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The resource that maps the structure of an organization’s business model

The concept of market within Commerce Layer is the result of the struggle to describe all possible business models with a single term (and somehow merge them into a single resource). In this sense, a Commerce Layer’s Market can be seen as the Unique Sale touchpoint.

A market consists of:

  • a name (the internal identifier for this resource within your Organization)

three main elements:

  • one Merchant (the resource associated to the tax representative that gets paid),
  • one Inventory Model (the resource that determines SKU availabilities)
  • one Price List (the resource that assigns prices to SKUs).

If you need to, you can configure for your Market also:

These are two external services. The former provides your Market with an automatic calculation of the sales taxes. The latter helps you geolocate and somehow validate the shipping and billing addresses. When creating a market within Commerce Layer, the configuration of these two tools is optional. Leave them blank if you don’t want - respectively - taxes to be calculated and/or addresses geocoded.

The market touches several essential parts of the definition of your selling channels:

  • the corporate structure and fiscal representative of your company,
  • the niche of customers you want your online business to engage with,
  • your logistical solutions and decisions.

This is the reason why understanding the concept of Market is key to properly set up your Commerce Layer’s Organization. Because the Market is the resource that determines - on the basis of your business model - the way you sell. Moreover, all the three main elements that make up your Market help to:

  • define who (the merchant) is selling,
  • how (basically to whom - the price list)
  • where (actually from where - the inventory Model) you’re selling.

Last (but not least), the choice between using only one market and creating different markets for your organization, also determines your selling strategy (omnichannel vs. multichannel).


One of the key concepts is the one-to-one correlation of the market with the three main elements that define the Market itself. A Market is one Merchant, one Price List, one Inventory Model. Therefore, it’s quite easy to understand that, when your business model needs more than one of these single resources, you have to define multiple Markets.

Find here below a bunch of examples of such cases. If you want to go in depth each one of them, have a look at the related glossary entries:

Multiple Merchants

Defining one merchant is usually enough to start selling. But sometimes, according to your company structure and business model, you may need more.

  • Distance selling
    Let’s assume you’re selling to several European countries. You need to know that, to help reduce the administrative load on companies, there are national VAT registration thresholds set by each country. If a foreign company is selling below these thresholds, it does not need to VAT register. But if it exceeds one of these thresholds, it’s required to have a fiscal representative in the target country. That means you have to set up a new merchant (and consequently a new Market) for each country in which you exceed the related VAT threshold.
  • Different distributors
    If your business model includes different sellers, companies or distributors spread over different countries, you have to create a merchant (and the related market) for each one of them.
  • Multi-vendor marketplace
    In a multi-vendor setup, customers can choose from several vendors that are selling on your website. If you want to create such a marketplace (like Amazon, Etsy or eBay) on Commerce Layer, your organization needs to be equipped with a merchant (and a market) for every vendor.

Multiple Price Lists

When you set up your organization, there are a few instances in which you need to create more than one price list. In these cases, you need to create more than one market, at least one for each price list you’re going to define.

  • Multiple currencies
    If you’re planning to sell across different countries with different currencies, you need different price lists. Hence, you need to create one market for each one of the different selling currencies you’re going to use.
  • Different kind of customers
    Let’s suppose you need to show different prices to different kind of customers. For example special discounts for VIP customers, private sales for Premium users. Then you have to create some newly dedicated price lists. In this case, you need as many markets as the groups of customers you want to take extra special care of.
  • Taxes included or not included
    Based on where you’re going to sell, it might be necessary to establish whether the prices in your price lists include taxes or not. If you want to use, for your online business, both of these kinds of price list (i.e. if you’re into both B2C and B2B trades in Europe), you need to set up at least two different markets.

Multiple Inventory Models

Inventory models can help a business to determine the best level of inventories that should be maintained. They are linked to the need and possibility to manage several stock locations in a hierarchy. In this respect, more inventory models can be required to replicate the logistics organizational structure of your company.

  • Different shipping locations
    If you plan to ship your goods from different places across your catchment area, you can take advantage of that by organizing your shipments based on customer proximity criteria, with the creation of multiple markets and Shipping Zones.
  • Supermarket chain
    In a supermarket chain set-up, each store has a warehouse that can be configured as a stock location. Hence, the related organization will have as many markets as the number of physical stores in the chain.