How do I build a two-sided online marketplace from scratch?
I am a young entrepreneur, a really young one, and it's my dream to launch an online marketplace where small business owners can post their products for free and customers can search for products from their homes and buy them. More like a platform where buyers and sellers meet and I can act as a middleman or like a host, but I just have an idea right now. I don't know anything about making an e-commerce site, the cost, how to manage it once it's created, and all that.
Please give some advice and help from start to finish on what is needed and required.
The process of building a marketplace consists of the following stages that can’t be missed.
1. Research (looking through the types of marketplaces and choosing the one you want to work on, validating your idea, creating the right business model)
2. Planning (creating the specification document with all requirements, wireframes and estimated budget)
3. MVP development (building a Minimum Viable Product with the most essential features to test how it works)
4. Marketing strategy
5. Launch and performance tracking
There are two ways of how you can build your marketplace website:
-Using one of already existing marketplace platforms; build your own marketplace from scratch.
-If want to create a captivating marketplace website with customized functionality and unique design, you should focus on development from scratch.
Features for MVP:
User Account and Settings
The development of the two-sided marketplace website requires the creation of two kinds of website users - seller and buyer. Each kind of user has important features. For buyers, there are such features as registration, navigation, search and filters, access to information about sellers, etc. For sellers - features that let them manage their private and public information, create new offers of products or services.
In case buyers have some questions for sellers while choosing the product or service, they should be able to get answers immediately.
Implementation of transparent and trustful payment systems like PayPal or Stripe is really important when it comes to such a platform.
Review and Ratings
Buyers should be able to leave feedback about the product (service) and rate the seller after purchasing it.
The process of building a compelling marketplace business consists of a number of stages that can’t be omitted:
1. Research, that includes diving into basics of building a marketplace startup: separating the types of marketplaces, your idea validation, choosing the right business model.
2. Planning. Project manager of the chosen team helps you elaborate the specification document with all requirements, wireframes and estimated budget.
3. MVP marketplace development. Based on the project plan, developers implement the product’s functionality.
4. A marketing strategy creation which is grounded in building supply and demand models.
5. Launch and performance tracking.
To know more about the process of building an online marketplace website, check this informative article: https://www.cleveroad.com/blog/build-a-marketplace-website
Let me start by congratulating you for coming up with this business plan at this young age. Since you don't have any experience in the field, I would suggest you go with any of the CMS platforms. Getting the site developed may be difficult for you. There are PHP based frameworks that provide a ready-made interface to create the basic eCommerce site. There are a number of such CMSs available. I would suggest you to read about them and choose the one that you find the right one for your site. Refer to this link: https://www.templatemonster.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-cms-for-my-website/
Personally, I would suggest you go for Magento. I have worked on this platforms and it's easy, SEO-friendly and feature-rich. Once this is done, you can upgrade your site into a marketplace with the help of extensions. One such extension is https://www.knowband.com/magento-multi-vendor-marketplace-plugin. Even the management is done from the back-end of the extension. You can operate as a mediator and moderator of the site.
Since you are delving into the digital space, make sure that you take care of the SEO aspects. The contents of the site should be curated keeping in mind the SEO-aspects. This article might help you too: https://moz.com/blog/rank-in-2018-seo-checklist
The e-commerce industry is growing very fast and getting bigger all over the world and running an online marketplace is a profitable business idea in this day and age. Airbnd, GrubHub, Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc. are some of the popular names in the multi-vendor marketplaces. A big challenge concerning the launch of a multi-vendor portal is the selection of right e-commerce platform as the available options vary considerably on cost, quality, and performance. There is a couple of ways to build a multi-vendor marketplace website:
Hire a team of web developers
Outsource to freelancers
Choose ready to launch solutions
Personally, I recommend the ready to launch solutions to build an online multi-vendor website. Cost effective, saves time, features rich, free technical support, etc. are some of the good reasons to go for a readymade solution. YoKart, a popular multivendor e-commerce platform from FATbit Technologies provides a good starting point on these grounds. As compared to other multi-vendor systems, YoKart comes across as the most effective and powerful solution due to its wide-ranging features, user-focused design, affordable pricing, and fewer limitations as compared to other platforms. For more details visit: https://www.yo-kart.com