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Aggregator Business Model: Definition, Examples, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Customers are always looking for an easy and more cost-effective way to live their lives. Some industries have helped the general public do this for decades. However, over the past 25 years or so, aggregator businesses have emerged as a way to offer even more benefits and convince individuals and businesses. All while disrupting traditional industries and driving record-breaking revenue. 

But what is the aggregator business model and how does it work? Today, we’ll break down what this business model is, look at some examples, and also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this model.


What is the Aggregator Business Model

The aggregator business model works by collecting information on particular goods and services from competing sources to present to consumers under a unified platform. This model thrives on the principle of providing a single, consolidated marketplace for customers. The point is to simplify the decision-making process. It happens by offering a wide variety of options in one place.

Unlike traditional business models, aggregators act as intermediaries that connect customers with service providers or sellers. Usually, traditional business models rely on owning the inventory they sell. The key to success in this model lies in the aggregator’s ability to negotiate favorable terms with suppliers. However, the catch is that they need to maintain a high-quality user experience. All while monetizing the traffic through various revenue streams.

How this Business Model Makes Money

An advantage of the business model is the many monetization options available. Here are a few of the most common ways companies use the aggregator model to drive revenue.

  1. Commission on Transactions: is a cornerstone for companies like Uber and Lyft. The companies take a slice of the fare from each ride booked through their platforms. 
  2. Subscription Fees: offer a steady revenue stream for platforms such as Amazon Prime and Spotify. Amazon Prime attracts customers with perks like free shipping and streaming services. Spotify’s premium accounts provide ad-free access to a vast music and podcast library.
  3. Listing Fees: You see this used by companies like Etsy. Here, artisans pay to list their handmade or vintage items.
  4. Advertising and Sponsored Listings: Aggregators can generate significant revenue from this method. Giants like Google which earned $162 billion in 2022 through Google Ads. In the food industry, Zomato uses a similar approach. It offers restaurants the chance to enhance their visibility through sponsored listings on its platform.
  5. Lead Generation Fees: Generation fees are collected by platforms like Zillow. These sites charge real estate agents for leads on potential buyers or renters.
  6. Data Monetization: This strategy is utilized by a company like Strava. They sell aggregated data and insights about athlete behavior and movements to urban planners and local governments.
  7. Affiliate Marketing: This allows platforms such as Booking.com to earn commissions by redirecting users to hotels and earning a fee for each booking made.


Examples of this Business Model

In the previous section, we looked at how companies using the aggregator business model drive revenue. We also gave a few examples of the companies that utilize this model. In this section, we are going to look more closely at the industries that use this model the most and how they are doing it. 


Travel Booking Platforms

Platforms like Expedia, Booking.com, and Kayak revolutionized travel. They combine flights, hotels, and rentals from many sources. This lets users compare options easily. It simplifies travel planning significantly. These platforms use advanced algorithms to find great deals.

They are key players in the travel industry, which is worth $556 billion. Their success shows a clear preference for convenience and efficiency in travel. Users now expect to plan trips easily and quickly. These sites have fundamentally changed how we book travel, making it accessible and straightforward.

Read: Travel Agency Business Model: What It Is and How it Works


Food Delivery Services

The advent of food delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash has transformed the dining experience for consumers worldwide. By partnering with a wide array of local restaurants, these companies offer a diverse selection of dining options through a single application.

Customers can effortlessly browse menus, compare prices, and order food for either delivery or pickup. This convenience is complemented by the ability to explore new dining experiences without leaving home. For restaurants, these services provide an invaluable platform to reach a broader customer base.

The symbiotic relationship between food delivery services and restaurants fosters a dynamic ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders, including the end consumer. The proliferation of these services has not only catered to the growing demand for convenience and variety but has also significantly contributed to the growth of the digital economy within the food industry.


Insurance Comparison Websites

Insurance comparison websites such as CompareTheMarket, GoCompare, and Policybazaar have emerged as indispensable tools for consumers seeking to navigate online insurance buying. These platforms empower users to compare insurance policies across various categories. They can look into buying auto, health, and home insurance in a transparent and user-friendly way. By inputting their personal details, users can receive quotes from multiple insurers.

This democratization of information has facilitated a more competitive insurance market, where consumers are better informed and insurers are motivated to offer more attractive rates and policies. The ability to compare and contrast policies side-by-side encourages a deeper understanding of insurance products, leading to more confident and informed decision-making. Consequently, these platforms have played a crucial role in enhancing consumer empowerment and driving innovation within the insurance industry.


Real Estate Listings

Real estate sites like Zillow and Realtor.com have made house hunting easier. They aggregate listings, simplifying searches. Users can find homes that meet their criteria quickly. These platforms offer detailed insights.

This has made real estate more transparent. Buyers and sellers get equal access to information. It’s changed how we look for homes. Searching for property is now more efficient and user-friendly. This accessibility has transformed the real estate market.


Ride-Hailing Services

Uber and Lyft have redefined urban transport. They offer rides via an app, making travel convenient. This is a modern alternative to taxis. The services include transparent pricing and user ratings. They’ve improved access to transportation. These apps also utilize the peer-to-peer business model within their aggregator model.

Ride-hailing is now a preferred mode of urban travel. It’s efficient and reliable which makes it attractive to people who can’t or choose not to drive. These services have set new standards in transport. 


Amazon Aggregator Companies

An Amazon aggregator company is a business that specializes in acquiring and consolidating smaller, high-performing brands that primarily sell their products on the Amazon marketplace. These companies are essentially investment firms that focus on e-commerce brands, leveraging economies of scale, and operational efficiencies. They also have expert knowledge of the Amazon ecosystem to grow these acquired brands more effectively than they could on their own.

By pooling resources, and expertise in logistics, supply chain management, and digital marketing, aggregators aim to optimize the operations of these brands, drive higher sales, and expand their market reach. This model has become increasingly popular as the Amazon platform has grown. 

Examples of Amazon aggregator companies include Thrasio and Perch. Thrasio, one of the most well-known and largest Amazon aggregators, has raised significant capital to acquire successful Amazon third-party sellers across various categories. Perch is another prominent player in the space. They follow a similar model of acquiring promising Amazon brands and leveraging their operational expertise to scale them. 


Financial Services Platforms

Financial services platforms like NerdWallet and Mint represent a significant advancement in how individuals manage their personal finances. By aggregating financial products and services from various sources, these platforms offer users a comprehensive overview of options ranging from credit cards and loans to savings accounts.

Coupled with personalized recommendations and financial management tools, users can make informed decisions based on their financial goals and circumstances. The transparency and ease of comparison provided by these platforms democratize access to financial information, fostering a more inclusive financial landscape.

The ability to access a wide range of financial products and insightful content in one place has not only simplified financial planning but also empowered consumers to take control of their financial well-being, marking a shift towards more proactive and informed financial decision-making.


Advantages of the Aggregator Business Model

For entrepreneurs wanting to develop a business under the aggregator model, there are a lot of benefits. This is easy to see by the multiple examples we’ve presented in earlier sections. Let’s take a look at why this is such an attractive model to utilize.

Convenience to Customers

The primary advantage of the aggregator business model lies in its ability to offer convenience to customers. According to one study, 68% say a convenient customer experience alone will make them return to a brand or company. Clearly, people are attracted to companies that make things easier for them.

Consolidating a wide range of options across various suppliers into a single platform simplifies the search and decision-making process for users. This streamlined approach not only saves time but also enhances the user experience. This enhanced experience can lead to higher customer retention rates. The ease of comparing prices, features, and services in one location without the need to visit multiple websites or apps is a significant draw for consumers looking for efficiency in their purchasing decisions.


Another significant benefit of the aggregator model is its inherent scalability. Since aggregators do not own the inventory they list, they are not bound by the traditional constraints of inventory management.

This allows them to expand rapidly into new markets and categories with minimal upfront costs. The ability to scale without significant investment in physical assets or inventory makes the aggregator model especially attractive for startups and entrepreneurs looking to grow quickly in the digital space.

Personalized Recommendations

Aggregators have the unique advantage of being able to collect and analyze vast amounts of data on user preferences and behavior. This data enables them to offer personalized recommendations, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction.

Personalization can lead to a more tailored user experience. When there are more personalized options, customers feel their needs and preferences are understood and catered to. Customers are often more likely to be loyal to a brand or business they feel knows their personal preferences. 

Marketing Channel for Suppliers

For small suppliers or service providers, the aggregator model provides a valuable marketing channel. By featuring their products or services on a popular platform, they can reach a broader audience than would be possible through their own efforts.

This exposure often leads to increased sales and brand recognition. Over time, this helps smaller players compete in a market that might otherwise be dominated by larger companies.


Disadvantages of the Aggregator Business Model

Regulatory Challenges

One unavoidable challenge is that aggregators may face regulatory roadblocks. This is especially true in sectors like transportation and accommodation. Aggregator businesses that have been developed over the past 20 years have hurt many traditional sectors. As a result, traditional businesses have lobbied for stricter regulations to level the playing field.

For example, in 2014 when rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft began snatching market share away from traditional transportation industries like the taxi industry, they decided to fight back. The taxi industry has donated $3,500 to state legislators for every dollar that Uber and Lyft donated. This put the disruptors at a major disadvantage when it came to fighting for their right to operate freely in a fair and open market.

Navigating these regulatory environments can be complex and costly, posing a potential barrier to entry or expansion for aggregators operating in highly regulated markets.

Intense Competition

One of the most significant challenges facing the aggregator model is the intense competition within the industries it serves. With relatively low barriers to entry, new aggregators can quickly enter the market. Ultimately, this has led to saturation and making differentiation difficult.

This crowded marketplace can dilute brand identity and reduce the effectiveness of individual platforms, forcing companies to constantly innovate and improve their offerings to stay ahead.

Dependency on Suppliers

Aggregators’ reliance on suppliers to provide the products or services listed on their platforms is a double-edged sword. While it allows for scalability and variety, it also means that aggregators must continuously negotiate terms to ensure profitability.

These negotiations can become particularly challenging if suppliers choose to bypass the platform and sell directly to consumers, potentially undermining the aggregator’s value proposition.

Dependency on User Trust and Satisfaction

The success of the aggregator model is heavily dependent on maintaining user trust and satisfaction. Any negative experiences caused by issues with a supplier can reflect poorly on the aggregator, even if the platform itself is not at fault. Managing this risk requires robust quality control and customer service efforts, which can be resource-intensive.


Also read:

The Self-Service Business Model Explained

Understanding the Low Touch Business Model

Thomas Martin
Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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