E-commerce has become a norm of the day and it is a massive growth in recognition considering how things were a couple of decades ago. The real revolution that happened to the world of e-commerce was not e-commerce itself but the world of marketplaces. It introduced the concept of having a powerful intermediary to create a perfect bridge between the buyers and the sellers. This concept proved to be an advantage all around the 360° platform serves.
The sellers did not have to worry about the shipping or the processing of money. They could, instead, concentrate on manufacturing, packaging, and making the product better.
This would mean that the producers can invest in things that really matter to them instead of investing their time, money, and effort in auxiliary aspects like selling.
For the buyer, it presented an advantage where they could buy everything they wanted within a single platform. They did not have to navigate between multiple platforms and multiple applications to get what they wanted.
Such platforms that facilitate better selling for producers and convenient buying for customers are aptly called e-commerce marketplaces. An e-commerce marketplace, as the name implies, is similar to what the term would mean in the offline context. The e-commerce marketplace is, in essence, a platform that brings buyers and sellers together just like how a normal marketplace would.
There might be a lot of e-commerce marketplaces in different parts of the world that have carved a niche of supremacy for themselves in that particular geography. However, if there is one brand that stands out as a global leader in this space, it cannot be anything other than Amazon.
Amazon today is synonymous with e-commerce marketplaces, and the only other competitor that people can think of at a global scale is eBay. eBay, however, is out of competition today, and Amazon stays in its unprecedented and undisputed pinnacle not only in the field of e-commerce but in the overall business. As you may have known, Amazon has spread its business into multiple areas like smart home devices, electronic book readers, music and video streaming, and even private space exploration. The fact that the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos has been among the top three richest people on the planet should be a resounding testimony to the relevance and the profitability of Amazon.
The e-commerce market
E-commerce was valued at just about $1.3 trillion worldwide in terms of sales. It is, however, expected to reach about $5 trillion in the year 2021. This translates into approximately 197 million customers worldwide visiting e-commerce websites and apps. Factors like mobile usage, growing familiarity with smartphones and apps, and Internet penetration are expected to have contributed to this growth. E-commerce has become so integral and multi dimensional that not only individuals but even other businesses shop from B2B websites like Alibaba.
The COVID-19 pandemic acted as an unexpected catalyst to the growth of e-commerce. In most places, especially in countries like India, e-commerce was viewed as an auxiliary or an extension to the off-line commerce that has quite a robust presence. However, because of the restrictions on going out and the continuous lockdowns, people started to depend on apps like Amazon for even their everyday shopping needs. It would not be a big surprise if the growth in e-commerce far exceeds the expectations and projections for the year 2021.
Although companies like Amazon exert sheer dominance in the e-commerce marketplace space, there is still room for new players to make a profit and mark a presence in the open market. Certain e-commerce marketplaces like Flipkart have made a place for themselves in specific geographies like India.
There are, however, certain aspects of the business and technology that you need to be aware of before you step into this space. It is to be understood that an e-commerce marketplace functions as an aggregator and a mediator between the seller and the buyer which would mean that the company, as much as they can make a profit from both hands, will also have to shoulder the responsibilities concerning both parties.
The garnishing features
It’s quite likely that most people might be aware of the basic features. Therefore, let us look at the features that can be considered the differentiators that distinguish the awesome from the mediocre.
- Your e-commerce app needs to have multilingual support. We are looking at the dystopian concept of the global village becoming closer to reality with every passing day. People are no longer confined to geographical and linguistic barriers, and businesses are totally turning global. Therefore, to keep in line with these demands, your e-commerce platform should be multilingual.
- Going in line with the previous point, your e-commerce platform also needs to support multiple currencies. In the near future, there might even be a need for cryptocurrency to be integrated into your e-commerce platform.
- It is not enough if people get text messages as tracking information. Considering the fact that GPS is universally available, your app needs to integrate itself with mapping and navigation solutions providers to give people real-time updates on the moment of their parcel.
- Your app should have a tax calculator built within itself to minimize the extent of hassles that your buyers and sellers undergo. This will also ensure that people are able to plan their expenses accordingly without any surprise expenses popping out as taxes sometime in the future.
- E-commerce marketplaces are rich repositories of real data. Therefore, they should leverage the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict and display what customers would need based on shopping patterns.
- Customers should have an option to share their buying on social media. If possible, such referrals should be incentivized by providing some discounts or offers for both the referring and the referred customer.
- Your e-commerce marketplace can also include an affiliate program that will encourage people to spread the word about your marketplace and on a cut of your profit.
The basic features
As you may have guessed, there are three different entities involved in the marketplace like Amazon: The user, the seller, and the administrator to oversee all the activities. Each one is provided with a dedicated app/panel to ensure that their activities go on without any hassle.
Features of the user panel
Users should be able to sign up without any hassle, making the onboarding process simple and easy. They should be able to register for the services using either their email address or their phone number. They should also be given an option to sign up using existing legacy credentials like Google or Facebook.
The signing up should immediately create a profile for them that will keep a record of the mobile number, the delivery addresses, the default payment instruments, the history of their orders, returns, and refunds, And their membership in loyalty programs if any.
The customer must be able to easily search for the products that they want and should be able to apply filters based on brand, price range, and other product attributes. They should also be able to quickly sort products by the price, the rating, and the number of days taken for delivery.
The customer should be able to go through the profile of the seller to ensure that they are authentic and credible. To ensure that other customers have the same benefit, they should be provided with a review and rating system to share their feedback on the product and the purchase experience.
The customer should be able to make the payment from multiple payment instruments for which the app should be integrated with a versatile payment gateway that can accept payments from multiple instruments like credit cards, debit cards, Internet banking, and wallets. The native wallet makes the processing of refunds simple and easy.
The user should be able to track the status of their order and should also be able to view the moment of their order in real-time when it is out for delivery. They should be able to communicate with the delivery executive over the phone or over chat enabled within the app.
The customer should be able to avail of support from the marketplace team over multiple channels like a phone, email, and chat.
Features of the seller panel
The seller should also be provided with a simple sign-up/onboarding process. They should provide details of their business like the business registration number, The bank account number, and a few other details that will help establish the authenticity of the business and the originality of the products.
The seller should be provided with a product management and inventory management dashboard. They should be able to add or remove products subject to their production capacity, availability of raw material, and the actual availability of the product. They should be able to update the stock logs and manage the inventory without any hassle. It should be remembered that the inventory information will help show the right magnitude of availability for the customer.
The product management panel should also provide pieces of information like the barcode of the product, the photographs of the product, the explainer videos, and if need be, the ingredients and the certifications that the product has.
The seller should be able to provide offers and discounts using their dashboard. As you may have known, one of the policies of Amazon with respect to pricing is that the product cannot be available anywhere else at a price lower than the one listed on Amazon. However, the seller can increase the possibility of purchases and visibility by offering additional discounts.
Just like how it should be easy for the customer to make a payment, the seller should not have any problem in having their payments settled to their bank accounts. The seller looks at an e-commerce marketplace like Amazon as an additional avenue for revenue, and it is such goodwill from sellers that keeps the marketplace active and healthy.
The seller should also be provided with an order management panel that will help the seller manage their orders without any issues. They should be able to view the pieces of information such as the product booking ID, the possible dates of pick up and shipping, and the average value of the order. The same system should also be able to manage returns from the customers.
The features of the admin panel
The administrator should be able to manage both users and sellers using an intuitive dashboard. They should be able to delete or disable both users and sellers if there have been any instances of unacceptable behavior.
It might not be an exaggeration to say that logistics is the backbone of any e-commerce business. The administrator is responsible for managing the logistics both from the seller to the warehouse and from the warehouse to the customer.
The administrator should be able to view all the vital statistics of the app on a dashboard that gives the details of the analytics. They should be able to view the number of sellers, The total number of orders, the number of customers, the revenue, the percentage of revenue share, and every other detail.
Although the seller has the power to create their own offers and discounts, the administrator should be able to create their offers and promotions which might be eligible all across the app irrespective of the seller. This could come in as a competitive strategy to beat other people/businesses who are competing for similar customers/audiences.
The administrator is also responsible for customer support. It is to be remembered that both sellers and users will need to be provided with customer support across multiple platforms.
Building the app
As you may have inferred, an e-commerce marketplace is a grand culmination of an impeccable and intuitive user interface, a robust database, perfect and well-oiled operations, and aggressive marketing.
It can easily be inferred that you will need business analysts, a project manager, team leaders, app developers, designers, back-end developers, testing experts, and a database manager. In addition to this, you will also need people who can take care of operations and logistics.
The operational and offline aspects of an e-commerce marketplace cannot be replaced. However, the technical elements can easily be addressed by an Amazon clone app. An Amazon clone script is easy to customize and it comes with all the basic features built-in by default. Therefore, it becomes easy for you to launch your app like Amazon and a marketplace business without any difficulty.
All that is left for you to do is to get in touch with the company that specializes in Amazon clone app development and customization. They will take it to understand the requirement and present you with a perfect Mobile app in line with your business needs. Since the Amazon clone is more of a product than a service, it saves you a lot of time and it does not have any glitches and bugs that might interfere with the expected basic functions.
With an Amazon clone app, you can launch your own e-commerce marketplace in the shortest possible time, which is a crucial factor when it comes to a highly competitive and yet open opportunity market!