WebRTC Expert Feature

July 30, 2019

How do you grow a marketplace?

It all starts with the idea to connect producers or service providers with the people who need those goods and services. Then comes the part where you have to work out the ways to bring sellers and buyers together. At this stage, you have to use proven advice on how to build a marketplace website. Then you need to find the team who would make your vision come true.

Now your platform is online. What's next? How to turn your project into an outstanding marketplace which one day might beat Amazon or eBay?

Here are 5 tips on how to grow your online marketplace from experts at Clockwise Software.

1. Secure payments

Choose a reliable payment gateway

Payment gateway is a service that enables smooth and safe money transfer from buyer to seller. When it comes to money matters people usually opt for popular payment service providers (PSP) that have a strong track record and proved to be trustworthy by thousands of clients.

PayPal is one of the first PSP on the online payments market. Probably it's the best known in the world. Over the past 20 years it attracted more than 192 million users from 200 countries/regions around the globe. It supports 25 currencies and offers both hosted and integrated gateway options.

Stripe is PayPal's closest rival available in 34 markets, which guarantees secure payments in 135+ currencies. Depending on the needs of your online marketplace users you might also consider partnering with other popular PSP like Adyen, Braintree, PayU or Skrill.

Use escrow services

To eliminate potential risks for your online marketplace users you can add escrow feature. This means that after the buyer completed the checkout process money is deposited to a third-party account. It is transferred to the seller only after he delivers ordered goods/services. Escrow protects buyers and sellers by ensuring they both meet their obligations.

You can use built-in escrow developed specifically for your online marketplace platform or integrate ready-made solution by third party service. Some PSP, such as PayPal or Stripe,  also support this option.

Escrow will help you to strengthen the security of the payment process and gain more trust from customers which will eventually lead to your marketplace growth.

2. Elaborate on your online marketplace features

Make it attractive

The first impression counts. That's why it's worth investing time and money in developing an appealing UI/UX design. The competition on the e-commerce market is sky-high so you have to make sure your platform stands out from other online marketplaces.

Take your clients as your main source of inspiration. You have to focus on their preferences. Knowing them will help you to choose colors, fonts, shapes, icons that will cater to your target audience's aesthetic taste.

Keep in mind that marketplace platforms require two types of clients — buyers and sellers. Thus, you need to develop two kinds of user profiles that would be both good-looking and convenient to interact with.

Create intuitive workplace

User-friendly workplace is a total must. Map your customer journey and simplify all the activities along the path from signing-up to becoming an active community member.

The workflow should be organized in a way that both buyers and sellers know exactly what their next step is without even realizing it. By achieving this, you'll be able to provide your clients with unmatched user experience.

Prompt interaction between buyer and seller

Encourage users to ask for more information from each other. This will not only help to build trust between the two parties but also sufficiently increase the time they spend on your platform.

Facilitate communication by vivid UI means. Add "Contact" or "Message" button to make it easier for sellers and buyers to discuss product details, delivery terms or other transaction conditions.

3. Engage top-notch sellers

Buyers will come to your platform searching for goods or services they need. As they are willing to pay for the solution you provide it's only natural that you would feel the urge to attract as many potential customers as possible, especially at the beginning. Yet, to make your online marketplace flourish you have to do quite the opposite. First, you need to concentrate on the supply side. Find the sellers that would become a perfect match for your buyers' needs.

5 steps you have to follow to attract quality suppliers:

  • Make sure there is a demand for problem solution you are pursuing;
  • Test your business idea;
  • Create a buyer persona — get to know your prospective customers and identify their needs;
  • Work out a plan on how to attract sellers that can provide the products and/or services you buyers are craving for;
  • Pitch potential suppliers.

You can find sellers via social networks, by the means of search engines or on competing marketplaces.

4. Develop a mobile application for your marketplace

In the age when most decisions are made with a single tap on a smartphone screen, a mobile app is a crucial element of a viable e-commerce platform.

There are two types of applications:

  • Native apps are developed separately for Android and iOS platforms. Such an app can be quite costly but it's worth investing in it if you wish to provide your clients with exceptional user experience.
  • Hybrid apps are a relatively low-cost option consistent with both operating systems. They are an ideal solution for marketplaces with small to medium user base.

5.Go viral

Virality, or the tendency of being spread rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another, is the key to growing your online marketplace. It's pretty simple. If you're set to make a success of your project, people need to know about it.

The best practice is to allow users to share the marketplace app without any direct involvement from your side. In order to induce them to do so, you can offer special bonuses for inviting friends to sign-up. These could be gift certificates or a cashback on their peer's first purchase/sale. You may also entice your buyers to send referrals by giving them a discount on their next order, as Airbnb or Uber do. Sellers are likely to promote your marketplace in exchange for access to premium features or a certain number of free listings.

Virality can turn your online marketplace into a self-sustaining advertising engine triggering customer avalanche.

Transform your project into a successful marketplace by making it trustworthy, attractive and functional. Build a strong supply base to retain existing buyers and draw the attention of potential customers. Make sure your platform is compatible with different devices so your clients can use it anytime, wherever they are. Last, but not the least — let people know about the solution they've been longing for.

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