Building a marketplace requires many different types of people. The entrepreneurial personality flourishes in the business aspect: finding suppliers, building a business model and pricing. On the other end we have the creatives who are not exclusive to entrepreneurs but a founder or CEO may have the clear direction of the design without technical skills. Determining what your brand represents and who your target audience is a great first step! How do you translate a personality into a non-living, (mostly) 2-D screen? The balancing act of utility, aesthetics, and staying within budget begins. We’ve got a few beginner tips for designing your marketplace.
1. Browse Around
An easy (and free) way to start the road map of your design is by going on similar sites and jotting down what you like or dislike. Similar marketplaces tend to offer similar checkout procedures or product displays so it’s great to look over in case you missed something or simply want to improve on a detail.
Certain parts of a site can help you decide what you want for yours. Spacing for example or the overall composition can a tricking thing to choose so look around. I’m not here saying to copy someone else’s work but take it as inspiration to create your site. Look at how the page scrolls down or what info tab options look useful that you may not have considered before! It’s always good to help the visitor navigate through something a little familiar as well.
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The learning curve of using the internet is fairly flat for people in the industry but you don’t want to burden the visitor with tons buttons that lead to irrelevant landing pages. Having a clear navigation bar helps the visitor find what they want quickly, which in turn can help you close a deal. Always have a navigation bar at the top of your page in case there is more to browse, but just make sure the it scrolls up with the page so it doesn’t take away from your products.
A shopping cart usually empties out once you’ve left the site leaving the cart icon useless for the shopper. Make sure your customers have an easy visit when they come back by saving their items in the cart even after they’ve clicked out.
Another feature businesses tend to overlook is the mobile version. The majority of content being viewed over the web is through a phone screen. It’s a mistake to think that if everything is flush on your desktop that the site will magically configure on the much smaller screen. There must be a separate design for the mobile version of your site or you risk people being unable to look through your products/services.
It’s not too much work to shrink everything down. Just make sure everything is configured to fit the screen and all the buttons are working correctly. Do a couple of on the spot tests while you’re fixing things up to ensure you got it right.
4. Use Space
Clean, minimal lines are definitely what’s popular right now. People are used to going to sites with right angles and muted yet vivid colors. You can appeal to your visitors by adding some of these characteristics to your marketplace. The use or un-use of space is a tricky detail to take on. If you’re using too much space your site will look cluttered and unorganized. Leaving too much space behind makes a site look incomplete or uncared for.
A nice way to take up space is to play with fonts and pictures. Great visuals can be made with the right color and font to get a customer to click through to the next page. This is another opportunity to show your marketplace aesthetics.
5. Customer Reviews
What’s more convincing than your site telling your client it’s great? Unbiased customers! Displaying your customer reviews is a great way to extend the time your visitor stays online. Hopefully you have great reviews to pick through. Doing this will bring in a more personable touch so others feel more open to leaving reviews that can help your business grow.
Don’t just screenshot your reviews. Add some touches and change the font’s color and sizing to again keep the flow of the design running through all aspects of your site.
Designing can be fun or stressful depending on the type of person you are but it’s important either way. Make it fun by getting a team together and discussing the goals you want for your marketplace! Good luck!