The idea of an online marketplace isn’t a new one and has been a popular option for some time. It offers greater convenience to people who want to purchase products or services online. The internet has made things easier for everyone, and marketplaces allow customers to find their desired items and have them delivered to their homes at affordable rates.

With a couple of clicks, you manage to find great deals online and have any type of product, electronic gadgets or furniture delivered to your doorstep. Everyone wants to build a marketplace app, but this isn’t as easy as one might think. Making an app requires considerable resources and a lot of knowledge. If you have been searching for information online on how to build a marketplace app, you have come to the right place.

We are going to discuss what are marketplaces, what are their difference from online stores, and how you can build a marketplace app from scratch.

What is A Marketplace Platform?

A marketplace offers independent sellers the opportunity to list their products and services, which is an option they don’t get with online stores. There are various types of marketplace platforms, each differentiating with another due to the products offered, the marketing strategy, and the size. The technology and pricing will also be different depending on the location and purpose of the marketplace.

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Online stores only offer their own services and goods and control all aspects, including the products, the prices, the delivery, and the payment. A marketplace offers you a platform for listing services and a payment system. These marketplaces can be used for exchanging goods or to trade since it includes everything: from online services like coupons and apps to physical objects like electronic devices, furniture, and even clothing.

Why Should You Build A Marketplace App?

Marketplace apps are the hottest trend right now, especially with the dominance of market leaders like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Airbnb, Uber, and Groupon. All these companies have gone on to become billion-dollar businesses that achieved unparalleled growth. This has obviously shed light on different marketing concepts like B2B, B2C, and C2C. A successful marketplace will be based on scalability, execution, performance, and design.

Mobile commerce has become the preferred method for customers shopping online, as they can easily access different products and services online. E-commerce sales in the United States have gone through the roof after the emergence of mobile commerce companies, with revenues generating more than $200 billion last year. The popularity of mobile shopping has meant that more retailers in the United States have started to invest in marketplace apps.

Most global businesses that are online have moved their activities to mobile platforms, as smartphones and tablets have allowed them to interact with clients in real-time. The market for mobile commerce applications is expected to achieve exponential growth, as eBay’s mobile application shows. It has been downloaded more than 51 million times, has been localized in 10 languages, and is available in over 195 countries worldwide!

Classification: The Main Types of Marketplaces

Before you build your marketplace app it is important that you determine what type of marketplace you want, since there are various versions of marketplaces. These marketplace types are as follows:

1. Product marketplaces

The most common type of marketplace, where people come to purchase products, and examples of such marketplaces are Amazon and eBay where millions of buyers come to purchase goods from thousands of sellers on the platform.

Check our case study: Online marketplace, created by CodeIT team from scratch

2. Service marketplaces

People come here in search of services, like repairing, transportation, household, car and apartment rentals, beauty/medical services, and IT services. The services offered here vary significantly from one another and examples of such marketplaces are Uber, Airbnb, Upwork, and TaskRabbit.

3. Project marketplaces

These marketplaces arrange funds through crowdfunding for startup projects, and people funding the projects either get shares or get to use the final product. Examples of such marketplaces are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Fundable.

4. Hybrid marketplaces

Next comes the hybrid marketplace that offers both services and products to customers online, and examples of such marketplaces are OLX, Craigslist, and Oodle.

How Do You Build One?

The secret of marketplace app development lies in a lot of material gathering and investigation. It is imperative to evaluate all risks before starting any project, and this doesn’t involve any perfect code to create a marketplace app. Grasping what the process demands are integral to creating a successful marketplace application, and that is exactly what are we are going to discuss below.

marketplace apps

The costs associated with marketplace app development are mainly dependent on the features you want in the app. However, if you want to build a mobile app like Amazon or eBay, it will require a lot of time, effort, and resources. The good news is that you can do it if you go about it in the right manner. So, here is how you should go about creating your own marketplace app:

The Importance of Identifying User Activity

The first step towards building a successful online marketplace app is to understand the user activity that will take place in the marketplace. This will determine the type of marketplace you are building, how it will operate, and what it will offer to users. Keeping user activity in mind when building a marketplace app is crucial since it allows you to set specific targets. So, let’s check out the various eCommerce marketplaces and what type of user activity they get:

Product Marketplace

Product marketplaces mainly target buyers and sellers, with the sellers listing their products and the buyers purchasing them.

Service marketplace

Service marketplaces attract freelancers, vendors, and professionals who are willing to provide their services, and employers looking for experts to perform tasks.

Project marketplace

Project marketplaces target backers and owners who are investing money in a project or raising money for the project, in the hopes of getting a profit in the future.

Hybrid marketplace

Hybrid marketplaces target various types of users, since they offer a mix of everything, and therefore users are mainly guests, employers, vendors, buyers, and sellers.

Setting Up the Structure

One of the most important steps in building a marketplace app is to set up a proper structure for your app. The structure of your marketplace app is preconditioned by different aspects and is linked with your overall business strategy. Therefore, when laying down the foundations of a marketplace, you must set clear business goals with a proper strategy. 

marketplace apps

So, how do you go about setting up the structure? You can start by answering the following questions:

Who will be using the marketplace?

It is important to know your potential users and what they expect so that you can improve the UI of the platform. The type of user activity on the marketplace will determine the functionality of the marketplace and what it offers users.

What services will be offered?

This is one of the most important questions to consider because the answer will govern the entire structure of the marketplace. For example, Airbnb and eBay are both an online auction and accommodation rental services marketplace, but they are completely different in terms of looks.

How will tasks be carried out?

The answer to this question will help you decide what APIs, plugins, and integrations to implement in the development process of your marketplace.

Building a marketplace app isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, and the only way it will work is when you have a deep understanding of your business and have experienced developers who consider every aspect and use cutting-edge solutions that allow exemplary operation of your marketplace app.

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Setting Up Your Marketplace App

When it comes to online marketplaces and eCommerce it is tough to differentiate major features from your competitor’s app, but you can offer add-ons and more value to attract users. These can include free product listing for vendors, money-back guarantees, next day shipping, free shipping, discounted pricing, and other benefits offered additionally.

There are two main ways you can set up your marketplace app, as you can create a vendor app or a custom app. Both types have their own functions, which include:

Vendor App

This will include vendor-related information and allows them to view recent sales, earnings, orders, products, etc. This app may have a product featuring listing, which can be edited at any point, and will display the number of orders to vendors.

Customer App

This will showcase deals and products on the main page, along with promotional activities. It will categorize products in segments, so users can buy goods with greater convenience and add products or configure them in the cart. It will also allow quick checkouts and support multiple payment methods.

payment function

Setting Up the Mandatory Features

Irrespective of what type of marketplace app you are building, the two most important constituents you require are the user platform and the administration panel.

Administration panel

This will control the product inventory, payments, orders, clients, and other marketplace settings. It will also set commissions for sellers, register new users, allot categories, manage reviews and ratings, and approve products. The administration panel isn’t visible to clients and will be at the backend side.

The user platform

The business model you choose will shape the user platform, and it could consist of several dashboards for specific user roles, like buyers and sellers. The mandatory features it should have are:

  • Registration form
  • Account page
  • Authorization and security
  • Client support system
  • Item listing
  • Search engine
  • Shopping cart
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Integrated payment functionality
  • Shipping functionality

shipping functionality

Any marketplace app that doesn’t have these features isn’t going to provide users with the level of security and convenience of others in the market. The features of your marketplace app will vary depending on your business specifications and your goals.

Scaling and Expansion

Once you are confident that your marketplace app has garnered enough attention and is doing well against your competition, you should move towards scaling and expanding. This can be done by:

Targeting multiple platforms:

Release your products on the most popular and accessible platforms, so that users on diverse mobile platforms can easily access and use your marketplace app.

Enhance functionality:

You can also revamp or improve the functionality of your app by introducing new features that provide users with more luxury and more engaging experience. You should interact with users to learn about their needs, so you can develop innovative features they want.

Build a Community:

You can use the power of blogging and storytelling so that the audience can share their ideas and opinions. This helps you in building a community that has more engagement and ensures that your marketplace app continues to achieve growth.

Third-Party Integrations:

All the most successful marketplace apps and online e-commerce stores use third-party integrations, as it allows to scale and expand quickly. You can leverage third-party integrations like personalized emails, chat messages, GPS services, and payment systems.

Money and Time Estimation

The cost of your marketplace app will vary depending on the functionality you have chosen, and the development of your app will need a coordinated effort from various specialists. That means accounting for quality assurance, layout, front-end as well as back-end development, project management, and UX and UI design. If you want a complex solution or want to add new functions to your app, you must set aside an additional budget for that expanse. If you need a detailed estimation, please, send us an e-mail:

How much your marketplace costs?


We hope that by providing an in-depth look at how to build a successful marketplace mobile app, you will be equipped with the required knowledge to embark on your project. It is important that you are through with your market research and gather all the important details necessary for running your marketplace app successfully. To achieve success with your marketplace app it is important to work with experienced professionals, who have a successful track record, of building successful marketplace apps. Make sure that you don’t skip or go after shortcuts. You need to be dedicated and constantly willing to improve if you are serious about building a marketplace app today.

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