Launching a marketplace in this digital age can be done much easier than 20-30 years ago. The great thing is there are many platform providers such as Near Me, Sharetribe, Arcadier, and Mirakl to name a few. With that being said, what are you waiting for? Oh that’s right, you’re here to learn 4 steps to build a successful marketplace. Let’s get started!
1. Know The Direction
This sounds like a given but you’ll be surprised how many do not have a full vision on where they want their marketplace to be. Often you hear “I want to be the next AirBnb” but do they really understand how much time and effort goes into that? From the engineers that build the platform, front-end developers, to the account managers who work with the customers, It certainly can not be done by yourself and will require a full team effort.
Building a marketplace is a lot like building a house. There are many steps and phases that must be completed before physically starting the build. Setting a solid foundation is the most important step as is with your marketplace. Think of your features as the foundation and knowing what you want now will make additions later on in the future much easier to customize. You don’t want to be in the position 2 years from now trying to add features but your platforms was not developed to make customizations.
2. Grow Your Supply
Each industry has it’s own difficulties and challenges but the one thing in common is relationships. Whether it’s looking to gain hosts, freelancers, or designers for your marketplace you must establish some sort of relationship with them prior. You can’t just let anyone join your marketplace as that can cause serious security and trust issues. With the ease of social media, this can be accomplished much easier by joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups. Many experts and advocates can be found for your niche and a great place to start.
Rule #1: Do not spam the groups with your marketplace pitches and advertisements. Start by introducing yourself and connecting on a more community level. You’ll be surprised what open arms you will get just by being honest and sharing your opinions on posts. Of course, there will always be the negative ones who try to put you down, but it’s best to take the high road when you encounter that.
3. Create A Demand
Once you have an online marketplace, you must create a demand for it as well. The biggest question you will encounter is how will I drive people towards your website? How can I gain more customers and get my marketplace to be the go-to for the niche market? With the efforts of building relationships, marketing to the right people, and creating a buzz around your marketplace it can be accomplished. Sounds easy enough right? It will take a lot more behind the scene to make that happen but as Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”
4. Keep Everyone Happy
While getting your marketplace up to speed, it’s important to also get the rest of your team on the same page. From your engineers to sales, they must understand the product to help make life easier on everyone. Nothing is more frustrating than the sales people promising features that cannot be delivered. If a mistake does occur, don’t be too hard on the team but be sure they understand what they did wrong. Yelling and coming down on your team will only hurt your relationship as their boss. Make sure they know you appreciate all their hard work and efforts to ensure you are happy and more importantly your team is. Success starts from within your team and will reflect in everyone’s work.
The most successful marketplaces or even businesses are the ones who keep their customers happy. They are the whole reason you built your marketplace and without them, you would not be able to survive. Ensuring your current customers are happy will help build a positive name around your brand. Remember, one of the most powerful forms of marketing today is still word-of-mouth. The upset ones are 1o times more likely to tell people they know so let’s try to avoid that from happening.
How can you keep your customers happy? Reward and make them feel special. Offer special discounts in your email blasts, invite them to join your community, and more importantly always thank them for their business. ALWAYS listen to what your customers have to say, as they are your bread and butter.
If you have done any sort your research, you understand that building a marketplace takes time, planning, and more important the drive to succeed. With the right idea and tools, any marketplace can become the next big thing.
Do you have an idea for a new marketplace? We’d love to help, so send us a tweet @MrktPlacePfm!