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.