Guide to building successful marketplace website

19 Nov 2019
Oksana, copywriter
Marketplaces provide then buyers with the opportunity to find everything they need in one place instead of time-consuming surfing numerous websites.
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Key features needed for a marketplace website

With such an immense grow of e-commerce retail, investing in this industry is likely to become one of your best decisions. Every Year the e-commerce market is increasing by around 17% and now marketplaces account for nearly half of global online sales. The same as small shops are giving way to large malls, online customers tend to choose marketplace platforms over single-brand e-shops.

Why not jump at a chance then and create your own marketplace website? This way you will provide your buyers with the opportunity to find everything they need in one place instead of time-consuming surfing numerous websites.

In this article, SapientPro e-commerce team gathered what is important for you to know before building a marketplace website.

What is a marketplace?

Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, YouTube, eBay…what do all those names have in common except being familiar to every Internet user? – they are all marketplaces, or simply said, the e-commerce platforms created for the communication among their users with the purpose to buy/sell something.

The marketplaces may be divided into several groups, depending on the products they focus on:

  • Products – these may or may not be restricted to one product category (electronics, clothes, food, accessories, etc.). (Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, Amazon);
  • Services (TaskRabbit, Couchsurfing, Airbnb, Fiverr);
  • Car and ride-sharing (Uber, BlaBlaCar);
  • Media (YouTube, IMM, Medium);
  • Crowdfunding (Indiegogo, Kickstarter);
  • Others, including social networks.

B2C, B2B and p2p types of marketplace business models

Now you have to decide which type of business model you want to implement for the development of your e-commerce business. Depending on the participants of the marketplace website, there are different types of business models.
Do you want the users to be service/goods providers and buyers or play just one of those roles? The answer to that question will help you choose the right model for your platform.

In p2p or peer-to-peer marketplaces, the participants have equal rights and roles. This type of e-platforms is often called customer-to-customer (C2C). The target customers, engaged in such marketplaces, share similar interests, incomes, and are ready to exchange goods with others.

The reasons why people use the marketplace are saving money; communicating with people, having something in common; and switching roles from buyers to sellers and vice versa. A great example of such roles swapping may be Couchsurfing where people are hosting one day and become guests the other day. This service helps spend less money while traveling and make new acquaintances.

B2C marketplaces are focused on the cooperation between business and customer. People like these marketplaces thanks to the opportunity to choose among various manufacturers and distributors on one website. One of the biggest business-to-consumer eCommerce platforms is Amazon. Being its user you can save time and by comparing prices you can buy what you need where it is the cheapest.

The B2C platforms are closely connected to p2p marketplaces and have partially developed from the latter. Some customers realizing that by selling goods they receive decent profit decide to become entrepreneurs.

B2B platforms allow businesses to exchange services and goods. There are lots of niche business-to-business marketplaces available on the Internet. They offer comfortable opportunities for cooperation in all spheres of social life. is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world. It helps the manufacturers and eCommerce vendors to establish connections and lead working relationship within the platform.

Marketplace website development cost

The main factor that affects the cost of marketplace website development is the features you want to implement into the project. The more user-friendly and nice-looking you want the marketplace to be – the bigger amounts of money will be needed.

How much does it cost to build a marketplace website also depends on the way of creating it. are you willing to do everything on your own to save pennies, or hire a team of professionals suits your plans better? The choice is yours, but don’t forget that quality is not a thing you can economize on.

Key features needed for a marketplace website

popular marketplaces icons

Nowadays with so many features available to make the life of Internet users more comfortable, you may add anything you wish to your marketplace website. However, SapientPro team is here to share the essentials we recommend you to start with on your way to creating a marketplace website.

  • Detailed product description

Let your users read because they are unable to touch online. With an informative description, it is easier for people to choose. Very often, especially when it comes to p2p marketplaces, it is useful to read about the product. Maybe they have some damages, or the picture you see is not the real photo of the item? The chances are higher that this information will be included in the description.

  • Advanced filtering

As marketplaces provide a wide range of offers, help your customers not to get lost. Add a search bar with advanced filtering options. Be free to include as many categories as your users need: size, color, location, brand, price range. In such a way you will make the navigation easier and customers’ satisfaction higher.

  • Product catalogs

Don’t forget to include the product catalog in the marketplace with the following features: filters, categories, search and others. This simple additive will make the search process more user-friendly. The customers won’t use your marketplace if they struggle to find the right product.

  • Customer service

Listen to your customers and give a helping hand if they need it. In the brick-and-mortar supermarkets, there are always consultants for that purpose. It’s a good idea to have this feature in your online marketplace too.

  • Promotions

The power of marketing is immense, by reasonable promotion, the product sales may rise dramatically. Besides, people tend to click on promoted goods, even if they don’t need them. Interesting, huh?

  • Recommended products

Add the possibility to leave reviews and rank the products. The customers’ trust will increase and they will definitely like being informed better about the product. Besides this, your marketplace can also recommend the goods for users depending on their search history, preferences according to catalogs and other customers’ reviews.

  • Integrations with payment options

Remember your marketplace is developed to enable buying and selling, so it cannot work properly without payment methods integration. In our article, we provide a detailed guide on how to implement a payment gateway into the e-commerce website.

Want to win the customers’ trust? Take care of the security first! All the transactions have to be transparent and comfortable for the users. You can also add to your website the ability to track previous purchases and the history of transactions. To meet more clients’ needs add various payment options like PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Stripe.

  • Security

It’s never a good idea to save on security issues. Be on the watch, when it comes to money, frauds are always staying on a doorstep ready to attack.

  • Bookings and wish lists

Adding these features provides online shoppers with more comfort. It is a great advantage for the businesses too, when people book products or services, or just add them to a wish list, the retailers can plan future product supplies. Benefits for both sides – profit to you.

You may add more marketplace website features like related items, live chats and order tracking.

Ways to make a marketplace website:

Now you have to choose the way of creating an e-commerce marketplace. If you are not willing to do it alone, you can delegate the tasks to experienced developers.

Code your own

In case you have strong coding skills – that’s a great plus to you. You can code a marketplace on your own. However, compared to a simple online shop, the scope and the difficulty of work will be much higher. It’s not a casualty to meet a business owner who is a coder himself. That is why we provide two more ordinary options for you to choose from.

Hire a custom website development team

Let the professionals do their job! Find a team of experts in e-commerce and don’t load yourself with extra troubles. You can choose a suitable team of marketplace website developers depending on your needs and budget. Outsourcing provides you with the opportunity to save money without losing quality.

Development using marketplace platforms

There are always ready-made solutions if the question of time and money is tough for you. The market offers numerous marketplace constructors with out-of-the-box software and plugins. Such SaaS platforms include Sharetribe, Marketplacer, Near Me and others. Pay attention to the features they provide like supported payment gateways, customization, various integrations and don’t forget about pricing.

Best marketplace website examples

Need more inspiration? Here are some of the most popular and successful marketplaces worldwide. There are more than enough ideas to implement in your own e-commerce platform. I’m positive all the following names will be familiar to you.

Amazon is a giant among peer-to-peer marketplaces. The range of offered goods varies from socks to books to refrigerators. About tens of thousands of different products are sold via the Amazon platform every day.

eBay offers its customers to sell and buy almost any product at any price. The sale contract is signed directly between the buyer and the shopper.

Visiting the Craigslist, you may see not what you expected. You can actually find there a classified board that helps the users to sell products. It became so popular not because of design, but because here you may always find something out of the ordinary.

Airbnb comes to play in times when traditional hotel booking is becoming outdated. Sure, a few clicks may help you reserve any kind of accommodation for your vacation or business trip. The service is available globally.

Uber is not similar to the marketplaces described earlier. It has become a great alternative to taxis and its popularity is rising at an immense pace.

Step by step marketplace website development process

The development process of any e-commerce website has many steps, aspects, challenges. And here we have a whole marketplace. It needs more time, attention, funds and people to create such a platform. You have to go through the following stages to reach the final destination – launching your own, ready-to-use, online marketplace:

  • Preparation of the technical project
  • Creating a prototype
  • Creating a Design Pattern
  • Layout
  • Development
  • Testing and debugging the site

Post-development steps to make your custom marketplace successful

After you finished the development stage, the question arises: how to launch an online marketplace website effectively and how to attract first users?

First of all, start with inviting sellers. You can contact active sellers from other marketplaces, use Google search, online forums or groups in socials like Facebook. Having a strong base of products/services providers before launching the marketplace will give you benefit in attracting buyers to the platform.

Don’t forget about promoting your marketplace – people should hear the name of your website to look for it. Visit various forums, discussions and mention there your marketplace. It there is no suitable community – don’t be afraid to start your own.

Already feel like starting your own competitive marketplace? Great, contact SapientPro to receive more tips and help in implementing your idea into life. Be sure that the e-commerce team in our company knows the peculiarities of development, add to that your wishes, visions of your online platform and the recipe of a successful online marketplace is ready!

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Oksana, copywriter
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