How platforms are transforming the global economy

From marketplaces to software as a service, here’s why this business model is revolutionizing the way the world buys

Every time you use Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Airbnb, you’re using a digital platform to connect with businesses directly to make a purchase. But did you know that platforms like these have become the backbone of commerce across industries? Research from McKinsey & Company shows that emerging digital ecosystems could account for more than 30% of global corporate revenue by 2025.

Whether it’s a software as a service powering a chain of pilates studios or an on-demand platform delivering your favorite takeout, platforms are connecting people and driving customer experiences across every industry and sector. As more customers seek out unique, curated experiences, platforms are the ready answer — helping even the smallest business exponentially increase their ability to reach their audience and tap into innovation.

With so much room for growth, the age of platforms is really just getting started. Here’s how they’re transforming the way the world buys and why businesses who aren’t incorporating platforms into their digital strategies will be left behind.

Platforms are everywhere, doing everything

Every platform is unique. But they share a common goal of providing a turn-key solution to their merchants and building a rich-feature set — making them a one-stop shop for customers. What that looks like in practice varies across industries and business types.

Ebay pioneered the ecommerce marketplace. Apple built an app store around the iPhone. And Uber connected riders directly with drivers. And this doesn’t just apply to tech-first businesses. SaaS platforms like Zenoti are tailored to the spa and wellness industry, helping business owners with daily tasks like:

  • Onboarding new locations quickly and efficiently
  • Managing customer bookings and in-person experience
  • Processing payments securely online, via mobile, or in-store
  • Tracking employees’ time cards and other HR tasks

Platforms come in a wide range of business models

Although marketplaces are the most well-known set up for a platform, it’s not the only way to structure a platform business. In fact, many platforms may not realize they’re operating a platform with massive opportunities before the intricacies of their payments needs arise.

Platforms come in many forms, but can be categorized into three main types:

Three business models of Platforms
  1. Marketplace — a form of ecommerce that connects potential buyers and sellers all in one app to help rent, buy, swap, or negotiate. Examples include Etsy and eBay.
  2. Software as a service — specialized cloud software enabling small and medium-sized businesses. Examples include Wix, Zenoti, and Teesnap.
  3. On-demand platforms — gig economies that connect services with buyers, removing the overhead of running a business. Examples include Postmates and Uber Eats.

Why frictionless payments are crucial for platforms

Fundamentally, platforms exist to facilitate commerce between parties. When payments is native to that experience, it yields less friction for all sides involved. It also positions the platform as an essential service that users can't do business without.

That’s why payments are integral to any platform’s success. For platforms looking to scale to new regions, countries, and markets, a strong payments infrastructure is a must. Global expansion requires a thorough knowledge of local payment methods and channels, which can get overwhelming, fast. It’s critical to simplify the payment tech stack as much as possible — and to choose a payments partner who can support your platform as its payments needs evolve across geographies, payment methods, and changing customer preferences.

Every platform's payments journey is unique

Five different stages of payments

Adyen for Platforms lets businesses achieve their full payments potential

As the platform of choice for the world’s leading brands, Adyen helps businesses such as eBay, Wix, Go Fund Me, and SeatGeek accept payments across channels at scale. Our single global platform simplifies payments, helping platforms stay competitive as they move into new markets and regions.

Platforms payments flow

Our solution enables platforms to onboard sellers, contractors, or businesses as sub-merchants, and accept payments on their behalf. They can also split payments, transfer funds, and pay out to sub-merchants. The platform maintains complete control over the buyer and seller experience, while staying ahead of new regulations and payments trends.

Platforms using Adyen value not only the reach and scale of our solution, but also the flexibility. Thanks to our robust set of APIs, platforms can tailor the experience to their users and own their payments while leveraging Adyen for Platforms in the background.

Why many of the world’s largest platforms choose Adyen for their payments needs:

Reasons to chose Adyen for payments

In a fast-changing world, simplicity is everything

In the platform economy, complexity can’t be totally avoided, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the status quo. From a payments perspective, Adyen for Platforms makes it easier to accept payments in the way that works most flawlessly for you and your merchants.

To learn more about how we can help your platform offer the world's best-in-class payment solution, check out Adyen for Platforms or reach out to our team.


Sign up for the newsletter

By submitting this form, you acknowledge that you have reviewed the terms of our Privacy Statement and consent to the use of data in accordance therewith.


Are you looking for test card numbers?

Would you like to contact support?