Launch Your Marketplace Website - Grow & Extend Your Platform
Advanced marketplace software for every stage of your business life cycle.
Building a marketplace website is a challenging process. To minimize the time and cost expenses, you should be prepared for the project development in advance. The main aspects you should consider are choosing the required features, the development approach, and selecting the software development agency that will help you build your marketplace.
More and more people are looking for gig-style work online, which is giving rise to a new type of website. Marketplace websites connect vendors and customers looking to conduct business together, and the websites collect a commission for doing so.
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your marketplace website business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly, and legally compliant.
These websites may be service- or product-based. What differentiates marketplace websites from eCommerce sites isn’t what is being sold, but who is doing the selling. Whereas eCommerce sites sell directly to customers, marketplaces connect vendors, who are selling goods or services, with customers.
Planning to launch a marketplace website and want to know how to get started? In this article, we delve deep into the process of getting your marketplace website up and running.
In the last few years, marketplace websites have become popular. Platforms are successful because they offer a wide variety of products in one place for buyers to browse through. For sellers, these platforms create an opportunity to sell their goods with minimal investment or overhead costs.
A website that specializes in selling items is called a marketplace website. They create an online space that can be accessed from any device, making it convenient for buyers and sellers to connect.
A marketplace development is a business that allows for the buying and selling of goods or services. It can be as simple as listing items to create an entire site just for trading products.
So if you haven't thought about building a marketplace website, now is the right time to start.
For those who are new to this idea, it may seem like a daunting task. But there is nothing difficult if you turn to professionals. There is an excellent article on their blog about how to launch a marketplace website, which describes the technical and organizational aspects in detail. Well, here, we'll lay out a shorter version of the manual.
1. Define the functionality
Let’s start with the basic features any online marketplace should have. These functions will make your e-commerce website convenient for both parties.
Product page: Give a comprehensive description of selling items to potential buyers. High-quality photos and videos, detailed descriptions - everything matters.
Payment methods: Enable users to choose amongst a variety of payment options. The most popular payment gateways are PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and WePay.
Search feature: The chances are that your multi-vendor platform will offer a great number of products. So, it would be reasonable to create a search box. Make sure it is noticeable. Place the search bar where users expect to find it. According to UX Booth, the most suitable place for the search box is in the top right or top left of the pages on your site.
Admin panel: Simply put, an admin dashboard helps manage everything related to your e-commerce website. For example, this functionality allows you to track orders, payment, and shipping. Moreover, you can view abandoned checkouts and create draft orders.
Shopping cart: As you are developing an e-commerce website, this option is a priority.
Security options: Make your marketplace as secure as possible. SSL certificates, two-factor authentication, and firewalls will help you protect your product.
Wishlists: With this feature, shoppers can create collections of items they would like to buy later. When users are ready to make a purchase, they quickly find the product needed in the wishlists.
Sign In/ Sign Up Form: There are several reasons why you need to ask your visitors to create an account on your platform. First, registered users can choose the platform role - a vendor or a buyer. Second, sign-up improves customer experience. How? Well, it enables customers to track the order process or view previously purchased items. Besides, such a feature as a wishlist is usually available for registered users only. Finally, registration allows customers to get personalized on-site recommendations.
Shipping: With this feature, shoppers can choose the preferred delivery option offered by vendors.
This is functionality you should consider in the first place. With these features, you will get a convenient and easy-to-use marketplace.
2. Choose the development platform
When it comes to creating an online marketplace, you have two options. You can buy a ready-made solution or build a product from scratch. The final choice depends on your budget, time, and plans for further scaling of the platform.
Custom software development takes into account your specific business needs.
Such domains as education, healthcare, and finance can get the most out of this approach. The thing is that these industries comply with specific regulations.
Besides, their business requirements are not common for other branches. These may include audit trials, automated workflow, and role-based access.
Custom software development better serves these specific needs as compared to ready-made products.
If you wonder how to launch a marketplace that will stand out from the competitors, you should consider the option of creating a custom platform.
Let’s take a look at the main advantages of the approach:
No needless features: With customized software you will not have to pay for the extra functionality you will never use. This way you can reduce the development expenses greatly.
Startup growth: Tailored solutions are famous for their flexibility. It means that you can always add new functionality when needed.
Meeting specific requirements: Bespoke software helps you cover the demands unique for your business. You can be sure that all your fine points and hidden risks will be counted.
At the same time, consider purchasing ready-made software in the following cases:
You need to save money at the initial development stage;
Off-the-shelf solutions meet all your business requirements;
You are wondering how to launch a marketplace at the earliest.
Of course, choose the approach that meets your startup marketplace demands best and adds value to your business.
3. Select the right development team
Partnership with the proper development team is crucial for a successful marketplace launch. Therefore, you should choose the software provider responsibly.
The tips below will help you find a dedicated agency that will satisfy all your project needs.
Visit research and rating platforms like Clutch, GoodFirms, Appfutura. They will provide you with detailed information about the team needed. You can read reviews of their existing clients on such websites.
Make sure the team you have chosen knows how to launch a marketplace that brings value for both buyers and sellers.
Pay attention to the organization of the development process and technology applied. At FlightsLogic, we use Ruby on Rails to build reliable and fast-loading solutions.
Give preference to companies that adopted the agile methodology. This approach helps make alterations at any development stage. Besides, with the agile methodology, you can respond faster and more effectively to market demands. This way, you eliminate the risk of expensive market misses.
Check the software company’s portfolio to make sure they will create user-friendly online marketplaces.
4. Launch a marketplace MVP first
Building an MVP is the easiest way to save money, time, and effort.
Let’s take a look at the main reasons to build a minimum viable product before rolling out a full-featured platform.
An MVP allows releasing your startup in the shortest period.
With this approach, you can significantly save costs. It works the following way: you verify your idea first, then create a product. Thus, you can make sure that you are investing in a project attractive to your potential customers.
A minimum viable product helps you find early adopters. Their feedback will show how to launch a marketplace that is attractive to potential customers. Besides, the pioneer users will tell what features should be added, modified, or removed.
Building an MVP, you focus on the basic features required for a marketplace launch. You can always extend the functionality as your platform scales.
Below you can see the MVP prioritization matrix offered by Clearbridge Mobile. This chart can help you define the features that should be included in the MVP.
To sum up, the idea of building an MVP comes down to testing your business idea first. You find the first adopters and meet their demands with one or two key features.
After receiving valuable feedback, you can improve your product by adding new features. Gradually, you will learn how to launch a marketplace that will attract new users.
5. Build trust for sellers and buyers
Don’t underestimate the importance of UX design. Pretty often it helps prove to your customers that it is completely safe to buy and sell products and services on your platform.
Do you want to know how to launch a marketplace that your customers will trust? Take into account the following points:
High-quality photos and videos allow buyers to view items from different sides and angles. So, why not give sellers the opportunity to provide as many details as possible?
A thorough product description gives customers comprehensive information about the desired item;
Reviews and ratings prove that customers can rely on a specific vendor the quality of the product they are going to buy;
A refund policy is a must-have for an e-commerce platform. With this option, customers feel safer when purchasing.
Focus on building a well-arranged and easy-to-navigate marketplace. Thus, you will offer a seamless user experience that will bring new customers to your platform.
6. Create a strong marketing strategy
We have discussed how to launch a marketplace. The next question is how you can promote your brand-new e-commerce platform.
An efficient marketing tactic helps attract both vendors and buyers to your online marketplace. Let potential customers know about your startup from the planning stage.
Use the following tips to gain sellers and buyers attention:
Promote your platform via ads on social media, including Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Become a part of workshops or educational meetups. Attend these events to connect with your potential vendors and buyers.
Visit trade fairs to search for sellers. Find a subtle way to get their contact information. Thus, you will be able to reach them afterward.
Organize live events and collaborate with celebrities.
7. Find tools to monitor different aspects of your marketplace
Starting a new business is always tough. However, with the right tools, the working process will be well-organized and your enterprise will run smoothly.
So, what are the most widely-used applications and tools:
Google Analytics is used to analyze your marketplace traffic. This tool helps better understand your audience and more.
Salesforce is a powerful CRM tool. It allows you to connect to your users, organizes your clients' pipeline from the first contact to making a deal.
Google Drive is the storage for your materials with vast functionality. The system offers collaboration with other people and convenient editing of documents.
A mention is a great tool showing mentions of your brand on different resources.
Buffer is a great assistant for scheduling posts on social media. It makes your promotion campaign as smooth as possible. All you need is to buffer posts, and the service will publish them automatically.
Surely there is no silver bullet to make your management process ideal. Everything depends on the time and effort you are willing to spend. The mentioned tools, however, can do a good job of making your startup recognizable and profitable.
There are two ways to get your online marketplace website up and running;
You can choose to build it from scratch (invest a lot of time and money)
Go with FlightsLogic's multi-vendor marketplace solutions (turnkey, battle-tested solution, at a fraction of the cost of getting your marketplace built from scratch)
No wonder, if you are focusing on quick go-to-market time and want to save on precious money for growing your business you will opt for the second way.
FlightsLogic multi-vendor marketplace solutions come loaded with 300+ inbuilt features that help you with various aspects of running your multi-vendor online business.
FlightsLogic has the experience and expertise of handling a variety of horizontal, vertical, and service aggregator marketplaces for B2b as well as B2C businesses. Our platform’s flexibility has helped businesses implement out-of-box models with unique flows and customized solutions.
When you build a marketplace website with FlightsLogic you get comprehensive vendor management, order, and inventory management modules. Aided by integrated shipping and payment solutions you can use these modules to streamline your business without any hassle.
In conclusion, creating a marketplace website can become super simple with the help of the right steps. Doing so will significantly simplify your business strategy for growth and success in the long run.
To build a marketplace website, you need to focus on building trust with potential buyers by ensuring their safety as well as create an application that is both easy to use and intuitive without any unnecessary complications or click-through. If you create a marketplace website like this, you will be able to win!