The buzz around the benefits of creating a peer-to-peer marketplace platform continues for several years already. If you also think about building a similar platform, this article can come in handy. Keep reading to find out why it’s worth building a P2P website, what features to include, and what steps to take to create a successful platform.
Peer-to-peer marketplace platform: definition and examples
If you have heard about customer-to-customer (C2C) marketplaces, you heard about peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces, too. They are the same things, actually. P2P marketplaces are platforms where individuals can sell and buy goods or services. The roles are interchangeable, which means users can buy and sell goods from one account.
To better understand how a P2P website works, let’s have a look at the brightest examples.
Etsy is a craftsmen-oriented marketplace that unites more than 4 million people all over the world. Launched in 2005, it is still the largest platform for people who sell and buy hand-made goods.
Airbnb is a global platform for renting apartments. Whether you need to go on a two-week vacation or have a short business trip, you can rent an apartment in any corner of the world.
Uber is another example of a successful P2P marketplace. Started as a local platform for on-demand taxi services, it’s now used in almost 800 metropolitan areas worldwide.
P2P website types
Depending on the demand for different goods and services, several peer to peer marketplace platform types appeared. We’re briefly describing them below.
Goods for sale
People often use a P2P online marketplace to sell or buy goods. It’s possible to trade new and used items that’s why product marketplaces usually fit individuals as well as businesses. Some examples of well-known product C2C platforms are eBay, Amazon, letgo, and Etsy.
Speaking about this type of a peer-to-peer marketplace, one probably thinks about Airbnb. Definitely, Airbnb is the brightest example known globally. By using this platform, people can rent out their properties in one corner of the world and spend a week in an apartment somewhere in a different place. Similar platforms are vacasa and Vrbo.
This type of a C2C marketplace has different directions. You can find platforms that solve numerous customer problems. On general service marketplaces like TaskRabbit and Thumbtack, people can offer and order a wide range of services – from moving furniture to flat repairing. There are also niche service marketplaces such as babysitting or dog walking.
BlaBlaCar is a bright example of ridesharing services. This peer-to-peer marketplace website allows people to find companions to travel together. As a result, all participants of a trip – a driver and passengers – benefit from saving their expenses.
People who want to share their knowledge and experience in a particular industry can do it by launching their online courses. People who want to learn new skills can do it via online courses. Both groups of people can meet on educational platforms like Skillshare or Udemy. Educational platforms allow its users to extend their knowledge while others can make money.
As you can see, there’s a great variety of P2P marketplaces, both product and service ones. On the one hand, it creates competition in the market. On the other hand, you still might want to launch a similar platform. Let’s see what advantages you can get when deciding to create peer-to-peer marketplace website.
Reasons to create a peer-to-peer marketplace website
You might want to create the next Airbnb, Uber, or eBay because of a number of reasons. Below, we list the most probable ones.
- Targeting a wide audience. By developing peer-to-peer marketplace software, you double a number of platform users and attract not only buyers (as in a single-vendor online store, for example) but also sellers. You can also increase the number of users by going beyond the P2P marketplace model. Famous product marketplaces like eBay and Amazon meet the needs of both P2P and B2C clients. Last but not least, launching a peer-to-peer marketplace means you have no borders. You can start locally but scale worldwide in the future.
- Improved marketing. Once you gain a good reputation, the word of mouth starts working. If you manage to satisfy your existing customers, they will recommend you to their friends. The fact that your customers will discuss your marketplace will also positively influence your brand.
- Acting as a mediator. When you build a marketplace, your only worry is a marketplace. You don’t have to produce goods, buy anything that is traded on your platform, or worry about warehouses and inventory.
All things considered, it’s worth trying to build a marketplace website if you want to start an online business. And before you wonder how you can build it, let’s consider the main features of a P2P platform.
Features your P2P online marketplace needs to have
The features we list below should be included in a minimum viable product (MVP) of your platform. MVP is a first step to a fully-fledged product. It’s working software that meets the needs of your target audience and can be launched to the market.
Registration and authentication
To make your platform users want to stay on your platform, you need to make the registration process as easy as possible. One option is to allow registering via Google or Facebook account. Another variant is to ask only for the basic information such as name, surname, phone number, and email address. You should also verify users on your platform to prevent fraud.
The more information users provide in their profile, the more reliable they seem to others. Let your users fill out such fields as name, photo, contact details, and location. It would be great if every user profile had a rating and number of completed orders or other information that proves the user’s reliability.
Listings and product pages
As users of a peer-to-peer ecommerce website can be both buyers and sellers, they should have the ability to list something for sale as well as buy goods.
To sell something, they should have the listings feature that allows them to post goods for sale. They should be able to add information about a product, edit, or delete it.
For buyers, there should be simple and attractive product pages where they will be able to find all information about a product they want to buy.
Search and filters
To improve the shopping experience of your marketplace users, you should provide them with a chance to find necessary goods or services in a fast way. Implementing the search functionality and filters is the best way to reach this goal. You should also categorize products or services for better convenience.
There’s no need to explain why payments on your marketplace should be secure. You can integrate one of the most popular payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal. Your platform users will definitely appreciate it if you provide them with several payment methods so they can choose the most convenient one.
Shopping cart and checkout
Shopping cart is a place where buyers can change something in their order. It’s important to give them a chance to check if everything is right.
A checkout page should be simple so your buyers don’t get confused. The thing is that a lot of transactions don’t happen because of a complicated checkout process, and if something goes wrong at this stage, people often don’t want to go all the way again to make a purchase.
Ratings and reviews
It’s impossible to imagine a P2P marketplace (honestly, any marketplace or online shop) without this functionality. Ratings and reviews serve as a proof that sellers are responsible and products are of high quality.
Now, as you know how your P2P platform should operate, let’s see what you should do to build it from scratch.
Steps to build a peer-to-peer ecommerce website
Building a marketplace is a process of making business and technical decisions. We’ll briefly discuss these decisions below.
1) Find your niche
The competition among marketplaces is high. However, you can face the competition if you choose the right niche. Before you decide to develop your custom marketplace, it’s vital to perform competitor analysis and define opportunities for your business.
2) Define your target audience
You should know who you build your marketplace for. If a new platform doesn’t solve an existing pain point customers have, it’s bound to fail. That’s why you should know your customers perfectly and build a platform that will solve their problems.
3) Choose a development company
If you decide to build your peer-to-peer marketplace from scratch, you need a team of experienced developers. Among all the possible options, you can find outsourcing the most attractive variant. There are a lot of outsourcing companies in different countries so you’ll definitely find a technical partner that will build a marketplace you want.
Peer-to-peer marketplace is a platform where people can buy and sell goods or services in a fast, convenient, and reliable way. In terms of profitability, the potential of P2P platforms is great. That’s why you might want to build such a platform. Once you decide to build it, make sure you know the market, your competitors, and target audience. And don’t forget to choose a reliable development company to make your P2P website robust and outstanding.