The deep penetration of the internet and affordable mobile internet services have pushed consumers to seek products and services online. As a result, traditional marketplaces have become passé. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to step in and create a marketplace that serves their target audience.
Online marketplaces are not something new. Many like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have been around for some time. These are multi-vendor marketplaces and cater to a wider audience. While you do not have to build the next eBay or Amazon, you still start a small-scale marketplace to serve your target audience. With multiple suppliers and vendors catering to the growing demand for products and services online, you can build a platform that has minimal overheads. There is no need to have a storefront or inventory, and this enables you to operate a lean business. The key is to choose your business model with care so that you can pass the savings to your customers, who will keep returning for good bargains.
Things to Remember When Building an Online Marketplace
While consumers have been steadily going online to purchase what they need, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this shift. So, as an online marketplace owner, you will be able to tap on this vast group of consumers, who want high-quality products and services at affordable prices. Also, when you decide the target audience you want to cater to, you will be able to collaborate with the right vendors and suppliers.
Before you decide to go ahead and create the ultimate online marketplace, it is essential to identify your target audience and then select a business model that will reap dividends from the beginning. Also, it is prudent to remember that there are several marketplaces already so you will need to stand out so that your offerings are unique.
When entrepreneurs want to build a marketplace, most gravitate towards eCommerce. You do not have to limit yourself to an eCommerce platform; you can also come up with a rental, service, or delivery marketplace. Your choice of the marketplace should depend on the demand and a gap in that demand. The marketplace should fill that gap. Otherwise, there is no point in having a marketplace that does not attract customers or vendors. Rather than being swayed by materialism, your aim should be to build a marketplace that serves as a community. Your community will then be loyal to you and be your most ardent advocate.
How to Build a Marketplace
Once you know the kind of marketplace you want to build, then the next step is to get the marketplace ready. Here are some of the options that you have when it comes to building your online marketplace:
Build from Scratch:
Most entrepreneurs do not hesitate to invest a lot of money to create a unique platform. That means they start building the marketplace from scratch by getting developers, coders, and graphic designers on board. If you have deep pockets, this method of building your platform could be successful.
Your aim should be to come up with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that you can launch quickly rather than trying to come up with a glitch-free marketplace. With an MVP, you will not be wasting time or risking your idea becoming stale. An MVP enables you to come up with a functional marketplace that you can launch and then you can keep making changes as you go along to include more features.
If you are looking to launch a Minimum Viable Product, choosing a marketplace website software is the best way forward. This software does not require technical skills and you will be able to get your marketplace up and running within no time. Of course, with so much software out there, it can be tough to make a choice.
Many opt for the Sharetribe marketplace but this software may not be the right choice for you as an entrepreneur with limited resources. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry as there are several Sharetribe alternatives, such as IdyaFlow, that offer a feature-rich platform that is affordable and comes with 24/7 technical support. With marketplace software like IdyaFlow, you do not have to spend your resources on designers, coders, and developers. The software comes with templates that can be edited so that you customize your marketplace and you never have to worry about the technicalities. The software gives you complete control over your marketplace and you will be able to launch a Minimum Viable Product within no time.
Getting the Features Right
When you decide to use marketplace software, it is advisable to check the features. Identify the features you want in your marketplace and get the software provider to customize them to suit your business. This will work out much cheaper than building a marketplace from scratch.
Software providers like IdyaFlow offer attractive and feature-rich packages at affordable prices. Each package will have core features that you should pay special attention to.
Make sure that your marketplace has a homepage so that you can immediately establish a connection with the visitors. It should be engaging and grab a visitor’s attention – they should be compelled to delve deeper into the marketplace to find out the various products and services it offers. The homepage should have a search bar that takes visitors to their chosen page with a click of a button.
The sign-up process should be quick and fuss-free. The last thing you need is a length and arduous sign-up process. Make it easy not just for your customers but also for your suppliers and vendors to join quickly and conveniently. Ensure that you allow your users to use their social media account to log into the marketplace. It will have a profound effect on the conversion rate and also help your marketplace get recognition on different social media platforms.
Lastly, make sure that the backend that suppliers and vendors use is uncomplicated. You want to give your suppliers control over their listings and profiles. Set minimum standards for product descriptions and listings so that vendors know what they can or cannot do. That way, you will weed out vendors who are not serious and retain those who make an effort to conform to your requirements.
Use these tips to create and build your marketplace. Rather than searching high and low for the right marketplace software, throw your lot with IdyaFlow and you will not regret it.