How to Build a Profitable Online Marketplace Website or App in 2022?

So you want to build a marketplace app. Cool. We have tons of experience building profitable marketplace apps and can guide you in the process. But first, here’s a handful of valuable tips.

Actually, let us show you something first.

At some point, marketplace apps became somewhat of our speciality. We’ve built several so far, so here are some examples.

What is a marketplace app?

The marketplace application provides a web portal enabling sellers to find and purchase goods and products. It might serve as a website extension to a brick-and-mortar retail business such as Walmart, or have an entirely ‘digital’ existence such as Etsy, Upwork or Udemy. This marketplace app is becoming more popular due to its ease of use. Marketplace apps are basically multiple online shops operating under the same Digital umbrella, but technically they are separate digital assets and differ from website development platforms and performance platforms.

We’ve built several so far, so here are some examples.

clicktrans marketplace app

A marketplace mobile app connecting individuals with transport companies. 

econtainers marketplace app

A marketplace platform helping businesses find and book container shipments. 

tagvenue marketplace app

A marketplace website where you can find and book venues in the UK. 

oliv marketplace app

A marketplace app for university students and recent graduates, where they can find internships and graduate jobs.  

elm marketplace app

An electric car subscription service.

And more.

As you can see, the essence of marketplace idea is connecting. People with other people or businesses (which, in the end, are still people.) This is what makes building a marketplace app so much fun.

But it’s not just fun. 

How to create a marketplace app from scratch?

What are your best considerations to consider when designing your first website for your online business? The marketplace app is an intricate website. Developing a marketable application can be difficult if you begin with a single idea. This article does not offer any practical instruction on how to make a software development project progress step by step. Instead, it will give you a better understanding of time and technology stacks and your skills for your project.

Choose your marketplace technology stack

Choose the languages. Any language suitable for primarily website design will be used to create your marketplace app. JavaScript, Java scripting – Python – Clojure… pick the poison! Choose a familiarity that is easy to learn and start immediately. If you’re working on learning languages you will be ready to take more time to build them up. Select one structure. Web development frameworks are advisable. It’s quite easy to create and manage an e-commerce marketplace app backend with frameworks such as Rails and Xilra. Currently, Laravel has a huge following for PHP.

Design the database schema

Time for a new market data structure. Can we store, search, access, and display our own data? In reality, creating the database schema is not an action conceivable. This should be taken into consideration when developing any new feature. However, it is best to start by determining the basic entities in a marketplace app and keeping them in the database. The most critical elements of a marketplace app are the user, listing, and transaction.

Set up the marketplace app framework and database

Start constructing and maintaining a market-ready marketplace application. Please use your selected framework to install and configure your market product. Finally, install the database. Finally, make an automated test framework available for use when you start creating features.

Implement user accounts

Develop users with signup and logging and password logging capabilities. Some SaaS solutions like Auth0 can handle accounts. But the expense might prove a barrier: A Developer Plan of 5,000 active users costs 115$ monthly.

Implement listing management

Build back-end capabilities for listing providers. Tell me the required information. How do listing pages get customized? Can you list the available listings?

Define your product. Define your strategy

Describe the advantages your product can offer customers. It might sound like it’s difficult in mobile commerce to differentiate between apps that offer the same features as the competition’s apps. Obviously, you may have other interesting features like the following:

Create a list of features for your marketplace application

Firstly, establish your performance goals. Identifying performance indicators helps highlight the design of your application and key features. When deciding what you need, there are three important factors: UX user interface and brand identity. Identify key elements of an integrated market. The most distinctive characteristic of this software is the secure payment platform. As cybercrime grows and data becomes more vulnerable consumers worry about data security and privacy concerns. A marketplace app must provide the user with a secure gateway interface to pay.

Define the business model of your application

Modern markets have a variety of business models for creating revenue. Most companies have different models — such as Etsy. Etsy has an affiliate program which charges fees for posting new listings as well. It’s the best way to try different products to determine the most appropriate one. After your applications grow, integrating different types of applications can be a wise choice for building a unique model that takes a look at what happens in your application.

Things to remember when building a marketplace platform


The changing needs of consumers and your business are an essential thing to remember when creating any kind of software (remember what we wrote about future-proofing and thinking ahead ?) 

Our marketplace applications are modular and adjust to the needs of your customers. And with modular web design, your marketplace platform will consist of reusable, autonomous components you can later flexibly repurpose as your marketplace evolves.


This is part of flexibility as a whole. You will be integrating your marketplace app with things like payment gateways, accounting systems, scheduling apps, etc. And depending on your market, you will need to be able to accommodate a wide variety of solutions – and your marketplace app hould be built for that.


With marketplace apps, you’ll want to be able to track important metrics to evaluate your business KPIs. These can be anything from the most viewed pages or items to bounce rates, cart abandonment rates, average order values, transactions per seller, and lots of others.

 So make sure you have solid analytics built-in.

Search engines are essential to providing a seamless customer experience – nothing is more irritating than not being able to find something you actually want to buy (not to mention it just doesn’t make sense businesswise.) So using the right search tool is crucial.

For example, with (marketplace application), we used the Algolia search tool, which resulted in a significant boost in page performance and speed plus really levelled up the user experience. For (online marketplace), on the other hand, we needed to make sure people could narrow their search results by city alongside searching venues on a map.  

Checkout + payments

Obviously, a huge one. People need to be able to easily order or book their service or item. User experience and the right choice of payment methods are key if you want to minimize dropouts at checkout and improve your conversion rates.

Store management

On the flip side of this, vendors need to have an easy way to add and manage their listings, edit information, add photos and descriptions, etc.  Remember we’re not just talking about user-friendliness for the end-user, but for people and businesses who’ll be using your marketplace apps to sell something. It should be smooth sailing for everyone.

Marketing and SEO

We’ll say it again – the MVP process should be the base for your marketing strategy (and it is when you’re going through it with us.)  It’s not enough to just go and create a marketplace app if you haven’t researched the market well yourself and are missing the mark in terms of what people actually need. Sorry to say this, but chances are you’re just going to fail – like thousands of startups in marketplace history.

As part of marketing, SEO is crucial for people to be able to find your website and for Google to promote it in search results. And this is not just about the keywords (and definitely not about keyword stuffing) but also about how your website is structured or how fast it loads. And this needs to be taken into consideration while the online marketplace is being developed.

Customer service

Customers need to be able to get in touch with the vendors, so implementing a chat is also a good idea.

So, what do you need to create a marketplace app? 

  • Team up with an experienced software house that knows how to build an online marketplace (that would be us.)
  • Create an MVP and validate your business assumptions before you go to market (and we’ll be happy to do it with you.)
  • Iterate, test, gather feedback, iterate. You know the drill.
  • Expand and grow, potentially with the help of a VC.

Must-Have Features for a Marketplace Apps

Easy social login. Do not confuse the first user with complicated authorizations. Social Login is easy to use, and this saves you time. Profiles for sellers and buyers. You will use 2 types of users. So, be prepared to create two kinds of interfaces to these.

An online marketplace is not rocket science

But they’re best created in response to a genuine market need and by people who’ve been there, done that. You’ll find them at DeSmart, so reach out and let’s talk about your marketplace idea.

Cost and time required for marketplace app development

After you’re clear about how the app should function and what the market will be targeting the first time, it’s time for deeper analysis. What is the cost of building a marketplace? Developer development of Marketplace apps starts at $60. Apps requiring high standard features range in price from $25,000 — 70 000. Applications with advanced features like customized reporting and sales statistics cost between $35,000 — 90 000. A basic marketplace app can be developed within 2-3 months.

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