Strategy

How to create and launch an online marketplace: A step-by-step guide

Kristin Schepici
Kristin Schepici March 5, 2021
How to create and launch an online marketplace: A step-by-step guide

Half of online sales globally are transacted through online marketplaces, so it’s no surprise that a growing number of companies are quickly moving to launch their own.

To help you better understand the marketplace opportunity, we’re pleased to provide you with a new resource: The Ultimate Guide To Launching An Online Marketplace. 

This new guide addresses the key topics related to planning and launching a direct-to-consumer (DTC) or B2B marketplace – from defining your marketplace strategy to deploying a marketplace.

Here are some of the highlights, and for a deeper dive into these and other topics, you can download the full guide here.

Why Buyers Prefer Online Marketplaces

Buyers have made it clear that they prefer to shop at online marketplaces for a range of reasons:

● Marketplaces are more convenient because they’re one-stop shops for a large number of products.

● Shoppers can get more favorable prices since they can easily compare similar products from competing sellers.

● Marketplaces enable shoppers to choose their preferred seller based on criteria such as price, location, shipping cost, and ratings.

Build a Marketplace Website Strategy

Marketplace strategy starts with defining the opportunity or the problem you are looking to solve. This is the vision that guides your strategy and defines the value proposition that will attract sellers to your marketplace.

Once you’ve defined the opportunity, you should define the theme or category of your online marketplace. This will drive all the elements such as your strategy, design, customer service, operations, seller recruitment, and marketing. The next step is to develop your business strategy, operations, and technology plans. There are numerous decisions that will need to be addressed in these three areas.

Here is a high-level overview:

Marketplace Business Strategy

There are several revenue strategies that can be employed through the marketplace business model. The most common revenue strategy is through commissions on purchases from sellers on your marketplace. There are other revenue strategies to consider, from selling ad space to charging sellers a monthly subscription fee.

Marketplace Operations

As you plan your marketplace operations, your goal is to ensure that your marketplace is operating smoothly and efficiently. There is  a range of items you will need to address, from the number and types of employees and needed to operate your marketplace, to customer service decisions.

Marketplace Platform

Another consideration is whether to create or buy an online marketplace platform. With the speed at which markets evolve and customer preferences change, buying is the right option for most companies. Building a marketplace platform can take many months to complete. And once operational, a home-grown solution will require ongoing maintenance and updates. By aligning with the right technology partner, many companies are finding that they can achieve faster time-to-revenue and also focus on what they do best.

Launching Your Online Marketplace

There are six key areas to address in your marketplace launch plan:

1. Assign a Marketplace Champion

This is typically an executive sponsor who will ensure that you have the resources you need and who drives collaboration throughout your company.

2. Build a Cross-Functional Team

Launching a marketplace requires participation from a wide range of departments and functional areas. Before you build out your plan, you will want to assign your team members, since they will be key participants in the planning process.

3. Define MVP Criteria

Consider defining a minimum viable product (MVP) criteria so you can launch quickly and add features over time.

4. Secure External Expertise

Identify an expert resource with marketplace experience who can oversee the marketplace implementation.

5. Establish a Seller Pipeline

You will want to make sure that you launch your marketplace with an optimal number of sellers. In many cases, you will have only one chance to present your marketplace to a visitor, so you want to put yourself in the best position to demonstrate the value of your marketplace right away.

6. Choose the Right Tech Stack

Since a marketplace is a natural extension of eCommerce, many businesses find value in deploying an eCommerce platform with built-in marketplace, commerce, and order management capabilities. This approach provides a range of benefits, such as faster time-to-revenue, use case flexibility, and lower TCO.

Download the Guide Today

This is just a brief summary  of the content you can read about in The Ultimate Guide To Launching An Online Marketplace. For a deeper dive, we invite you to download the full guide today.

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