Online marketplaces allowing both buyers and sellers to make business transactions have already become a driving force for growth across many sectors and industry niches. We have the world’s biggest and most aggressive online marketplaces, such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Etsy and many others that sell everything, from stationary pins to elephants literally.
These online marketplaces allow buyers and sellers to make easy sales and shopping transactions. These marketplaces also help businesses to make wider outreach for targeting a global audience across countries. Since these online e-commerce platforms have become tremendously popular in our time, creating a level playing field for businesses and consumers, it is quite likely for an ambitious would-be entrepreneur to want to build his marketplace.
Before you reach out to a web design agency to build your own online marketplace, you need to have a clear idea of the key advantages these marketplaces offer to the customers. Some of these advantages include the following.
- Optimum outreach: A business gets immediate access to a wide-open global market full of potential buyers through an online marketplace. larger
- Unmatched range of product offerings: Since these marketplaces can add an infinite numbe4 of product catalogues from millions of manufacturers through a scalable web platform, the product variety remains unparalleled.
- Round-the-clock presence: In contrast to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online buyers can shop and access products all around the clock.
- Reduced operational cost: Since there are no physical storefront and store management challenges, you save many operational and overhead costs.
- Engaging features to push sales: Online marketplaces by offering unique and. Engaging shopping features facilitate easier user engagement and result in a business conversion.
Select the type of marketplace you need
You do not have the resources to become the next Amazon in just a few months from now; hence, you need to cut your aspiration to a realistic size and find the type of marketplace that suits your budget and core interest. Now, there can be several types of classifications for online marketplaces. Let’s try to have a closer look at some of them.
Based upon stakeholders and participants:
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplaces are most common as sellers or companies directly sell to buyers or end-users. Amazon and most major e-commerce stores are. one of these categories.
- Consumer-to-business (C2B) refers to platforms where individuals sell their skills or home-grown products to businesses. Upwork is a great example of this type of marketplace.
- Business-to-business (B2B) platforms allow businesses to sell their products and services to other businesses. Alibaba is a great example of this marketplace.
- Customer-to-customer (C2C) allow platform users to buy and sell products from each other. eBay and Etsy come as the best examples of C2C marketplace.
By structure and focus
- Horizontal marketplaces such as Amazon offer buyers everything, ranging products across all categories and niches.
- Vertical marketplaces are niche specific and allow transactions for a specific type of service or product. Fiverr and Airbnb are great examples of vertical marketplaces.
By offerings to customers
- Product-based marketplaces such as Amazon allow selling and buying goods.
- Service-based marketplaces such as Upwork allow skilled professionals to sell job hours at favourable rates.
- Project-oriented marketplaces like Kickstarter allow businesses to raise money for development projects from interested would-be buyers.
Create a winning marketplace idea
Since every promising business venture starts with a winning idea and every successful idea revolves around the problems it solves, creating a winning idea for an online marketplace should be the beginning.
You need to understand that buyers prefer online marketplaces primarily for wider choices, secondly for better rate bargains, thirdly for higher trustworthiness and fourthly for accessing unique and uncommon products and services.
So, the idea must be well-validated to aspire for market dominance. Validating the marketplace idea revolves around customer pain points and corresponding solutions to address them. The evaluation of the idea should focus on how the concept can resonate with the target customer’s needs.
Define the target audience
Evaluating rather than just concluding abruptly about the app’s usefulness is essential. For this, you need to begin by detecting the target audience. For defining a typical target audience for your app, focus on the aspects such as age, marital status and family, gender, location, occupation, education, fears, and inspiration. You enjoy a clear idea of your project requirements and features through a well-defined target audience.
- When it comes to online marketplaces, every business must deal with two different buyer personas, such as the business vendors and customers. The target audience needs to be defined as both buyers and sellers.
- Remember that precision is key to understanding the buyer personas and future customers.
Get the right development team onboard.
The next step in online marketplace development is hiring a team of developers. Go through this process slowly as it involves several key considerations, and the ultimate project outcome depends upon the developer’s inputs.
Check the developer portfolio, client testimonials and reviews, other similar projects, etc. Remember, you also need a highly expertise-driven project manager who can easily handle the project from start to finish.
Building the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
As soon as you have hired the developers and specialists for your app project, it is time to create the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) web. You provide a well-defined app with elementary features instead of a large set of features and functionalities through MVP. With MVP development, you also reduce the initial development cost to a minimum and prevent unnecessary course corrections, as you can make changes and value additions through subsequent updates.
The MVP web development needs to begin with wireframe design. As soon as the wireframes are fully approved and validated, the designers get to work creating a mock-up and then the dynamic prototype of the intended web platform. Creating the design with mobile users in mind is a crucial consideration here. This is also the step to reduce the design elements to the most efficient choices instead of going fully-fledged with design experiments.
As the feedback starts after the web marketplace launch and you get an idea of the shortcomings and challenges the users face, the value additions and changes through subsequent updates become an imminent requirement.
Quality assurance and testing
Finally, when building high-quality web platforms, the development and QA testing processes should always go hand in hand. This is no different in the case of online marketplace development. If you think by using testing tools, you can get the job done quickly; you still lack the challenges and expertise involved in Q testing processes.
Besides a business strategist and analyst, the online marketplace development team and a designer versed with the latest UI/UX design skills and web developers should also have some expert QA engineers and testers. Ultimately QA testing ensures the best outcomes for any design and development process.
Summing It Up
So, you comprehensively understand designing and developing an online marketplace to perfection from the above-mentioned stages and steps. Remember, online marketplaces have stiffening competition, and hence you need to do everything to shine over your competitors.
Ciaran Stone is CEO of Square Root Solutions – An well-known mobile app development company that helps businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups transmute their app development idea into actual mobile applications. In his spare time, Ciaran likes to write an article on different aspects of app development.