Estimates vary widely but marketplace platforms, including the giants operated by Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and others, account for 58% of global web sales. That’s why so many businesses, from home-based startups to large traditional retailers such as Best Buy, WalMart, and Indigo are launching their own marketplaces. These big traditional retailers have launched their own marketplaces by allowing outside merchants to sell directly on their sites in exchange for listing fees and commissions. An online marketplace is a type of e-commerce site where products or services are provided by multiple third party suppliers, whereas transactions are processed by the ecommerce marketplace platforms – If you can’t beat them, join them.
Unlike ecommerce sites, the marketplaces have 3 entities – Customer, Supplier and the platform. The platform is responsible for connecting/matching the customers and suppliers.
The marketplaces can be classified into following types:
- B2B – A platform for the transaction of products or services between businesses.
- C2C – A Platform for the transaction of products or services between customers.
- B2C – A platform for the transaction of products or services from business to customers.
- Auction platforms – A platform that allows suppliers to list a product and sets a deadline; the customer with the highest bid gets the product.
- Peer-to-Peer – A platform that brings together users, who offer products or services through offline services.
The success of the marketplace business depends like any other business in its ability to connect with the target audience. The right marketplace features allow you to support a growing customer/supplier community, promote a diversity of products or services, and drive sales. Let us look at the key features that can make a marketplace a hit in this niche market.
User Engaging HomePage
We cannot emphasize much on this aspect enough, as it can make or break the user interest in your website. The homepage of your marketplace should have the following essential features:
- A navigation bar that houses all the vital pages like sign-up/sign-in and other sections meant for customers and suppliers.
- The homepage banner that clearly states the purpose of the marketplace.
- A search bar in a prominent location on the homepage banner, that allows users to search for products or services right from the start.
Both the customer and supplier sign-up process should be user friendly and straightforward. A lengthy signup process not only proves to be tedious but it also cuts down the conversion rate as user experience is the key of every digital product these days.
- The platform should provide multiple form options to onboard the suppliers and customers. The admin should choose either the short or long form depending on the nature of the marketplace business.
- The platform should have built-in social media login making it easy for both the suppliers and customers to join the community.
Attract Suppliers, Help them Sell Online
Marketplace operations can get quite complicated. But we made it simple. The platform should allow your suppliers to track orders, transactions, and payment – from the moment of the sale.
- The supplier portal should allow suppliers to effortlessly list, edit, and remove products or services. The product listing should have the ability to add custom attributes, descriptions and multiple images.
- The platform should encourage both suppliers and customers to actively interact via the platform and should foster transparency. The portal should have allow your suppliers to showcase their stories and customers to know who they are buying from – with supplier profile sections
Entice Customers to Buy, Accelerate Sales
The marketplace should allow customers to browse through all listings and should have robust options to search or filter by multiple criteria. The best marketplace design will allow both the options for the customers. Achieving this requires the right marketplace design and navigation tools based on the user behaviour.
- The platform should connect your suppliers and customers both via emails and in-app messaging features to allow price negotiation or let suppliers share interesting products with each other and direct them to complete the sale, right from the messaging interface
- The platform should allow customers to rate and review products right after the transaction, thus, encouraging suppliers to deliver only the best product or service experience. This will also automatically push out the bad products and suppliers out of your platform and build credibility among the suppliers and customers.
Escrow Payment Platform & Dispute Management
Marketplaces should vouch for a secure financial management solution that can handle the massive volume of transactions. There is virtually no risk of losing money or merchandise due to fraud. Funds will be released only when both the buyers and sellers are satisfied.
- The Escrow system manages payments for marketplace owners in a hassle-free manner. Escrow also facilitates the resolution of disputes between buyers and sellers in a transparent manner. So. the customer can claim a refund if the services did not meet his expectations.
- The platform should have a seamless process to manage refunds and dispute with built-in tools, so both the supplier and customer will trust the marketplace.
Social Media & Community
Social media has been gaining popularity in marketplaces in recent times. Networking with like-minded people in the marketplace creates a sense of togetherness amongst individuals and boosts overall revenue.
- The platform should allow customers to share a listing with their friends and family from within the marketplace
- The marketplace should have the ability to integrate with facebook and google Campaigns to promote the suppliers and their products or services.
IdyaFlow is a SaaS platform that helps entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporations of any size build and scale two-sided marketplaces that can be adapted to selling, renting or exchanging virtually any product or service. Whether you are integrating with an existing e-commerce application or starting a marketplace from scratch, we’ll have your secure, mobile-friendly marketplace up and running in days — and at the fraction of the cost.
We are here to support you succeed! Let’s start the journey.