Creating an online marketplace is no easy feat. It requires a lot of preparation, knowledge, technical skill, time, money, and research skill.
However, many have proven that it isn’t impossible to create a digital marketplace. Amazon, for one, immediately comes to mind as the most successful example.
With that said, if Amazon did it, then perhaps, so can we. If we break down what made Amazon successful at establishing itself as the leading online vendor, then we can create our very own marketplace!
And that’s precisely what we’re going to do! In this article, we’ll discuss how to create an online marketplace, what you’ll need to do, and what you can expect when tackling this type of venture.
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Do Your Research
One of the things that made Amazon so famous is that Jeff Bezos did thorough research on the market before launching his website.
As you probably know, Amazon started as a marketplace for books. Jeff Bezos analyzed the market and realized that there was a demand for a place where readers could be bought online and that need was unfulfilled.
Thus, Amazon was born, and, being the only fish in that particular part of the sea, it ruled supreme until it became the absolute powerhouse it is today.
Researching the market is only one part of your plan for a thriving marketplace; you must also examine the customers and find your target audience.
Unless your niche is tiny and highly specialized, you’ll often find that one part of the market has several different products you can pitch.
For example, you can specialize in selling novels, self-help books, comics, how-to and DIY books, or any other type of book.
By narrowing your specialization, you can better resonate with your audience, especially early on, when your business is new and relatively small.
If you aim to be like Amazon, you’ll most likely consider bringing 3rd-party sellers onto your platform.
After all, you are looking to create a virtual marketplace where multiple vendors can meet with their customers and sell them their products/services, and you need to make sure both your customers and your sellers fit well together.
This is why it’s also important to vet the sellers coming onto your platform.
According to some of the marketing agencies in Rhode Island, good market, customer, and seller research not only brings the right people together but by researching the vendors, you’re also ensuring you’re bringing trusted companies onto your platform that won’t trick your customers and damage your reputation.
Start Implementing the Features
Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to start implementing some of the features an online marketplace needs to have to stay on top of the competition.
Enable Profile Creation
The most standard feature any eCommerce store or online marketplace should have. Profiles allow you, your vendors, and your customers to personalize their experience, which goes a great way toward creating a successful
Create an Admin Panel
The administrator panel is a top-priority feature for an online marketplace.
With the admin panel, you can customize many settings for your sellers, including fees and shipping.
Implement Advanced Search
Advanced search is an essential UI feature that, if implemented correctly, is sure to improve your users’ experience of your marketplace massively.
Due to many products, without advanced search, your visitors and customers will often find that they cannot locate the products they want.
With this feature, you’ll be able to provide your customers with a tool that will satisfy their needs and leave a good impression on your website regarding user experience.
Create Product Pages
The outstanding feature no eCommerce website can go without, the product page, will be your website’s focus.
An adequately set up product page has as much of an effect on your users’ experience as the advanced search feature, if not more.
A product page is, in many ways, your landing page – it needs to both entice and provide the necessary information to the customer about the product to encourage the purchase and provide an easy means for the purchase to be made.
Make a Cart System
No online marketplace can go without having a cart feature.
This is where your customers make their final decision – will they abandon the cart or make the purchase?
Creating a cart that makes it easy to proceed to checkout can reduce those cart abandonment rates and boost your conversions.
Allow Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are the cornerstones of today’s brand image.
People tend to believe other people more than a brand, an ad, or a website.
By allowing your customers to leave reviews, you’re creating a trusting and transparent environment that will boost your reputation while weeding out any rotten apples among your vendors that don’t deserve to push their products on your platform.
Implement Multiple Payment Methods
Offering various payment methods is an excellent way to ingratiate yourself with your customers.
This is true if you’re looking to expand overseas. As an international giant, your marketplace will attract thousands of vendors and hundreds of thousands of customers.
You may be unable to please all of them and offer every possible payment method. Still, you can offer the most popular ones and ensure that your platform remains accessible to almost any customer all across the globe.
Notifying your customers of deals and sales is a great way of promoting your platform and making it the go-to for both customers and vendors.
Push notifications have especially become popular in recent years, and many websites are trying to incorporate them into their platforms, as they help boost conversions by a decent margin.
Improve Your Shipping
The final and most important stage of your buying process will always be shipping.
If there is one thing Amazon did right with its business model, that’s shipping.
Offering two-day shipping within their Prime module and aerial shipping via drones put Amazon at the forefront of user experience and convenience.
If you want to compete with the online shopping giant, this kind of innovation and customer service is exactly what you need to incorporate into your business to stay relevant.
Creating an online marketplace is a massive undertaking that will take a lot of resources, both in terms of money, time, and dedication, to bring to fruition.
However, by doing proper research, you’re laying the foundation for several features that will enable your marketplace to be a cut above the rest.
Sophie Douglas is a journalist and a digital marketing expert based in Columbus, Ohio. Her characters are driven, creative, and aspirational.
She wrote short stories, scripts, and short films before working as a writer for DigitalStrategyOne.
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