A service marketplace enables customers to perform a search to find service providers. They can then request these service providers to send a quote, purchase the service, or do an online booking.
This is one of the fastest-growing verticals in the marketplace sector, and most service marketplaces offer delivery of services based on asset sharing, trial tasks, providing highly skilled services, or offering basic services. If you are looking to start a marketplace for businesses, this is the perfect opportunity to enter into the fray. However, when you begin designing your service marketplace platform, it is important to get the features right. That will ensure your marketplace flourishes and attracts not just service providers but also customers. Here are some of the features your service marketplace should offer:
Search for Right Service Providers
The customers should be able to find and whittle down their options to a few service providers, who meet their selection criteria. Hence, it is important to have a find-and-compare option that enables customers to intuitively perform searches. In addition, there should be a filter option so that customers can enter or select search criteria based on their requirements. It is a good thing to offer customers location-based search so that they get results just for those service providers, who are based in their region.
The search option should be seamless and be able to handle complex queries so that customers can shortlist a few service providers who suit their needs and then request them to send a quote.
Convenient Quotation Process
A service marketplace can be a mix of fixed prices and estimates. When your marketplace software solutions offer this, it will encourage the customers to act and request a quote. The process of requesting should be seamless, both the customer and service provider.
Service providers should be able to create customized questionnaires for different service categories, be able to display or hide prices to elicit inquiries from customers, and also be able to respond to requests and reviews. On the other hand, customers should be able to fill out questionnaires so that they provide adequate information to service providers to furnish a quote, request quotes from multiple service providers at one go, and be able to communicate with service providers without hindrance.
Once a customer gets quotes from multiple service providers, they should be able to compare them. Customers will be able to do this if they define the quote attributes at the start of requesting the quotes. That way, service providers will have to respond to each attribute when they furnish the quote.
Some of the quote attributes that you can include is the ratings of the service provider, how many years of experience the service provider has, and what do the past reviews state. That way, customers will be able to compare service providers and their quotes to select one who fits their budget and selection criteria.
Profiles of Service Provider’s Staff
A service provider should upload the profiles of their staff/personnel so that they can aid the customers in the decision-making process. The profiles should have the image/logo of the service providers, a brief profile that lists down their expertise and experience. In addition to this, the service providers should be able to list the qualifications and specialization of their staff, who will be working on projects. It is also a good idea to let service providers state their most recent projects and offer a portfolio that potential customers can browse. Other things that profiles can state are the ratings and service area.
Make sure that you have quality control measures in place that enable you to improve the profiles so that service providers stand out. That is something that you want to ensure as a service marketplace should reflect high standards and quality.
Online Booking of Services
An online booking feature is something that you do not need to think about. It should be a given so that customers can schedule an appointment with the service provider. The initial appointment for a consultation can be paid or free, depending on the business model of the marketplace and that of the service providers. Once the customer approves the quote, the service can be fixed or hourly.
When customers book a service, the service provider should be able to create a work calendar for them that clearly denotes the hours and the days of the week when the provider is available. Vendors should also be able to view, change, and cancel online bookings. Remember, booking should be simple and quick, without too many steps. Once a booking is confirmed, an automatic notification should be sent to the customer.
Another aspect of online booking should be the payment feature. Vendors should be able to request partial or full payment. It is best to establish an escrow where the entire payment is kept and release based on the agreed milestones.
Reviews and Ratings
Encourage customers to post honest and unbiased reviews and ratings if you want to develop a quality service marketplace. These reviews and ratings will play a major role in the success of the marketplace and evoke trust between service providers and customers.
It could be a good idea to allow service providers also to rate their customers. Ensure that all reviews should be visible to registered users. You can create a rating scale for specific attributes like quality, communication, and delivery. Ensure that service providers who receive a higher rating are ranked higher in searches. That will act as an incentive for other service providers to up their game.
It is prudent to remember that service marketplace will have large-value payments if your marketplace caters to B2B customers. On the other hand, if you have a freelancer marketplace, the value of the payments will not be too big. So, once you decide the kind of marketplace you want to create, it is advisable to create escrow accounts for customers so that payments can be released after each agreed milestone, with the final payment on the successful delivery of the project.
Provide a range of payment options, like e-wallets, PayPal, credit cards, and debit cards. If your marketplace caters to specific geography, you may want to include the most popular mode of payment for that region. That will enable customers to fund their accounts with the most convenient option.
The good news is that you can use marketplace software that comes with a variety of marketplace templates. You can easily customize the templates and features to suit the needs of your marketplace. Remember, there are many Sharetribe competitors, such as IdyaFlow, that offer fantastic and useful marketplace features that can help make your service marketplace a success.