Some of the greatest cases of profitable marketplace applications belong to famous internet giants, like Amazon, Airbnb, and AliExpress. If your goal is to join in and build a marketplace app of your own, you have to follow certain steps to make sure your project is attractive and helpful for your customers. Here are the most essential ones you should consider making.
1. Define the proper marketplace type and monetization model
Before you start your marketplace app development, you should figure out which kind of the marketplace you want your app to be. There are numerous separate factors for distinguishing various marketplace categories, the most notable ones are:
By audience type:
- Peer-to-peer — a type that connects people with certain product to people that want to buy it;
- Business-to-customer — in this model retail companies are linked directly with consumers;
- Business-to-business — a type that allows companies to provide goods and services to other companies;
By the merchandize provided:
- Goods marketplace — this is mainly about selling physical goods, examples of such companies are Amazon and Aliexpress;
- Service marketplace — here customers search for various services, popular examples are Uber, Fiverr, Airbnb;
- Hybrid — marketplaces that provide a wide range of goods and services. Best examples are Craigslist and OLX.
You should also choose the monetization type of your app in advance, as this decision affects the further app development process. The ways you can monetize your marketplace include:
- Commission for every transaction;
- The subscription fee for a certain usage time;
- A charge for posting a new listing or a certain additional fee for listing promotion.
You can also sell advertising space to make money from your app.
2. Define key features for the seller
Making an on-demand marketplace app means that you have to accommodate both sellers and buyers that will use your app. So, before you build a marketplace app, you need to decide on the key features your product will have for both user categories.
Let’s start with sellers. Some of the helpful features you might want to include in your app for them are:
- Stock and order arrangement;
- Individual communication solution (built-in chat system);
- Transaction control;
- Easy ways to provide limited offers, discounts, promotional offers;
- Statistics and analytics tools;
- Connection to social platforms.
3. Define key app components for the buyer
Concerning the buyers’ side of the app, you need to make it as easy and intuitive to use as possible. Buyers also need to trust your solution to spend money on it, so provide support and security assurance to bring in more customers.
The features buyers use are largely different from the ones used by sellers, sometimes to the point that the app can be separated into two different ones. Some of the convenient features you can provide to buyers are:
- Search engine with multiple filters, like filters by price, popularity, location, and category;
- Shopping cart;
- Review system;
- Easy order tracking system;
- Embedded payment systems;
- Convenient return policy.
4. Focus on the UI/UX aspect
With the next step, it is time to begin to build the marketplace app. The first part of that process is to design the UI/UX of your application based on the target audience, goals, and features you’ve determined.
In most cases, it is better to create an MVP of your application. However, the UI/UX design for this version should still be polished. Well-thought-out UX and contemporary and stylish UI will help you gain better feedback from the community and create a better first impression on your target audience.
5. Choose the appropriate tech tools
Any app development problem you might encounter during the process can be resolved by using the right tools for the job. Nowadays, there are dozens of tech solutions, most of them with a broad array of functions that often overlap. This makes choosing the most suitable tool hard and often a matter of preference of the developer.
Some of the helpful instruments you might choose for different stages of development of your project include:
- React Native for cross-platform mobile development;
- Nest.js and next.js for web apps;
- PostgreSQL and MongoDB for databases.
6. Create an MVP
MVP development is a helpful approach towards any app development. When it concernes the marketplace application creation, making a minimum viable product is beneficial in multiple ways.
- First of all, during MVP creation you will realize the challenges you’ll face during the full-scale product development.
- Secondly, MVP will help you test the waters and understand whether your product fits on the market.
- Furthermore, you will be able to gain valuable feedback from your target audience on your app’s main features and get new ideas on how to further improve your product.
It is even more beneficial if you plan on making a complex app with a variety of features that need testing and debugging.
7. Expand your reach
If your goal is to build a successful marketplace app, you need to focus on reaching as big of an audience as possible. This means that you need to make your app available on various platforms, advertise your platform through multiple popular social media channels, and make sure that your application is scalable and is ready for a big audience.
This is why cross-platform development tools, namely React Native, are so helpful during marketplace application development. This way, if you’re not sure about which platform your target audience uses (common case for MVPs), you can design and present your platform both on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
8. Prepare for proper maintenance and support
The app development process doesn’t abruptly end when you put your product on the market. Next starts the long process of maintenance, support, and improvement of your application. This includes the testing process, where you analyze what your customers like and dislike about your product, which features are obsolete and which you still need to add.
Other work you need to do after the app deployment is customer support, search for bugs, and their fixing, addition of new functions, and quality-of-life improvements.
All in all, the demand for marketplace applications continues to rise, which leads to the appearance of new and better apps. There are a lot of competitors in this field, and if you’re determined to enter it, you need to have a quality product that effectively solves certain needs of your target audience.
Overall, if you adhere to the steps we’ve outlined, you have a better chance of finding your place in this market. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, continuously improve your application and be aware of the current trends, and listen to your customers.