After you’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a marketplace, the next thing to do is to build it. The good news is starting a marketplace has gotten a lot easier. Whether you’re using an online platform created by a SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider or DIY (do-it-yourself) method, there are some necessary practices that every entrepreneur needs to know. When you’re new in the industry, it’s important to follow appropriate tips and guidance that can help you get started in the right track. Here are some steps that you can follow.
Never forget your powerful story
It’s what your marketplace is all about. You need to give a compelling reason for people to use your marketplace. A lot of people get too excited on the technical aspects and focusing on adding all sorts of product features, they forgot why they’re building it in the first place and what their main value proposition was. You need to stay focus on the powerful story on how it all started for you, the problem you are trying to solve. You can do this by creating blogs that regularly offers high quality contents, tips, and useful information that keep people coming back to your marketplace. Tell your story, remind users of what you are about, then people will select your marketplace over others.
Narrow your market and geographic focus
You probably want to be successful quick enough in building a marketplace. Often time people think by reaching out to as many customers as possible is the best way to do it. The reality is, it’s better to focus on a smaller group of people. You don’t want to spread the butter too thin because you may risk having lack of suppliers to meet the demands. Choose a niche market and go vertical, pick a specific geographic location and expand once you’ve established a solid ground.
Grow your supply base first
In order for a marketplace to function, there needs to be enough merchants offering goods and services to fulfill the needs from the buyers. The wise thing to do is to prioritize building up supply in your marketplace first. Do a good job in acquiring merchants to make sure your inventory is ready for buyers to make transaction. Having a strong supply in your marketplace not only increase credibility, but also generate higher interaction between buyers and sellers.
Be diligent in acquiring users
Getting merchants listed on your marketplace is important, but that is just half the answer. Ultimately you want buyers to make transactions on the marketplace to generate revenues. Be creative in attracting both sellers and buyers through effective marketing efforts. Utilize the social media channels and come up with an active and resourceful blog that can draw users in. To speed up the growth of your marketplaces, have a stellar email marketing campaigns, participating in conferences and events, as well as using incentives and referrals from existing users.
Build trust in your brand
The next thing to do is to convince people that they have all the right reasons to choose your marketplace. You need to build a good reputation and there are few ways to do that. Many marketplaces website have the rating and review system installed. This will help people to have an idea of what it’s like to use your marketplace. Marketplace websites should also have the feature to create users profile; giving a better understanding of the product, personal story and their online reputation. The more positive reviews and ratings you get from the registered users in your marketplace, the higher your credibility will be in the pool of marketplaces.
Always be ready to face the unexpected and stick to your original plan while making necessary changes as you go in building your marketplace. There are more detailed steps and practices that can help you to launch an online marketplace successfully. If you managed to follow these five simple steps, you’re already ahead in establishing yourself in the ever growing industry of online marketplaces.
About: Kenneth Low is CEO and co-founder of Arcadier, a SaaS company that powers next generation marketplace ideas. You can follow Arcadier on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more news and updates.