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Things to Know to Build a Successful Online Marketplace Website

Since time immemorial people have been making good money buying and selling various things. With the advent of online marketplace platforms such as eBay and Amazon, it has become much easier not only to sell and buy goods, but also expand ecommerce business. Building and putting a marketplace platform into use  can be a lucrative entrepreneurial venture itself. If you manage to come up with a well-thought strategy, chances are your business will get off the ground and reach profitability in about a year. Nowadays, a good many entrepreneurs enter into online marketplace business, whose sharing economy is believed to reach almost $355 billion by 2025. Needless to say, creating your own platform is a worthwhile business idea. So, why not give it a shot? Below are some useful recommendations and tips that will help you successfully start an ecommerce business and make it profitable in the shortest possible time.

What Shall I Start With?

First of all, you need to make sure that your entrepreneurial venture is exactly what you’re interested in. Take your time to decide whether there is sufficient demand for the software you’re aiming to develop. Research the market and get to know your competitors. It’s also important that you figure out what niche you want to cover. It may appear at first sight that all potential niches have been occupied. But you shouldn’t get frustrated right away. Try to think narrower and hone in on some particular aspects. Do you want your application to help users sell everything from kitchen utensils to computer components? Or maybe you want to create a platform where people will sell some particular types of products, say, electronics, food additives, or even services? Another important step you need to take to ensure your business will succeed is to get to know those people who may take an interest in your platform. Know their preferences and expectation. Thus, you’ll be able to create outstanding user experience.

Furthermore, you need to make sure you have sufficient capital at hand wherewith you’ll be setting up your online business. If you realize that your savings will not suffice to build the website of your dream, you may consider taking out a loan or attracting investors who might be interested in your business venture.

How Can I Build My Website?

So, you’ve resolved to create an online marketplace website that will be no inferior to famous Amazon or eBay in terms of its features and popularity. The next step is getting down to building your software, of course. There are two options lots of beginner developers usually choose from. You can build your application from scratch or take advantage of a variety of existing web building tools that help startuppers create their own software. Let’s take a look at both options and try to figure out which one can work best for you.

If you want your website to look truly unique you can try and build it from scratch. You’ll be able to surprise your users with a gorgeous, exceptionally clear interface, well-designed navigation, and a plethora of other handy features. The only downside to this option is that you’ll need to spend a bundle to pay for services of experienced web developers. Moreover, creating a website from scratch is usually a more time-consuming undertaking than utilizing the platform-based development method. So, if you cannot allocate much money for your new business venture, you should opt for dedicated online website building tools that will help you create your own ecommerce site and start making a profit from it.

What Features to Add to My Website?

Adding features to your website is an important endeavor, which can be quite challenging and costly. Decide what functions your future application can benefit from and make sure you’re financially ready to implement them.

We guess you’ve heard about an MVP, short for a minimum viable product. It’s the version of a product which has the bare minimum of essential functions required to satisfy clients at the initial stage of your business’ lifecycle. So, pack your website with enough features to cater to your target audience’s needs.

There are some must-have features you need to hone in on to satisfy your early clients. Some of them include user account control, profiles, search and filters, live chats, instant messaging, payment gateway, and rate and reviews flow.

All popular marketplace platforms feature a convenient search and filtering system which makes it possible for users to add, locate, select, or purchase this or that item, as well as manage their accounts, add product descriptions, create and edit their profiles, etc. So, the onus is on you to make these basic procedures as convenient as possible by integrating the corresponding functions into your online marketplace. It’s also not a secret that buyers always want to get exhaustive information about the products they are interested in. Moreover there are times when a user needs to clarify some information prior to making a purchase or selling their goods. That’s when live chats come in handy. By implementing this function you can facilitate communication between parties and help them make decisions more efficiently. Moreover, you can use instant messaging or push-notification features to inform your users of special offers, discounts, or notify them of some important changes taking place on the platform. It’s also a good idea to let users choose among multiple payment methods and add payment gateway feature to your website. Thus, you’ll not only make the overall payment process easier but also secure your users’ credit card transactions. Finally, once the deal is closed, your clients should be able to leave feedback and rate the seller or/and the product. Take care to add the Ratings and Reviews feature to your site and you’ll boost its popularity.

Of course, you ou can add more advanced functions to your website, if your budget permits it. But don’t go overboard trying to impress your users with sophisticated features. Very often an abundance of features and options, which clutter the interface, can be as annoying as their absence.

About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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