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Marketplace vs E-Commerce: which one is your digital business?

Taking part in world modernization, Indonesia is now continuing various breakthrough steps to boost the country’s economy and financial stability. One of these efforts is to enrich trade activities from and for the country by utilizing technology, such as in digital business.

By understanding global business prospects, digital business should be considered an excellent trend that can be maximized to open opportunities for domestic traders and domestic producers to play an active role in increasing the potential of domestic trade. 

We Are Social conducted research at the beginning of 2024 and concluded that Indonesia is one of the top 10 Countries with the Most transactions in Online Shopping.

“Source: Digital Global Overview Report by We Are Social and Meltwater, Jan 2024”

This data shows that the enthusiasm of Indonesian people to buy goods from digital platforms is high indicating that the preference for buying habits in Indonesia is shifting from conventional to digital business.

Simply put, in digital business, there are two main trends that you need to understand e.g., marketplace and online retail (E-commerce), the definition of each is explained in the Ministry of Trade Regulation No. 31/2023 (“MoTR 31/2023”), as follows:

  • Marketplace:
    a provider of facilities in which part or all of the transaction processes in an Electronic System in the form of a website as a place for Merchants (Sellers) to be able or to place offers of Goods and/or Services.
  • Retail Online (E-Commerce):
    merchants who conduct E-Commerce utilizing a website or application that is created, managed, and/or owned commercially.


Suppose you are a Business Actor who has a vision to establish a marketplace for certain industries OR you are a retail Business Actor focusing on expanding your business digitally and are in the process of reaching a wider business scope. In that case, you should know that the regulations stipulates certain common digital business forms you can establish.

digital business

Read More: Get to Know: The Transitional Residence Permit (Bridging Visa) in Indonesia


First, the marketplace. The marketplace is usually run as an aggregator that helps accommodate transactions between the Merchant (Seller) and the Buyer.

As a marketplace provider, you need to know that establishing a marketplace in Indonesia requires you to have a Business Identification Number (NIB), to be registered as an Electronic System Operator (PSE) officially recognized by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology and other additional certification based on your business types.

As a Merchant who is active in a marketplace, you are obligated to obey some inquiries from the marketplace provider and ensure that your company is aligned with requirements from the Government such as aligned NIB or clear identity (individual actor). This step is intended to help Merchants and legitimately support them in online store operations.


Meanwhile, Merchants conduct E-Commerce, which refers to online retail businesses, by selling their products directly to their customers. In establishing the business, it is important for online retail businesses to include the Indonesia Business Standard Classification Number (KBLI) code following the nature of the business and the business operational system.

Interested in unlocking your opportunity to establish a digital business in Indonesia? If you need our assistance with this service or any related services, please contact us at: [email protected]


ET Consultant is a Business Consultant and Legal Consultant Expert that provides support for local and multinational clients to start and manage their business operations in Indonesia. ET Consultant specializes in Business Incorporation, Licensing & Legal, Accounting & Taxes, Immigration, and Advisory Services.

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Jakarta Selatan, 12940 Indonesia.
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Email : [email protected]

An Indonesian group advisory or consulting firm that provides Business and Legal Consultant for local and multinational client support for start-ups and managing business operations in Indonesia. ET Consultant provides a solid legal foundation with experience, reasonable cost, reliable corporate & business legal services with excellence, integrity, and trusted services for ease of doing business in Indonesia.

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