How to build a marketplace mobile app and make it reliable?

Marketplace apps are extremely popular today. People do not want to have several tabs with specific brands opened to compare — they want to have everything on one platform. Moreover, since the number of smartphones is only growing, customers want an app that satisfies their needs better than a mobile version of the site.

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marketplace app development
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These needs are extremely beneficial for those who work in the marketplace app development niche: they do not have to care about inventory, they have a database of both users and clients, and they have one task – to maintain a platform. Considering this, it is not surprising that we have so many platforms already and they keep coming.  

In order for your mobile app development marketplace to be noticed, you have to put a lot of effort into developing it. It has to be functional and reliable. This article is exactly about that. You will get a full guide on the digital marketplace development that is divided into three steps: defining the idea, implementing features, and development itself. Moreover, you will also find out how much time and money you will need for marketplace app development. We have so much to learn so let’s get started!

Define your idea in details

Obviously, you have to define what your marketplace is about. It affects the way that you build your application, its design, and the marketing strategy around this solution. With so many options existing, it may be overwhelming to choose one. That is why you have to make the process more organized than just writing down the ideas and choosing the best-looking one. There are three steps you have to follow.

Conduct a niche research

Every product or service starts with niche research. It helps you understand what the niche is full of and where the demand is. It is better to narrow down the idea of a traveling marketplace to offering green traveling services to a specific area, for example. By doing so, you are likely to outrank your competitors (they always exist) and create a community of very like-minded people around your marketplace.

Clearly define the main purpose of your marketplace app

The main purpose of every marketplace is to mediate between sellers and buyers, of course. However, every marketplace has its unique purpose and you have to find yours. 

You have to find a common element that unites your potential sellers and buyers. If we go back to the example of green traveling, it is obvious that members of your future community are trying to make the world a greener place now and in the future through being carbon-neutral tourists. If your marketplace has the same purpose, people are likely to join you. 

marketplace app development

Choose a monetization model

You have to understand how you will get profit from your marketplace. The marketplace is a service, a platform that deserves to be paid for. There are many ways how you can make a profit and we will briefly state the most efficient and popular ones:

  • Commission Model

A user pays a fee for each transaction. It can be a percentage or a fixed fee. It is beneficial to users because they do not have to pay until they get a benefit from the platform so it will attract users. However, you may find it hard to keep a platform that does not have enough transactions to cover its maintenance. 

  • Subscription Model

It is a model where a user pays a regular fee for using the platform. It is mostly used by the marketplaces that do not facilitate transactions and allow direct payment to the seller`s card. It is challenging to explain to the users the benefits of the subscription though and not many are ready to give money in advance before they experience the benefits of using the marketplace. 

  • Listing Fee Model

Basically, a client pays for ads posting. It is a much cheaper option than a subscription that attracts customers but cheapness does harm to the owner of a marketplace. So it is usually used as a secondary way of income.

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Features that any marketplace mobile app should have

It is a matter of fact that every marketplace is unique but there is a range of features that have to be there. You may have a great idea and inspiring purpose but if being poorly developed, it won’t succeed. 

  • Must-Have Features

These are basic features that every marketplace cannot exist without: :

  • Onboarding

Tell your users how to navigate your app. Do not forget to categorize your users and show them tips according to whether they sell or buy. Articles and FAQ sections are a must.

  • Personal Profile and Profile Statistics

Personal profiles are needed so people have more confidence in your marketplace. If a buyer sees a seller, his reviews, and other products, they are more likely to buy from them because of credibility. 

Sellers will be able to show-off their ratings and analyze how successful their profile is and whether they need to fix something to get more deals.

marketplace app development

  • Easy-to-Use Settings

Every user tries to customize an app to their liking. They want to be in control of data and storage use, notifications, etc. You have to give them access to doing so without little or no effort on their side. Otherwise, they can become irritated and delete the app at once.

  • Categories

If you did not choose a very specific niche, categories are a must. It is beneficial for both users and sellers. Users will be able to navigate around the app easily. At the same time, they do not type in a specific product so they can see other products in the category and buy more than they intended which is good for sellers.

  • Detailed Product Profiles

Sometimes users do need a specific product so they want to find it by using keywords. They may look for a specific color, size, travel destination, year of rolling out — it depends on your niche. Detailed profiles can help them with that. Moreover, detailed profiles are more credible and users do not have to text a seller every time they want to know a detail about the product.

  • Shopping Cart and Payment Gateway

Shopping carts and payment gateway are essentials of every marketplace. Basically, it is what the marketplace is for. Shopping carts are specifically useful if you need to buy more than one product or you are deciding on what to take. Payment gateway makes your marketplace reliable and secure. It prevents any credit card data leakage and mediates between the bank and the marketplace.

marketplace app development

  • Order Status and Confirmation

Users naturally want to know what is happening to their order and track down if it was lost somewhere in the process. Knowing every step that your order is going through is yet another addition to the feeling of security. 

Confirmation is needed in order to end a deal between a seller and a buyer. If there is no confirmation and there are desperate messages from the buyer, it is time for the marketplace to step up.

Optional Features

Optional features are not that necessary but they will make you stand out among your competitors and ensure the best customer experience resulting in traffic. 

  • Listings
  • Recommendations
  • Favorites
  • Ratings and reviews area
  • Delivery tracking option
  • Push notifications
  • Analytics area      
  • Live chat support

Step-By-Step Guide on Developing a Reliable Marketplace App

#1 Create a Marketplace Prototype

A marketplace prototype is a draft or several drafts that do not require much effort. It is a stage where you try different things. Prototypes can be changed and adapted in the process.

#2 Develop MVP for Your Marketplace App 

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) requires more effort and one idea. That’s a working product with only essential features that would help you see its potential, as you would be able to analyze how well users react to your product, how they behave on it and whether or not they are willing to pay for it. In the course of enhancing the MVP, you can change what users do not like and add more features if you see that it would improve their experience. 

#3 Run the Tests and Fix Bugs

After you have already designed an MVP and you think that everything looks fine and contains all the features that you want the marketplace to have, it is essential that you see how it works from the technical side. You have to test all the possible scenarios and fix any issues that may occur. Of course, it may happen that you do not see all the issues – you will fix them later – but you have to do your absolute best.

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#4 Launch Your Marketplace App 

After the feature set, UI/UX design and tech are proved to be fine, it is time to launch the app. 

marketplace app development

#5 Constantly Improve the Product

As we have stated before, you cannot see all the bugs during testing. Only when the product is used, you can see the whole picture. It is the time when you collect feedback about any bugs or the possibility of adding the lacking features. You have to be very attentive to what starting users are saying because if you do not fix that now, you will not grow popular or the system that is not working with little users may collapse when there is a lot.

#6 Start Marketing for Growth

After you have collected the feedback and fixed all that needed to be fixed, you can show your polished shiny version of the marketplace to everyone on the Internet. However, try to listen and improve as your customer base grows. There are no limits to perfection.

How Much Time and Money Do You Need to Build a Successful Marketplace App?

Building a successful marketplace app is not easy, quick, and cheap. It heavily depends on what kind of result you want to get: is it a luxurious marketplace with augmented reality or is it something simpler?  

In terms of time that is needed, you will need:

  • find the tech team and communicate your idea
  • wait for the design which will take a while if your design is too complex
  • wait for the developers to get ready and develop
  • test and fix the bugs

Marketplace app development cost depends on the platform where you want to run the marketplace, its size, and complexity. Location means a lot too: American developers will charge you twice as much as one from Eastern Europe. On average, the development process costs around $5,000- $25,000 and more than $35,000 dollars if you want something complex and full of various features.

At Purrweb, we choose React Native as a framework for marketplace app development, as it allows us to develop one code for both iOS and Android. This significantly saves the client’s time and money while allowing them to see the full potential of the business idea. The whole process of designing, developing, and testing the functional marketplace app at Purrweb takes no more than 3 months with an approximate budget of $30.000.

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Marketplace app development is a big project that requires time, effort, money, and patience. You have to plan in advance the idea of your marketplace and features that you want to add, then you have to go through rounds of prototypes and MVP creation, testing, constant improvement of the platform, and marketing process. 

The marketplace app is not cheap and you have to put effort into it even after the development stage is over. However, it is a huge business idea that can bring you incredible profit in the long run.

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