Online marketplaces: 7 tips to grow your marketplace website

Online marketplaces: 7 tips to grow your marketplace website

Marketplaces need to cater both buyers and sellers; both users have their own merits putting a challenge to scale.

Here are 7 curated tips for marketplaces to be ahead of the pack, grow faster, and keep both customers happy.

1. Take the bull by the horns and Build Trust

The goal of online marketplaces is to enable business between two parties (buyers and sellers) and it can only happen after both parties build trust for each other.

What could be a better way to immediately build trust for 1st-time users of your marketplace? A widely accepted payment services provider (PSP), preferably PayPal or Stripe.

It appeals users and both offers stable split payment solutions; a major differentiator between e-commerce stores and e-commerce marketplaces

2. Play safe and Hedge Risks

It is important to hedge risks for sellers; Do not forget ESCROW.

A next step for growing your marketplace into a credible app is to ensure that the sellers get paid after they deliver.

Resort to escrow and hedge payment risks. Marketplaces can choose one of the two common solutions.

  • develop your own escrow [Quick Tip: Bear in mind, the inherit costs such as legal, accounting, and technical]
  • Integrating a third party service, in-depth details about escrow in marketplaces visit

3. Communication is the key

Make it interactive for buyers to seek more information from suppliers and know each other better.

Provide background information such as similar products, other products, and past projects completed or posted.

It helps them to know about each other and find the best fit. The key here is providing other party's context.

Technical Tip: Design a Workflow User Interface (UI) Encourage buyer's to communicate with Sellers!


See a couple of examples here…

Vivid UI, encouraging users to make a contact and communicate

Image Courtesy: User Profile


[ is an engineering marketplace designed, developed, and maintained by for engineering consulting firm to hire engineers online]

Read Case Study for more details

Design plays a key role for users. A vivid UI “Contact” and “Make an Offer” buttons are encouraging the buyer to contact the service provider when needed.

It leads to a fulfilling UX

4. Intuitive Workspace

Nothing helps more than giving a user-friendly workspace, especially for suppliers. The buyers appreciate the vivid information and simple process to place an order.

Flawless and Sleek Workflow: Spend on the User Interface (UI) to provide a smooth User Experience (UX) in minimum number of steps possible.

It will help them enjoy their time spent on your web.

Brainstorm and simplify the user's journey for different activities they will perform during the processes of buying or selling.

The important point here is to consider user's context and target seller’s expertise for designing a logical workflow.

Follow a step by step logical map to complete profile, adding products and services and communication flow.

5. Invest on Mobile App for the marketplace

Offer mobile apps for users to stay in touch with their account activity on the go. Build your mobile apps using native or hybrid technologies.

It depends on your budget, no of active marketplace users, and future plans.

The choices are:

a. Hybrid Apps [A budget option for marketplaces with small to a moderate user base. Technologies to use: Appcelerator, Ionic framework, PhoneGap, or Apache Cordova]

b. develop native iOS and Android apps [30% - 40% more costly, yet nothing beats a native app in performance]

6. Cultivate virility

Turn on the snowball effect by enticing users to share your offers and invite peers to sign-up for your marketplace to purchase products/services or become suppliers.

Consider the Dropbox example; it offer users to send referrals and earn a 30 GB additional space and referrals signing up through the invitations are also entitled to a free bonus of 20 GB space.

Virility factor can make marketplace a self-operating promotion engine.

7. Egg and Chicken question: Manage Supply and Demand

Supply and Demand go hand in hand, put balanced efforts to bring in customers and suppliers. Identify demand first, and then work on a clear plan to attract supply.

To grow a marketplace two sides have to be managed simultaneously. [Please add 2-3 lines in here]

Key Takeaways: You are growth ready when buyers and suppliers trust each other and the marketplace, payments are somewhat ensured, and both parties can communicate easily.

Intuitive design and simplified workspace are a must have features to retain both parties. Mobile apps help increase immediate communication and boost sales to retain users.