Virtual marketplaces are thriving, and new platforms are popping up all over. Yet, few of them can challenge industry leaders. Discover 10 steps that will help you create and launch a successful e-commerce business in 2022.
What Is an Online B2C Marketplace?
These platforms enable companies to sell directly to consumers. Discover key features of b2c marketplaces in detail explained by experts. As of today, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook are the most prominent examples of the model. By 2028, this global segment is expected to be worth 7.65 trillion US dollars, according to Grand View Research.
Shoppers appreciate the convenience, security and increasingly personalized experience on popular platforms. Here is how to build a platform that will gain traction:
1. Idea Validation
There are a plethora of marketplaces, so why do you need to build another one? What pain points can you address? What will set your marketplace apart from competitors? Develop a compelling unique value proposition (UVP) to communicate the benefits to your target audience. Collect feedback from friends, colleagues, or business associates before investing in an MVP (see below).
2. Market Research
In-depth preliminary analysis will help you identify emerging trends and potential challenges in the industry. You will also understand your target audience better. Survey customers of competitors to find out where existing marketplaces fall short.
3. Picking a Niche
Are you planning to build an “everything for everyone” platform or narrow down the focus? In the first case, you need a horizontal B2C model like Amazon. Good examples of vertical niche platforms are Fiverr and thredUP. Recently, this approach has been gaining popularity. It provides a more personalized experience and makes marketing campaigns easier to run.
4. Buyers or Sellers?
Which side should you attract first? Generally, the hardest one is the most valuable. Once these users join your marketplace, their counterparties will follow suit. To create a buzz around your products, take advantage of scarcity. Set time or demand limitations to encourage immediate action.
5. Correct Pricing
Online marketplaces can use a variety of business models. Begin with a single monetization channel. Add other tactics later, after your marketplace takes off. Popular options are:
- Listing fees
6. MVP Development
A Minimum Viable Product is a ‘bare essentials‘ version of your platform. It will contain only key features and functions, so you can get feedback from early adopters. If your MVP fails, you still fail small, before committing to a full-scale project.
Learn about the needs, expectations, and preferences of the target audience. Based on this data, you can add, improve or remove features later on. An MVP should include:
- Admin panel;
- Registration form;
- Shopping cart;
- Payment methods;
- Product pages;
- Buyers’ and sellers’ accounts.
7. Building a Fully-Fledged Marketplace
Based on MVP feedback, define new features enhancing user experience for both customers and merchants. Provide them with opportunities to:
- Manage information about their products/services;
- Filter items to search faster;
- Add items to wishlist;
- Choose country, the local language, and currency;
- Get push notifications;
- Chat with their counterparties;
- Shop more securely;
- Leave reviews and ratings.
You can build software in-house, hire freelancers or outsource to a development firm. To cut costs and time-to-market without sacrificing quality, consider ready-made solutions. Using available platforms, you will build your marketplace with minimal effort and investment.
8. Mobile Optimization
The majority of retail customers search for products and services on the go from tablets or smartphones. Adapt your platform to smaller screens, so navigation, layout and all other features work flawlessly.
The launch is only the beginning! Advertise your marketplace across the web. Implement effective SEO to rise in organic search and build a strong presence on social media. Make the most of digital marketing tools to maximize exposure!