A practical guide for building an online marketplace business

Inspired by the success of platforms such as Airbnb, Etsy or Fiverr? Want to know how to build an online marketplace business? You've come to the right place. In this step by step guide, we will go through everything you need to know about developing your idea into a sustainable business, offering lots of practical advice along the way.

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I. Getting Started with building

  1. • 7 min read

    What you need to know before starting your marketplace business

    An introduction to marketplaces. What they are, why they are booming, and why you should build one.

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  2. • 11 min read

    How to come up with a great marketplace idea

    What are excellent marketplace ideas like? How to come up with one and know if it’s any good.

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  3. • 9 min read

    How to find the right business model

    What different business models are available for marketplaces? What model is most suitable for your concept?

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  4. • 9 min read

    How to discourage people from going around your payment system

    People often try to circumvent marketplace payment systems when it’s time to pay. Learn what to do about this.

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  5. • 11 min read

    How to set pricing in your marketplace

    How much value should you capture from your marketplace’s transactions? We discuss different ways to approach pricing.

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  6. • 11 min read

    How to validate your idea

    Before building your platform, your marketplace idea and business model need to be validated. Learn the best ways to do this.

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II. Building a platform

  1. • 12 min read

    How to build a minimum viable platform

    Launching early is critical. Learn about how to build a platform as quickly as possible.

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  2. • 7 min read

    How to communicate your value proposition

    Your copywriting and design matter more than you might think. Learn how to clearly communicate your value proposition to your users.

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  3. • 14 min read

    How to help customers find what they’re looking for

    One of the most important components of a marketplace platform is discovery. How can you be sure your users find the most relevant results?

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  4. • 13 min read

    How to design your transaction flow

    Your marketplace can only be successful if it facilitates transactions. Learn how to design a smooth transaction flow.

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III. Launching and growing the marketplace

  1. • 11 min read

    How to seed your marketplace

    Your platform is now ready. Before you can invite the customers in, you need to build the initial supply.

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  2. • 13 min read

    How to launch

    It’s time to get your first customers on board. Learn how to find them, and how to make their first experience on your site a success.

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  3. • 12 min read

    How to grow your marketplace

    Your basic concept is validated and you have an initial user base. The next step is to focus on marketing and growth.

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  4. • 13 min read

    How to measure your success: Key marketplace metrics

    After you’ve launched, you need to be able to tell whether your marketplace is healthy or not. We introduce the metrics you should follow.

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  5. • 16 min read

    How to build trust

    Trust is a foundation block of successful marketplaces. Learn how to build trust between your providers and customers.

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  6. • 12 min read

    How to turn your marketplace into a community

    Most great marketplaces are also a thriving community around the marketplace’s niche. What should you do to build such a community?

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Juho Makkonen

Juho Makkonen
has been building marketplace websites since 2008. He is a Co-Founder of Sharetribe and currently serves as the CEO of the company. He’s also a OuiShare connector in Helsinki and a long time advocate of the sharing economy.

Cristobal Gracia

Cristóbal Gracia
built his first peer-to-peer marketplace in 2009. Today, he is a OuiShare connector in Barcelona, and a partner at Consumo Colaborativo, the leading Spanish organization specialized in collaborative consumption. He facilitates lectures, conferences and workshops related to innovation in the sharing economy, and works as an advisor for startups and other companies.