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It wasn’t long ago that shopping was an experience that took consumers to malls, shopping centers, big box stores, and specialty boutiques to purchase goods. They could buy anything

from food and personal supplies to gifts and household items locally, including the “Mom and Pop” shop that was the only place that carried a certain unique item. In recent years however, buying
trends have moved online as consumers increasingly turn to online shopping platforms to make purchases. Market research supports this phenomenon, demonstrating how online shopping has exploded in a relatively short amount of time.

● Forrester Research indicates consumers will spend $248.7 billion in 2014, and that figure will grow by 10% per year through 2019.
● Consumers on average will spend $1,738 per year making online purchases by 2016.
● In 2011, 53% of the U.S. population purchased an item online, and that number is expected to reach 56% during 2016.
● A recent survey found that 82% of U.S. customers who made purchases online report being satisfied with the experience, compared to 61% who researched an item online and bought in-store.
These figures are not surprising, considering the ease and convenience of online shopping and the advancements in technology that provide a secure experience for customers. Consumers can make purchases at any time on their own schedules without the hassles of dealing with
parking and traffic. There is literally an infinite number of products and services available for purchase on the web, an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores than can only carry a certain amount of stock.

However, this market trend has a downside for both parties. For small businesses, there is an inherent challenge trying to gain visibility in the extremely crowded world of cyberspace. Even those sellers that do maintain an online presence find it difficult to compete with marketplace giants like Amazon and eBay. In addition, sellers of hardto-find items or those who only operate locally, lack a widespread platform to market them. The smaller regional shops that used to offer
unique goods, antiques, gourmet foods, and specialty items have been forced out by big brand dominance. 

On the buyer side, online shopping eliminates the sense of personalization that many consumers rely upon when shopping. They’re unable to purchase the humorous souvenir T-shirt they loved when on vacation but could not ship home. Specialty foods are another area where Amazon and eBay have failed consumers who need that unique ingredient for a recipe. Certain personal and household items are not available through mainstream stores, leaving buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase high and dry.

The key features of the Soul Marketplace platform are optimized to help sellers and buyers overcome the challenges of transacting business online. The Soul Marketplace solution is designed to be distinct from the major online shopping channels like eBay, Amazon, Overstock and others.
By primarily targeting small business owners without an online presence or those who wish to boost their visibility, the technology offers unique tools and high level features to connect them with a unique niche of buyers. These components provide a channel for sellers that doesn’t
currently exist, making Soul Marketplace both an innovator and pioneer in the online shopping world.

● Shopping at Soul Marketplace offers advantages over the larger bidding or auction sites, where customers might be waiting several days or up to a week to know if they have won a product
they placed a bid on. While Soul Marketplace provides sellers the option to offer negotiable pricing on some or all of their products, it does not have a waiting period; purchases and accepted bids
are immediate. This allows for instant gratification for customers because all transactions are processed immediately and funds are available within a short time to Sellers.   For the full White Paper go to