In 2021, global e-tail sales totaled close to $5 trillion, equal to 20% of global retail sales. Economists put that figure at more than $7 trillion by 2025, which is nearly a quarter of the world's overall retail sales.
Indeed, the pandemic has irrevocably changed our lives, bringing a new convenience: online shopping. And even now that the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, online commerce continues to grow. So to join the field of online commerce is a fascinating entrepreneurial idea!
But every new endeavor has to start with planning a sequence of actions. However, our team has got it all worked out and has put together a marketplace application checklist.
Complete Marketplace Application Checklist
Determine Your Market
It would be dead wrong to start the online marketplace application checklist, as well as the process itself, right from the point of software development. After all, developing a marketplace is not just about writing code and creating a design, but many other stages that include research, programming, design, business analytics, marketing, etc.
Rigorous market research has to be undertaken before committing to any marketplace idea. We are starting our checklist for successful marketplace app launch with this point due to its essence. Running market research implies getting to be familiar with your would-be rivals and their ventures, intended audience, and the most recent tendencies in the field of marketplace development. The purpose is to identify a problem your market will tackle and the sector in which it will operate. In this checklist for marketplace application, we would divide the research into two phases. Pre-discovery and Research.
In advance of proceeding with the research set the scope of the sphere in which you intend to handle your venture. Perhaps your marketplace will target real estate, and apparel, or perhaps you want to start a new food delivery service.
Think as you might like your marketplace to operate in multiple niches, i.e., build a horizontal marketplace. Horizontal marketplaces are venues that sell items in various categories. Therefore, vertical marketplaces serve items belonging to one particular category.
Next, determine the geographic reach. Will the marketplace work only for the local market or cover the international market?
Draw on your personal experience of using marketplaces as part of your research. Think back to the struggles you have run into as a user.
Study both existing and collapsed marketplace solutions. Digging into their backgrounds will give you insight into a very unique platform that will get you to your target audience and attract them to your platform without incurring a lot of expense.
Being aware of that in advance means tweaking the features tailored to meet the needs of your target audience in the best possible way.
Think in terms of ways to perfect the existing solutions.
Select the Marketplace Type
Marketplaces are usually divided into several types based on who is going to act as a vendor and who will be a customer.
Customer-to-customer marketplaces provide means for individual people to buy and sell goods.
Business-to-customer marketplaces join businesses and individuals. Businesses offer their goods and services whilst individuals buy them.
Business-to-business marketplaces serve as mediums for selling-buying relationships between enterprises.
Research Your Target Audience
Finding your target market will help you better understand what your marketplace purpose is. Use all the possible means to get the answers to these questions:
- What is your target audience's age?
- What is their location?
- What are they interested in?
- What is their career?
- What is their educational background?
- What are their values?
Once you know your target audience, discover and fulfill their pain points and needs. The marketplace that can address users’ needs, has all the chances to succeed.
Determine the Distribution Channels
Sales models regulate exactly how manufacturers and buyers will connect with each other on your platform. More specifically, how products will be sold. It's important to think about this step in advance, so we included this step in the checklist for marketplace app.
Direct model refers to manufacturers of a product or service who work directly with consumers. Businesses work in an intermediaries-free way and goods are shipped from their retail sites to their customers.
Indirect model is characterized by the manufacturer engaging distributors and other intermediaries to market the product or service. These sales platforms offer a chance to reach a larger market. But there is a risk that intermediaries will do their job unfairly, which will affect the quality of the goods.
Hybrid model combines the previous two. This is probably why it has become the most popular. In this arrangement, the manufacturer collaborates with intermediaries, but contacting customers is direct and done by the manufacturers.
Adopt a Business Model
To make a marketplace work and bring revenue, you need to plump for a business model. A tricky moment here is choosing a model that will work for all. Here are the most popular models across marketplaces:
Commission is charged from each payment conducted on the platform. Fiverr and Airbnb apply this model.
A subscription gives access to additional features on interval payments. The subscription fee is usually billed yearly, monthly, or weekly.
Listing fees are cut from vendors for each item listed over the platform.
Freemium provides a basic-feature version of the marketplace for free. Yet, premium features, guarantees, etc. are available when paid.
Ads are the most popular monetization method. While it may seem to be the easiest one, it has its own pitfalls. If you decided on ads, you are to put them on the page that harmonically fits the layout. They should be too aggressive and annoying.
Promotions are designed to let marketplaces get revenue by giving vendors a chance to attract new customers by making their listings more visible.
Selecting a business model requires a thorough understanding of what will satisfy users. Improper business models will prevent your venture from getting off the ground.
This eCommerce marketplace application checklist isn’t going deep into business models. For a more detailed description of each business model, refer to our article: Online Marketplace Business Model
First, the cost to develop a marketplace relies on two alternatives you’re to choose from:
A ready-made SaaS solution that consumes rather less time and budget. Based on a monthly subscription, the solutions provide a vast range of things necessary for a marketplace. One thing remains though, you will not be in control of your platform in terms of technology and become fully dependent on the SaaS.
Another option is to hire a development team that delivers full-cycle services. Of course, it is much more expensive and requires time but the final product is worth it.
Speaking about the cost of hiring a team to develop a marketplace, It’s characterized by huge cost ranges. The final cost is variable due to multiple factors that a covered in our cost breakdown: The Cost of Creating an Online Marketplace Mobile App.
Find a Software Development Partner
The development teams have a good grasp of all the pitfalls of developing a marketplace, they know which technologies are best to use, and they can help with the non-technical aspects as well. That's why we all vote with our feet in favor of turning to the development team.
What should you pay attention to when selecting a development partner?
- Team’s experience and understanding of related project development. Go to the developer’s website to find their case studies. Also, check their blog articles to make certain about their knowledge and expertise.
- Go for a full-cycle development team. A full cycle means you’ll have all the necessary work done at a one-stop place.
Put Efforts to Win Trust
- Bring security to both buyers and sellers by granting verification that the human being in charge of the account is real. Meanwhile, his or her personal information should be properly safeguarded;
- Take care of privacy and make sure the marketplace is GDPR compliant;
- Make your marketplace more accessible by developing a mobile app or a mobile web version;
- Don't neglect documentation of transactions and offers. Keep it in a credible repository;
Define the feature set starting from the core one. Even the very first and very basic features must satisfy marketplace user needs. The feature set can be divided into three groups:
Vendor’s features: sign-up, personal accounts, dashboard, listings, and analytics.
Customer's features: registration, user profiles, order forms, search tools, payment, and feedback.
Marketplace operator’s features: an admin panel equipped with must-have tools to run the platform.
This is a list of key features to launch the first iteration. The list may be prolonged, pivoting on your marketplace business needs.
When it comes to processes where the subject is money, one of the main requirements expected is to create a secure and reliable e-commerce setting. What it takes to make your platform trustworthy:
Yes, the marketplace app checklist reached the technical part. There are several steps to be taken to get a platform done.
Deciding on Stack
Before getting started with coding, choose a tech stack for marketplace development. Consult with your team on this matter. They should guide you through the technologies that are the best fit based on your marketplace traits and goals.
Your initial research is of great importance for designers as well. Based on the data about the target market, they draw UI/UX that should be intuitive and user-oriented.
Once the stack is confirmed, the developer gets down to work on the server-side and client-side software. In other words, they write codes for both the backend and frontend.
This stage includes API integration and Payment system embodying.
Testing and Optimization
Bugs are a stroke of bad luck. No one will want to stay on a platform, that is buggy and laggy. That is why testing is of such importance. At Celadon, we do both manual testing and automated testing. In this stage, our testers deliver excellent quality assurance by checking performance, function, interface, usability, and security.
Start With MVP
MVP is the first iteration of a pare-dawn but a fully-functioning iteration of marketplaces. At Celadon, each marketplace project is started with MVP. Hence, we couldn’t miss the checklist for marketplace app launch. We get any project going with MVP for several reasons:
- It helps in collecting first feedback
- It’s a nice way to test the idea before going for something big
- It gives an understanding of what to add or remove from the marketplace, e.g. shows the directions for further evaluation and development
- Having a functioning MVP is rather more persuasive when it comes to attracting investors.
Once you collected feedback from early adopters of MVP, go for eliminating weak points and work on gradual scaling of the marketplace.
When a full-fledged marketplace is developed, tested, and evaluated taking into account first feedback, It’s time for a big event - launching.
Releasing the marketplace release and dropping the app onto the stores is a reason for celebration but it isn’t the end of the deal. For you and your development team, the path to the goal continues.
Checking How the Things Are Going
Okay, MVP has arrived on the market. What’s next? How to define whether a marketplace is successful? The answer is the next point of this startup marketplace application checklist.
Seeing how your platform can be scaled requires an understanding of how it works. This is easy to achieve by looking at key metrics, which fall into three groups.
Usage: Monthly Active Users, Bounce Rate, Platform Presence Duration.
Transaction metrics: Liquidity, Buyer/Seller Ratio, Repeat Purchase Ratio.
Business metrics: Gross Merchandise Volume, Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value.
The metrics to measure a marketplace success go beyond this successful marketplace application checklist, read also: 12 Key Metrics for Online Marketplace
Developing New Features and Updates
With statistics and feedback in mind, it's time to start building new updates. Following the initial launch, with a major focus on features, a shift in focus to reliability is in order. The application is supposed to be load-bearing, handle a high number of pending requests, and provide low response times.
- The best possible experience for your users is what a marketplace owner needs to guarantee.
- Document any frequently occurring queries and compile informative content (For instance, FAQs);
- Investigate queries arising from other similar platforms' users: take care that your software doesn't have the same shortcomings;
- Be proactive. Talk to your most engaged users up front and invite suggestions for improvements they'd like to see.
Engage New Stakeholders and Investors
The last point in our marketplace application checklist for launch of an e-commerce project is investments. If you plan to set up a marketplace, you will need funds to bring your project into being and maintain it. In this case, think about finding external investors.
Investors can be found both online and offline.
Investors that are interested in pursuing your field can be found at meetings, conferences, and events that they host or visit.
The AngelList or Crunchbase platforms are intended for finding investors online. Crunchbase has a very user-friendly filtered search, so searches are made easier.
Following this eCommerce marketplace application checklist, it stands beyond doubt you are aware of what steps to take to create a marketplace that gets around.
Have an exciting project on your mind?
We're ready to help! Get consult with our specialist right here.
Turn Up Your Marketplace App Idea Into Reality with Celadon
A reliable full-cycle development team is a driving force behind marketplace success. This checklist for online marketplace app launch highlighted the importance of having a professional team for not once. You can trust your project to Celadon. We’ll invest our skills and experience into crafting a scalable, quick-to-load, and convenient marketplace.
Our expertise in marketplace development features construction services marketplace and jewelry marketplace development. In both projects, we worked not only on software development but delivered services of a full cycle.
Drop us a message to figure out what we can do for you.