How to Build an Online Marketplace

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Over the last decade, businesses have shifted from a pipe business model to a platform model. In this new model, the company isn’t the sole generator of value; platforms enable participants to cocreate value alongside other platform participants and exchange it among themselves. As a result, the retail industry has been disrupted by online marketplaces — e-commerce platforms that enable interactions between customers and producers. The benefits marketplaces bring to businesses are numerous and include lower investment requirements, faster scaling, and multiple options for monetization.

In our eight years on the market, we’ve gained technical and business expertise in building electronic marketplace software. In this article, we’ll share our firsthand knowledge of how to build an online marketplace. Specifically, we’ll talk about the first steps of developing a marketplace: selecting a marketplace type, a business model, software developers, a programming language, functionality, and the technology stack. We’ll even mention some technical challenges.

There are a lot of decisions to make before starting a marketplace business. Below, we provide step-by-step instructions so you can create a successful project and avoid costly mistakes.

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