How to Build a Mobile Marketplace App

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Since the 1990s, people have been selling their goods and services on sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist. These early sites have helped introduce businesses to new markets and have simultaneously allowed buyers to find products and services in a more convenient manner.

For small and medium vendors, for whom it’s too expensive to spend on creating their own online store and invest in its promotion, the marketplace can be a great opportunity. On such platforms, they can list a variety of products and services with the marketplace acting as an intermediary between the buyer and seller. 

Smartphone apps have transformed how people interact with the world around them. Marketplace apps have recently emerged as a new form of mobile application that delivers the benefits of online marketplaces to a mobile audience. The fact that people spend more hours staring at their phone screen than sitting in front of a computer has led to a habit to make purchases spontaneously, on-the-go, any minute the necessity or desire arises. When a tempting purchase is just a few clicks away, who can stand? That’s why marketplace apps are seeing more and more use.

  1. What do You Need to Know About Mobile Marketplace Apps?
  2. Why do You Need to Build a Marketplace App?
  3. How Marketplaces Make Money?
  4. Types of Marketplaces
  5. How to Build a Winning Marketplace App
  6. What Features will Make Your App Stand Out?
  7. What Challenges can You Expect Building a Marketplace App?
  8. Estimating the Cost of a Marketplace App
  9. Conclusion

What do You Need to Know About Mobile Marketplace Apps?

A marketplace app allows users to buy and sell goods and services from each other. The main functionality of a mobile marketplace app is to connect buyers and sellers and facilitate transactions between them.

Many people think that transition from a web version to an app can be done very easily, it is a misconception. Here are some difficulties you may face with:

  • To launch an app you’ll have to follow app store submission guidelines. 
  • Users behave another way using mobile apps, that’s why it requires well-considered UI/UX design. 
  • You need to convince new or existing customers to download and log in to your app. The first time it takes more effort to use a mobile marketplace app than to enter an online store name in a search engine.

However, building an app and inviting users to interact with it is a long-term investment, as for smartphone users, data indicates that 90% of total mobile usage is in apps, and only 10% of their time is spent browsing the rest of the internet.

Why do You Need to Build a Marketplace App?

The main reason to consider building your own marketplace app is that it is a great possibility to reach the fast-growing mobile market that promises all the online marketplace owners extra earnings. It may also be the next step of evolution for eСommerce platforms in order to access new markets and the growing mobile marketplace. As the smartphone market continues to expand, so do the mobile marketplace solutions.

Understand how to build a marketplace

Smartphones are now the primary way in which people access the internet. In fact, a recent study found that the average user spends 81% of their internet time on their mobile device. All the leading online marketplaces in the above list have their own application. 

Why choose a mobile app instead of just preparing a responsive web version? Mobile apps work much faster and more effectively because the web depends a lot on the correct browser work. Besides browser, smartphone power capacity and screen resolution may affect the displaying of websites. Websites are still mostly intended for desktop users. Meanwhile, apps` UI/UX allows to fully leverage smartphone features building more comfortable conditions for customers. For example, it helps easily interact with displayed products by just tapping, sliding, and spinning on them. Cameras in smartphones give marketplaces another great opportunity to show their products—with the help of augmented reality images (AR). 

How Marketplaces Make Money?

A marketplace helps facilitate a connection between a buyer and seller. For buyers, the incentive is often access to products or services at reduced prices. Sellers gain access to new markets and customers, but what’s in it for the marketplace?

There isn’t one simple answer to this. Many sites charge a specific fee which may vary based on the platform and service. 

  • Commission for every transaction – some sites take a commission from every transaction. Amazon for example charges 10%-25% for each transaction. 
  • Fee for featured listing – Etsy has a listing fee and then charges 3.5%-5% on top of the transaction.
  • Subscription fee – with some sites, a monthly subscription fee is charged that helps maintain services. A good example is Couchsurfing.
  • Advertising – these solutions make their revenue directly from the seller. A prominent example of this is Zillow. 

While other sites use different methods of monetization based on the type and volume of traffic as well as charging for additional services. 

The sums involved are often not huge, but they can add up. Marketplace apps are great for bringing in extra revenue from existing customers and can help increase profits for businesses.

Types of Marketplaces

There are many types of marketplaces in existence. Some focus on a specific sector, while others are more general. It is easier to make a decision on how to build a marketplace in your particular case, based upon its product and target audience type.

Types of Products

1. Goods Marketplaces

One of the most common types of marketplace app is the goods’ marketplace. These are sites that offer a wide range of different products and services for sale.

Amazon and eBay are examples of product marketplaces. These sites offer thousands of different products from hundreds of different vendors.

2. Staffing and Service Marketplaces

Staffing and Service marketplace is another popular option for building a marketplace app. These apps offer a marketplace for services rather than products and are excellent for freelancers, private individuals, and even companies that want to advertise services for sale. 

Fiverr, Upwork, and TaskRabbit are all examples of such service marketplaces. These apps offer thousands of different services from hundreds of different providers helping create a single location for seekers of services.

3. Fundraising Marketplaces

Fundraising marketplaces are a little different from the other types of marketplace apps. These sites don’t actually sell anything from their site. Instead, they offer a platform for arranging funds through crowdfunding for startup projects.

The most well-known example of a monetization marketplace is Kickstarter. Kickstarter provides a platform for people to offer projects and products. It has helped fund over 100,000 projects and raised billions of dollars in total.

Understand how to build a marketplace

Types of Target Audience

1. C2C

A customer-to-customer or peer-to-peer type marketplace refers to a marketplace app where users can sell their own products. 

Etsy, BlaBlaCar, and DogVacay are the most well-known examples of a participant-type marketplace. The site allows sellers to offer a wide range of products, but it also allows sellers to sell their own handmade or vintage products.

2. B2C

Business-to-consumer marketplaces provide a forum where clients can directly purchase goods and services from an organization without a middleman. These organizations provide consumers with a one-stop-shop solution where they can purchase lots of different products in a single place. AliExpress is a great example of this type of marketplace.

3. B2B

With business-to-business marketplaces, buyers and sellers can meet in a single place where bulk purchases can happen. For example, if you look at a site like Alibaba.com, you find that this is a site where Chinese companies are selling to other Chinese companies. Or you can look at a site like Tagasauris, which is an auction site for rare books. So this is a marketplace where you can both buy and sell books.

A distinguishing feature for a B2B marketplace is the allocation of different payment methods – for example, scheduled payments – in comparison to B2C or C2C markets. 

How to Build a Winning Marketplace App

After you make up a concept and decide on the type of marketplace and financial model you need, it is time to consider the strategy of building the desired app. You can think of many fundamentally new features and spend months trying to find common ground with programmers and get the result you want. Creating a minimum stack of features for a minimum viable product may not be easy for an entrepreneur with no technical background. That’s why to build your own marketplace without wasting time and money, you’ll need the professional software development team of project managers and business analysts, software developers, UI/UX designers, QA engineers. Choosing a team of professionals and Agile software development solutions, you pick flexible planning, effective response to new information about customer’s needs, and rapid delivery. 

The first phase of marketplace app development is the strategy phase. Here domain experts together with business analysts, project managers, and customers decide how to build a marketplace corresponding to customer requests, define user’s needs, system requirements and detect potential risks. At Nix, we take every measure for the product to be efficient and secure. At this stage, the project receives an evaluation of the required time, force, and budget. 

The second phase is the design phase. At this stage, software architectures analyze user behavior in similar projects, create structure and detailed future app layout. After designers create interface mock-ups and define how they will be connected with databases and servers. 

Based on all the previously compiled documentation we move to the third phase – development. At this stage, we realize the project. Here are two ways to carry out the development process: custom marketplace app development or non-custom app development.

Non-custom app development is the cheaper route, but it can have drawbacks. The biggest drawback is that you will be limited to using the functionality that is present in the Software as a Service (SaaS) online services that were designed especially for building a marketplace app or general app builders like Magneto, Drupal, and OpenCart. If your processes or tools will no longer be supported, you will either need to adapt or change the structure of your app. 

Custom app development allows you to build a marketplace app that is designed to your exact requirements. The biggest drawback is that custom app development is more expensive and it can take time to create. It will require a team of developers to code your app from a scratch. Besides building interfaces for both marketplace customers and sellers, developers will build database servers to make the app work. 

The fourth phase is testing. It includes product testing and bug fixation until the product corresponds to the claimed at the first phase requirements. After that, your marketplace app is launched and you move to the fifth phase – ongoing support. If all the stakeholders are satisfied with the product, then the building app process is finished. 

You need to understand that you are going to compete with marketplaces presented on the market for quite a long time, among them big names like Amazon, eBay, Uber, and others that sell an enormous range of products and services. That’s why besides excellent UI/UX with must-have features, you need to think of extra ways to attract your particular share of the audience. 

What Features will Make Your App Stand Out?

When thinking about app features, consider your market as well as what you are designing the app to look and feel like. Explore your market and your competitors. If your app is designed for sellers, then you need to consider the features that they are looking for. How to build a marketplace so it can make life easier for future customers: is it designed to save their time or save their money? Likely, customers will expect products at your marketplace to have lower prices as it is not brick and mortar and more like brick and click they suppose you spend less on product storage and staff. 

Use different analysis tools to build your product. Using a TOWS analysis when defining what your app should accomplish is critical. With a TOWS you are looking at the Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths that could be your success. 

Understand how to build a marketplace

Consider things like:

  • What is your unique selling point?
  • What features does your marketplace app need to have or improve?
  • What features are present in competitive apps?

By offering extra plug-ins or services such as simplified up, dashboard with real-time data analysis, or built-in chats, that help make you distinctive in the market, you can gain market share at a faster pace.

What Challenges Can You Expect Building a Marketplace App?

So as we have already discussed earlier, the first analysis phase of building software includes detecting all the risks. There are lots of challenges and issues that you may need to deal with when building your marketplace app. But knowledge is power. We’ll tell you what issues you can face and you’ll be able to foresee how to avoid them right from the start.

  • How do you deal with fraud and chargebacks?

    One of the biggest challenges when building a marketplace app is how to deal with fraud and chargebacks. Marketplaces need to deal with the fact that there will be fraudulent sellers who try to defraud the marketplace. These fraudulent sellers will often be selling counterfeit products, but they might also be selling fake versions of products that are sold by legitimate sellers.

    How can you make sure that you don’t end up selling counterfeit products? How can you spot the fake sellers? One way of solving this issue is by using automated fraud detection tools, but human verification is also very useful.
  • How to build a marketplace more secure than competitors?

    One of the best ways to make your marketplace app more secure is by using a payment gateway. Payment gateways offer a way for people to pay for products on your site and a way for you to accept payments. Having a payment gateway means that you can accept payments from a wider range of users. It will also help to make your site more secure.
  • How do you deal with logistics?

    Logistics is a big issue for any marketplace app. Whether you are selling a digital product or a physical product, you will need to deal with the logistics of shipping and delivery. How do you make sure that products get to the right place? How do you deal with returns and replacements? All of these logistical issues need to be considered when building your marketplace app. You can use different methods to handle logistics, but you need to make sure that your methods are efficient and cost-effective.

Estimating the Cost of a Marketplace App 

Building a marketplace app is not an inexpensive undertaking. A marketplace app can take months to build and require a significant upfront investment.

While there are a number of different costs that you need to consider when building a marketplace app, the biggest cost is the cost of the development.

The cost of building a custom marketplace app will vary from developer to developer. In fact, within an organization costs could differ based on the seniority of the developer as well as the complexity of the application. It will also vary depending on which platform you are building your marketplace app.

Costs can also vary depending on the features you are trying to incorporate. If you are building a marketplace app with geolocation capabilities, for example, it will cost more than a marketplace app without such.

Understand how to build a marketplace

The cost of a marketplace app will also vary depending on how complex you want your app to be. Consider features like single sign-on, multiple currencies, chat integration, order tracking, and payment gateways as additional options to be added into the mix.

It is important to keep in mind that the cost of building a marketplace app is not just the cost of the initial build. Once your marketplace app is built, you will have costs associated with marketing and maintenance.

The cost of running a marketplace app can be significant. You will need to budget for the cost of server space, maintenance, and ongoing support.

Conclusion

When building a mobile application, you have a lot of different things to consider. You need to think about the UI/UX, the features, and the capabilities of your app. Ask NIX experts how to build a marketplace considering what platforms your app will run on.

Our global team of developers, project managers, and business analysts can help you find an answer to all of these reflections based on our 27 years of experience.

At CarSoup.com NIX helped create a mobile marketplace that tied together over 20,000 dealerships throughout the US. These dealers were able to upload new vehicles and configure them for sale in a matter of minutes. The CarSoup.com solution required the creation of multiple websites and applications that could be used on every platform. Users were able to search for cars and contact dealers directly from mobile devices.

Another mobile marketplace NIX created was for an organization involved in lifestyle industries. The business already had a robust online presence but needed to enhance its services with a mobile app that could be used by both new and existing customers. NIX was able to build solutions that allowed users to chat and video conference service providers directly, while at the same time integrating payment capabilities.

Our team has extensive experience in mobile application development, and we can help you build the best mobile marketplace app. We will work with you to ensure that your app is built to your exact specifications and designed to meet the needs of your customers.

With NIX, you can build a mobile marketplace app that will help you drive sales and increase profits. Contact us to discuss your mobile marketplace development needs.