A Comprehensive Guide to Build a Marketplace App [8 Steps + Cost]

    Key Takeaways

  • Build a marketplace app in 8 steps, from type selection to deployment. Even without coding skills, you can develop an app from scratch using this approach.
  • Integrating 17 essential features can range in cost from $10,000 for a simple app to over $500,000 for a complex one. However, it depends on the choice of technology and features must align with budget and goals.

Want to build a marketplace app or online shop like Amazon or eBay?

If your answer is yes, then this blog is for you.

However, you must be aware of your competition and their market value before you start developing your own marketplace app.

According to Statista, the mobile commerce market has surpassed 431.4 billion dollars in sales in 2022. And it is anticipated that this amount will increase by about 710 billion dollars by 2025.

As an experienced mobile app development company, we understand your requirements and can help you convert your online marketplace app idea into reality. This blog will guide you through simple and easy steps to build a marketplace app like Amazon and eBay, ensuring your app stands out in the competitive market.

Let’s begin by outlining the precise meaning of the marketplace app and how it benefits consumers.

What is a Marketplace App?

A marketplace app is an online platform or mobile application that acts as an intermediate between buyers and sellers to facilitate online shopping through mobile devices. A marketplace app serves as a virtual marketplace where individuals or businesses can list and showcase their products or services, and potential customers can browse, search, and make purchases directly through the platform.

A marketplace app helps users in the following ways:

  • Provides convenience in the shopping experience.
  • Facilitates secured transactions for payment gateway and transaction processing.
  • Saves time as the marketplace offers centralization of various products and services.
  • Provides competitive prices as multiple sellers are on the platform leading to discounts, saving deals, and encashment offers.
  • Offers a vast range of products and services accessible using marketplace apps.

However, before moving towards the marketplace app development steps, have a quick look at a few facts and revenue generated through the marketplace apps.

A Quick Overview of Online Marketplace Businesses

Since you want to develop a marketplace app, you must be aware of the current marketplace trends. Here are the statistics that help you know the ecommerce sales in the USA.

  • According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2023, 72% of retail sales in the USA accounted through smartphones and generated 61% of online shopping orders.
  • Amazon’s shopping app was the most downloaded app in the USA on both iOS and Android devices in 2022 according to Statista.

We hope the statistics mentioned above will encourage you to build a custom marketplace app following the steps mentioned below.

How to Build a Marketplace App in 8 Simple Steps

In this section, we will discuss the 8 crucial steps that will help you develop a marketplace platform. Let’s discuss each step in detail and understand how to implement them in online marketplace app development.

  1. Pick the Type of Marketplace App You Want to Build

    First off, pick the type of marketplace app you want to build to target your audience. Identify and categorize the right marketplace platforms to attract your target audience and build an app that understands your customer needs.

    Refer to the table below for a list of available marketplace app types:

    Types of Marketplace Apps
    Sr No.Marketplace Apps TypeFeatures of Marketplace App TypesPopular Online Marketplace
    1Business-to-business marketplaceB2B marketplace apps connect businesses with other businesses. These apps are typically used for buying and selling wholesale products, services, or equipment.
    • Alibaba
    • Amazon Business
    • Uber Business
    2Business-to-consumer marketplaceB2C marketplace apps connect businesses with consumers. These apps are typically used for buying and selling retail products or services.
    • Tmall
    • Taobao
    • Airbnb
    3Peer-to-peer marketplaceP2P marketplace apps connect consumers with other consumers. These apps are typically used for buying and selling used goods or services.
    • eBay
    • Etsy
    • Ali Express
    4Vertical marketplaceWith this marketplace mobile app, customers can hire specialists to perform everyday tasks associated with cleaning, home repairs, office administration, moving, etc.
    • TaskRabbit
    • Fiverr
    • Uber
    5Horizontal marketplaceHorizontal marketplaces are online platforms or apps that facilitate transactions and interactions across a wide range of products, services, or categories, without specializing in a specific niche.
    • Facebook Marketplace
    • Craigslist
    • OfferUp
    6Unmanaged marketplaceThis type of marketplace application allows anyone to list their products or services for sale and charge a commission on each sale.
    • Craigslist
    • Facebook
  2. Plan Your Marketplace App

    Second, plan a successful marketplace app. Involve careful consideration of various aspects, from defining your target audience and selecting the right marketplace scalable business model to designing the user experience and implementing key features. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you plan your complete marketplace app:

    Key Planning Considerations
    Key ConsiderationDescription
    Decide on the NicheChoose a specific industry or category for your marketplace app, such as eCommerce, food delivery, home services, freelance, or rentals. Deciding on the exact niche leads you toward your goal and provides positive outcomes quickly.
    Identify Target AudienceDefine your target audience, understand their needs, and plan to tailor your app accordingly. Planning your app targeting the right audience will enhance your branding and increase your app engagement.
    Do Market ResearchAnalyze current marketplace applications in your selected niche to discover their strengths and weaknesses. Research your competitors, their strategies, and processes, and plan your marketplace app accordingly.
    Outline Key FeaturesPlan the essential features your app should have, such as user profiles, product listings, search, ratings, reviews, and secure payment system to make your online marketplace app stand out from your competitors.
  3. Plan Your Monetization Model

    Third, consider the monetary strategies to earn passive income from your marketplace app. To get the maximum return on your investment, choose the best scalable monetization models from the below table that suits your business audience and requirement.

    Monetization Model
    Scalable Monetization Model IdeasExamples of Business ModelDescription
    Commission Fees
    • Amazon
    • eBay
    • Airbnb
    Amazon, eBay, and Airbnb are online eCommerce sales marketplaces that charge a commission in the percentage of each transaction made on the platform.
    Listing Fees
    • Etsy
    • Lowe’s
    • Amazon Seller
    Etsy, Lowe’s, and Amazon Seller are online marketplace business models that charge sellers for listing their products or services on the app.
    Subscription Plans
    • LinkedIn Premium
    • Amazon Prime
    • YouTube Premium
    LinkedIn Premium, Amazon Prime, and YouTube Premium are an online marketplace that charges sellers for listing their products or services on the app.
    Featured Listing
    • Amazon
    • eBay
    • Airbnb
    Amazon, eBay, and Airbnb type of business model allows sellers to pay for better visibility of their listings. Higher the seller pays superior the product of the seller gets listed in the table.
    Freemium Model
    • Tinder
    • Dropbox
    • Bumble
    Tinder, Bumble, and Dropbox are a mobile marketplace that offers basic functionality and services for free, but charge for advanced features.

    Depending on your business needs and target audience you can choose your monetization model. However, make sure to choose the right monetization model for maximum and quick return on your investments.

    Now the next step is to contact a mobile app development company and discuss your idea and strategy. They will help you with the following steps that include design, app development, testing, and marketing to complete your marketplace app development.

  4. Contact App Development Company to Build a Marketplace App

    Now that you’re ready to bring your marketplace app idea to life, reach out to an app development company. This pivotal step marks the transition from concept to creation, where you’ll collaborate closely with experts who understand your vision.

    Imagine having a team of dedicated professionals who not only comprehend the complexity of app development but also value your unique input.

      Consider the following points before hiring a marketplace app development company:

    • How well your eCommerce development company understands your requirements
    • Look for a communication and collaboration approach of the company
    • Evaluate their portfolio, testimonials, and core expertise by checking other platforms like Upwork and Clutch.
    • Make sure the development company has technical expertise like knowledge of programming languages, database design, server management, and other technical skills.

    If you do not want to choose a company, you can even hire an eCommerce development team of freelancers on Fiverr, Upwork or Toptal. Since, with freelancers, it is difficult to ensure the development process, technical skills, and security.

    So, we feel it is wise to choose a reliable online marketplace development company. You can save time and money by leveraging their expertise. Development companies use technologies, industry insights, and design finesse to craft a marketplace app. Hire a well-known marketplace app development company that carries out your app development process seamlessly.

    If you choose Space-O Technologies, we have expertise and experience in delivering marketplace apps as per your custom requirements. Recently we developed a custom eCommerce book store named Sahanbooks for the people in Somaliland. So far, we have developed over 4400 iOS and Android apps. You will be surprised to know that Space-O has 96% job success on Upwork.

    Each project at Space-O Technologies is handled by a dedicated team that includes experienced developers, creative UI/UX designers, skilled testers, and a project manager. This dedicated team approach ensures smooth coordination and a focused effort toward your eCommerce project.

  5. Want to Create a Marketplace App?

    Contact us. Discuss your idea, get it validated in our free consultation session. Start developing your app with an experienced app development team.

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  6. Create Wireframe and Design the UI/UX of Your Marketplace App

    Visual part of your marketplace app is important to attract and keep your audience engaged with your brand and application. Especially if you are developing a multi-vendor marketplace app. Let your app development company blend aesthetics and functionality that provide effortless navigation and engagement,

    BA team starts by reviewing the required functionalities and understanding the goals and needs of the target audience. Next, they create wireframes that provide a visual representation of the application’s interface.

    Upon approval of the wireframes, they proceed to develop a prototype. Once the wireframe and prototype are developed, UI/UX team designs the custom marketplace with a user interface that anticipates user needs and simplifies their journey of your marketplace app.

    Remember, the user experience isn’t confined to the screen – it’s an emotional journey. Development companies infuse every interaction with a sense of purpose and clarity, from the first impression to the final action.

  7. Start Development of Your Marketplace App

    Now, your hired mobile app development team starts coding the features and functionalities of your marketplace application. Mobile app developers build the backend and front end of your marketplace app. The combination of backend and frontend development serves as the foundation upon which the entire app functions, and facilitates smooth operations.

    Here are the functions of backend and frontend development in the mobile marketplace applications development:

    Backend Development FunctionsFrontend Development Functions
    Database design and managementUI/UX design and implementation
    Server configuration and setupResponsive design for different devices
    API development for data exchangeComponent development for reusability
    Business logic implementationIntegration with backend APIs
    User authentication and securityPerformance optimization for speed
    Payment gateway integrationCross-browser compatibility
    Real-time communication (Chat)User feedback and error handling
    Data encryption and securityUser onboarding and tutorials
    Scalability and load managementIntegration with external services (Payment gateways, etc.)
    Push notifications and alertsInternationalization (Localization for different languages)
    Data analytics and reportingUser personalization and recommendations
    Third-Party services integrationAnimation and interactive elements
    Error logging and monitoringSearch functionality and filtering

    Together, backend and frontend development collaborate to build a mobile marketplace application that meets the needs of both buyers and sellers, providing a smooth experience for all users.

    Throughout this stage, the team ensures to build a marketplace application that is using best coding practices and writes clean and manageable code. During the development process, we encourage our clients to stay involved in the marketplace development process. Regular updates help with the necessary feedback, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that the application is aligned with your goals.

  8. Test and Debug Your Marketplace App

    One of the most critical phases of the marketplace app development process is testing and debugging. To ensure that the app functions correctly meets the desired requirements, and provides a seamless user experience the process of testing and debugging is carried out.

    The QA team meticulously crafts a comprehensive testing strategy for your marketplace app, ensuring it adheres to top-notch development practices. They conduct thorough examinations, scrutinizing code compliance and identifying potential issues across various devices.

    From functionality to performance, the QA team employs diverse app testing methods, encompassing functional, unit, usability, performance, security, compatibility, and user acceptance testing.

    Any detected bugs are communicated to the developers for resolution. Once your marketplace platform app is 100% bug-free, then only the QA team sends it further to the team for the launching process.

  9. Launch Your Marketplace App

    Once your marketplace app is ready for launch, marketplace app developers will initiate deployment across various online stores, tailored to your specifications. However, prior to release, adherence to the app store’s technical prerequisites and guidelines is imperative.

    Be it the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, app developers will navigate the deployment process for your marketplace app.

    Further, the approval timeline typically spans 2 to 5 business days for the Apple App Store, while the Google Play Store’s evaluation process can extend up to 7 business days. Naturally, these timelines may fluctuate based on the app store’s operational demands.

Market Your Marketplace App

After the successful launch of your marketplace app, the next is to market it effectively to attract users and drive engagement. Leverage various social media platforms to showcase your app’s features, share user testimonials, and run targeted ad campaigns to reach your audience.

Further, encourage users to leave positive reviews and ratings on app stores. Positive feedback enhances your app’s reputation and attracts new users. Moreover, use app analytics to measure user engagement, identify user behavior patterns, and make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing strategies.

As you are clear with the process of developing a marketplace platform for your business, now you might wonder about the features to add to your eCommerce marketplace application. So, let’s dive into the next section and find the key features to add to your marketplace mobile apps.

17 Features to Integrate in the Marketplace Mobile Applications

Here are the top 17 features that you need to look for to improve user engagement. Let’s check that out in the table below.

NumberFeature NameDescription
1Vendor Profiles and ReviewsEnable vendors to create detailed profiles and receive customer reviews, enhancing credibility and trust within the marketplace.
2Multi-Vendor SupportProvide a platform that supports multiple vendors, allowing them to sell their products or services, resulting in a diverse and competitive environment.
3Commission ManagementImplement a transparent system to manage and track commissions from each sale, ensuring fair compensation for vendors.
4Vendor Payout SystemCreate a secure and efficient system for paying out vendors, with support for various payment methods and currencies.
5Product/Service CatalogDevelop a comprehensive and organized catalog where vendors can list their products or services, complete with categories, tags, and filters.
6Order ManagementImplement a robust order management system that allows vendors to process, ship, and track orders, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction.
7Vendor AnalyticsProvide vendors with in-depth analytics about their sales, customer behavior, reviews, and more, enabling data-driven decision-making.
8Bulk Product UploadFacilitate vendors with tools to upload their products in bulk, streamlining the listing process and saving time.
9Inventory ManagementImplement an intelligent inventory management system that tracks stock levels, predicts demand, and automates reordering.
10Vendor Subscription PlansDesign different subscription plans for vendors, offering varying features and benefits based on the chosen plan, allowing scalability.
11Customizable StorefrontsAllow vendors to customize their storefronts with unique designs, logos, and layouts, reflecting their brand identity.
12Cross-Selling and UpsellingImplement smart algorithms to promote cross-selling and upselling, analyzing customer behavior to suggest relevant products.
13AI-Driven Pricing StrategiesEmploy AI algorithms to dynamically adjust pricing based on market trends, demand, and competitor pricing, maximizing profits.
14Personalized Vendor DashboardsUse AI to create personalized dashboards for vendors, displaying relevant insights, trends, and recommendations tailored to their business.
15Virtual Try-OnIntegrate augmented reality (AR) technology to allow users to virtually try on products before purchasing, enhancing the confidence and decision-making process for buyers of fashion, accessories, and cosmetics.
16Interactive Product ShowcasesImplement 3D product visualization, enabling users to interact with products from different angles, zoom in for detailed views, and explore intricate features, creating a more immersive shopping experience.
17AI-Powered PersonalizationUtilize artificial intelligence to analyze user behavior and preferences, offering tailored product recommendations, personalized deals, and curated collections that cater to individual tastes.

The mentioned key features help you make your marketplace app more flexible and differentiate yourself from competitors. So, knowing the key features for building a marketplace let us know the marketplace app tech stack in the below section.

Technology Stack Used in Marketplace Mobile App Development

Marketplace mobile app development relies on a well-crafted and right tech stack that serves as the foundation for creating a robust, scalable, and feature-rich platform. Here are some key components of the tech stack and tools commonly used in marketplace app development:

FrontendJavaScript Frameworks (React, Angular, Vue.js), CSS Frameworks (Bootstrap, Tailwind CSS), HTML5
BackendProgramming Languages (Node.js, Python, Java, Ruby), Web Frameworks (Express.js, Django, Spring Boot), Database Management Systems (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB)
Mobile DevelopmentiOS (Swift, Objective-C), Android (Kotlin, Java), Cross-Platform (React Native, Flutter)
DevOps & DeploymentContainerization (Docker), Orchestration (Kubernetes), CI/CD (Jenkins, GitLab CI, Travis CI), Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform)
SecurityAuthentication (OAuth, JWT), Encryption (SSL/TLS)
Analytics & MonitoringAnalytics Tools (Google Analytics), Monitoring Tools

Knowing the steps, features, and technology used in marketplace app building, you might be wondering about the cost of building a marketplace. Hence, let’s discuss the cost of developing a marketplace in the following section.

How Much Does It Cost to Create a Marketplace Mobile Application from Scratch?

The marketplace app development cost starts from $10,000 and may go upto $500,000+ approximately.

However, there are more factors and elements that you need to understand and calculate while estimating the cost of a marketplace application.

First, the cost of online marketplaces depends upon the app screens, complexity, platform, tech stack, UI/UX, and customization. While second it also depends upon the location of the development team.

Complexity LevelCost EstimateDescription
Simple$10,000 – $50,000Basic features, template-based design, minimal third-party integrations, single platform support, limited ongoing support.
Medium$50,000 – $150,000More advanced features like basic AI recommendations, custom design, several integrations, multi-platform support, moderate ongoing support, and basic marketing efforts.
Complex$150,000 – $500,000+Features (for e.g., AI, AR, 3D visualization), complex custom design, numerous complex integrations, comprehensive multi-platform support, extensive ongoing support, and a full-fledged marketing strategy.

These cost estimates are general and can vary widely based on specific requirements, the development team’s location, and the chosen platform. It’s always advisable to consult with a professional custom app development company or freelancer to get a detailed quote tailored to your unique needs and goals.

How Long Does It Take to Develop a Marketplace App?

The average timeline to develop a simple marketplace app ranges from 3 – 4 months.

Developing a marketplace app is a complex process, and the time required can vary widely based on various factors. Here’s a general breakdown:

PhaseTask or DescriptionTime Required
Planning and Market ResearchBasic planning1 week
In-depth research and analysisUp to 1 week
Design PhaseSimple design2-3 weeks
Complex design with custom elements4-6 weeks
Development PhaseMinimum viable product (MVP)8-12 weeks
Full-featured app16-24 weeks
Complex platform with advanced features24-36 weeks
Testing PhaseStandard testing2-4 weeks
In-depth testing with multiple iterations4-6 weeks
Deployment and LaunchPreparation and submission1-2 weeks
Post-launch support and updatesOngoing
Additional ConsiderationsChanges and revisionsDepends on complexity
Regulatory complianceAdditional weeks if required
Third-Party integrationsAdditional time if required

Total Time Taken to Develop a Marketplace App

Simple App: Approximately 3-4 months

Moderate App: Approximately 6-8 months

Highly Complex App: Approximately 9-12 months or more

Have a Marketplace App Idea in Mind?

Get an affordable marketplace app solution that is feature-rich, scalable, and integrable with your existing systems. Tailored to your requirements.

Now, let’s check the top 5 examples of successful marketplace apps that will encourage you to create a marketplace app for your own business.

Top 5 Examples of Marketplace Apps

Here are the top 5 examples of marketplace apps that have become leaders in their respective industries, offering users a seamless and convenient platform to access products or services from a wide range of sellers.

LogoDescriptionRevenue (Approx.)
AmazonAmazonAmazon is one of the largest online marketplaces that offer a vast range of products from electronics to groceries.514 billion U.S. dollars
ebay iconeBayA popular platform for buying and selling new and used items through auctions and fixed-price listings.9.8 billion U.S. dollars
AirbnbAirbnbA marketplace connecting travelers with unique accommodations offered by hosts worldwide.8.4 billion U.S. dollars
EtsyEtsyA niche marketplace for handmade, vintage, and craft items, allowing artisans to sell their creations.2.6 billion U.S. dollars
uber iconUberA service-based marketplace connecting riders with drivers for on-demand transportation.NA

These 5 examples are enough to justify how the marketplace model is successful in online commerce and how eCommerce apps will drive the future online market. However, it’s time now to answer your doubts by moving forward to the next section of frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions on Building a Marketplace App

Can we create a marketplace website?

Yes, it is possible to create a marketplace website. A marketplace website is a platform that connects multiple sellers and buyers, allowing them to conduct transactions and exchange goods or services.

What is an online marketplace MVP?

An online marketplace MVP is the initial version of a marketplace with essential features only. It aims to validate the concept, gather user feedback, and minimize development costs. It has a simplified design, basic functionalities, and a rapid development process. Building an MVP helps businesses test the market, reduce risks, and create a user-centric final product.

How to choose a niche for the marketplace app

Here are the steps on how to choose a niche for your marketplace app:

  • Start with your interests and expertise
  • Research existing marketplaces
  • Look for trends
  • Consider your target audience
  • Think about your competition

Moreover, you should also consider the following additional factors that include:

  • The size of the market
  • The growth potential of the market
  • The level of competition
  • The regulatory environment

Let Us Help You With Your Marketplace Project

Going through this blog you have the exact idea about the marketplace business revenues, cost of development, steps to consider while developing marketplace apps, and facts. Moreover, going through this blog, you also got an overview of the top 5 marketplace apps, features of marketplace apps, and marketplace app tech stack.

However, building a marketplace app can be a complex or complicated task for you to do on your own. But you don’t have to worry. We are here to help. As an experienced marketplace app development company, we help you create marketplace apps like Amazon, Uber, Etsy, or eBay.

We have experience working on marketplace projects and have helped startups and entrepreneurs convert their marketplace ideas into reality. Let’s discuss your marketplace idea and convert it into reality.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.