A peer-to-peer marketplace looks very different from a traditional ecommerce business. If you want to build a peer-to-peer marketplace, use these 8 best practices to plan and structure your marketplace for success. This week we will be sharing you 4 of the best practices to help you get started but tune in next Thursday to catch the remaining.
- Narrow your focus
If you think of successful peer-to-peer marketplaces, from Etsy to AirBnB, they are all focused. This is key to success, since trying to offer too many services at once will stretch you thin and make it difficult to attract enough suppliers. A narrow focus also helps you build a community, create trust, and gain momentum. Hone your idea to a single service, single geographic region, or single vertical. By keeping a very tight focus, as Craigslist does, you can expand your service area to cover the country or the world without getting overwhelmed.
- Build up your supply
Suppliers are the backbone of peer-to-peer marketplaces. Quality suppliers must be in place before you can open the marketplace for transactions.
Spend time finding suppliers who really get what you're trying to do, and are passionate about the same thing. Passion and dedication will mean high customer satisfaction when your marketplace does launch. Hand-pick only the suppliers who will add the most value and align with your vision for the marketplace.
- Create a user community
Once you have your suppliers ready to go, you'll need others who will consume the service. The good news is, your suppliers can also act as consumers in a peer-to-peer marketplace. As your next step, cross pollinate your market with buyers who need the service you provide.
In these critical early stages, focus on communication, evaluation, and careful growth. It's better to hone your model now so everything works well than to grow too quickly and avoid working out the kinks in your marketplace.
- Produce compelling content
High-quality, compelling content will boost your discoverability in search engine results and help new users find you. Spend time crafting your marketplace narrative for your website. Add a blog where you can regularly share new content and educate consumers and suppliers on how to use your marketplace. Not only will a blog keep your user community connected and happy, it will do wonders for your search engine marketing. Tap into your user community by allowing suppliers to create "microblogs" showcasing their uniqueness, then share the best of these microblogs through roundup blog posts.
It's worth emphasizing, your blog needs regular high-quality content. It isn't enough to do one post a month, or whenever you feel like it. Hire writers to populate your blog if you lack the time, but do not skip this important step.
Be sure to really take the time in each step to perfect your marketplace as much as possible. Nothing is worse than having to backtrack your work and lose valuable time to move forward. Now that you have these 4 best practices in mind, get to work. Start to think how you can sync your marketplace with these best practices moving forward. Don’t forget, check back in next Thursday as we will share the remaining 4 to help plan and structure your marketplace!