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 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
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
There is a lot of work to do.
Now, I am going to describe all the steps to create an online marketplace. So, let's get started:
1) Find the niche for your marketplace.
2) Choose the right revenue model to monetize your platform.
3) Define the features of your online marketplace.
4) Build and launch an MVP first.
5) Pay attention to the design.
6) Attract both vendors and buyers.
7) Promote your marketplace.
The thing is that you can't miss any stage of the process. Besides, you should pay special attention to the MVP development step. Why is it so important? It helps to save you both time and money at the initial development stage. With its help, you can check your business idea and find out whether it is valuable to early adopters.
You just create a product with a minimum set of features needed. Afterward, as your business scales, you can add more functionality.
If you want to find more about the MVP development for online marketplaces, the functionality to consider, check the article below:
Wish you luck!
1. The optimal strategy depends on your resources, budget, and technical skills. Developing a marketplace from the ground up is a sound idea if you require a high level of customization, and need third-party integrations with your software.
Otherwise, you can consider using a SaaS Marketplace software, such as ShareTribe or Cocorico. These software platforms were specifically created for marketplace development, and have the payment systems integrated. Multi-language support, and admin management is also provided.
Alternatively, you may use APIs as a Service. This way, you get a decent level of customization, and will require some additional coding. At the same time, the maintenance and support is covered by service provider.
2. Plan the revenue model. You can choose one of those:
- subscriptions model;
- featured listings / ads;
- fee for posting services / products;
- by receiving commissions from each transaction.
Creating a marketplace takes profound development knowledge, but you can simplify the process by using an open-source software.
You can also get a more in-depth info here: https://www.byteant.com/blog/p2p-peer-to-peer-marketplace-a-full-development-guide-2020/
My fresh article covers the key things you need to know before developing a marketplace. Good luck!
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I guess I can help you with this.
You are moving in the direction of launching a multi-vendor eCommerce platform like Amazon. A multi-vendor marketplace houses several vendors with each having their own account within the store. Different vendors list their products on such a site and buyers come to the store to buy the products offered by various vendors.
I strongly suggest you to read the following marketplace guide for understanding,
i) Segmentation of eCommerce marketplace
ii) Choosing Digital Capabilities To Build eCommerce Marketplace like Amazon or eBay
iii) Guide to build online marketplace for various niches like grocery, digital products, furniture, liquor & wine, fashion, etc
Marketplace Guide: https://www.yo-kart.com/online-marketplace-guide.html
Moving forward, you should follow the following steps:
1. Market Research: You should do in-dept market analysis to understand your target market and customers.
2. Analysis of Competitors: Competitor analysis is a must and case studies will help you a lot in this. It will give you a brief that how a multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace works. You can learn a lot of lessons from the failure and success of your competitors. Every learning can be implemented when you will be starting your eCommerce marketplace.
3. Identify Stakeholders & Choose a Business Model: Do some research about what kind of people will be involved in your business (directly or indirectly). A Business Model Canvas can help you identify all of your stakeholders. Understand why and how to build connection/relationship with the most important of them all.
4. Registration & Other Legal Formalities: The legal process of getting a business registered differs from region to region. I would suggest you to seek help of a business consultant to complete the registration process.
5. Financial Arrangements: You can seek help from business consultants to understand the best ways to raise funds for your business.
6. Developing Multi-vendor E-commerce Website and Mobile App: You can easily get a Multi-vendor E-commerce Website and Mobile App developed using ready-made solutions like Yo!Kart. You can search for other options as well but I am suggesting Yo!Kart because this platform is featured by esteem media houses like Inc., The Telegraph, Forbes, etc.
Also read 'Why Choose Yo!Kart for building a New Multivendor Ecommerce Marketplace?' : https://www.fatbit.com/fab/choose-yokart-building-new-multivendor-marketplace/
In this case you should develop your idea as much as it possible. You should find a reliable development company (for example - https://www.cleveroad.com/industries/marketplace). And then start co-working. Every project is individual so you have a unique idea, development company knows how to bring it to life (starting from preparation to release and maintenance). Finally you`ll have an excellent project
I am also a young entrepreneur like you who recently set up his own ecommerce marketplace. Look, there are two methods to build your own marketplace. One is to get it built by hiring a web designer & developer from scratch. This idea isn’t bad, but it involves a lot of money and time. So, I wouldn’t suggest you go with this option. Another way to get your marketplace established is by using an ecommerce store builder.
I found this method to be more practical as it lets you create an online store easily, quickly, and securely. My multi-seller online store was live in less than a week! The marketplace builder I am using is SwiftKart. I went with its basic plan which cost me around USD499 under a special limited period discount.
Before deciding, check out the store builder: