eCommerce Aggregator: What is it and How to Develop it?

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Olga Demidenko
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Aug 25, 2021

If you struggle to sell services or goods in a tightly packed niche, why not sell them along with close competitors under one umbrella? Sounds controversial, yet this is what the online eCommerce aggregator concept is about. This article reveals such a platform’s peculiarities and describes custom eCommerce development in that sphere. 

What is an Aggregator Model in eСommerce?

An eCommerce aggregator is a website or application that aggregates (hence the name) or organizes multiple offers from competing companies and sells them to consumers in one place. The aggregator creates a partnership and signs a contract with the chosen businesses so that a consolidated offering operates under one brand. 

Aggregators earn profit by attracting more customers to use their platform to access those services under standardized pricing. Usually, they include domain expertise in business infrastructure and marketing aspects. And when partners get their customers, the aggregator platform earns commissions from the sale of their goods and services.

How does aggregator business model work? In most cases, the partners quote a minimum price for their products. The aggregator then quotes the final price to the end-user on the platform. As a result, end-users have a large selection of quality offers in one place and can quickly navigate to a product at the best price:

eCommerce Aggregator

What is the Value for Each Party?

  1. For buyers or end-users.
    There is simply no way without aggregators in some areas because there are too many similar products on the market and a person cannot independently collect and analyze offers. Take, for example, numerous offers for babysitting, tutoring, carrier services, taxis, and so on. Therefore, a user has to choose between similar offers and compare prices, ratings, and reviews. 

    Instead, they can rely on a convenient service that has already done the dirty work and consolidated relevant offerings at reasonable prices. The interface is familiar and understandable, and the aggregator site is responsible for the primary selection of quality, which is rather convenient on the end-user’s side.
  2. For partners.
    Since business partners provide goods and services under a unified brand, they don’t have to invest in marketing and business development. Instead, they delegate this task to the eCommerce aggregator, which has more relevant traffic and paying customers than a single online store. First, it puts enormous sums of money into the promotion of its brand. Second, eCommerce aggregators have always been beloved platforms among search engines. 

    In this business model, partners can reduce their expenditures by paying a percentage of their transactions only when they sell an item on this platform. This and other features make the eCom aggregator business model similar to that of a marketplace. However, these are two different platforms that have a distinct borderline. So, without further ado, let’s clear up their standard features and differences.

Aggregator vs. Marketplace: What Unites them?

  • Both the platforms bring together buyers and sellers in a familiar environment and facilitate transactions between them.  
  • They share no responsibility for the production phase of business offerings. Neither do they have any manufacturing structure or warehouse.
  • The area of responsibility lies in sales, marketing, and customer experience.

Marketplace Model vs Aggregator Model:
What Sets Them Apart?

  1. Brand.
    As we already mentioned, aggregators accumulate a portfolio of small businesses or individuals selling various goods or services and unite them under a common name. In this case, the aggregator is responsible for brand-building and business development. Think about Airbnb for hotels or Uber for taxis. These eCom aggregators amalgamate plenty of business providers and put only their name in the offering.

    While with marketplaces, products and services are represented under multiple brands, which don’t belong to the marketplace. For example, Amazon has a powerful brand, yet multiple businesses can sell their items with their name.
  2. Partnership model.
    An aggregator in eCommerce provides a setup where each partner has the freedom and flexibility to accept or reject a service offer. Moreover, these businesses don’t get employed by the aggregator’s company. Instead, they sign a contract that defines the terms of their cooperation, commission, quality requirements, etc.

    A marketplace serves as a middleman between buyers and sellers, which earns a commission for each transaction on the platform. Its partnership model presupposes that each of multiple businesses is responsible for the quality and fulfillment of the products or services.
  3. Quality.
    Aggregators strive to remove quality gaps from their offering as they need to establish trust with their brand. Therefore, they usually invest in proper quality assurance and have dedicated teams focused on maintaining a standardized product portfolio. 

    The quality of similar products or services may vary with a marketplace since it is not the area of its responsibility. Each vendor on the platform needs to satisfy the terms and conditions of their offering and ensure its quality.
  4. Pricing.
    It is unusual to expect large gaps in price ranges when browsing through eCommerce aggregators. Like with quality, these platforms strive to achieve equal values throughout their offering. Such terms are strictly defined prior to signing a contract between the two parties.

    By this point, you’ve probably guessed that marketplaces offer a wide price range for their products. Different sellers put a different number in a price tag as they have more freedom under the contract.

We’ve put a list of the above differences for a quick reference below:

BenchmarkAggregatorsMarketplaces
BrandDifferent vendors under one umbrella brandMultiple brands
Partnership ModelNo touchpoints between buyers and sellers. Tight control over the transactionsA middleman between buyers and sellers
QualityStandardizedMay vary significantly
PricingStandardizedMay vary significantly
CommissionPaid from each transactionPaid from each transaction

Now let’s put the aggregator vs. marketplace battle aside and focus on the primary area of our interest. In theory, it is possible to create an eCommerce aggregator in any niche since this business model attracts target customers and converts them. However, popular areas are more likely to attract investment capital and succeed in the market.

Popular Industries for Aggregators

Food Delivery Aggregators

This type of business focuses on the on-demand delivery of meals from different restaurants. In short, a customer can place an order for the desired meal and save time on searching for the best offer. An aggregator, in turn, acts as an intermediary between a consumer and a restaurant, enabling users to compare prices, reviews, and meals on a single platform. 

How do food aggregators work? The website or app collects the received orders and matches them with pre-organized service providers. Thus, food delivery aggregators need to support two user roles: consumers and restaurants. Most aggregators can display a local restaurant to users in their area and take commissions for each order that passes through their system.

Some of the biggest food delivery aggregators have earned recognition worldwide and expanded their offers to other countries and continents. Among them are GrubHub, Zomato, FoodPanda, Just Eat, Doordash, etc.

Food Delivery Aggregators Examples

Hotel Aggregators

Hotel aggregators partner with different hoteliers to access their properties and manage their operational and marketing aspects. They introduce a standardized set of offerings for customers, which helps to streamline the flow of bookings and ensure fixed monthly revenue for property owners. Such platforms encompass guest and landlord features, as well as an admin panel with apartment management modules. 

Here are the major players in the niche:

  • Agoda
  • OYO
  • Airbnb
  • Goibibo

Shipping Aggregators for eCom Stores

These platforms provide a place for online sellers to tie up with numerous courier partners for immediate needs. Whether it is an abrupt spike in Cyber Monday sales or the urge to reduce transportation costs, eCom shipping aggregators can serve those needs and provide the convenience and efficiency of tech-enabled services. 

Shiprocket aggregates multiple logistics providers and uses technology to deliver the most optimal rates for online businesses. It provides a comprehensive dashboard with detailed tracking information for vendors and end-consumers. As one of the most renowned players in the industry with the cheapest rates, Shiprocket serves clients in 200+ countries.

Taxi Booking Aggregators

These platforms provide on-demand taxi services for passengers by aggregating private drivers, individual entrepreneurs, or taxi operators. When a user creates an order, the system helps find the most optimal route and a suitable cab, track its movement, and charge for the service, excluding the driver’s commission. 

A taxi aggregator like Uber or Lyft consists of panels for drivers, passengers, and administrators. These industry leaders also provide advanced features such as multiple payment gateways or in-app analytics.

No eCommerce aggregator is the same when it comes to a set of features behind the scene. However, if you are looking to get the ball rolling and want to enter the market, you need to know the prospective solution’s architecture and features. Let's study it on the example of a taxi aggregator platform.

Thanks to taxi booking apps like Uber, it’s become easier to create an aggregator app since the company disclosed its API to the developer community.

As an experienced eCommerce development company, Geomotiv can create software that can fully correspond to your requirements and streamline your time-to-market.

Key Features of a Taxi Booking App

Although each project is unique and has specific requirements, certain components should be included in the solution by default. Here’s what we can fit, based on the prospective solution.

Passenger Panel:

  • Register or Login
  • Home Screen
  • Driver Rating
  • Payment
  • Push Notifications and Messaging
  • Ride History
  • Real-Time Map Plotting
  • Schedule Ride

Driver Panel:

  • Driver Status and profile
  • Ride Alert
  • Navigation
  • Reports

Admin Panel:

  • Dashboard
  • Payroll
  • Driver management
  • Partner management
  • Vehicle management
  • App settings

Advanced features:

FeatureDescription
Bill splittingAn option to split the bill between 2+ passengers
Favorite driverAn option to book a particular driver for future rides
Free in-app callsA passenger can call a driver after booking a ride
Vehicle selectionA user can select a preferred cab
Voice recognitionAn option to book a taxi using voice commands
WaitlistEnables to book a ride automatically when the vehicle is available
DiscountsSupport for latest discount codes
Heat MapsDisplays the busiest time per location
Geolocation tracking and routing24/7 vehicle tracking
CommunicationSupport for push notifications, calls, SMS, and chat
Payment integrationIntegration with Braintree, Stripe, and PayPal Mobile SDK for payment or Apple Pay for iOS devices
Real-time data analyticsSupport for dynamic pricing, charging extra costs for exceptional service

Now that you know what features to add to an online eСommerce aggregator for booking taxis, it is time to discuss its typical cost breakdown. It may vary depending on the functionality, development timeline, and team size required to complete the project.

The Cost to Develop a Custom eCommerce Aggregator

First of all, it is vital to define which feature set is included in the software. Its complexity will have an impact on the time required to complete the development:

Basic ComplexityMiddle ComplexityHigh Complexity
$90K$130K$180K
Core feature set,
Passengers:
- Signup
- Tracking
- Ordering
- Choosing vehicle type
Basic feature set, plus
Passengers:
- Booking history
- Ratings
- Feedback
Middle feature set, plus
Passengers:
- Multiple payment options
- Live tracking
- Ride Scheduling
- Multiple pick-up/drop-in points
- Automatic payment
Drivers: 
- Registration
- Approving by admin
- Selecting an order from the list
Drivers:
- Order status
- Client status
- Booking history
Drivers:
- Relevant orders 
- Accept/Deny order
- Changing a vehicle

Here’s what services will be included in the price for developing an eCommerce aggregator:

  • Business analysis. Our BA collects all requirements and works out a detailed project specification. Based on the collected data, our specialist makes a total project estimate.
  • UI/UX design. At this stage, our UI/UX designers make wireframes screen-by-screen and create their mockups. 
  • Development. Our developers transform the mockups into applications including mobile app development (Android, iOS, or both), app back-end development, and admin panel development.
  • QA engineering. Our QA engineers ensure that the software works as intended and meets tech specification requirements. 
  • Project Management. Our specialist is responsible for managing schedules and resources to complete the project on time and within budget.
  • Maintenance. In most cases, the cooperation doesn’t end on the project’s completion. Our team can support the solution by adding new features and maintain the product based on the feedback.

Takeaways

If you want to start an eCommerce business and make a disruption, consider building an aggregator website or application. It works best at drawing a large consumer base to an easy-to-use, user-friendly, and convenient shopping venue with a vast range of product and service options. 

However, it is hard to imagine launching an eCommerce aggregator without an experienced eCom development partner like Geomotiv. We can help build an aggregator platform from scratch and add custom features tailored to your specific requirements. Our team will be glad to answer any questions concerning your project - just contact us to learn more.

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