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Mobile Marketplace Apps: A Beginners Guide To Starting Your Build

Natasha Singh | June 26, 2020

The retail market was already moving to digital platforms in a big way at the start of 2020. With more people staying home and shopping online, growth in the mobile shopping sector is skyrocketing. The major growth occurring in this element of the industry is leaving many to consider getting in on the action. 

When the decision is made to build a mobile marketplace app, there are several things that can help you get started.

What Are Mobile Marketplace Apps?

Marketplace apps are quickly becoming the most popular way to shop for consumers. Everyone involved in the digital marketplace benefits from this space. Without the need to go through retailers, there is much more control and freedom for all involved. 

For example, sellers have the benefit of setting their own prices and guidelines for purchase. Buyers get to browse a highly competitive online shopping market that keeps pricing and product or service quality competitive. Plus, mobile marketplace app owners are finding platforms to be a beneficial way to create new forms of revenue.

How to Build a Marketplace App

Companies like eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Uber, and more found major success by building massively popular retail apps. With easy solutions for both sellers and buyers to navigate a P2P platform, marketplace apps for Android and iPhone provide a superior shopping solution for all. When you’re ready to build an app here’s what you need to consider.

Step 1: Determine the App’s Purpose

The early steps of building a marketplace app begin with determining its purpose. Every mobile e-commerce platform is going to function in three key ways: as a service, a product, or a project. In some cases, these categories can overlap and combine the purpose of your app. 

Landing on one of these or a combination of the functions helps to determine what features you’ll want to include on the app. These insights help to serve as a guideline for developing an app or prototype. 

Step 2: Work Up a Business Model

Another important step in the process is to consider business model elements. A key element of e-commerce app development is deciding on how to charge and make money on your app. Whether you integrate a credit card form or Paypal integration, everything from sales, payout to sellers, revenue, and returns need to be considered. 

It’s also crucial to consider what charges you’ll place on listed sellers and their products. Membership programs are popular in the mobile marketplace app industry. Likewise, additional areas to spend more money on boosted ads and commission considerations need to be discussed now before developing work on your target audience.

Step 3: Confirm Your Target Audience

Identifying a target audience will help establish who to target with your outreach and awareness efforts. Developing a target audience includes a few key steps. Firstly, a target audience should be the people who will directly satisfy a need in their lives thanks to your app. There needs to be a clear purpose behind why the mobile marketplace app exists in the first place. 

Once you believe you’ve narrowed in on this process, it can be beneficial to build a prototype for product-market fit. Developing a landing page that hosts a beta and a form for email updates on the app can really help test the validation behind your app’s concept. With SEM dollars behind the effort, you can begin to identify and connect with your target audience before an iPhone or Android app marketplace is ready for download.

Step 4: Build a Prototype of Your Marketplace App

The prototype step in the process of building a mobile marketplace app starts with mockups. Take time to research competitors and what they offer. More importantly, identify areas in which you think they lack and use that to focus your build. Likewise, basics that all mobile marketplace apps use should get the mockup treatment as well. 

A prototype allows you to gauge interest in the app before investing a large amount of money in the project. A prototype should leave you with significant insights into the features and functions your app offers that work and don’t work. Likewise, interest in your prototype can help narrow in on your target audience. 

Ensure you’re featuring a full prototype experience for all who might use the app, including buyers and sellers. This element requires a knowledge of the framework of a marketplace app for Android or iPhone as well as key e-commerce app trends. For that reason, hiring a professional to build a prototype can often yield better insights into what your app needs to succeed. 

Step 5: Perform User Research

As your app gets closer to completion, be sure to organize in-depth testing programs to get feedback from your target audience. Testing a mobile marketplace app can lead to a lot of helpful insights that make the final product much stronger. On the one hand, the app is being fine-tuned and improved by those who will be the ones using it. Likewise, users who participate in testing feel invested in the app’s build and likely become some of your most loyal users in the initial post-launch period.

Additionally, user research helps determine how usable the app is in terms of what buyers and sellers look for in an iPhone or Android app marketplace. They’ll have a communication channel open with you to express what they like and don’t like, which leads to meaningful marching orders during the final development stage. Speaking with users specific to your intended platform is going to help assist in completing your app. For example, Android app developers are catering to a different audience than iOS app developers. The way in which users on these different systems use and seek out apps can be distinct.

Furthermore, the ability to gain user insight ahead of launch helps to finalize what features might need to be removed or added. The niche you build with your marketplace app will likely use some of the elements of other successful platforms. Likewise, the user experience will also address concerns buyers and sellers have with other platforms. User research gives you the chance to hear directly from the people who will turn to your app as a seller as well as a consumer.

Finalizing Your Mobile Marketplace App

Consider the MVP

As you begin to enter the final development stage, it’s time to prepare a few final considerations. Firstly, consider what the minimum viable product is that you are providing users. The immediate value of your app is likely going to satisfy and develop your most loyal users. Getting an MVP on the market for release as soon as possible begins the process of introducing and growing your iPhone or Android marketplace app. 

Emphasize the User Experience

As you continue tweaking the overall layout of your mobile marketplace app, focus primarily on the dashboard. When users first begin exploring your app, a well-organized and functional dashboard is going to invite them to continue their familiarization process. Everything from reviews, order history, inventory, and profile information should be easily accessible for users of all types. Likewise, continue implementing user needs and wants you discover during your prototype phase. They might not all be quick fixes or alterations, but addressing these right away shows your participants in user research that their feedback matters to you.

QA and Debug

It’s also crucial to continue to focus a significant amount of time on your app’s code. Debugging your mobile marketplace app is an ongoing process and one that will continue through its lifetime. That said, taking the time to debug as much of your programming as possible during the early days of your app is a must. Likewise, make sure to review that every feature a user will need to use and operate your app is not only present but functional. Double and triple check that you have working registration forms, search functionality, and other core elements to the user experience. 

Working With an Expert to Build a Marketplace App

Mobile marketplace apps continue to change the way we shop. Consumers and sellers appreciate the freedom and range of products available on these all-in-one shopping platforms. With these digital marketplaces offering immense potential in the e-commerce industry, now is the perfect time to start your build. 

At Blue Label Labs, our team understands how crucial it is to buyers and sellers that the user experience and functionality of a marketplace app for Android or iPhone be top-notch. Speed, organization, and design help make an app successful, and we recognize that these elements aren’t easy to perfect. That’s why we rely on industry knowledge and experience to provide our clients with the build they need to grow the next digital shopping powerhouse. 

Let us know what you envision for your mobile marketplace app today so we can walk you through the best way to get started.

Natasha Singh
+ posts

Senior iOS Developer at Blue Label Labs

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