Marketplace eCommerce

Making a 3-to-5-Year Plan for Your eCommerce Marketplace

November 7, 2022  |  4 min read

It can be a long road to get your eCommerce marketplace up and running, and you can anticipate the hard work it will take to run the business and keep your customers happy. But the planning that leads to launch isn’t just about presenting your platform to the public—it’s vital that you think beyond that and anticipate the changes you could need in the next three to five years.

marketplace development

When you are looking to create a marketplace website, how do you know what you’re choosing today is going to be good for you in the future? Thinking ahead to where you want your business to be, and where it could be, is an excellent start. That means choosing a marketplace platform that can grow with you, able to withstand exponential expansion while delivering even better customer service.

The platform you choose should be able to:

  • Grow – Can you add more features to the platform that will lead to a direct increase in sales and/or customer satisfaction?
  • Scale – Growth is often the direct result of investing in your company or platform, but scaling is the ability of your platform to effortlessly handle an increasing number of transactions.
  • Customize – The platform doesn’t have to be perfect on launch day, so you can launch with the basics and add later. Similarly, customers will give you ideas for change that you couldn’t have seen coming.
  • Shrink – Shrinking your business is seldom in the plan, but sometimes it needs to happen. (COVID proved this for many businesses.) Marketplace software must be flexible enough to perform perfectly whether it’s bursting at the seams or tightening its belt.
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marketplace business plan

Why Make a Plan?

Most people who own a business—or those that have a strong interest in making one thrive—imagine a future in which it will be wildly successful. While the truth is usually slow-but-steady growth, the fact is that no one ever knows exactly how popular a peer-to-peer marketplace will become.

But just because you can’t predict the future doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a plan. You can’t just release your marketplace into the world and let its initial success dictate where you go from there. It's vital that any plan you make is flexible, one that allows for slow starts or rapid expansion.

The online marketplace platform you choose has to be able to accommodate every level of success; using software today that can’t scale exponentially within the next few years only means that you’ll soon hit a growth wall and have to switch platforms all over again.

Who Makes the Plan?

Making a plan for the future of a marketplace is seldom the work of a single person. While one person might be focused on marketing to get the word out about the platform, another will analyze the effectiveness of the platform. What everyone sees as “the future of the company” should be addressed so that the right platform is chosen. Any that aren’t flexible enough could end up being a liability in the next five years and hamper growth.

Who should be consulted? Beyond the business leaders and owners, be sure to talk to salespeople, customer service experts, marketers, and, of course, customers. If the marketplace developer you choose has extensive experience with creating online marketplace software, they should also be able to help guide you through growing pains that they have seen with other clients.

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stepping stones marketplace

What’s In Your Future?

One good thing about an expandable eCommerce platform is that it can be expanded as necessary. Not every feature has to be in place at launch, allowing you to get to market faster. So when you’re making your plans for the future, what types of scenarios will you consider?

Deliver More Value to Customers

Every business should listen to the people who use a marketplace website, whether they’re vendors or buyers. Be sure to listen to what they want, and check your competition to find out if they are offering something that could benefit those who use your site.

delivering value
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Outperforming Your Competition

No matter whether you need a B2B, C2C, or B2C marketplace platform, there's always competition to consider. What is your competition doing? Are they beating you because of a particular feature that you lack? If you go with a flexible platform that can be easily expanded upon, you can match or exceed them.

Focus On Self-Service

The more you let buyers and sellers do for themselves, the less likely they’ll need to contact any of your staff. Whether it’s getting the answer to a question, get them in contact with each other, create reports, supply tax information, or answering questions about billing, it’s always better to provide a self-service option that doesn’t require a dedicated member of your staff for each of these tasks.

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connected data

Leverage Machine Learning and AI

Not every eCommerce marketplace platform can incorporate AI and machine learning. This is a powerful option to help you learn more about customer behavior on the site so that you can make more informed decisions. Artificial intelligence in eCommerce can also be an excellent way to help make product suggestions for customers, rather than having you to do it manually.

What Clarity Can Offer

Wondering how to create an online marketplace? Clarity Ventures can help you focus on the most important aspects of your eCommerce marketplace launch, as well as utilize our experience to create a plan for the future. No matter the industry you work in, it is our goal to help your marketplace become a leader. Our website is filled with dozens of articles about marketplace eCommerce, and we have a YouTube channel devoted to the subject.

Clarity would also like to offer you a free discovery session, a complimentary consultation to help you get started on your marketplace (or upgrade an existing one). We have extensive experience with customized eCommerce solutions and are ready to talk you through your 3-to-5-year plan. Get in touch with us today to give yourself a solid base to launch from.

ecommerce development team

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Author
 
Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.