The success and growth of Airbnb, Amazon, and Etsy have demonstrated that marketplaces can be successful. However, creating a successful marketplace takes time and effort and you should be willing to devote both. It is only then that you will end up with a user-centric marketplace designed for success.
If you want to know how to build a marketplace that will grow and become successful, here are a few things that you should know.
Forget about Building the Platform from Scratch
Entrepreneurs have limited resources and the last thing you need is to use up all your capital to build your marketplace from scratch. You do not have to worry about hiring a web developer and programmer as there are many options.
Many entrepreneurs use Sharetribe but did you know there are Sharetribe alternatives that offer more flexibility and feature-filled applications to customize your marketplace? IdyaFlow is becoming the preferred choice among entrepreneurs, who want to create their bespoke online marketplace.
IdyaFlow is cost-effective and you can use a readily available marketplace template and then customize it. That way, you do not have to worry about developers and programmers and your marketplace will be up and ready for launch within no time. The IdyaFlow application will allow you to keep the creation of your marketplace simple, efficient, and streamlined. The backend and frontend are intuitive and you can easily automate supplier onboarding. The IdyaFlow platform also automates order management, facilitates communications between customers and suppliers, and provides state-of-the-art security.
Choose the Right Marketplace Niche
If you look at successful marketplaces today, you will see that they are designed to meet the needs of sellers and buyers within a specific niche. Select a niche after comprehensive research. This is a step that you shouldn’t neglect or ignore as it will influence the sales, the kind of service providers you attract, the potential buyers who visit your marketplace, and the perception of the platform.
Without a niche, your marketplace will be rudderless and it will not have focus. Hence, ensure that you find the right niche to cater to, especially if you want to build a service marketplace. It will allow you to incorporate the right features to make it an enjoyable process for the providers and the buyers.
Launch a Minimum Viable Product
If you check the history of the most successful online marketplaces, you will see that most launched with basic but useful features. If you start thinking that you want to create the best possible marketplace, you could end up spending too much time and money without knowing if your platform will be a success.
When you build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), your focus is on quickly launching. Thereafter, you can get feedback from the stakeholders and incorporate them as you go along. The key is to build an online marketplace that potential providers, sellers, and buyers would be interested in. That way, you can customize the platform on the go and gradually scale it.
A lot of entrepreneurs do not realize the importance of quickly launching their marketplace. It allows you to be available to attract service providers and merchants who, otherwise, will not be interested in registering on a site that does not offer them online visibility. With an MVP, you can ensure that this happens and you tweak your site thereafter to improve it as your business grows.
Create a Realistic Budget
Even with an MVP, you will still need capital to keep your business running. While you will not spend money on inventory, you will have other expenses like hosting, bandwidth, advertising for service providers and merchants, online security, and acquiring customers. These expenses can easily go out of hand and eat into your meager resources.
It is advisable to create a lean budget. You may feel that the only way to ensure success is to pour in money. You should refrain from doing that as you are just starting your platform. Just use enough to get started and keep your marketplace running smoothly until it grows and starts earning revenue. Use social media and SEO as they are free sources of advertising and pushing your marketplace up on search engine rankings. Choose paid advertising options only when your marketplace begins generating you revenue.
Of course, the growth will be slow but you will be able to stretch your resources until the marketplace become self-sustaining and also earns you a profit. The last thing you need is running out of capital when you need it the most.
Never Lose Sight of Your Aim
When you plan to start online marketplace, you would have had a goal in mind. While a marketplace acts as a conduit to connect sellers and service providers with customers, ensure that it helps to resolve genuine problems of the stakeholders. If a marketplace does not do it, it will not be able to survive. And, if you manage to solve issues faced by service providers, sellers, and buyers, your marketplace will be a success and you will be able to accomplish your goal.
To figure out the real-world problems of your target audience, you need to engage them. This process should begin when start building the marketplace. That way, you will create a platform that offers value to your target audience, and that will, in turn, help you achieve your aim and goal.
Don’t be in a hurry to build your marketplace. Instead, spend time engaging your target audience to understand the problems they face and then use your platform as a way to resolve those issues. Also, start with a Minimum Viable Product so that you do not use a lot of your capital in the beginning. When you start small and slow, you can easily change, adapt and adjust the marketplace to suit the needs of the merchants, services providers, and buyers. Furthermore, choose the right business model so that you earn revenue after some time rather than constantly digging into your coffers.
Following these few tips will enable you to create a marketplace that offers value and is respected in the online realm. And, that, in turn, will help your marketplace become a success story.