling a story of Hawaii's diverse and vibrant heritage. This category serves as a conduit for preserving and promoting cultural traditions, fostering a sense of identity and pride among Hawaiians.

Sunset Photography by the Pacific:
Connect local photographers capturing the breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific with customers seeking stunning visual representations of the state's natural wonders. Become a gallery of Hawaii's iconic landscapes painted in the warm hues of dusk. Supporting local photographers not only preserves the beauty of Hawaii's scenery but also creates economic opportunities within the creative industry.

Sustainable Living in the Islands:
Support local businesses providing eco-friendly products and sustainable living essentials. From reusable items to energy-efficient gadgets, become indispensable for customers looking to embrace a sustainable lifestyle in Hawaii. This category fosters a culture of sustainability, encouraging local businesses to adopt eco-friendly practices and contributing to Hawaii's environmental consciousness.

Local Brews and Spirits:
Feature the craft breweries and distilleries of Hawaii, offering a selection of local beers, spirits, and unique concoctions. This category becomes a celebration of Hawaii's growing craft beverage scene. By promoting and selling local brews, the marketplace becomes a driving force behind the success of Hawaii's craft beverage industry, supporting local breweries and distilleries.

Tropical Living Home Improvement Tools:

From island decor to outdoor furniture, support local hardware stores and businesses in the home improvement sector. It caters to customers looking to enhance their tropical homes while contributing to Hawaii's local economy. The impact is not only on individual households but also on the prosperity of local businesses, promoting economic sustainability and job creation in the home improvement sector.

Success factors for selling products in Hawaii:

Seamless Technology: Elevating the User Experience

Investing in robust e-commerce technology is critical for success in Hawaii's online marketplace. A user-friendly platform that ensures seamless navigation and a hassle-free shopping experience is essential to meet and exceed customer expectations. By prioritizing technological advancements, entrepreneurs can foster loyalty and encourage repeat business in Hawaii's competitive digital retail landscape.

Local Partnerships: Enhancing Product Offerings

Collaborating with regional artisans, craftsmen, and businesses is a pivotal success factor for an online marketplace in Hawaii. Establishing local partnerships not only enhances the product offerings but also strengthens community ties. Featuring locally sourced goods and unique items crafted by Hawaiians adds an authentic touch to the marketplace, creating a connection with the local community.

Responsive Customer Service: Prioritizing Consumer Satisfaction

Responsive and customer-centric service is non-negotiable for success in Hawaii's online marketplace. Hawaiians value personalized interactions, and an online platform that prioritizes customer satisfaction through prompt communication, efficient dispute resolution, and tailored recommendations stands to gain a significant competitive edge. By placing customers at the center of the business, entrepreneurs can build trust and loyalty in the local market.

Pitch for Starting a Marketplace in Hawaii: A Unique Opportunity

Embarking on the journey to start an online shopping marketplace in Hawaii is not just a business venture; it's a unique opportunity to shape and influence the digital retail landscape in a state experiencing dynamic growth. With a burgeoning market, an underserved customer group, and distinct product preferences, Hawaii presents an open canvas for entrepreneurs to create a platform that resonates with the local community and attracts visitors. By embracing local craftsmanship, meeting lifestyle needs, and employing key success factors like seamless technology and responsive customer service, launching a marketplace in Hawaii becomes an exciting venture with the potential for significant growth.

Starting an online shopping marketplace in Hawaii provides entrepreneurs with a strategic entry point into a thriving market. By understanding the unique needs of Hawaii, curating niche product offerings, and implementing key success factors, entrepreneurs can position themselves for success. The potential for growth, combined with a focus on community engagement and local authenticity, makes starting a marketplace in Hawaii a rewarding venture in the dynamic landscape of digital retail.

Here’s how to start a marketplace for Hawaii

Exploring the idea of a Hawaii marketplace? Launch it on Vendo within weeks, not months. Assess the correlation between your product catalog strategy and audience needs, adapting customer acquisition methods based on tangible outcomes.

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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