Guide of How to Create Online Marketplace in 2021 | MVP

Follow these steps to create an online MVP marketplace.

A marketplace as a business model is incredibly lucrative. It requires less upfront investment than most traditional businesses, can have high margins, runs 24/7 and, most importantly, has seemingly limitless potential for scalability.

On top of that, we all have seen multiple successful ventures in this field, including Amazon that has made its founder, Jeff Bezos, a billionaire many times over. 

Why MVP? 

Launching a multifunctional online marketplace requires confidence in the viability of the project that many entrepreneurs don’t have. Moreover, it entails higher expenses. Many businesspersons consider it a more sound investment to build an MVP version of a product first. MVP stands for “minimum viable product”. It is a basic version of the product with only those features that are vital for an app to be functional. It can help you to attract early adopters, raise the capital needed for further development and test the viability of your product. 

Understand Customers Pain

Your value proposition will be successful. That is why you should identify customers’ pain. Mind these possible pain points you might face:

  • Does your good replace a poor-quality solution?
  • Does your good eliminate friction or handle challenges effectively?
  • Does your product/service provide savings for the client?
  • Does your product satisfy your customers more than competitors’ analogies?
  • Does your good possess social advantages (networking or stature in the case of Facebook or LinkedIn)?

Ask these questions and put down the answers. That is the step to begin with in any situation.

Define Your Business’s Strength

What makes your business special? From Amazon to Airbnb, there are many marketplaces, able to cater to almost every need. The keyword here is “almost”. If your business can provide services better or meet the needs of underserved communities, you have all chances for success. What is the reason you are building a marketplace? What makes it special? Answering these questions will help you define your business’s strength.

Use Agile 

According to purrweb, there are two approaches to managing the software development process: agile and waterfall. The waterfall approach involves detailed planning, as well as the development of comprehensive documentation and specifications. Waterfall methodology might be suitable for large companies with well-established presence and bureaucracy, already baked in company culture. For MVPs, agile is better as it allows for greater flexibility.  

Practice Transparent Communication

Transparent communication is key to successfully implementing the agile methodology. This includes communication between various members of the development team, involved in the process and communication between the developers and the client. Continuous feedback is crucial to understand what parts of the application need improvement.

Create Detailed Roadmap

The purpose of a roadmap is to help you define the development direction of your marketplace. Align your product with your businesses’ priorities and goals. Detail what you are planning to achieve in 3 months, in 6 months, in a year. 

As a marketplace owner, your roadmap should not only reflect the specialization of your business and its strengths but explore what other niches it can expand to, when you grow your online presence. 

Remember, your roadmap is not set in stone. Be sure to upgrade it based on market response and any new, relevant information that you get.

UI/UX Design Stage

MVPs might be limited in functionality, but a well-thought user interface (UI) should turn as many curious visitors into customers as possible, while creating a smooth and pleasant user experience (UX). From a UI/UX perspective, your marketplace should be: 

  • easy to navigate;

Explore customer journey. From the page your potential client lands on to the final checkout, it should involve as few steps as possible. Consider including a search bar and filters to your MVP, as they can dramatically increase the ease of using your marketplace. 

  • aesthetically pleasing;

An MVP doesn’t necessarily need to have fancy graphics, but make sure that the aesthetic of your page matches the tastes of your target audience. For example, if you offer vegan products, research other websites that deal with similar goods. You might find out that most feature certain shades of green, earth tones and stay away from ultra-bright colors.

  •  trustworthy. 

To achieve trustworthiness, make it clear to customers what you sell, what your business model is, and what security features your marketplace has. This should include information on how you store, use, and protect their personal data

Code Development 

When talking about code development, first and foremost, you should decide what programming language you want your platform to be based on. The most popular languages for online marketplaces and e-commerce, in general, are Java, JavaScript, PHP, and Python.

The next step is to determine which functions and features your MVP should have. Try to avoid features that “would be nice to have” and focus on essentials. There is no predefined list of necessary features and it hugely depends on your business model. However, for an online marketplace, you will likely need to include the following: 

  • Home and registration pages
  • Clients’ pages
  • Vendors’ pages
  • A messaging system
  • A search bar and filters
  • Secure payment system
  • Security features 

Testing Process

When your MVP is built, test it. This must be an all-inclusive and comprehensive process, from exploring possible security flaws to collecting feedback from a pre-selected group of users. 

Test all the features and whether your MVP is compatible with all possible browsers and operating systems. Verify that older versions support all the necessary functions. Test how your MVP will behave if many users try to gain access to your marketplace at the same time.

Launching an MVP

Ready to launch? Secure a URL for your brand if you haven’t done so. Create your logo. Set up your business pages on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and whatever else you deem necessary. Use high-quality images on your website to increase customer conversion rates. You can either take them yourself or find them on websites that specialize in stock photography. 

Set up analytics. Google Analytics can help you track user behavior on your marketplace to understand what is working and what should be changed.

To Sum Up

Creating an online MVP marketplace is a multi-year process that involves a lot of collaboration with your development team. Through all stages, focus on what makes your marketplace unique – on your strengths. Opt for an agile development management style and communicate freely in abundance with all parties involved in MVP creation. Create a roadmap for your business to define your goals and expectations. Make sure that the user interface ensures the best user experience possible while reflecting the values of your brand. Determine your programming language of choice and what features your MVP will need. Test your MVP for possible bugs and flaws. Finally, launch it. 

Remember, be flexible and ready to adjust whatever isn’t working to create a product that brings true value.