Actually e-commerce is a superior force in retail and even in wholesale business. According to statistics, in 2016 multi-vendor giants like Etsy and Feverr had more than 800 thousand stores each, and since then they have surely increased this number. It’s high time to take advantage of this fast-emerging sales model and become your own boss. There’re very few entrepreneurs if any who take the trouble to create their own marketplace application. They all rate high their time and prefer the ready-to-use programs written by professional coders and IT specialists. Multi-vendor solutions are constantly improved and updated – in technologies, design, usability and security – and it takes time and effort to stay current with all these changes. For this reason, most ecommerce startups opt for open or closed source code software according to their financial abilities and technical skills. The first and the most important thing is to find your niche on the market. You should appeal to your special audience (like theatre amateurs for tickets to cultural events, parents for children’s toys, young women for youth jewelry, etc.), not to everyone, because at long run you may appear to addressing no one. Current marketplace IT solutions are so numerous that an outside man can easily get lost. To begin with, write down all features you think essential for you future website. Everything connected to its design, ease of use, navigation, security, speed, administration and management and even price can become the reason to choose or refuse this or that solution.
Read carefully the descriptions of several most popular marketplace solutions in order to get the idea of available features. You can also think over your own online shopping experience: whether there was something you didn’t like, or that didn’t work correctly, or that bothered you… all these things are to be avoided in your proper e-shop. In fact, recently marketplace model has developed so incredibly that you can make avail of the others’ positive and negative experience, in order to avoid running into the same trap. Many multi-vendor ecommerce software builders have active Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp accounts. Users and prospects are invited to ask there any questions about their solutions, offers and characteristics.
Once you’ve finished with the list of must-have features, compare it with the solution descriptions. This will help you to narrow the choice and select, say 10 from 100 most frequently used multi-seller programs. Then you can ask for a free trial period of all the solutions from your list. Usually you’ve got from 2 to 4 weeks to try and make up your mind whether the application suits you or not. Try to use most of its functions and create a marketplace website model – a tiny prototype of your future online mall. Some software providers offer free demo versions with limited functionality, others offer a full-scale program for a limited period of time. Whatever marketplace IT solution builder you choose, feel free to ask any questions about the product before buying the license. It’s reasonable to prefer scalable and comprehensive software with multiple add-ons and online 24/7 support. You’ll certainly have numerous questions and tuning problems, so it’s better to anticipate the quickest way to resolve them.
Create a marketplace website
Don’t neglect security problem. An appropriate SSL certificate will help you to protect your marketplace website and all the transactions, financial and data. Various kinds of certificates for a simple or national domain, or multi-domains are available. Everyone who means business and wants to create a marketplace website shouldn’t forget the page design and presentation in general. The more your site is attractive for prospects the more of them will finally become your customers. Vivid product images, photos, previews, muted but considered design patterns for the home page – all this draws people as much as sales and promos. Be sure that all this graphic stuff loads quickly – 2-3 seconds, not more. Otherwise, your impatient prospects can shut down the page and go to another online mall. In fact, you’ll be the e-market’s owner and manager, and it’s up to you to stipulate the terms and conditions of joining your web store. The sellers will pay you some rental fee monthly or yearly, and you offer them a multifunctional trading platform where they can load their products with images, prices, marketing actions, delivery, and return conditions. As a manager, you should provide them security, speed and reliable payment processing, so that their customers will be satisfied not only with the product, but with the service and shopping process as well.
Start small, that means at first invite just several vendors. You can offer a small rent for 10 first vendors subscribing on your marketplace, so that you’ll be able to learn all the managerial work in process. Such “battle test” will show you all bottle-necks and weak places, so that you’ll be able to fix them up before mass vendor arrival. To give your project a thriving start, think up an attractive offer for customers and vendors. For example, every customer who brings you another lead (his friend, relative or other) receives a single 10% discount for any product. Don’t neglect social networks as the way to inform people about your new marketplace, its promos, sales and other events. If you start locally, try to draw local media to get an article about your e-mall in the newspaper or local magazine.
Direct mailing to potential vendors can also be fruitful. Perhaps some of them already sell in other online marketplaces, but they can also be interested by your offer. Launch promotion is a good idea to start selling. After all, that’s what really matters. The earlier you start selling, the sooner the result will come, and the quicker you’ll adapt your offer to the needs of vendors and final customers. Insist in your efforts, and the fruits won’t be long to appear.
If you want to enhance the functionality of your online venture, browse through our Add-ons and choose an ideal one.