An online marketplace serves as a conduit to connect potential customers with sellers. It offers a platform to conduct transactions between the two parties and helps the marketplace generate revenue through marketplace fees. The success of marketplaces like Airbnb, Amazon, and Etsy are fueling the interest and this has played a major role in putting them at the forefront.
Many contend that online marketplaces have regular shopping events that offer huge discounts and that is spurring the growth of marketplaces. While these events do play a role, this is not the only reason. Thanks to affordable internet and widespread penetration, most potential buyers use their handheld devices to look for products and services. They can find multiple vendors with ease, compare prices and quality, and then make an informed buying decision.
Why Build a Marketplace?
With more people using the internet to shop online and find services, it is a good time to build a marketplace. However, your focus should be on superior user experience rather than just creating a marketplace. When you have features and services that provide a personalized shopping experience and make it easier for sellers to handle orders and communicate with buyers, your marketplace will thrive.
Make sure you focus on the quality of products and services while keeping the prices competitive. That will build your reputation and attract more customers to your marketplace. Also, when you are thinking of building a marketplace, pay attention to the business model. Create a business model that is sustainable in the long run. Explore the different models and select one that best suits your business.
You should create a Minimum Viable Product and launch as quickly as possible. You can use a freelance website template to create your marketplace and then customize the features based on what you want to offer your target audience. That way, you will not be building the platform from scratch and you will not have to pour money into it. When you use marketplace software to build your platform, it will be up and running within no time. You can make changes on the go and based on the feedback you get from sellers and customers. You will not have to invest in a coder or programmer and your marketplace will be ready for launch within no time.
Features to Include in Your Online Marketplace
Now that you know a little bit about how to set up marketplace, it is time to focus on the features that the platform should have. Remember, the features should make it easy for your target audience to use the marketplace. It is only then that they will return as customers or continue selling their products and services.
Here are some features that should be a part of your marketplace:
Responsive Website Design:
If you check tutorials that teach you how to make freelance website, they will tell you to create a responsive design. Your site should be available on any device that a user uses. Remember, people use PCs, laptops, iPads, smartphones, and tablets to browse the internet for products and services. A responsive site will adjust to the device and be available on-demand for a smooth and hassle-free buying experience.
Listings Based on Geography:
You should give vendors the freedom to sell products anywhere. Many times, vendors prefer catering to customers who are located in the same region as them. That will also make it easy for buyers to find sellers located in the same geographical region and this can make delivery of products and services seamless and hassle-free. It also allows vendors to invite buyers to visit their brick-and-mortar stores to have a personalized interaction and forge a deeper relationship.
Multiple Payment Options:
Your marketplace should make it as easy as possible for customers to complete their orders. This will minimize shopping cart abandonment. So, rather than just letting customers pay using credit cards, offer multiple payment options. Include commonly used payment modes, such as debit cards, online banking, e-wallets, and PayPal besides credit cards. In case your marketplace is region-specific, add payments options that are frequently used for online shopping in that specific region. It will allow customers to pay without a hassle and sellers will be able to get quick access to the funds, thereby maintaining optimal cash flow.
Dispute Resolution Mechanism:
There are bound to be disputes between buyers and sellers. Have a proper dispute resolution mechanism in place that enables you to quickly resolve issues by being fair to the buyer as well as the seller. For this, you will need an empowered dispute resolution department that can weigh the facts and address issues between buyers and sellers.
Customers may have questions about a product or service, or they may want to know more about shipping or have some other queries. Ensure you have a proactive customer care department that buyers can connect with online. You should have this department even if the logistics are handled by the seller. This will work wonders for your marketplace as satisfied buyers will post reviews online and that as a result, will help to build the popularity of the platform. Happy and satisfied buyers mean you will have a thriving marketplace.
The Bottom Line
When you are building a marketplace, consider the needs of customers and include features that will make it easy for them to find what they are seeking. At the same time, the platform should also cater to sellers by empowering them. However, you should ensure you also form some level of quality control for anything posted by the seller to maintain uniformity. Focus on high-quality products and services and that will ensure you get a steady flow of customers.
When building your marketplace, make the navigation intuitive. Have an attractive homepage that offers the information buyers are looking for and make it easy for them to browse and reach the seller’s page without too many clicks. Forget about lengthy log-ins, pop-up ads, and complicated navigation. Remember, you are looking to launch a Minimum Viable Product as quickly as possible and then add features and other elements on the go to make your marketplace attractive for buyers and sellers.