Oct 26, 2023

How to start a successful fashion marketplace with tens of Shopify apparel, shoes, bags, jewelry, glasses brands

Written by
Anna Ambroszkiewicz

Here's how to start and run a successful fashion marketplace with Vendo automating seller onboarding from Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento, empowering you to curate your ever-changing product catalog, ensuring a delightful shopping experience, and building customer loyalty to your marketplace brand. Discover the latest fashion marketplace trends, capitalize on consumer shopping habits, and follow in the footsteps of successful fashion marketplace businesses with Vendo.


Fashion is a top online shopping category

The fashion industry is one of the biggest industries in the world, with a global market value of $759.5 billion in 2021. This industry comprises apparel, accessories, and footwear, and it is currently the number one eCommerce sector in terms of online sales. Over the next five years, online fashion’s growth rate will exceed 7%, reaching $1 trillion by 2025, making fashion eCommerce a very attractive category to start an online marketplace.

There are several reasons why launching a fashion marketplace business is a good idea:

  • the online fashion industry is growing at a rapid pace
  • lots of emerging brands, so there is a broad choice of suppliers for your marketplace
  • fashion marketplaces offer an excellent opportunity to reach a global audience as fashion is a universal feel-good language
  • fashion marketplaces are a great way to connect with small niche fashion brands and retailers
Ecommerce Fashion Industry Market Value and Growth Worldwide
"We had expected that the whole fashion industry would not get back to 2019 levels until the end of 2022. And we already achieved that at the end of 2021." - Achim Berg, McKinsey senior partner

A fashion marketplace is always in fashion!

The online marketplace business model, where several vendors provide their products to online shoppers on one touch point, has experienced considerable increases in the last few years. In 2020, the top digital marketplaces' revenues increased by 29% in response to the pandemic. Why does this increase occur? Since marketplaces are a convenient and quick method of shopping, users can easily find, compare and purchase products of a variety of brands.

Best-selling fashion product categories

The three major and fastest growing fashion segments are:

  • Apparel
  • Footwear
  • Bags & Accessories

The biggest markets for selling fashion products

The top five countries by fashion market revenue:

  1. China: $284.3B
  2. United States: $126.5B
  3. United Kingdom: $32.5B
  4. Japan: $23.9B
  5. Germany: $22.5B
Global revenue in the fashion market

However, US consumers outspend their Chinese and European counterparts when it comes to average revenue per user (ARPU), and that gap is expected to widen substantially.

US Ecommerce Sales in the Apparel and Accessories Market


Fashion trends - opportunities and challenges for the industry

Fashion is one of the most dynamic and ever-changing industries in the world. Every season, new trends emerge, and old ones fade away, making it both an exciting and challenging industry to be a part of.

According to McKinsey, eCommerce and sustainability will offer the fashion industry the most growth potential.

More fashion trends that may affect fashion businesses:

Slow fashion

Slow fashion is a movement in the fashion industry that encourages slower production cycles, emphasizing quality over quantity. It's a response to the fast fashion model, which is based on the rapid mass production of cheap clothing to keep up with the latest trends.

The slow fashion movement has gained traction in recent years as consumers have become more aware of the environmental and social impacts of fast fashion. Slow fashion brands are often more sustainable and ethical, using environmentally-friendly materials and fair labor practices.

Some popular slow fashion brands include Everlane, Reformation, and Base London. However, there are many small niche brands that are also part of the slow fashion movement.


Consumers are becoming more and more interested in buying clothes that are specifically designed for them, rather than mass-produced items that everyone else is wearing.

Preowned fashion

Preowned fashion sites allow shoppers to buy and sell used clothing, shoes, and accessories. These sites have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with many major retailers getting in on the action. Some of the most popular preowned fashion sites include thredUP, Poshmark, and Tradesy. These sites offer a wide variety of lightly used clothing and accessories from top brands at a fraction of the retail price.


Inclusivity is a big trend in fashion ecommerce right now. A lot of brands are starting to focus on size inclusivity, offering more plus-size options, and extended size ranges. In addition to size inclusivity, brands are also becoming more inclusive of different body types, genders, and skin tones. This is a welcome change for many shoppers who feel like they haven't been represented in the fashion industry in the past.

Time efficiency

Consumers want to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. They also want to be able to compare prices and styles from different retailers before making a purchase. Multi-brand online stores are one of the best ways to provide time efficiency for consumers. These stores offer a wide variety of products from different brands, all in one place. This makes it easy for shoppers to compare prices and styles, and find the perfect item for their needs.


The minimalism trend in fashion ecommerce is all about selling less, but better. It's about quality over quantity, and selling products that are made to last. This trend is driven by a growing awareness of the environmental impact of the fashion industry, as well as a desire for more sustainable, ethical fashion.

A capsule wardrobe is a perfect example of the minimalism trend in action. It is a small collection of high-quality, versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a range of different looks. This type of wardrobe is perfect for someone who wants to reduce their fashion footprint, and only buy what they need.

Social responsibility

Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact their purchase has on the environment and they want to buy from brands that share their values.

There are a few ways you can make your fashion marketplace business more socially responsible:

  • Use sustainable materials: Choose eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, bamboo, or recycled polyester for your products.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: Look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint throughout your supply chain, from manufacturing to shipping.
  • Give back to the community: Donate a portion of your proceeds to charity or partner with an organization that supports a cause you care about.


This trend has been around since the beginning of the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. It combines athletic wear with everyday clothing, like yoga pants and sneakers. Athleisure is popular because it's comfortable and can be worn both inside and outside of the gym.

What else is trending in the fashion marketplace space?

Leveraging content to attract customers

Insightful fashion blog posts could surely spark up the online fashion industry's fire. Blogs provide you with a great way to connect with people and influence them to buy certain products. If you're a blogger who is interested in starting an online store, launching a fashion marketplace is a great option. With a wide variety of product categories and trends to choose from, you can create a successful business in the world of fashion ecommerce.

Niche fashion brands are on the rise

These small brands are often unable to compete with the marketing budgets of larger brands, but they can reach a wider audience by selling on marketplaces.

Top online fashion marketplaces


Launched in 2008, Farfetch is a leading online marketplace for luxury fashion, connecting customers with the world’s best independent boutiques and brands. The platform offers a unique and convenient shopping experience, with a wide range of products from over 700 boutiques and 2000 brands across the globe.


Net-a-porter is an online fashion marketplace that was launched in 2000. The company is headquartered in London and has offices in New York, Paris, Milan, and Hong Kong. Net-a-porter sells both designer and non-designer fashion products for women. The company's magazine, Porter, features fashion articles and celebrity interviews.


Asos is a British online fashion and beauty retailer. The company was founded in 2000 and has since grown to become one of the largest online retailers in the world. Asos sells over 850 brands as well as its own-label products and offers a variety of delivery options to suit different customer needs.


Poshmark is a fashion marketplace that allows users to buy and sell new or used clothing and accessories. The company was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California. Poshmark is popular among millennials and Gen Zers who are looking for affordable fashion options. The average Poshmark user is between the ages of 18 and 44.


Zalando is a fashion marketplace launched in 2008 and headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company has over 30 million active customers and operates in 15 European countries. Zalando offers a wide range of products, including clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children. It also has a Plus size collection and a beauty section.


Garmentory is one of the leading fashion marketplaces, focusing on independent and emerging designers. Based in Portland, Oregon, Garmentory has been operational since 2010 and currently has over 700 brands on its platform. One of the reasons why Garmentory is so successful is because it carefully curates the brands that are featured on its platform. This ensures that shoppers only see products from high-quality brands that they will actually be interested in.

Not Just A Label

Not Just A Label is the world's largest online platform for fashion creatives. They are the global authority on independent fashion with over one million members in over 190 countries. Its mission is to democratize fashion and allow everyone to participate in the global fashion conversation. By providing a space for emerging talent to share their stories, they hope to inspire positive change in the industry.

Why are online fashion marketplaces so successful?

In recent years, there has been a shift in the way that people shop for fashion. Consumers are increasingly turning to online marketplaces to find unique and individual items. This is partly due to the increasing popularity of social media, which has made it easy for people to discover new brands and products.

There are a few key reasons why fashion marketplaces are winning the eCommerce game:

  • Customer convenience
  • Marketplaces offer a wide variety of products from different brands, making it easy for shoppers to find what they're looking for.
  • Lower marketing and customer acquisition costs
  • Marketplaces help brands move huge volumes of inventory and gain brand exposure. They also provide a convenient platform for small niche brands to reach a wider audience.
  • More sales and higher revenue
  • Marketplaces provide many upselling and cross-selling options that boost sales and revenue.

How to start your own fashion marketplace?

There is a market-proven, holistic online strategy on how to start and run a successful online marketplace on the Vendo marketplace platform with fashion oriented products in this increasingly crowded space:

  1. Select a target consumer base you know and understand - Vendo will further provide you priceless consumer insights and will allow you to keep your consumers engaged
  2. Become an authority on a cross-section of above mentioned needs, trends, and tools in your social media and content supporting your marketplace marketing efforts - that will give you a competitive edge with your target audience and the fashion vendors you'll be onboarding onto your Vendo-powered marketplace
  3. Combine content, such as personal health advice, with commerce through curated product selection and product recommendations for more personalization - Vendo will support you in your efforts with its powerful admin dashboard
  4. Combine products into sets, collections, bundles that go well together and help your customers solve their problems, such as a selection of beach essentials, a pair of sneakers with shoe care products, or mix-matched outfits that come at slightly discounted prices compared to buying each item separately.
  5. Leverage your superpower of being able to recommend and combine products from multiple brands, including luxury brands, and across multiple product categories - as a marketplace owner aggregating multiple brands and categories, only you have that power
  6. Save your customers' time and effort with your advice, product recommendations and product bundles - this is the greatest value you may provide as a marketplace owner
  7. Collect and present social proof from your users to boost their morale, brand loyalty, and turn them into your marketplace ambassadors, not just customers - sending them a personal thank-you note goes a long way!

Top 6 key features that a marketplace in online fashion needs to have to win

  1. A Wide Selection of Products: Consumers want choice. In fact, 61% of them said they would leave a marketplace that didn’t have a wide selection of product. So, it’s important to offer a wide range of products from different brands to meet the needs and wants of your target market. As a marketplace owner you have a unique opportunity to your customers what they crave - more choice, more brands, more new arrivals.
  2. Easy-to-use Search and Filtering Options: Once you have a wide selection of products, you need to make it easy for consumers to find what they’re looking for. That’s where search and filtering options come in. Your marketplace should have an intuitive search function as well as filters that allow consumers to narrow down their options by price, type, brand, etc. Vendo allows your customers to filter thousands of products and discover exactly what they need.
  3. A Simple and Intuitive Checkout Process: The checkout process is one of the most important parts of the customer journey. It’s also one of the most commonly cited pain points. In fact, abandoned carts are a big problem in eCommerce, with the average rate sitting at 69.57%. To combat this, you need to make sure your checkout process is as simple and intuitive as possible. Use Vendo and Klaviyo integration for abandoned cart emails.
  4. Competitive Prices: Consumers are price-sensitive, so it’s important to offer competitive prices on the products in your marketplace. That said, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for price. Instead, focus on offering a mix of high-quality and affordable products to appeal to a wider range of consumers. Or compete with promotions and free shipping - both highly configurable with Vendo.
  5. Excellent Customer Service: Last but not least, excellent customer service is essential for any successful online business. Your marketplace should have a dedicated customer service team that is available to answer questions and resolve issues in a timely and efficient manner. Vendo integrates with Zendesk.
  6. Wishlists: Wishlists are additional UX features that can make the shopping experience more pleasant and interesting. In industries like fashion, it is a feature that users even expect to appear on an eCommerce website.

Start a fashion marketplace to help your customers find their perfect outfits for every occasion. Leverage the trends of inclusivity, personalization or sustainability, and social responsibility. There are so many angles to make your marketplace stand out. Vendo will support you with marketplace automation to grow your business.


Start a multi-vendor marketplace
Written by
Anna Ambroszkiewicz
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