With the development of technology and growing popularity, the internet has blossomed into the ultimate tool for entertainment, information distribution, and business. Interestingly, advances in technology, such as Online Marketplace Platforms, have also had an impact on the creation of a whole new category of jobs.
“The Gig Economy” has existed before the Internet but has flourished with the opportunities and convenience that technology brings. Providers of these jobs are able to offer all types of services from rideshares to vacation rentals to expert advice. Online marketplace platforms are providers for these types of services. These marketplaces work to connect people who have products and services with customers who are interested in buying them. As a result, selling various products and services online has become a popular and profitable trend.
Creating an online business is never easy, so here are ten things you must know before launching your business as an online marketplace platform.
Decide On Your Online Marketplace Platform’s Focus
Before you start putting your platform together, you need to have a direction. What kind of vendors will you be connecting to what customers? Are you going to create a marketplace for physical goods or are you looking to create a place where customers can get advice from experts? What industry are you going to focus on?
When deciding on your direction, use your own experiences in the field you are familiar with to create a supplier network. For example, if you have experience in coding, you can use an online marketplace platform such as Yondo to showcase and teach your skills for profit. In addition, you can leverage your personal relationships within your industry to further cement a network of suppliers. Relationships with the right people could lead to a strong network of suppliers and further set up your marketplace for success.
Set Your Goals
Think about what you want to achieve. Only by understanding your true motivation for starting a business can you be more precise in your strategy. Think carefully about what products or services you want to offer and how to make your business successful. Clearly defining your goals and what needs to be done to achieve them will put you in a much better position to succeed.
Create SMART goals to better plan your target objective:
These are goals that are set using specific criteria. Ensure that your goals are achievable within a certain time frame. SMART goals are a very effective way to get to your target objective quicker. By utilizing SMART goals, you can think critically when thinking of goals that are attainable. From a business standpoint, these goals can be used to better achieve one’s objective for the business.
Research Your Target Market
Focus on customers and understand your target market. In order to do this, you must identify your users and know exactly what their needs are so that you can solve their problems effectively. Start by surveying and interviewing potential users and use that data to come up with a story. Describe what problems most people are experiencing in your industry and how they would like to see those problems solved. To get more insight into what users want, ask them what online marketplace platforms they are currently using. Aim to get feedback on what they like and don’t like. This will give you a great place to start in deciding which features you should include.
From there, think about how you can make your customers happy with your service. This is because handling customer relationships is a long-term process. After attracting new users, you have to make them happy with the service in order for them to continue to use it.
You also need to clearly know the industry you are in and the size of the market. You can get an idea of your target market by observing and browsing your competitors’ websites. This will help you know how to play to your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. Be mindful of the entire spectrum of the target market. You must be knowledgeable of the different facets of what may be going on as well as news and stories that are ongoing within your industry and market.
Write Your Online Business Plan
Writing a business plan may seem a bit outdated, as there are many successful businesses that have made it far without one. It is still, however, a great way to hone your ideas on how you want to grow your business. Your business plan should include the niche marketplace you will be working in, as well as an in-depth analysis of your projected success. No matter what industry you focus on, you should design a viable business model before you start your online market. A business plan should include a mission statement, the philosophy or vision of the company, the structure of the business, and the different products of the business. Important aspects for you to include are problems it will help solve, as well as the company’s unique selling points.
Think about what your plan builds on. Are you passionate about an idea or are you looking for a profitable online marketplace business? Startups require a lot of resources such as time, money, and dedication, so the more passionate you are about the subject area, the more likely you are to succeed. Your business plan will also serve as an important tool for introducing your business to other companies, potential users, and providers. With a business plan, you will be better prepared to explain and emphasize the importance of your company. For a bit of help, check out this blog that will assist you with creating your business plan.
Adjust For Your Marketplace Size
While this goes hand in hand with our earlier point of knowing your target market, you will also want to consider the size of your target market. If you are looking to create a local marketplace that you will be able to develop for your local community, you may want to keep your operation fairly small. The advantage of small scale is that the operating costs are much lower. There are a lot of online market vacancies and business opportunities. People also like to support locally owned businesses, so your marketplace can be just the thing to bring your community together.
That being said, maybe you have bigger aspirations. If you want to focus on an international marketplace, then you may need to consider how you will fund your endeavor as you scale. There are so many options for funding, such as getting investments from venture capitalists, as well as looking for angel investors. You also may want to consider individuals who are interested in your project, as well as government incubators. With that said, you can’t just come to them with an idea. you also need to make sure that you have started building your platform to be able to prove your concept as well. Sometimes finding a financial advisor to improve the success rate of financing is a great option. A good financial advisor is judged by the success of the projects they handle.
Whichever marketplace size you choose to start your business, change your plans based on their size.
Consider A Team That Compliments Each Others’ Strengths.
Successfully managing your online marketplace business will also require a lot of effort and time.
You may want to think about these questions: Do you have experience in starting a business? Experience with your target market? Do you have marketing experience? (Consider your strengths, weaknesses, professional experience, initial contacts, financial resources, etc.).
When you have identified your own strengths and weaknesses, you will know to look for individuals who might be stronger in certain areas. You may need team members with skills in development and design, or possibly operational skills. With that said, since you are the one responsible for running the marketplace, you will need to know how to manage your business through the skilled individuals you employ.
Decide How You Want To Build Your Marketplace Platform
In the initial stages of your venture, it’s important to get into the market early so you can start testing your vision. By this point, you should have an effective business model and operational plan. Now it’s time to choose how you will power your online marketplace platform.
If you are a new entrepreneur and want to launch your online marketplace as soon as possible, choosing a marketplace platform may be your best option over developing your own solution. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) options will significantly reduce your initial costs and speed up your launch, as they are easy to get started and require minimal technical knowledge. A great option to start your marketplace with everything ready for you is Yondo. This ready-made marketplace solution can help users launch an affordable marketplace extremely quickly with little to no coding and generally a turnaround time of about a month. This means less time developing, testing, and developing again, and more time servicing your customers.
Developing your own solution is also another direction that you can explore. If you have the technical skills or have a team capable of building the platform, this can be a great option as you maintain control of the platform and much more freedom to customize your platform to your needs. It is important to know that there is a much longer and more expensive process to develop your platform (though if you have the capabilities to do so, you probably already knew that).
Using Yondo as Your MVP
Develop a minimum viable product (MVP) during the initial phase of your project. You don’t need to plan for large-scale use right away or create the perfect marketplace platform as the purpose of the MVP is to validate that your idea will be successful.
You should first find a few users who are really interested in your concept, and then make sure your first product has just the right features. Your MVP will not only solve your users’ core problems but also allow you to validate your business idea much quicker than if you were to build your own software solution with much less work as well. You can find how to build your online marketplace MVP here.
When picking a software solution, you also need to consider whether it fits the features you need, the user experience, the reliability, and the team behind it. Yondo offers effective software that makes it quick to launch your business. The platform is very affordable so you can make sure you are profiting when building your business and has 24/7 live customer online support.
As the business grows and the needs of the users are clarified, Yondo allows you to customize your platform with additional functionality. The sooner you start launching the platform, the more time you will have to communicate with users and collect feedback to improve the services and features you provide.
Don’t Skip Out On Marketing Your Online Marketplace Platform
Advertising strategy plays a key role in the overall growth and development of your business. Only by actively promoting can you attract customers to get your business off the ground. You can market through a myriad of different channels, such as social media, online advertising, and email marketing.
You can find influencers on social media platforms like Instagram or Youtube and pay them to use and promote your platform to their audience. This is a great way as generally influencers have built a lot of trust with their following. However, it also can be difficult to nurture those influencer relationships.
Another must would be to purchase Google Ads to further raise awareness of your brand within Google’s search engine. This is particularly useful as your online marketplace will appear at the top of certain searches. You just need to determine and refine what search terms you would like to appear for.
Facebook ads are also very effective and can expand your brand awareness and are very effective as you are able to better target your ads based on a person’s interests and demographics.
Ensure You Are Properly Managing Your Customers And Prospect
You should create and properly maintain your sales pipeline and email list on a regular basis. When you are building your business online, it is very important to start an email list because it is a great way for you to connect with your potential customers.
One could also use a CRM (customer relationship management) tool such as Hubspot or Pipedrive. Customer relationship management is the process in which a business manages its interactions with its customers. These software tools allow better interaction with your customer base and consolidate long-term customers. You can use these tools to track and organize emails and calls. Also, the organizational functions of these tools can assist you with managing your entire customer relation base. Communicating with all your potential customers is very important for the health of your business.
You will also need to address issues in a timely manner, and make sure customers know their voice is heard. Customer support and success is one of the biggest factors in your business where brand loyalty is built.
Request Feedback To Improve Your Online Marketplace Platform
Feedback is another important aspect of building a successful online marketplace. By requesting information from your customers, you are showing them that you care about their satisfaction and opinions. You will also be learning about what you need to improve on, in order to better understand your target customer’s wants and needs, while staying competitive.
Finally, the feedback you received should be used to maintain your user experience. This should always be an ongoing process and you need to strategically offer new and valuable benefits to your users. At all times remember to never stop learning, experimenting, and improving. Business owners should always consider how to make their platforms faster and to make the payment process smoother and more efficient in order to provide an overall better experience for their customers. Always strive for more so your customers stay satisfied with your business.
When starting an online marketplace platform, start by thinking carefully and digging into what you already have. Prepare to research and enter the market as soon as possible so you can start testing. Planning is important, but action is even more important. You also need to keep consolidating and strengthening your competitiveness to promote a sustainable business.
Online entrepreneurship has helped many people to gain the ability to work and live more freely. Most of them start with a side business, go freelance, and eventually develop their own business after defining their direction and establishing their expertise.
If this is the kind of work and lifestyle you want, embrace this future trend and plan accordingly.
If you have a great idea about building an online marketplace business, please feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how to create a marketplace platform.