New online marketplaces are popping up every day, and many niches have been filled out already. To enter the market now, having just a great idea isn't enough.
There should be a complete understanding of why the intended audience would need a shopping mall:
- it is a new and useful service or concept that haven't existed before;
- it solves customers' existing problem;
- it enables a high frequency of transactions, and thus, high virtual marketplace liquidity.
Airbnb, for example, solved the real issue of its customers: travelers couldn't find a place to stay.
If they didn't want to use hotels, there were almost no other variants. It was hard to find listings, and those that were available had no apartment photos. No tools to ensure that it's secure to stay with a particular host—or invite a particular guest—existed.
By providing apartment photos of great quality, host and guest reviews, and identity verification, the online mall was able to solve all the problems that its audience had.
As the chart
shows, even though the online marketplace mall was founded earlier, the exact moment when its photographers provided good quality pictures for listings was the tipping point for the shopping mall growth. The chart of Airbnb traction gaining process (amount of users / years):