5 Alternative Methods to Build A Marketplace Platform
Ideas are the driving force of every successful business. But not every brilliant idea becomes a business. Sometimes technical difficulties, lack expertise, finding competent collaborators and the concern keeping good ideas confidential gets in the way.
Luckily today technology lets us achieve so many things. It has brought us different forms of sharing economy and marketplace platforms that create added value for users and makes so many products and services available to the end-user for the costs that weren’t possible before. You too may have one of these ideas that can create added value and quality for the end-user and may have faced the same obstacles. So here we are sharing what we know about how to build a marketplace platform according to your business model.
Develop your Marketplace In-house
They say if you want something done, do it yourself. That is true in “building a marketplace” scenario too, but only if you are an experienced developer. At the end of the day, no one can understand your ideas better than you. But when it comes to implementation, that’s another story.
Marketplace platforms are a bit complicated because they consist of multiple layers. There is the business and the business model, the content, user interface, payment systems, vendor interface, integration with 3rd party systems and more. In this regard, creating a marketplace platform will require a huge amount of man-hours and costs more according to the complexity of the business model. If you have the technical knowledge and expertise to handle all of these aspects going for it seems to a viable option. But yet again, you need to make sure you calculate every workforce and outgoings because you might face some hidden costs along the way.
Hire to Develop your Marketplace
You can also hire a developer or assemble a team of developers to do the developing work for you. This spares you from handling the coding aspect of the work and will cost you much less in regards to time. But it will cost money.
There are so many developers out there willing to lend their expertise and there are platforms that you can find these experts. By hiring a developer to build your marketplace, you still can have full control over the end product and even reconfigure it along the way. But hiring a developer or a team of developers to devote their time and expertise to realize your project needs a considerable budget. Also in the software business, there is no guarantee that the first product will become a success. There is always the possibility of having bugs, revisions, errors and other issues, so the budget must be sustainable even if it takes more time than predicted.
Take Advantage of an Existing Marketplace Software
You can also take advantage of an existing marketplace platform or an e-commerce software. There are also 2 ways to accomplish this.
If you have software knowledge you can pick a marketplace software that seems to fit the best to your business model and modify it. There are e-commerce platforms that let their source codes to be modified according to requirements. And some of these software can be downloaded for a one-time fee.
This kind of software will probably provide the basic requirements needed for an e-commerce platform or a marketplace software. Although it will not be tailored to the requirements of your specific business model you can still modify design elements and other features according to your needs. But it will still take time and require software developing skills.
If you don’t have the software development expertise, you can still acquire the software and hire a professional to handle the developing aspect of the process for you. In this case, you will still have to pay for the software and the expert.
Modifying software is (sometimes) easier than building it up from the ground but there is the issue of compatibility. When you modify a software over a code that has already been written, at some cases building something from scratch might be easier than developing something to fit your requirements.
These methods will be more affordable and less time consuming compared to developing the software yourself but they will still need a decent budget and a comprehensive workforce organization.
Take Advantage of a SaaS (Software as a Service)
There are a lot of marketplace platforms, e-commerce software or marketplace building platforms as products in the market, usually providing the most common and main features needed. In terms of money and time, this is the least costly method. SaaS software are also field-tested so the possibility of bugs and errors is also diminished.
This method provides you, as an investor or entrepreneur, the means to get your business idea going as quick as possible but this is also one of the least configurable methods since most of the SaaS companies work in a serial production mentality. This means that the marketplace software you get will probably not be tailored to your specific business model or idea.
If you are inexperienced both in software and business aspects, this may be a good choice. In the beginning, you can start with a SaaS and determine your business requirements as you go. And then switch to a more tailored model.
While this method may seem to be the quickest and one of the most effective solutions it may not suit well to experienced business people or to entrepreneurs who have carefully devised their business plan up to the mark.
Why not Combining them All?
There is also a method that combines all of the above where you can have an e-commerce or marketplace platform specifically tailored to the requirements of your business model , have a team of expert developers dedicated to your project, all the software aspects of your business handled by professional developers and even secure post-launch support. You can even configure your marketplace platform as your business evolves.
This method sounds like the dream for an entrepreneur but it comes with a cost. The differences between this method and the methods above can be compared to buying a ready-made suit and ordering a suit made by a professional tailor. A tailor carefully measures the body of a client and even tries to find out the details like where the suit will be worn or on what occasion.
These companies work pretty much the same way. They try to understand your business idea and business model and provide you with the software solutions that fit your requirements as best as possible. And price it accordingly.
How to Pick the Best Option to Build your Marketplace
The best option depends on your budget, time, software developing skills and how specific your business model is. But the dominant factor here is the business model. An investor can be found if the budget is insufficient, the required time can be decreased with more manpower which translates into a higher cost, but it is possible. But the business idea is fundamental. So you should pick your choice according to the requirements of your business model.