How to Create a Two-Sided Online Marketplace Platform?

By the time companies make next forecasts and write their 20XX trends posts, people will probably forget that they have even had to visit hypermarkets and shops or pay cash. You still have to make small talks with a delivery guy, aren't you? – It is also a matter of time. In December 2016, Amazon claimed its first successful Prime Air drone delivery.

Online marketplace software: what to expect?

Online shopping marketplace solutions are constantly enhanced and updated in terms of technologies, logistics, delivery, offering and other cool stuff. Need help while booking or shopping? – Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and others are actively integrating chatbots and so getting customers familiar with human-machine interaction.  For instance, Facebook already has over 11,000 bots available, while multi-vendor clothing startup Spring is among their early adopters. We shouldn't forget about personal digital assistants like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Amazon's Alexa, as examples of human-computer interaction.

Currently, e-commerce is a superior force in the retail business field. Statista claims that in 2015 global retail sales footed up to $1.55 trillion and they are expected to increase to $3.4 trillion in 2019 and to $4.058 trillion in 2020. In the 2015-2016 timeframe, the number of online buyers has grown by approximately 20 million.

Create a two-sided marketplace platform

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, anticipates that 2.8 million robots will be shipped until 2021. There will be industrial robots to be employed in manufacturing, as well as in-store machines to take inventory or to fill up the shelves. Such retail giants as Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Orchard Supply Hardware (Lowe's subsidiary) already test robots in their stores. Even some restaurants in China have already practiced the idea and replaced waiters with robots.

Read also: Marketplace App: Features for Users' Needs

Web-based marketplace for shopping: where to start?

E-commerce popularity is growing every year and there are no signs of slowing down. The online retail ecosystem is consistently evolving by virtue of improvements in online payment technologies and willingness of traders to accept payments by credit cards.

To build a two-sided online marketplace for a startup you shouldstart with:

  • Filling the void

Focusing on a particular niche and offering products that can hit the spot of the audience in that niche are the basic rules in the early stages of cloud-based ecommerce marketplace software development. If you appeal to everyone, at long last you may arrive at appealing to no one.

Choosing a niche that you have experience in is the best option. Doing so you will have a better understanding of your audience needs and potential problems. You will be able to create and deliver solutions which buyers can't reject and, as a result, your offering is never wasted.

DA-14 real case example: Our developers have worked on a custom marketplace solution for college students. The idea is based on “Free & For Sale” online communities which do away with the need for search and make buy-sell process prompt and safe. This peer-to-peer platform includes an embedded payment gateway, reviews and ratings, product and request feeds, and other useful options.

Flypd peer-to-peer marketplace

Flypd - socially-driven marketplace platform developed by DA-14 team 

  • Nailing user experience

The decision to develop a two-sided marketplace platform shouldn't be treated lightly. It is the very background for turning strategies and ideas into a successful business. If you still wonder how to build a marketplace website and make it thrive, then you should definitely strive to make it handy, reliable and personalized for both traders and buyers.  

You can make your e-commerce site feel like a community and so engage your potential customers. A large number of web-based retail platforms is still business-oriented, while Etsy is a perfect example of a different approach for startups and potential customers. They've built a whole community around a niche marketplace, in this fashion they offer Etsy members to join teams, attend events, watch workshops, etc.

Read also: To Develop a Web App: How Long & How Much?

  • Getting high roller in

Big vendors can handle large orders, possess necessary knowledge in handling transactions, and they've already gained customers' confidence.  Collaboration with such merchants can be especially helpful during the initial stages. Such approach can help you cover a supply-demand gap, better known as a chicken-and-egg problem.   

Another solution on how to start an online marketplace is to focus on a particular group that includes both potential vendors and consumers. One of the examples is Etsy: their research has shown that people, who do crafts, prefer to buy from other craftspeople, while both groups are typically involved in the same community. 

Online marketplace platform Etsy examplePhoto by: Etsy

When it comes to others tools of balancing demand and supply relation, there are several popular case studies. When Uber came into operation, it was limited to San Francisco and as soon, as it made major gains, it was introduced to other cities. Such strategy as “starting small” was also employed by Flipkart that began with books selling and in course of time started to cover other e-commerce areas.

During its launch in Seattle, Uber started with paying drivers even for idling, which in turn brought high-value producers and attracted consumers. Dating agencies state that the number of male members tips the scales and that's why they mainly invite women to join at no charge.   

To make a two-sided marketplace website is a complex and ongoing task and to give your company a thriving start you should first pitch upon a method to overcome the potential problems.  The last but not the least is to listen to end users and optimize the open source platform. The community is a part of your business, so it is of crucial importance to design and build retail sites with people in mind.

To create a two-sided marketplace & what's next?

These days, e-commerce business model is applied to such niches as consumer goods, fashion, education, transportation, tourism, real estate and so forth. But online marketplace platform development cost should include not only custom software development, but also marketing and advertising, further enhancements and support, SEO, promotion, and media content creation.  

Develop online marketplace app for startup

Start with launch promotion. Create and print out attractive postcards with a link to the soon-to-open website. You can also distribute cards for small discounts with light insights into the future shop. Promote your pet project through social networks and email.

Work on your own offering. Udemy invested in its own courses. Reddit founders used to produce their own content. Airbnb founders visited listed apartments in New York area to take quality photos for the website and now they have a team of professional photographers to provide film service to hosts.

Invest in customer service. Turn first-time clients into loyal customers making them feel valuable and special. If you pack and deliver your products to a door, include hand-written thank you notes and nice free gifts. Send follow-up emails and ask for feedback. Be responsive and make returns easy.

Use online from soup to nuts. Build close relationships with your customers through various online channels. Engage in email marketing to welcome new site members, notify them about new arrivals and discounts, remind them about abandoned carts or ask for feedback and reviews. Add short hints like “Usually bought with” or “Add the final flourish”.

Work out the kinks of the mobile version. Mobile commerce is well on the way and to stay competitive it is essential to give pride of place to mobile site. Include real-time notifications, shipping status, product info, share/purchase buttons to increase user engagement and usability.  

For more recommendations on building a thriving peer-to-peer marketplace don't hesitate to contact our team today.
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