Additional Digital Marketplace Considerations

We’ve covered the main digital marketplace considerations of your platform as they relate to each part of the user flows. There are some pieces of your platform that will be more global or behind the scenes. These features can be important for operations and growth. 

When and how should I send notifications to users? 

Notifications can be critical to a marketplace, since in a multi-step process that happens over time, you need to keep someone informed and confident, and let them know when to come back to the tool to check for updates. There are three main types of messages:

Transactional alerts

Certain messages may need to be sent for specific actions that have happened on the platform. This could be a welcome email, verification notifications, status updates, receipts, and more. These are important to preserve trust and give users what they need to feel confident. These can be email notifications, but certain ones requiring action such as coordination or new offers can benefit from being SMS or native push notifications for faster responses. Tools like Sendgrid for emails and Twilio for SMS or calls work great for these types of alerts.

Email campaigns

Email marketing campaigns can be sent when you are trying to get a user to do something or engage with the platform. These can range from company updates, to promotions or deals, or to relevant offerings that match a user’s preferences. Mailchimp is a commonly used service for these types of notifications.

Marketing Automation

In addition to general email campaigns, you can also have more personalized or behavior-based campaigns using marketing automation tools. This allows you to send targeted messages after events such as sending a nudge if a user does not complete onboarding, or sending a special re-engagement email to users who haven’t been on the platform in a while. ActiveCampaign is a great tool to set up these types of campaigns.

What data and analytics should I capture? 

Data is always important for a growing product, and especially so for marketplaces where you can use data to tailor messaging and offers to improve the likelihood of more transactions. You should aim to capture data on both user activity (signups, visits, demographics) and transaction info (conversion rates along the funnel, trends in types of deals). There are a few options for tackling this.

In-app tracking

There are certain data points that are natural to track directly in the site’s database such as user demographics and logins. It’s great because you can view these metrics straight in the app, however you will need to build a chart or visualization page. This is commonly done in some sort of admin portal.

Basic analytics

A tool like Google Analytics can measure basic things like number of visitors, time on page, acquisition source, and more. This is easy to set up and integrate with your site and is free.

Viewing user sessions

A tool like FullStory will record user sessions, which can help you see what users are actually doing and what steps they are struggling with. This also will flag certain hotspots where users are running into errors and clicking repeatedly.

Event based analytics

A tool like Amplitude can track event-based analytics. This will record specific actions that specific users are taking in order to understand very granularly how your product is performing and segment your users. With a tool like this it can be very tempting to set up and measure lots of different events but our recommendation would be to focus on a few critical ones and then add more as needed - otherwise you may end up with an overwhelming amount of non-actionable data.

Metrics aggregation

A tool like Segment allows you to only build a single integration and then be able to easily pass data to lots of other services (including the above), without further development effort. This tool comes with its own cost but can be very helpful with keeping your application logic clean and avoiding dozens of custom integrations.

Complex data queries

If you have a lot of data and need to do more complicated queries and analysis, you could consider using a data warehouse like Google Big Query. Data is sent from your app to the data warehouse, so that complex queries can be quickly run on it. This is usually only necessary at later stages or in enterprise contexts.

What controls should admins have? 

As the app administrator, you play the role of the invisible hand in your marketplace. That hand can be active or passive. You want to consider the places where you’ll want the ability to observe, guide/approve, or play an active role in transactions. These controls are usually done from an admin portal like this one. Some options include:

View and edit data

Often you’ll want basic CRUD (create, read, update, delete) controls for each data element. That way you can easily look into an issue a user flags, or edit someone’s profile to make it better or fix mistakes. You’ll want to add minimal search/sort functionality to avoid unneeded logic and interface and link to the different sections in your app and edit there.

“Run as” different users

If a user is sharing an issue that’s hard to pin down, it is often helpful to log in as that specific user so you can see what they see.

Approving users or products

Often the admin plays the role of the gatekeeper for seller signups and/or transactions. If you’ve set up approval processes, you’ll want a view that shows all pending items with the ability to view the relevant info and click a verdict.

General app settings & marketing content

There are certain parts of your site such as your name, logo, and different branding elements that you may change from time to time. It can be helpful to set these up in a dynamic way from the start so it is not a huge headache for you to update them without a developer.

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