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Where do you start if you want to create your own online marketplace?

Dec 18, 2020

Deciding to create your own online marketplace is one thing. But knowing where to start is another.

If you want your online marketplace to serve your business well then there are a number of things you have to ask yourself.

1. What is the business case for creating a marketplace?

What will a marketplace do for your business? What is the benefit for your brand? Is there enough customer demand for a marketplace in your niche? How does a marketplace fit in with the roadmap for your business?

As part of this, you should also consider the risks involved in starting your own online marketplace. This includes ensuring that you don’t lose your brand identity or integrity in the process. Your online marketplace should still recognisably be part of your business.

A classic SWOT analysis could be a good way for you to work out the benefits and challenges an online marketplace might have for your business. This is also a good time to identify what competitor marketplaces (if any) are out there in your niche.

2. What is your niche and unique approach?

You should also take the opportunity to think about the type of marketplace you want to operate. This doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else. If you really think about how your business and customers work, you can disrupt the traditional marketplace business model and take a different approach. For example, an online marketplace could complement a network of small shops or could be used to resell used goods.

Another consideration is whether you want your marketplace to operate on a local or global basis? Also, are there any other brand values that it fulfills? For example, if sustainability is one of the pillars of your business a marketplace that focuses on surplus or used items could fit in nicely.

Which retail verticals can start an online marketplace?

Almost any vertical can start and sustain a marketplace. The purpose with a marketplace is not to have everything the customer want, but instead it's a great opportunity to position yourself as an expert within a certain field.

3. Skills and technology for an attractive marketplace

The next thing you should ask yourself is what an online marketplace requires in terms of technology – and how well your current infrastructure meet these requirements? They typically range from the ability to actually create the marketplace, to test it and to keep it up-to-date so that the customer always has a good experience.

It’s also important to bear in mind that you can’t necessarily expect your marketplace to be perfect from the very start. It is better to create a minimum viable product and launch so you can start learning from your customers’ feedback, than to spend months or years perfecting it before you go live. Chances are that there will always be improvements to make once the marketplace is launched, so it’s better to start with something that does the basics really well and add the bells and whistles later.

If you don’t have the necessary skills in-house, that doesn’t mean that an online marketplace is out of your reach. From the technology to the ongoing operation, there are partners who can help with every area of creating and managing an online marketplace. This includes ongoing strategic support to ensure that your marketplace always keeps in line with your overall business aims. Your marketplace should serve the rest of your business, not be isolated from it.

So, have you got what it takes to create a successful online marketplace? By asking the right questions early on and identifying the areas where you might need support and by reaching out to a trusted partner that will support your journey from the start, you’ll be in the best position possible to do so.

How can we help you?

If you don't have a vision or a strategy in place, we can quickly help you gain the knowledge you need and the structure required to be able to use marketplaces to optimize your business, short term and long term.

The partnership between Avensia and Mirakl means that we also can offer implementation of Mirakl’s marketplace technology to our customers. The Mirakl Marketplace Platform is a cloud solution that allows companies to create their own online marketplace and become the center of an entire ecosystem within their industry.