Case Study
Oct 10, 2023

REI multi-vendor marketplace success

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REI, or Recreational Equipment, Inc., is an online marketplace that caters to outdoor enthusiasts. It's a one-stop shop for all things outdoors, offering gear, clothing, and equipment for activities like hiking, camping, and biking.

With Vendo, initiating your very own multi-vendor marketplace becomes a more affordable and straightforward endeavor than ever before. You can commence selling products from a multitude of vendors and go live within a matter of days, all while sidestepping the complexities of inventory management and shipping.

Vendo operates within a streamlined dropshipping framework, thus alleviating you of the intricate logistics, enabling you to direct your efforts towards the growth of your marketplace.


Origins and History

REI didn't start as a digital powerhouse. It began in 1938 when a group of mountaineers decided to share their love for the great outdoors. Originally, it was a small co-op with just 23 members. They sold used gear from their garage, and little did they know, this humble beginning would grow into something much bigger.

Growth and Today

Over the years, REI grew like a sapling in a rainforest. They expanded from that garage sale setup to multiple brick-and-mortar stores across the United States. But what really set them on the map was their venture into the online world. In the age of the internet, REI established itself as a dominant player, offering a vast selection of high-quality outdoor products. Today, they boast millions of customers and a robust online presence.

Success Ingredients

What's the secret sauce behind REI's success as an online marketplace?

Customer-Centric Approach

REI understands its audience. They're outdoor enthusiasts themselves, so they know what their customers need. They provide detailed product information, reviews, and expert advice to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Quality Assurance

REI doesn't compromise on quality. They stock renowned brands and rigorously test their products. Shoppers trust REI to provide durable and reliable gear.

Membership Perks

Their co-op membership program is a winner. It offers dividends, exclusive sales, and a sense of community for members. It's not just a store; it's a club for outdoor lovers.


REI is committed to preserving the environment. They promote sustainable practices and offer eco-friendly products, appealing to socially conscious consumers.

Replicating REI's Success

Want to build a successful online marketplace like REI? Here are some practical steps:

Know Your Niche

Find your passion and focus on a specific niche. REI's niche is outdoor gear, and they dominate it.

Quality Over Quantity

Prioritize quality products and reliable brands. Your reputation depends on it.

Customer Engagement

Engage with your customers, offer exceptional customer service, and create a community around your marketplace.

Leverage Technology

Embrace e-commerce tools and platforms to streamline your operations and make online shopping a breeze.

Sustainability Matters

Consider sustainability and ethical practices in your business model. It's not just about profit; it's about the planet.

In conclusion, REI's journey from a small co-op to a thriving online marketplace offers valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. By staying true to their passion, focusing on quality, and putting customers first, they've become an outdoor enthusiast's go-to destination. Follow their lead, and you might just build the next big thing in your niche.

Get started with a marketplace like REI on Vendo!

How to quickly start your own multi-vendor marketplace on Vendo and go live in just a few days

  1. Sign Up and Start a Free Trial: Begin by signing up for Vendo's free trial to explore its features and capabilities.
  2. Configure a Storefront: Create a storefront that aligns with your brand identity, ensuring a cohesive and on-brand appearance.
  3. Onboard Brands: Invite your preferred brands or choose from Vendo's brand catalog to enrich your product offerings.
  4. Select Products: Curate product collections manually or automate the process to efficiently manage your catalog and meet customer demands.
  5. Start Selling: Link to your marketplace on your website, share it on social media, and include it in your newsletters to reach a broader audience.
  6. Get Paid Quickly: Get paid as soon as products are shipped by the vendors.


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