How to design and launch an online marketplace: A step by step guide

Roughly half of worldwide online transactions are conducted through online marketplaces, so it comes as no surprise that a growing number of companies are moving fast towards launching their own marketplaces. Customers have repeatedly shown why they prefer shopping on an online marketplace, and here are some of their main reasons:

·       Marketplaces are just more comfortable. They are one-stop-shops for a wide range of products.

·       Buyers have better access to more competitive prices as they can easily compare similar products from competing vendors.

·       Marketplaces enable buyers to choose their favorite seller, based on criteria such as price, location, shipping cost and ratings.

The plan for a new marketplace begins with defining the opportunity or issue you want to address. This will be the vision guiding your strategy, which will also outline the value proposition that will attract customers to your marketplace. The next task is determining the theme for your future marketplace. This will drive strategy, design, customer experience, operations, vendor recruitment and marketing. Then, you have to develop the roadmap and operations strategy with many decisions to be made in all these areas. Here is an overview.

The marketplace business strategy

There are several ways to generate revenue from a marketplace. The most common operating model is collecting commissions from the sellers active on your marketplace. There are also other approaches you can consider, including selling advertising space and monthly subscriptions.

Marketplace operations

As you plan the operating strategy for your marketplace, the main goal should be assuring the marketplace is running seamlessly. There are several points you need to address, from the headcount and roles required to run the marketplace, to decisions regarding customer service.

The marketplace platform

One of the biggest decisions has to do with implementing a custom marketplace platform or using an existing one. Considering the speed at which markets evolve and the fast-changing consumer preferences, subscribing to an existing solution is widely regarded as the go-to option. Building a platform in-house, although perfectly adapted to the business needs, can take longer, sometimes as much as several months, and once operational, it will require constant maintenance and updates.

Companies avoid these pitfalls by choosing a technology partner that meets their specific needs. This enables them to get a faster time-to-revenue and focus on what they do best.

Continue reading the full article in Romanian on the VTEX blog, where you can also find a detailed guide on launching your own marketplace. Zitec is a trusted VTEX partner with extensive expertise in end-to-end e-commerce projects, from analysis and consultancy, through to implementation, maintenance and support. Give us a call or write us an email to see how we can get you started with your very own marketplace.

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