An Online Marketplace Development - what we learnt

Last modified on Thursday, 14 January 2016

Despite interest from the coffee industry and a heap of fun along the way, as of 31st December 2015 we have chosen to close our online Coffee Market Place, TheCoffeeLocator™. Before diving head first into this post and sharing our Marketplace experience with you, we would first like to thank everyone who got involved, especially the 500+ coffee producers who registered to sell their products on the website.

Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy are some of the more successful online marketplaces - if you are interested in creating your own marketplace software and want to learn more - in this post we want to share some of our experience in developing and running a marketplace.

What is an online marketplace?

A marketplace is somewhere that individuals can buy and sell goods or services.

An online marketplace is an online platform (a website, eCommerce or Application) where individuals can buy and sell goods or services.

Highlights

500+ registered online retailers
Over 1,000,000 online visitors
1,000s of social shares

Our Experience Developing and Managing a Marketplace

The Coffee Locator - Amazing Logo

Project overview

The coffee industry is massive - coffee is actually the second most valuable commodity after oil. Whilst I bet you have heard of at least two of Lavazza, Illy or Haag; there are hundreds of thousands of small coffee producers worldwide roasting kick ass coffee every day - mainly unknown outside of their hometown and without a website. We made it our goal to help coffee lovers discover exciting new tastes, whilst at the same time supporting micro roasters and small producers.

We created a marketplace where anyone, anywhere in the world could sell coffee to anyone, anywhere in the world. Users could search by country, coffee type or even taste to find growers, roasters and producers in places as remote as the Andes, Flores or Western Australia.

Each producer had their own eCommerce store, with slideshow, video and as many products as they wished to add.

Software used

To build our marketplace, we used the Open Source eCommerce platform - Prestashop, with a paid extension (Agile) and some of our own programming to turn an ordinary eCommerce in to a Marketplace.

4 lessons we learnt from running a Marketplace

  1. An marketplace needs large investment.
    A killer idea and the best looking marketplace in the world is not going to be enough without serious investment. Some of the areas you will need a large investment are - software development (Apps, Social Widgets, plugins); online advertising (Adwords, Social campaigns, banners, industry websites); content writing; press releases; industry trade shows; traditional advertising for markets that are not yet online (tv, radio and press ).
  2. An international marketplace needs dedicated personnel for each target country.
    For example, you are not going to sell in Germany, without extensive knowledge of the German market, a German language website, and presence at major industry trade shows to promote your idea.
  3. A market place is high level maintenance and TLC.
    A marketplace is high maintenance compared to your average website. You will need a back office for buyers AND sellers that is easy to use whilst offering the advanced functionality of an eCommerce. You will also have to cater for non web savvy users from around the world - without an intuitive and self-explanatory interface your customer services will get inundated with requests.
  4. Is your industry ready for you?
    As we found, the coffee industry has really yet to embrace the information age. Whilst our idea was widely praised by industry experts, a comment we heard on more than one occasion was that the industry is just not ready for such an innovative idea.

Get a quote for Your Marketplace in 2 minutes.

If you have read this and think that you have the idea, budget and resources - get a quote from us for your own marketplace.

Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick is the founder and web developer at Jeyjoo web design. He works with both individuals and companies to grow their businesses online.
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