How to Create a Multi Vendor Marketplace: 7 Steps - From an Idea to a First Sale
As the success of sites such as Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb shows, the future belongs to aggregator sites that bring sellers and buyers together on one platform to conclude peer-to-peer trading deals. Next, we describe how to use this trend for personal gain by building our own successful multi-vendor trading platform.
So, you decided to create a marketplace. To do this, choose a niche, name, business model, technology stack and developer. To do this correctly, you should spend some time researching the market: trends, target audience, competitors, technologies and the like. This is important because without such a study it is impossible to validate your project.
The first step should be the determination of the value proposition for your potential users - the choice of what to sell. There can be two options: all at once or a specific type of product. It’s best to first select a specific niche and expand your listing as you grow in popularity, as Amazon once did (starting with books and ending with everything for everyone).
In order to choose a niche product for sale, you need to analyze competitors - both multi-vendor and conventional trading floors. This will help you understand which niche is free or least competitive. Here are your main competitors:
You decide which niche to choose. It can be anything, the main thing is that you understand this at least a little and there is a large target audience. Moreover, the more highly specialized the niche is, the better, as this will simplify website promotion. For example, it can be men's clothing, if narrowed - men's suits, more narrowed - suits for boys. Another example is electronics, if narrowed smartphones, and more narrowed - Chinese inexpensive smartphones.
When you decide what the name of your site should be, imagine that it is a sign that you should place above the entrance to your store. This sign meets users and tells them what you are selling, what is the mission of the company and how you are promoting the product and / or service. What was that?
The answer to this question is no less important than the coding or promotion of the platform, and earlier it was solved quite simply: the name of the site duplicated the name of the main product. However, now almost all such domain names are occupied, so companies either invent new words, like Spotify did, or change the words a little, like Twitter and Google did, or combine two words or more into one name, like YouTube and Facebook did. But how to create your successful business like Facebook or YouTube from scratch.
Use these tools to find an interesting site name:
You can register the selected domain name on the websites GoDaddy, Domain.com, Dreamhost, Name.com, Bluehost, Namecheap. They have the largest user bases and available domain names. Prices are approximately the same everywhere - from 10 to 300 dollars per year, depending on the domain zone.
Website concept. A document that spells out all the key parameters of the site that being developed: goals and objectives, nature of activity, market and competitor analysis, design concept, positioning and marketing policy, semantic core and more. The emphasis in the concept is on general points, since the document should become a support for further development. The project overgrows with details as development progresses.
Basic and additional functions
Deeper integration with social networks.Additional functions for buyers:
Website Monetization. If you are not a state or a public organization, then you are creating a multi-vendor site for profit. There are several ways to do this:
Search for sellers. Experts advise starting with suppliers, because it is an investment for them, and it is a waste of time for them. There are several ways to search for sellers:
Search for buyers. Here you can use traditional approaches with contextual advertising on Google, social networks and relevant websites. Just do not forget about promotions, discounts and bonuses. There should be a lot of them at the start.
Development from scratch. It requires a lot of time, money and effort, but allows you to realize unique ideas. In addition, development from scratch gives you complete control over copyright, which is important if you decide to implement white label solutions created on the basis of your site.
Ready platforms. Creating a multi-vendor market using open source software such as Cocorico, Mayocat or Sharetribe. The result will not be as unique as when developing from scratch, but the cost of time and money will be significantly reduced.
SaaS-solution. It implies the use of the Sharetribe, Oracle Commerce, Demandware or other software platforms for the simple and quick launch of the trading platform. This approach is reminiscent of creating an account on social networks with minimal settings for its uniqueness. But it’s quick, simple and you don’t need to think about the technical side of the issue.
Minimum viable product (MVP). The main idea of MVP is to transfer the product to the target audience as soon as possible in order to test it on real processes for relatively little money. After starting MVP, you should study user reviews and use them to make various site improvements - from design changes to adding new features.
Website development. After starting the project, you need to create a feedback system that will allow you to analyze user experience and actions in order to improve the site based on these data. Usually they use Google Analytics, A / B testing, focus groups and questionnaires for this. In addition, you need to organize technical and reference support services, which will also greatly help with the development of your multi-vendor trading platform.