TMCnet Feature
November 24, 2021

Launch Your Own Online Marketplace in 5 Steps

Today, setting up a digital marketplace is easier than ever. Yet, it is still a complex endeavor that requires a solid plan and advanced technical solutions. After validating your idea, you need to choose the right business model, pick a pricing system, create an MVP and build the initial supply. Discover the key stages in this process and the best technological tools that facilitate success.

Whatever you plan to sell, be it groceries or electronics, you can accelerate development using ready-made solutions. For example, the operating system for omnichannel business development such as Scallium.Pro covers the full spectrum of e-commerce processes. You can reduce costs and build your own platform with minimal effort! Here are the first steps.

Step 1. Validate Your Idea

To become popular, your marketplace must solve real problems for its users — customers and providers. Too many startups fail because of insufficient demand. You do not have to come up with something completely new. For example, you could aggregate small providers from fragmented markets.

Then, identify your target audience and describe it in detail. Research its needs, goals, and concerns. Study your competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses and find your own competitive advantage. Are you planning to fill a market gap or provide similar services better?

Step 2. Choose a Business Model

Building the site is not the trickiest part. You need to find the business model that will suit you, your supply, and your demand. Long-term sustainability requires a solid and agile foundation. Make sure the financing model is scalable, so it will support growth. The typical sources of revenue for a digital marketplace include:

  • Commission
  • Subscription or membership
  • Listing fee
  • Freemium
  • Lead fee
  • Featured ads and listings

Step 3. Build a Website

Before investing in a fully-featured project, build an MVP, or a minimum viable product. This initial version of the marketplace will contain only its essential features. It will let you launch it quickly and collect feedback from early adopters.

Create a positive first impression and communicate your core value proposition effectively. The biggest challenge is catering to both customers and providers at the same time. Make sure both categories of visitors see how your marketplace can help them. Pay close attention to language and design to make users stay on the platform.

Step 4. Prepare Initial User Base

Start building your user base well in advance. For example, you could set up a landing page to collect email addresses from users before opening up. To get people to sign up, you need to generate interest. Join a Facebook (News - Alert) group or create your own community — for example, through a blog, a forum, or social media site. Provide relevant content that brings value to the target audience and let users interact with it.

To find the first providers, contact companies that are active in existing marketplaces. You can also find them through Facebook groups, forums, and other communities. For example, in the early days of Airbnb, its founders emailed users who listed their apartments on Craigslist.

Step 5. Launch and Grow Your Business

After testing the MVP and honing the system, you should be ready for a full-scale launch. Start tracking the right metrics from the start, such as monthly active users, bounce rate, and time spent on your site. Keep an eye on transaction indicators like liquidity and repeated purchase ratio.

Your monitoring system must include all factors that anchor marketing and growth. Remember that successful online businesses are focused on continuous improvement, so keep on learning and nurturing your online community!

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