Case Study
Dec 30, 2023

The Exchange eCommerce Case Study and How to Start a Look-Alike Marketplace

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The Exchange is a retail store that offers a variety of products, including electronics, clothing, and household goods, primarily serving military personnel and their families. If you're thinking of starting a look-alike eCommerce business with a cool marketplace twist, Vendo is your go-to. It simplifies everything, so you can easily start selling a whole bunch of exceptional products from various brands in no time.

Vendo streamlines the procedure of establishing a thriving eCommerce marketplace, granting access to an extensive array of products from domestic brands. With Vendo handling inventory and shipping logistics, you can channel your energies into delivering exceptional customer service, efficiently launching and managing your marketplace, all while keeping your main focus on what genuinely matters – your customers.


Vendo is also 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.   

The Exchange Ecommerce Success Tale

Introduction to The Army & Air Force Exchange Service
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, known as The Exchange, is a unique and vital retail organization dedicated to serving the U.S. military community. With a venerable history extending over 117 years, The Exchange ranks as the 43rd largest retail operation in the United States. Its significant annual revenue of $10.3 billion is a testament to its scale and impact. Employing over 40,622 civilian and military personnel, The Exchange operates an extensive network of retail and convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters, and more. These facilities are strategically located on military installations across all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and over 30 countries, ensuring that service members and their families have access to a wide range of products and services, no matter where they are stationed.

The Exchange's Ecommerce Triumph

  • Global Reach: The Exchange's e-commerce platform extends its retail offerings globally, allowing military personnel and their families to shop online and receive goods, even when stationed overseas.
  • Dedicated Service: The online services are tailored specifically for the military community, with a focus on providing convenience, quality, and value, reflecting The Exchange's commitment to enhancing the value of the Exchange benefit.

Top-Selling Product Categories and Examples

Military Essentials:
Recognizing the unique needs of its clientele, The Exchange offers a specialized selection of military-specific products.

  1. Uniforms & Tactical Gear: From official uniforms to tactical equipment, these essentials are designed to meet the rigorous standards and specific needs of military life.
  2. Military-Grade Equipment: Durable and reliable gear that supports service members in various operational environments.

Electronics and Gadgets:
Staying connected and equipped is crucial for service members and their families, and The Exchange offers a wide range of modern electronics.

  1. Electronics: A variety of high-quality electronic products, including laptops, tablets, and audio equipment.
  2. Smartphones & Gaming Consoles: Latest models of smartphones and gaming consoles to stay connected and entertained during off-duty hours.

Apparel and Footwear:
The Exchange provides a comprehensive collection of clothing and shoes suitable for both service members and their families.

  1. Clothing: Diverse apparel options ranging from casual wear to more formal attire, catering to the entire family.
  2. Shoes & Accessories: Quality footwear for various activities and stylish accessories to complement any outfit.

Home and Living:
Understanding the importance of a comfortable living space, The Exchange offers a range of products to enhance the quality of life for military families.

  1. Furniture & Appliances: Everything needed to furnish and maintain a comfortable and functional living space, from sofas to refrigerators.
  2. Home Decor & Kitchen Essentials: Decorative items to personalize living spaces and kitchenware to facilitate meal preparation and dining.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is more than just a retailer; it's an integral part of the military community, providing essential goods and services that support the unique lifestyle of service members and their families. With its extensive range of products, global reach, and a steadfast commitment to serving those who serve, The Exchange continues to play a crucial role in enhancing the lives of military personnel worldwide. 

As it evolves and adapts to meet the changing needs of its valued customers, The Exchange remains dedicated to its mission of offering quality, value, and convenience, reinforcing its status as a trusted and indispensable resource for the military community.

Key Success Factors for Your Ecommerce Business

  1. Commitment to Community: Demonstrate a deep commitment to your target audience or community.
  2. Longevity and Trust: Build trust by having a longstanding presence and delivering on promises.
  3. Diverse Product Range: Offer a wide selection of products catering to specific customer needs.
  4. Multi-Channel Presence: Operate through various channels, including physical stores and online platforms.
  5. Customer Support: Prioritize responsive and helpful customer service.
  6. Competitive Pricing: Ensure competitive pricing and exclusive deals to attract and retain customers.
  7. Global Reach: Expand your reach to serve a broader customer base across different locations.
  8. Digital Innovation: Embrace technological advancements and adapt to changing customer preferences.
  9. Logistics Excellence: Efficiently manage inventory and shipping logistics for timely deliveries.
  10. Military Partnerships: Collaborate with military organizations or similar entities to enhance credibility.

By incorporating these success factors, you can enhance your chances of replicating The Exchange's ecommerce success while tailoring them to fit your unique business and industry.

Get started with a look-alike marketplace like The Exchange on Vendo!


  • Book a demo call: We’ll set you up with a demo marketplace 
  • Customize your Storefront: We’ll help you craft an on-brand shopping UX 
  • Onboard Brands: Pick from the Vendo brand catalog. Or invite your own.
  • Select Products: Curate product collections manually or automate it.
  • Embed products: Make your editorial content and newsletters shoppable 
  • Get Paid: Get paid as soon as products are shipped by the brands. 
  • Get Repeat Sales: Keep your customer relationship, emails, order history


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