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Tips for Building Online Marketplace

Sep 29th 2015 at 4:26 AM

Making an e-store has never been an easy task, because all the different customers don’t have one unified voice which could give you necessary directions. Making an online marketplace takes this already difficult task few steps further, by introducing vendors, with their own needs and agendas, in the whole equation. Still, the fact that something is hard doesn’t mean that it can’t be accomplished. One the contrary, harder your task is, more substantial your reward will be, so quitting is not an option. We will try to aid you by giving you few guidelines for handling this responsibility successfully.

Take Vendors’ Feedback Very Seriously

Although the customers are the ones spending money, without vendors there would not be anything to sell in the first place. That is why you should take your vendors’ feedback just as seriously as you would customers’. Pay attention to all complaints and do your best to keep communications channels between administrators, and vendors constantly opened, so you can make according moves in the shortest possible time-frame.

Make Sure You Are Not Leaving Finances to Chance

Any kind of inconvenience, delay, or fraud may quickly destroy your good reputation, and leave you without customers. Looking for some kind of fast and secure payment platform, such as Promise Pay, should solve this problem, but there are still dozens of other things you should check before calling your marketplace fail-proof. For example, working on the web means that you are casting a pretty wide net. If your choice of payment options is not as equally as wide, you will create cracks through which your customers will escape to better equipped competition.

Do Your Best to Attract New Vendors

While attracting new visitors to your website with quality, and useful content shouldn’t even be considered an option, but rather a necessity, same amount of attention, if not larger, should be devoted to vendors as well. Working within some narrow niche will certainly help you, because you won’t have a problem finding specialized communities you can market your website to. Still, even if you are appealing to some more diverse group of sellers, you should always take proactive stance and search for vendors, instead of waiting for them to find you.

Make Users Experience As Easy As Possible

We are, of course, talking about both involved parties. You can, for example, help vendors to run more efficiently if you lay all the necessary resources, such as set of comprehensive store-building tools, on their disposal. Buyers will always feel more welcome if your website is optimized for access from mobile devices, well-designed, and easy to navigate. Enabling direct and quick two-way communication will be appreciated both from vendors and customers as well.

Don’t Burn Your Own Funds Too Quickly

Two-sided marketplaces have inherently slower development pace than some other businesses. There is nothing to worry here, but only if you adjust your burn rate downwards. This way you will lengthen the runway as much as possible, and buy yourself enough time to correctly asses how your business is actually doing. While big spending can help some businesses to ramp up rather quickly, here, that is not the case. Majority of your investments should be spent on only two areas, building the very product, and building the seller/buyer communities. Everything else needs to be toned down.


If you manage to cover all the things we mentioned above, your marketplace should be free of all the child diseases usually plaguing this kind of business. Start small, do not rush anywhere, do your best to build loyal following around your website, and everything will be ok.

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