While you should always consider your Most Valuable Players when starting an online marketplace, that’s not the only MVP you will need to think about. You’ll also need to ensure that you have a plan in place to build and implement a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). An MVP will allow you to create a working product that ensures you are ready for your launch. This Marketplace MVP will serve as your first impression and can be a make-or-break product when it comes to attracting customers and investors.
In this article, we will go through all of the different considerations you will need to take in developing your first minimum viable product.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
Minimum Viable Platform, or MVP, refers to the approach of producing a minimal solution to attract early adopters and solve the users’ core issues. This will kickstart your learning process and allow you to collect valuable customer input with the least amount of time and effort. Constantly listening to the early adopters’ opinions is important to improving your business. If you make the improvements based on your feedback, you will not only strengthen your relationship with your customers but also strengthen your project.
Software development is indeed an important aspect when building your own marketplace; however, it won’t guarantee the success of your business. You must develop your marketplace MVP during the initial phase of your business and launch a working product as soon as possible. Doing so will not only validate your idea but also help gather customer feedback to improve your platform. Remember that your MVP is mainly built to test the viability of your business and ensure that it has the potential to be profitable.
Building Your Marketplace MVP
Building a Marketplace MVP is no easy feat. It requires building a working solution with complex processes that require lots of work. You need to know what to build and it must be good enough to solve the identified problem. MVP does not necessarily need to be perfect in every way. Your MVP needs to contain the required features that work properly, give a good first impression, and satisfies users.
There are several considerations you will want to take when planning what features to include in your MVP and what can wait.
Coordinate your MVP with your business objectives.
When developing the minimum viable product, it is significant to align it with your company’s strategic goals. Are you hoping to attract new customers? Increasing brand awareness? Reducing production costs? These questions will help you determine if building an MVP would be practical now or better put off for later. Follow these main business objectives to direct the purpose of the MVP.
It is really important to remember the minimum in a minimum viable product. While you may have grand plans for your marketplace, it might not make sense to develop and release an extravagant platform to start. Identify the must-haves and begin building those first.
Identify the core issues you want to address.
If the MVP aligns with your company’s objectives, you can now start determining the particular problems you want your platform to solve. After all, solving these issues is where your platform will provide its value to your customers. While there are an endless number of problems that you will probably be able to think of, it’s important for your MVP to isolate and address the most important issues. If your MVP does address those core problems, then you will be able to continue to develop your MVP marketplace and add additional value as your business grows.
Build an action plan for your MVP.
Now that you have identified the functionality you want for your MVP, you can develop an action plan for your platform. Create a timeline for your MVP development that aims to translate your MVP from ideas into a viable product. Through this timeline, you will need to consider how long each task will, what part of the platform is most important, and also if there is a particular order each feature will need to be developed. With your plan in place, you will now be able to decide which type of marketplace MVP you would like to move forward with.
Note: Your marketplace MVP should provide value and allow users to interact with other users.
E-Commerce Solution vs Custom Solution for Your Marketplace MVP
Consider if you would like to use a Platform as a Service solution or develop your own tools. You can outsource your development, find a technical co-founder, set up the marketplace yourself, or turn to established software platforms.
Option 1: Platform As A Service
Building an MVP is certainly hard, especially if you are not a programmer. However, there are various established software platforms (like PaaS) that offer simplicity and convenience for your MVP. A great PaaS for building your marketplace MVP will help you save a lot of time and money, while also allowing you to customize the marketplace to your exact specifications. Yondo is a great example of a Platform as a Service, which allows you to set up your marketplace MVP and launch in as short as a month. With all of the inbuilt features from secure payment gateways, to vendor registrations and vetting, to
Option 2: Custom Solution
Another route that you can take for building your MVP is developing your own solutions. For this, you might consider outsourcing the work, finding a strategic partner to help with the build, or building everything from scratch yourself. Developing your own solutions grants you the ability to own the IP. Like using PaaS, your solution allows you to tailor the MVP to your needs. Using this approach will take a much longer time due to the lengthy tests and costly builds. Nonetheless, whichever approach you take, your MVP will help you achieve the online marketplace of your dreams.
|Starting from scratch||Yondo|
|Development||• May take up to years of research, development, and testing||• Eliminates the lengthy and costly development and production|
|Support and Maintenance||• You can assemble a great team for the development, marketing, and operations aspect of the platform||• Provides a great support team for your marketplace 24/7, 365 days a year.|
|Marketplace Payment Solution||• You can choose the payment provider based on availability||• You decide what each seller’s revenue percentage will be for each sale on your marketplace.|
Improving Your Product and Getting Customer’s Feedback
Remember, your marketplace will serve as a solution to a problem your users face. With an online expert marketplace, your solution will be offering users connections to a variety of experts in the niche that you will choose. Your challenge in the planning stage is to discover what that problem is and how your expert marketplace can solve it. Another thing that you will also want to consider is what suppliers or experts you have access to. For example, if you were a former marketing consultant with a network of marketing experts, draw on this when planning.
It is important to listen to input from the potential users and to continue to improve on your MVP based on their input. As you develop your product for your users, you should focus on whether this will solve your users’ problems. In order for your minimum viable product to be efficiently developed, it has to solve the problem your users identified. Your goal should ultimately be to go from a minimum viable product to a lovable platform that your users will be interested in following and engaging with throughout the process of developing your marketplace.