Well-thought and unique eCommerce business is a bottomless source of profit. No proves are needed until giants like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and similar exist. Just take a look at one of the most impressive examples: in 2018, Amazon’s net profit exceeded $10 billion, which is twice as much as in 2017. Customers enjoy online shopping; their demands create enormous opportunities for eCommerce company’s growth.
An online marketplace is the most beneficial representative of the eCommerce industry. Without producing physical goods, every entrepreneur now can succeed in selling other manufacturers’ products online. Today, we’ll open the curtain to the wealthy industry and help you to make the first step towards desired achievements.
Is it difficult? Is it expensive? And how to create an online marketplace like Etsy: an extensive guide will answer your questions.
Technical background together with enough time and resources are your keys to building a powerful marketplace on your own. Let’s see how the process looks like.
Firstly, we would like to draw your attention to 3 great biggest steps you need to take to launch your own eCommerce solution.
1. Think of your domain name and get hosting.
Have you already thought about your brand’s name? Have you developed any vision of a product development strategy? What slogan do you see there?
To answer all these questions, an active brainstorming is required. And keep in mind that the best option is to develop at least 5 domain names connected to your brand’s name to find an unoccupied domain.
If you need some assistance with it, websites like Namestation will be helpful. Here, you can generate domain name ideas and pick the one that reflects your business specifics best.
When you are up with a domain, it is time to decide where you would like to host your website. The most popular options are:
Each plan offers a different package of services and has its own price. Decide on what actually you need to have a more detailed vision on how much it will cost you.
Typically, on this stage, your expenses won’t be high but repeatable. For example, InMotion hosting costs from $3,99 to $13,99 per month so you need to pay for each month you want your website to run on this hosting.
2. Develop a software solution.
This is the most time-consuming and expensive stage you need to pass on your way to eCommerce leaders top list. First of all, think about the tools you are able to employ to build an app.
Discuss the suitable tools with your development team.
Even if you are a tech-savvy person, and you have a proficiency in some programming language, you still need an IT professional to provide you with a piece of advice concerning tools and technologies to use. The market is full of offers and opportunities but you need to pick one that will help you to succeed for sure.
WordPress themes vs custom solution.
One of the simplest ways to construct a product like Etsy is to use WordPress Etsy themes. However, if you strive to highlight your exceptionalism, develop a unique design and cater to customers’ needs in a better way, a simple theme won’t be enough for you. The problem of WordPress themes is that they fail to provide enough customization features. In this case, you may need to develop your own idea from scratch, with none ready-made solutions employed. It may take more time and money but provide your website with uniqueness, better scalability, more attractive design etc.
Keep in mind that some of the development tools like WordPress themes and Magento framework aren’t free.
What about other factors that have an impact on your budget? Building a software product, the massive part of your budget is the developers’ salary. To calculate precisely how much you need to spend on that, analyze the following factors:
Junior engineers cannot deliver a high-quality product. Even if you truly believe they can, your team needs to include at least one experienced team leader to guide the rest of the engineers through software development specifics.
In average, the hourly rate for software engineering services reaches $47 per hour. But keep in mind that this sum depends on the level of experience and field of occupation.
To build a viable eCommerce product, you need to build cooperation with a team that includes:
- Designers to draw mockups of your future product;
- Back-end engineers to build an app’s server-side;
- Front-end specialists to create beautiful interface;
- QA/ QC professionals to make sure that developed interface and functionality meets the requirements;
- Project manager to control the entire process;
- Business analyst to collect significant metrics and make sure you are on the right way.
At least 6 team members should participate in your product development. The more powerful, scalable and exceptional eCommerce app you need, the bigger your team should be.
To build an app, you need from several weeks to several months. After the production stage, the maintenance period begins. So you need to keep in mind not only costs for software development but costs for product maintenance as well.
3. Set up marketing and sales campaign.
To make your marketplace profitable, you need to spread information about it and bring sellers and potential consumers together on your website. To deal with this task, use the following tips:
- Hire a competent marketing specialist to take care of SEO, SMM, company’s blog etc for attracting customers and sellers;
- Develop your own users’ database and share newsletters about functionality updates and marketplace improvements;
- Create a unique offer for your first users: a “chicken and egg” problem is crucial for any startup, and the sooner you’ll attract first merchants and buyers, the sooner their number will multiply.
Outsourcing as a way to save time and money.
Let’s make things clear. Building an eCommerce solution isn’t a doddle. Powerful online marketplace development requires time, efforts and money. The price depends on your own requirements, approach and your development team financial expectations. Although it is hard to answer the question about costs precisely, in this article we have described the most critical stages of marketplace development you need to invest money in. Is there any chance to get rid of all the hassles, save money and get a software product without actually participating in the development process?
Yes, there is. This option is called software development outsourcing and nowadays, it is one of the most common and most profitable options business owners worldwide use for their development tasks. And there are obvious reasons for that. Outsourcing means that you delegate engineering processes to the external company overseas. In turn, your development partner delivers a high-quality software app for a lower price in comparison to in-house development.