Marketspace is a term coined to describe a virtual selling space. Specifically, it refers to all the spaces on the Internet in which a business markets its products or presents them for sale. It can be a single website or a combination of electronic spaces, including digital advertisements, blogs, social networking sites, and formal business websites.
As the purchase activity of individuals and businesses has shifted with the development of online options, so has the terminology used to describe purchase decisions and transactions. The term marketspace is a prime example. It is used to differentiate between actual, physical selling spaces — generally called the marketplace — and virtual, non-physical selling spaces.
The cornerstone of a business' virtual marketspace is usually its company website. This site might be a purely informational site, but often includes an e-commerce component that allows customers to make purchases directly from the site. The site might also contain links to social media sites or other virtual locations. Such sites frequently offer interactive components such as a blog on which customers can comment; a space where customers can exchange information and opinions; and a portal through which customers can sign up for email notifications of sales, coupons, or news.
A marketspace can also include general commerce sites on which many businesses sell or advertise their goods and services. Customers can usually compare prices, research vendors, and place orders online at such sites. Some such sites offer additional benefits such as frequent-purchase reward programs, bulk-buy discounts, or free shipping as well.
Social media sites are another important component in most marketspace plans. Such sites allow businesses to communicate with large numbers of consumers who have already demonstrated an interest in the company and have taken the initiative to open up the lines of communication. It also allows for easy facilitation of contests which may engage customers and potentially provide testimonials that can be used in other marketing initiatives. Communication through social media sites is usually more casual than other types of Internet or traditional communications, allowing customers and potential customers to feel a sense of connection to the business on a personal level.
This term is thought to have evolved in the mid-nineties in response to the increase in electronic purchases. It may first have been used in the Harvard Business review in an article that describes the differing marketing strategies used for virtual selling and brick-and-mortar retailing. While such strategies have evolved over time, most experts still agree that marketing is vastly different in physical marketplaces than in virtual marketspaces.