The eCommerce business industry is currently at its peak. New online stores are emerging every single day. They rely on a B2C (business-to-consumer) model, meaning that there are no alternatives to the user’s role – he is a consumer, the buyer of the products. Without a doubt, this imposes certain restrictions, limiting the opportunities and the potential of a platform. Let’s find out how to create a peer-to-peer marketplace – the platform that manages to dodge the limitation bullet.
What Is a P2P Marketplace?
As is evident from the name, a two-sided platform implies a dual role for the website’s customers. Marketplace users are the only buyer-seller relationship subjects. The website is just an infrastructure for their convenient and efficient interactions. Similar to a real market, the peer-to-peer platform is only a location for people to exchange their value.
Peer-to-peer platform is similar to a real market. Image source: Unsplash
What Does It Mean for Customers?
A P2P website user has access to a broad range of advantages over online store use:
- Variety of products. No matter how giant and well-managed modern online shops are, the peer-to-peer marketplace offers a much more versatile product value for consumers.
- Freedom from external price regulation. It is the competition that sets the prices, so P2P platforms create a favorable environment for consumers. Competing vendors strive to offer the best purchase conditions to win over the buyer.
- Impartial public opinions and reviews. As the platform stays unbiased in terms of seller competition, consumer feedback is significantly more trustworthy than in standard online stores. Since nobody wants their company to gain a bad reputation, classic online shops filter and “optimize” feedback in order to attract customers. Fortunately, P2P marketplaces are unaffected by this, as they are interested in the protection of the honesty and sincerity of feedback.
What Does It Mean for Sellers?
Vendors gain an enormous loyal consumer community. P2P platforms are all about manufacturer-buyer relationships, which means customers are more likely to leave an honest and exhaustive review of your product or service. It’s an essential part of creating a trustful consumer network.
P2P platform customers are more likely to leave honest and exhaustive reviews. Image source: Pexels
What Does It Mean for You?
You gain a strong reputation and credibility for your website as an impartial service supplier with all the aforementioned advantages. Isn’t trust the most vital part of eCommerce these days?
We can see first-hand proof that the P2P marketplace model is valid by taking a look at Amazon and eBay. You have the possibility of becoming a full participant in trading relationships without producing actual products for the consumers. If you focus on providing the best eCommerce infrastructure interaction, the business model will do the rest.
Now that we have discussed the fundamental aspects of P2P marketplace websites that distinguish them from other eCommerce models, it’s time to define the crucial strategy points, and then shift to considering the development phase.
Build Your Peer-to-Peer Marketplace Strategy
When you build a peer-to-peer marketplace website, your primary aim is to provide an interaction-first product. Let’s find out how to translate this into a holistic eCommerce solution.
Make Users Return to Your Platform by Enhancing Their Experience
Most P2P product turnover comes from regular customers. Your objective is to convert occasional visitors into loyal users. The idea of P2P relationships has already spread across the web, and there are plenty of other marketplaces out there offering similar services. How is your platform going to stand out?
The answer is: by offering the best user experience. All frequently performed actions need to take as little time and effort as possible. From creating a seller account and managing listings to buying services or products – all the common steps your customers will take have to be easy and convenient.
Depending on your exact scope, some unique features can also attract users’ attention and keep them on your platform for a long time. A handy listing management software for vendors or a comfortable shopping cart system for consumers will make users genuinely appreciate your services. Imagine yourself as the website’s user and discover aspects of your platform that need to be simplified immediately. People on the web value their time and will appreciate you taking care of it.
Offer your customers an outstanding User Experience. Image source: Unsplash
Keep It Scaling
Peer-to-peer websites need to be kept up to date, just like the majority of modern technologies. Identify the most problematic and vulnerable aspects of your marketplace and focus your efforts on them. Lack of suppliers? Make sure you optimize the selling features and create lucrative conditions for vendors. Not enough consumers? Review your UI/UX components, check the prices and product quality your sellers offer. Maybe your platform is in desperate need of a full redesign or even some sales policy changes. Sometimes vendors don’t satisfy your platform’s consumers. If so, then it’s time to make some changes if you wish to get your buyer traffic back to the marketplace.
Make data-driven decisions. Image source: Pexels
Come Up with an Appropriate Monetization Model
This is the trickiest issue for any peer-to-peer platform, especially in its early stages. We assume you expect to receive a revenue from your project. At the same time, it should not drastically affect the overall website experience.
Your marketplace infrastructure is merely the tool for buyer-seller connection, so both buyers and sellers may attempt to escape your fees. You can avoid this by limiting the access to the exchange of contact information between them.
If you host a marketplace with real products, consider charging the seller per listing or item sold. If it’s a service-hosting platform, charge a percentage of the service costs.
Don’t forget: if you show that you care about your users, they won’t mind paying your fee. Motivate them to stick to your transfer system. Look at Upwork! This peer-to-peer service platform has a full range of software tools for tracking and managing the jobs (it’s a service marketplace). More importantly, the company ensures its user safety with a dispute resolution center, where all tricky payment situations are sorted out in a timely manner.
To develop a monetization strategy for a P2P marketplace is not an easy task. Every peace matters. Image source: Unsplash
As an alternative to the method described above, you can make your fees indirect and less impactful on the majority of customers. For instance, you can offer paid promotional tools for sellers to boost their listing performance or to get access to classified data such as query statistics or consumer behavior analysis. In this way, you create a freemium eCommerce solution. Website users receive free marketplace services with an opportunity to enhance their experience for a fee. However, this monetization model works only for large peer-to-peer platforms that already have an extensive community.
Plan the Peer-to-Peer Marketplace Development Wisely
After you have chosen your project strategy, it’s time for the development stage. Here are three essential aspects of this phase to keep in mind:
- Time to develop
- Expected scale dynamics
Based on these variables you can choose between development from scratch and selecting a marketplace provider with its integrated ready-made solutions.
How to Create a Peer-to-Peer Marketplace from Scratch
This is a long and thorny path. You have to hire some experienced developers and spend a considerable amount of time and money on the project. Without a doubt, it pays you back with the opportunity to build a unique interface and create outstanding design ideas. Nothing allows you to implement an unlimited range of features and a fully customizable platform to match your preferences like development from the ground up.
A good practice in the modern IT world is to launch a minimum viable product to validate your idea. Any web or mobile application could fail to engage people and satisfy their demands. If you spend your whole budget before finding out that your plan is barely feasible, you’re most certainly ruined. However, an MVP solves this issue, as you will know the community’s reaction long before investing all your resources into your app. If you feel like inventing a new AirBnB, we strongly recommend testing it out before you dive in head first.
Building a P2P marketplace from scratch is a long journey. Develop an MVP to start with a short one. Image source: Unsplash
Why Choose Open-Source Solution Providers?
As an alternative to development from scratch, you can save your time and money by renting a ready-made marketplace. Basically, it’s a platform template or a rapidly developed software that allows you to customize some design aspects and add a few required features.
But there are always two sides to a coin. Ready-made solutions can’t provide you with a thoroughly unique interface and functionality. Purchasing an open-source software license is the best option for small or medium eCommerce businesses that are looking for an easy and inexpensive P2P website. At the same time, ambitious ideas aiming for global scales won’t be satisfied with these simple solutions.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, P2P marketplace development is a complex task. It needs an integrated approach and takes a lot of effort, time and money. Whether you’re a small, medium or a large business, don’t rush into this decision. Take your time, research your market scope, evaluate your demands and resources. You’ve got to make a responsible choice, as there is no coming back.
We believe that instead of searching for numerous opinions on how to build a P2P marketplace, it’s much better to consult with experienced developers and marketers who will help you find the most appropriate way to develop your very own peer-to-peer platform.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us today and receive valuable insights into the implementation of your idea.
Get one step closer to your own peer-to-peer platform. Image source: Pexels