Thanks to the internet, consumers, and businesses can find what they need online. That has disrupted the way traditional marketplaces operate and created an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage of the demand that exists and fulfill the needs of their target audience.
A two-sided marketplace is not a new concept. It has been around for a long time – Amazon and eBay are good examples of this marketplace. While these are a huge multi-vendor marketplace, you can create smaller online malls where several suppliers and vendors can sell their products to consumers or businesses based on your business model. You do not have to maintain inventory and with no physical storefront, your overheads are low and you can run a lean business. You can pass on the cost savings to the customers as well as your supply chain partners.
Creating a Two-Sided Marketplace
Consumers are moving online to buy products and services that they need, and the pandemic has also been instrumental in hastening this shift. That is the reason many entrepreneurs are shifting to building this marketplace. They can sell their products and services and also open up the marketplace to other suppliers and vendors, making it a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
Before you jump into the fray, it is essential to select the right business model and identify your target audience. You need to provide products and services that differentiate your marketplace from your competitors. Remember that a two-sided marketplace is very different from a traditional marketplace. You can have a regular e-commerce marketplace but you are not limited to it. You can even have a rental, delivery, or service marketplace. The focus of the marketplace is to build a community and not worry about consumerism and materialism.
Once you have chosen the kind of marketplace you would like to build and the revenue model to follow, the next step creating the actual marketplace. There are three ways to go about it:
Create the Marketplace from Scratch: If you decide to do this, you will need to know how to code and have good technical skills. The hard work that you put in will enable you to customize the look and feel of the marketplace based on your requirement. This is a time-consuming endeavor and can take months to have an error-free marketplace. By then, your business idea may become stale or you may end up with too much competition.
Standalone Marketplace: You can host an eCommerce site on WordPress using plugins. This requires in-depth knowledge of plugins as your marketplace would need to be designed taking into the consideration user experience. While you will have complete control over the design and hosting of the marketplace, it will take time to find the right plugins and test them to ensure your marketplace offers a superior user experience.
Using Marketplace Software: One of the quickest and easiest ways to build a two-sided marketplace is to use the software. The choice of the software will depend on your revenue model and the needs of your business. You needn’t worry as there are many Sharetribe alternatives, such as IdyaFlow, that you can use to build a flawless marketplace. The software provider will offer support and you do not have to worry about the technical side of things. You can create the marketplace within no time using the software and have complete ownership and control of the marketplace.
When you are using marketplace software, you just have to identify the features that you require and the software provider will customize the features to suit the needs of your business. It is a cheaper and quicker way to launch a two-side marketplace, and it is definitely a more efficient way as you can focus on onboarding suppliers and vendors rather than spending time on creating the marketplace.
Choosing the Right Features for Your Marketplace
Sharetribe alternatives, which are cheaper and feature-packed, often provide packages. These packages list the main features that you get when you choose one of them. Some of the essential features that you should ensure that your marketplace has are as follows:
Homepage: It is essential to connect with your target audience and hence the homepage should be engaging to grab their attention and push them to search more. Ensure that sign-up and sign-in are clearly marked. The homepage should inform visitors of the purpose of the marketplace and there should be a search bar to help them find the products or services they are seeking.
Simple and Quick Onboarding Process: Avoid a long-drawn sign-up process not just for customers but also for suppliers. You can integrate social media login into the marketplace, making the sign-up for suppliers and customers quick and easy. It will improve conversion rates.
Make Backend for Suppliers Simple: Allow suppliers to handle their profile and listings. That way, they will be able to add or remove products and services on their own. They should able to customize product descriptions and be able to upload multiple images. Make it easy for suppliers and sellers to interact with customers using the marketplace and when suppliers have profiles, they transform from an unknown seller to a known one, and this increases conversions.
Encourage Sales: You can encourage customers to buy more by having a review system in place. Let customers write reviews of the product or services and even the seller. Remember, many other prospective customers will read these reviews and make a purchase decision.
Focus on Quality: Get suppliers to sell quality products and reward such suppliers and sellers by choosing to highlight one or two each day. That way, you will retain suppliers who are quality conscious and get rid of those who do not concentrate on quality. It will build the credibility of your marketplace and attract more prospective buyers.
The Bottom Line
A two-sided marketplace can be a lucrative business if you know how to go about building it and choosing the right revenue model. You do not have to in for expensive software. There are affordable Tribeshare alternatives that you can use to create a robust, feature-filled, and user-friendly marketplace.