How to Build an Online Marketplace and Make It Attractive for Sellers

How to Build an Online Marketplace - ScienceSoft

As an ecommerce consulting and development partner, ScienceSoft boasts 17 years of launching and scaling business operations for e-retailers.

Building a marketplace: Is the idea commercially viable?

Online marketplaces amount to almost a half of global e-sales (47% in 2019) making the market attractive to enter, though promising tough competition. As one of the prominent success stories, Amazon has monetized a marketplace model superbly – the share of sales made by independent sellers is second only to e-sales under Amazon’s own brand in the company’s total revenue.

7 steps to start an online marketplace with success

1. Research the target audience: vendors and end customers.

2. Set up a marketplace pricing strategy.

3. Choose marketplace software for cost-efficient website implementation.

4. Plan vendor capabilities and their level of control.

5. Create product image guidelines to keep the UI consistent.

6. Design and launch a marketplace website.

7. Focus on quick marketplace advertising.

Choose a revenue model for your marketplace startup

Subscription

  • Constant traffic generation is required.
  • Monthly or yearly fees.
  • Popular in C2C business.

Commission

  • A fee is charged from each transaction.
  • Fixed or variable fees.
  • Fees for services are usually higher than for physical goods.

Listing fee and advertising

  • A fee is charged for each digital piece posted.
  • Works well when sellers need a quick sale instead of continuous subscription.
  • Only a large number of listings/ads can generate meaningful revenue.

Freemium

  • Free core offering with additional paid features or services.
  • Hard to monetize.
  • Mostly used as an additional revenue model

Marketplaces use fixed or mixed revenue models

Revenue models

How to build a marketplace: Required functionality

Required functionality

Ecommerce operations

For a marketplace owner:

  • Management of required and optional product attributes.

For sellers:

  • Product data import/export.
  • Inventory management.
  • Promotional pricing.
  • Rule-based merchandising.
  • SEO management.
  • Branding attributes.
  • Order and return management.

Admin experience

For a marketplace owner:

  • Visibility into marketplace transactions.

For sellers:

  • A separate admin panel for product, customer and order management.
  • Role-based access.
  • Real-time business performance monitoring.

Seller management

For a marketplace owner:

  • A self-service knowledge base on seller onboarding.
  • Seller registration and approval.
  • Seller segmentation.
  • Automated subscription billing.
  • Tiered commission system.
  • Automated alerts on service terms violation.

Digital user experience

For end customers:

  • Responsive website design.
  • Faceted navigation and product search.
  • Comprehensive product pages.
  • Product rating and reviews.
  • Upsells and cross-sells.
  • Logged-in and guest checkout.
  • Online payment processing.
  • Concurrent checkout with products from different vendors.
  • Buyer-seller communication.

How to make a marketplace website competitive

Packing your marketplace app with must-have features alone won’t keep it ahead of intense competition. For that, employ some higher-level capabilities.

Use an advanced web analytics tool to understand where your traffic generally comes from and strengthen those marketing channels.

With a marketing tool, you can keep diverse and frequent marketing and advertising activities under control.

Help your sellers increase conversions and reduce returns with 360° and 3D product photography.

Employ advanced search by voice and image for more user journeys to end with a buy. Don’t forget – your marketplace business is as successful as your sellers are.

Marketplace integrations for omnichannel commerce

As a marketplace owner, you sell a digital space to vendors and help them reach a consumer audience that your marketplace attracts. In fact, a seller’s presence on a marketplace is rarely their single sales channel – they may also sell via a branded e-store, in social media or offline. You win increased interest of potential vendors when you picture how a marketplace space for sale will make up a part of their omnichannel ecosystem and help them achieve consistent customer experience and well-organized internal business processes.

Marketplace integrations

PIM (Product Information Management) integration

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) integration

Role in business workflows
Role in customer experience
Win the Market with a Branded Digital Marketplace
ScienceSoft is ready to be your consulting partner throughout a business launch and help you with a website implementation part.

Why trust your digital commerce success to ScienceSoft?

17 years in ecommerce consultancy and development.

Experience with multi-vendor marketplace setup.

Consulting assistance for trouble-free market entry.

Partnership with leading ecommerce software providers.

Marketplace investments and how to get the payback faster

From relevant experience, we give a ballpark estimation of $250,000 for a project of a marketplace solution for the mid-market with expert involvement in strategizing and technical implementation. Still, your business requirements may vary both ends from general standards. To get a precise calculation, you are welcome to contact our team directly.

The trick with upfront investment is that it’s usually pretty large and still gives no absolute certainty in business success. To start an online marketplace cost-effectively, you should consider an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as a way to get faster ROI and break the investment down into smaller parts.

  • You get a viable online solution rolled our fast (the development and launch time starts from 3 months and depends on the agreed feature set for the first release).
  • You can test your business concept in the real market at minimum cost.
  • You improve the product based on real customer reaction.
  • You get income early and support further marketplace development.

Launch your marketplace project with ScienceSoft

At ScienceSoft, we offer 17 years of experience in ecommerce consulting and development to make your marketplace business a success.

Consulting support

For your successful market entry, we:

  • Research the target market: competition and growth potential.
  • Provide an outline of industry regulations to account for.
  • Elicit and analyze your business requirements.
  • Guide you to an optimal ecommerce technology.
  • Calculate the market entry cost.

Website development

We offer end-to-end services to create a marketplace solution:

  • Analysis of business requirements.
  • Marketplace website design.
  • Ecommerce platform configuration and customization.
  • Testing and QA.
  • Launch and user training.

About ScienceSoft

As digital presence becomes a must-have across business verticals, ScienceSoft builds on 17 years of experience to deliver quality ecommerce implementation services to our customers. We house consulting and development competencies to assume full ownership over ecommerce business launch.