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Create a marketplace: our 10 best tips

Marketplace de services

A marketplace or online market place is a platform that aims to put a seller and a buyer in contact. The operator provides a marketplace as an intermediary that makes visible the products and services of a seller.

Like Etsy, Vinted, Amazon or Blablacar, the marketplace is a tool that meets real consumer needs. Here are the top 10 tips you need to know to get started and create a successful marketplace.


Define the project: why create a marketplace?

The marketplace allows to create a link between :

  • sellers who do not necessarily have the means to have a physical or online business, or who wish to develop their business ;
  • and buyers who consume remotely.

The advantage for the seller is to benefit from a complete service in terms of online positioning as well as a facilitated payment system. The buyer on his side has a large choice answering his research and in a single place.

For the operator, it is a good way to generate turnover without too many expenses: no stock in particular. This is why creating a marketplace can be profitable.

Have a market specialization

Specializing is essential to differentiate yourself from the players already well established on the platform, or to be innovative. Let your imagination run wild to bring your project to fruition!

Targeting the market

Creating a marketplace can be done on a generalist market like Amazon or VeePee for example. It can also be done on a niche market: AirBnb, BlaBlaCar, etc. This strategy is not recommended for the start of your projects, unless you have significant financial investments to assert yourself on the market.

Next, you need to define the offer. Will it be to develop an online marketplace of products? Or to create a marketplace of services?

Conducting a market study

The market study covers several elements: the business model, the business plan, the analysis of the competition, the proposed solutions and the clientele to target. This step is essential before launching the creation of a marketplace.

Define a business model

Choosing your business model is what defines the business plan. Indeed, the business plan corresponds to the concrete figures of the defined business model.

The possibilities of business model to create a marketplace:

  • Commissions on sales: the most widespread model, it is a question of taking a commission from the seller on each sale made. It can be fixed or proportional.
  • Registration fees: a fixed amount due by the seller to access the platform. They can also be charged to the buyers but it is a rarer practice. This can slow them down in their intention to buy.
  • Subscription: it depends on the features and services made available to the seller. It has the disadvantage of not pushing performance unlike commissions. But it has the advantage of knowing the income in advance.
  • Listing fees: these are one-time fees taken from the seller when the products or services he sells are put on sale.
  • The sale of complementary services: advertising, logistics, insurance, financing… So many services provided directly by the platform, or by partners.

Drawing up a business plan

From the business model, it is now time to establish the business plan. It contains two parts:

  • the launch costs and how to finance them
  • the resources and expenses to come during the life of the site.

It is therefore necessary to draw up a balance sheet and a projected income statement by determining the prices.

Analyze the competition

The market study includes a precise and detailed analysis of the competition.

  • Which players are already present?
  • How many are there?
  • What do they offer?
  • What is their pricing policy?
  • Etc.

Targeting the customers to reach

Depending on whether it is a B2B or B2C customer, creating a marketplace is not the same. The tone, the language, the design, all these elements adapt to the targeted customer segment.

However, what is common is to define a marketing strategy by defining a persona. The persona is a fictitious customer who is designed to be the one who takes action. Age range, gender, social class, purchasing behavior, etc. We draw up a real robot portrait of the perfect customer. This will allow us to target both the salespeople who will succeed in their sales and the potential buyers.

Budget the project to create a marketplace

You don’t just jump into the creation of a marketplace. The business plan is the precise budgeting of all the stages of the project. The financial aspect is the nerve of the war. That’s why it’s important to establish a coherent and feasible economic model.

Fixed and variable costs, establishing a budget is fundamental to create a marketplace. The creation of the site, its development, its operational follow-up, the advertisements, the communication, the employees, the premises, etc. It is necessary to think about all the costs and to establish a realistic and sufficient income base to face them.

The solution: which tool to create a marketplace?

The tool will allow to answer how to create a marketplace in a functional way. And for that, everything will depend on the computer skills of the operator.

The open-source solution

The open-source solution requires increased computer skills, especially in coding and development. It requires time to update and perfect the platform on a regular basis.

SaaS software

No need for technical skills with SaaS software since it is a turnkey software solution. It is a platform specifically dedicated to the online market with the necessary functionalities and automatic updates managed by the editor.

Criteria to consider

Whether it is an open source solution or a SaaS software, you have to think about some elements to make your choice:

  • a simple and intuitive interface for the operator and the sellers (registration, putting online, management, etc.)
  • an easy payment management
  • a wide choice of shipping methods
  • clear and easy to fill in product pages
  • a payment system with different solutions and security
  • a scalable platform
  • a flawless maintenance and a reinforced security.

Choose the platform and payment systems

The payment platform (PSP) is essential to create a marketplace. It is the point that will reassure or not the buyers. They pay directly to the operator via a secure payment system. The payment platform must be powerful enough to integrate the redistribution of the sale price to the seller, deducted from the commission.

There are several payment solutions such as PayPal for Marketplaces, LemonWay, MangoPay, Stripe, Ayden Marketpay or PaySurf. It is then up to the operator to define his needs and priorities:

  • Is there the possibility of establishing itself internationally?
  • What fees does the PSP charge?
  • Is it compatible with the marketplace created?
  • Which payment methods are included?

Optimize referencing

To be sure to offer the buyer an adequate answer to his search, it is essential to think about the referencing of the products or services sold. The buyer must find what he is looking for in a few clicks and with complete satisfaction.

For this, here are the elements to take into account to create a marketplace:

  • Provide a clear, ergonomic and complete menu (categories and possible sub-categories).
  • To propose an effective search bar with a possible automatic filling (to perfect the user experience).
  • Optimize the answers thanks to keywords or key queries.
  • Propose to refine or filter the search.

Salespeople, the key to success

Why create a marketplace if it is not to choose the right sellers who will meet identified purchasing needs? Because not everything depends on the design of the site, the payment solutions offered or the commissions taken. If the sellers do not give satisfaction, the marketplace will be little used and the conversion rate will be low.

Know how to recruit the right sellers

A good seller is a serious and reliable seller who proposes a quality offer and wide enough to satisfy the greatest number of people. He supplies himself the products or services sold on a regular basis while respecting the platform’s charter.

How to create an efficient marketplace that proposes an adapted offer? By recruiting sellers who want to register. The solution offered to them must be complete:

  • fees and commissions that are not too high
  • an optimized referencing
  • an assured communication
  • shortened payment terms
  • etc.

To recruit a good salesman, it may be appropriate to check his reviews and his visibility especially on social networks. This is a good indicator of success.

Valuing the sellers

On a marketplace, the seller does not have the possibility to put forward his graphic charter. He can even be little visible because it is the product or the service sold that is highlighted. However, it is essential to value the seller so that he wants to sell regularly. Let’s not forget that the seller is the one who generates sales on the marketplace. No sellers, no buyers, no commissions and therefore no revenue!

Think about the selling and buying experience

The selling experience and the buying experience allow for a better understanding of what each party wants. By thinking in their shoes, it’s easier to provide a solution that is guaranteed to move them to action. The operator can then propose to the seller an offer that perfectly meets his wishes: product description, photos, technical specifications, enough space to highlight his product or service, etc.

Optimize communication

To make your marketplace known, you need to set up a communication strategy. Marketing operations, presence on social networks, advertising, are elements that allow you to get known to your target. Creating your marketplace means having a well-thought-out and constantly updated marketing strategy.

Define a launch plan

The launch plan defines the way the marketplace will be known at its launch:

  • communication channels
  • calendar of marketing operations
  • messages to be conveyed
  • creation of events
  • teasing launch
  • press releases
  • creation of a blog
  • presence on trade shows
  • etc.

Be present on social networks

Nowadays, it is impossible not to think about a social media strategy. The presence on social networks is effective and allows to reach a large and defined target. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.. These are communication channels that allow instantaneous and proven effectiveness.

SEO/SEA to promote your marketplace?

To be sure to generate traffic on the marketplace, being well positioned in search engines is essential. There are two ways to do this:

  • SEO: it is the natural referencing thanks to an optimized content (keywords, semantic field, etc.), to a technicality (tagging, coding), and to a notoriety (backlinks). It takes time because it is necessary to provide regular content to search engines but it is very effective.
  • SEA : it is the principle of advertising to be quickly well positioned. It is an expensive technique that can prove itself in a short time.

SEO and SEA are complementary and are the key to a perfect positioning in search engines to create a recognized marketplace.

Succeed in your reputation

To ensure your reputation, it is important to highlight customer reviews. Negative reviews? That’s okay. You can’t please everyone. However, it is essential to respond to them and take note of them in order to constantly improve the user experience.

Recruit and train your team

Finally, to create a successful marketplace that will last for a long time, it is fundamental to surround yourself with serious, responsible and involved employees. Defining key positions and recruiting the right people for them can help the marketplace to establish itself on its market.

Before recruiting, defining the job descriptions and tasks to be performed is a source of success for the employee. He knows exactly what he has to do. Then you have to choose the right person to do the job right.

You are now armed with the best advice for creating a successful marketplace! Now all you have to do is get started.



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Expert advice, trends and news… immerse yourself in the world of marketplaces and platforms with Cocolabs!


Expert advice, trends and news… immerse yourself in the world of marketplaces and platforms with Cocolabs!