The ecommerce branch has developed hugely in the last several years. But a great number of online marketplaces is a challenge for the business sector. Each entrepreneur has to find his own place in the crowd – this is why you should start with a narrow niche for your startup. In its turn, the specific niche demands unique marketplace features, but before you get there, consider the main characteristics every online marketplace should have.
You’ve probably heard about such two-sided platforms as Rover, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, or UrbanSitter. We’re taking these marketplaces as an example to describe essential and additional features of service marketplaces. With this basic information, you’ll be able to build the core of your product and move further with features distinctive for your marketplace.
Knowledge Comes First: Conduct a Market Research
They say the project can’t get started without a worthy idea. There is no rush in building a marketplace startup – take your time to be sure you chose the right route.
We suggest you take these four steps before the MVP stage:
- Gather information about the marketplace business. It is very profitable and very challenging at the same time. Make sure you can handle the difficulties on the highly competitive market.
- Solve a particular problem. The marketplace idea should help people in a certain way and become a lifeline in their daily routine.
- Prove that your idea is brilliant. Start to detail the main concept of the future product: choose your target audience; figure out how people deal with the problem you’re going to solve; describe why people should choose your product, etc.
- Learn more about marketplace business models and choose one of them. There is a big risk to fail when building a marketplace website if you choose a business model which doesn’t scale.
Now, when you’re aware of all challenges, and you gave a concrete form to the basic idea, you can proceed with MVP product development.
MVP Features: The Essential Part
The overall analysis you do at the beginning will eventually help you with the final list of features. On this stage, we’re going to discuss those characteristics without which your two-sided marketplace platform won’t be a qualitative product.
#1 Personal accounts and profiles
It’s important to remember that buyers and providers of services have different goals visiting two-sided online marketplace.
- The buyer’s account allows users to communicate with providers, get suggestions about providers from the platform, leave testimonials on a certain service, create new tasks, etc. On the MVP stage, the buyer’s account may have a simplified version.
- The provider’s account is created first when the users visits a marketplace – this is a simple registration process. The provider’s profile gives more details about the professional and includes fields for necessary information about the company or individual worker (information about the expertise and provided services, working schedule, location, prices for services, work examples in the portfolio gallery, etc.) and clear record of the orders. The provider’s profile should be represented well in your MVP. Navigating the profile and making changes to it is impossible without logging in first.
#2 Transparent sign-up process
Give users the opportunity to use either email or social networks (Facebook or Google+ are the most popular ones) to faster finish the registration.
#3 The section with service categories
Building a marketplace, it’s important to quickly let users know what services they can buy or sell. You can show the main service categories on the main page. The platform becomes easier to understand, and visitors could use a certain link to turn to the needed service right away.
#4 Advanced search option
Users should have an opportunity to utilize this feature with a row of criteria. They narrow down the search results and show the most preferable candidates to provide the buyer with the needed service.
#5 “Create a Task”
This is an opportunity for the buyer to describe details about the needed service (such as babysitting or home improvement), including its time and place. Then, the platform gives the customer a list of providers meeting the buyer’s demands. The final thing to do would be to pick the best candidate.
#6 Notification system
Notifications from the platform allow users to stay engaged and finish their interactions faster. This is one of the key factors of the marketplace’s convenience as users always have the latest news when visiting your platform.
#7 Visits based on geo-location
When the visitor appears on the marketplace website, his location should be determined automatically. It makes the search faster showing only the providers from nearby.
#8 Admin panel
This is the place where website administrator can add certain changes to the web source. As there are lots of people interacting with the marketplace every day, regular management is a vital issue.
Features that Should Be Added Right After the Essential Part
Depending on the budget you have, these items can be in the list of essential features when you create a marketplace MVP. In any other case, consider adding them as soon as possible.
#1 Payment system
It’s very convenient for both types of users to have one place for interactions and money transactions. You as an owner should be sure that the payment process is perfectly safe when you create an online marketplace.
#2 Messaging system
This is an opportunity for service buyers and providers to discuss working details with each other without leaving the web page.
#3 Feedback system
Testimonials are one of the most trusted source of information. It would be important for users to know more about the provider’s service they can’t actually see.
MVP Features: The Additional Part
These features are not the crucial ones, but they can bring a lot to the workflow of your website. So, building a two-sided marketplace, we would recommend broadening the initial set of features with more functions in the near future. Some of them can be:
- The rating system to show the provider’s success.
- The comparison of service providers.
- Analytics for service providers so they could measure their activities (sales, customer engagement, etc.).
Such extra functionality is an individual thing when you create your own marketplace website. On this stage, unique features specific to your platform are always welcome.
Online Marketplaces Win the Future
Any information on how to start a marketplace website would contain advice about the market research. The overall review will gradually lead you to the list of features representing the main idea of your platform. Now you know which features can wait and which ones are very important even on the MVP stage.
No matter how far you’re ready to go with the set of features, their implementation is impossible without proper technologies and skillful developers. Sliceart has the expertise to help you with any stage of the marketplace development, so feel free to ask your questions at the free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org .