The first step for any marketplace transaction is that sellers need to make whatever they’re selling available to buyers. This may be products, services, assets to rent or share, or themselves. Sellers will need a place on the platform where they can manage their profile and availability of their offerings. This is often done through a seller dashboard that includes the ability to edit their information, add products or services, and see their transaction history. There are many things to consider in this section, which we outline below.
In most marketplaces, sellers will have some sort of public profile that buyers can use to build trust. Sometimes this is the focus of the entire seller offering, like in the case of freelancer profiles on a gig marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr. Other times it is secondary to the items they are offering, like in the cases where the physical product or asset on the marketplace is the main focus. Once again, you should err on the side of only collecting or requiring information that you think is necessary for the buyer to feel comfortable in the transaction. This generally means collect basic info such as name, email, phone number, zip code, and maybe a profile image and bio. There are different ways to collect this information and get a user set up.
Whether offering products or services, an important distinction is how complex or layered the seller’s items are. This determines the complexity of the database structure and the user experience in both managing items and choosing them as a buyer, so it is important to recognize the potential cost and timing implications if you are doing a custom build. Below are three typical options for offering complexity.
Managing the inventory numbers for items on your marketplace is another factor to consider when building the product. It’s important to ensure the quantities of items are accurately displayed to the buyers and easy to manage for the sellers. There are a few different options here.
Service and rental marketplaces often require timing coordination as part of the transaction, such as scheduling an appointment or booking a stay. Usually the first part of this process is for the seller to indicate when the item is available, so prospective buyers know and can filter for their preferences. There are a few options for how to handle this.
It’s common for sellers to manage their offerings themselves, but in some cases it makes sense for the marketplace to have more control. This can be useful early on as you are building and learning from your users. It’s a balance of security versus speed and ease of use, and should only be used if it’s essential for maintaining trust and quality.
Pricing is an important factor for your marketplace, and will be critical in determining the success of your marketplace. If items are priced too high, buyers will not want them. However, if prices are too low, sellers will not be motivated. Determining how to price items or how to encourage pricing ranges by sellers can be done in different ways.