At all times, there was a system of exchange of goods and services. But today, when high technologies have erased the borders between states and even continents, the possibilities have expanded significantly. $2.67 trillion spent through-out-the-world on the top 100 online marketplaces in 2020. Almost anyone can create a platform where a supplier is offered and users buy. They sell everything, from planes to matches, you can find any services from an obstetrician at home, to making tombstones.
As practice shows, success is born from an idea. If you have it, it has been tested, has potential and is ready for implementation, you can start creating an online marketplace. What is needed for this, what tools to use, where to start, how much it will cost to create and launch an online trading platform: these are the questions that we will answer today.
1st Stage: Prototyping and Testing
The first step is to understand that an idea is a complete abstraction. It needs to be visualized. That’s what prototyping is for.
A prototype is a model of an idea. In the case of a marketplace, this can be a primitive implementation of an idea on paper. But it is not very effective and will not give an opportunity to fully understand the effectiveness of the idea. It’s best to start building a working HTML prototype right away. If you have a goal to build a real large business that will work, expand and generate income, you need to take everything seriously already at the prototype stage.
Even with minimal HTML layout skills, it is better to entrust the creation of a working model to a professional. A really working prototype in the future will show how viable and competitive the idea is, whether it is worth investing money and time in it.
At the first stage, after the prototype is created, it can already be presented to potential partners, and begin to recruit the first employees. The model can be shown to the first suppliers and buyers.
At this stage, you need to assemble a team and hire talents for Magento development. This is your main resource that will help you create a product. It is not so easy to find good specialists, so it is advisable to take care of this in advance.
2nd Stage: Creation of Project Documentation
Developing a clear technical assignment, thinking through all the functions and the possibility of their expansion, considering the prospects and their implementation in technical terms – this is an obligatory stage in the work on the marketplace.
It does not matter who will develop the site: full-time employees or it will be an outside team, technical specifications or project documentation – this is the guide along which the developer will move.
This stage makes it possible to convey to the team the essence of the future product. It is the documentation that should clearly indicate the purpose and future functionality of the trading platform.
3rd stage: MVP Development Website Creation
The prototype is created, the project documentation is ready – a very important stage begins, which will show how much your idea is needed by users, whether it has a chance of development. For this, an MVP is created.
MVP is the minimum viable product. In fact, this is a ready-made product with a minimum set of functions. It is best to use one, the main function, if it is enough for evaluating the product at an early stage.
MVP is created with different goals: to attract investors, first users, and buyers. Your task is to start with a minimum investment, in order to expand the functionality later.
This stage is very important. 90% of startups that missed it went bust. To get into the lucky 10%, MVPs need to be taken seriously.
After creating the minimum viable product, it must be brought to the user in the clearest hands. The sooner it gets to the target audience, the faster you get feedback and understand what needs to be changed, add, in which direction to move.
Be prepared for the MVP to show that all hopes have not been met. Any idea, even the most ingenious one, may turn out to be untimely, fail to find its user, and fail to get feedback. You shouldn’t give up everything at once. Change direction, correct it, adjust to the market. If all else fails, there are no reviews, the idea turned out to be brilliant, but not necessary, leave it without regret. This will save you time and money on your next attempts to create an ingenious product.
4th Stage: Expanding the User Base of the Online Marketplace
Online Marketplace users are sellers and buyers, service providers and those who need them. Both need to be involved. It is correct to do it in different ways.
Attraction of suppliers, sellers
Even in the smallest niche, there are always suppliers looking for new distribution channels for their product or service. Your job is to search for them & entice them to your site:
Research your competitors and their audiences. If a supplier sells from him, he is open to working with you. But he needs to be encouraged to cooperate: create a grace period, access to premium services for the first time, make an offer that he cannot refuse;
● Actively work with search engines. Choose the region you are interested in, the range of goods and services, connect marketing channels;
● Take full edge of the potential of social media. Here you can find not only suppliers, but also good ideas for the development of the site.
After the product is found, there is also a buyer:
●A blog or a page, or a community in social networks is very relevant. But you need to advertise very carefully here. Engage the reader, engage in dialogue or discussion with an interesting topic;
●Brand ambassadors – you can use them to make any popular personality on the web whose topic is close to yours. Find a blogger with a large number of followers, celebrities who “in the subject” will attract their fans and can make them your buyers.
It is imperative to find the first suppliers even before launching the site and attracting the first buyers. Nothing scares off a potential user like a blank website and pages with no products.
For the first users, a minimum set of functions should be available:
● Login through social networks;
● Search and filters;
● Chats, technical support;
● Buyer and seller profile;
● Payment systems are connected.
After a successful launch with the growing popularity and base of suppliers and completed transactions, the site is expanding and modernizing. However, this is a subject to be discussed in the next article.
I hope you have learned the stages of the online marketplace discussed here. Besides this, you may also love to read.