The right technologies make a world of difference, which is why many of the best-performing marketplaces are built with open-source software. Our clients have achieved great success building marketplaces with the following technologies.
Building a back-end for your marketplace can be a challenge, especially when faced with the daunting complexity of multiple moving parts. This is why back-end frameworks are so crucial; it allows programmers to focus on the details that will allow your marketplace to stand out, without having to worry about the elements that will make your marketplace work. Symfony is a PHP framework that allows coders to achieve those goals.
One of the most important advantages of Symfony is the large community of coders that use the framework. It means coders are never alone as there is always someone within the community that has run into similar issues and is willing to help. The framework is also incredibly flexible to code with, which is crucial since the changing needs of buyers and sellers require quick responses.
Coding best practices are built into the framework, which make it easier and faster for coders to work with than other frameworks. Symfony is extremely practical, allowing coders to deploy sites quickly and easily. This is a great advantage for agile development in a lean startup framework, as it allows you to test multiple versions of the site to find the one that works the best for your clients.
Since popular websites such as DailyMotion and Spotify use Symfony, it has proven it can meet the scaling challenges of any marketplace. Work with CobbleWeb to capitalise on the great advantages that Symfony offers.
The back-end is where you create trust in your marketplace, while your front-end is where you generate love for your marketplace. Getting the front-end right is key to your platform’s success – without it, your buyers will not engage with your sellers and your marketplace will fail.
Just like Symfony for the back-end, AngularJS allows developers to focus on the things that will make your marketplace stand out, without sacrificing the things that will make your website work. Developed and maintained by Google, Angular has a huge community of developers that help each other overcome the random developing roadblocks that are bound to pop up in any project.
In addition to Google, Netflix and YouTube also use AngularJS for their platforms – making it a standard for scalable platforms. Don’t fall behind your competition. Work with us to implement AngularJS as part of your marketplace.
We have mentioned that some technologies are not necessarily right for every marketplace. ElasticSearch is an example of that, since most early-stage marketplaces, don’t need it. However, you want to get to a point where you do need ElasticSearch. That’s because this search and analytics engine is the go-to choice for searching huge volumes of data quickly. This is an important capability when you have lots of vendors who are selling multiple products to many customers who want fast transactions. Needing ElasticSearch is a sign that things are going well for your business.
ElasticSearch uses a NOSQL, distributed full-text database that makes search fast. It is especially powerful for word search, since it makes autocomplete and instant search possible. While it is not generally used for early-stage marketplaces, it is relatively easy to add once the platform’s growth demands it. It scales very easily to keep up with growing demand as well as supply. Another plus is that ElasticSearch is supported by a large and helpful community to help you deal with any problems that might pop up.
CobbleWeb can help you deploy ElasticSearch once your marketplace is ready.
Once you have built the back-end to control your inventory and a front-end to show it off, you still need to provide a way for sellers to add descriptions and images of the products or services they are selling. To provide that access, we utilise WordPress – the most popular content management system in the world.
You might know WordPress as a blogging platform, which is not something you would associate with a marketplace. But the same characteristics that make it an exceptional platform for blogging can provide crucial advantages for a marketplace.
WordPress is very SEO-friendly. This is important as search engine-optimised product descriptions will make it easier for your vendors to generate leads from search engines like Google and Bing. More than 50,000 plugins are available to help your vendors provide engaging, optimised product descriptions. Due to WordPress’s popularity there is a massive community supporting it. The result is a powerful tool for increasing your vendors’ revenues and ultimately yours.
While your buyers and sellers might see a seamless platform, we utilise both Symfony and WordPress to create marketplace platforms that provide superb user experiences. Find out if WordPress is right for your marketplace idea.
Building a great platform is key to your success as it is where most of your user engagement takes place. At some point though, buyers and sellers leave the platform, forcing you to find a way to notify them about important events. Confirmation of transactions, permission requests, notification of a new account created, all of these events require off-platform contact with users.
The obvious, easiest way to do this is with email, but you don’t want to have a team member that just prepares and sends out scores of emails; you need to automate the process. At the same time, the email can’t read like it was generated by a computer; there needs to be a personal touch. This is where Mandrill comes in.
Mandrill allows you to automatically send personalised emails to different stakeholders. It’s an email platform that specifically focuses on transactional emails such as receipts and new account notifications. With a 99.99% API uptime, Mandrill ensures that your clients get the documentation they need when they need it.
By combining Mandrill with Mailchimp templates for different events, you can make sure that the documents you send will stand out. For the sellers, it creates a seamless experience that blends perfectly with the platform’s back-end. In short, Mandrill helps you organise all the elements of the transaction process, transcribe it, and send it to all of the necessary parties. Let us help you implement Mandrill.
As discussed, businesses need to notify their clients via email after a transaction has taken place, but that is not the only type of communication your business should focus on.
Transactional emails are useful to alert customers when actions are completed, but businesses are more interested in enticing people to keep on using their products or services. Vendors want to reach out to potential customers who are not on the platform and lure back existing customers to do more shopping. That requires marketing emails that notify potential buyers of discounts, new product offerings, and exclusive events. Each type of marketing offer will require a different approach and format, which means your marketplace website will need multiple email templates.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email solutions for any online marketplace. One of the most challenging aspect of developing an automated email system is designing templates. Fortunately, Mailchimp’s active community means there are hundreds of templates that have already been developed and available for use. These template marketplaces cut down on development time and allow vendors to focus on making sales instead of designing emails.
Mailchimp seamlessly integrates with Symfony and Mandrill, meaning that one interface allows vendors to control what their customers see on and off the platform. The ability to shape perception is a powerful draw card for vendors. Contact us to help you integrate Mailchimp with your marketplace website.
A lot of effort goes into online marketplaces, to ensure that they are immersive, intuitive and well-designed. However, it is crucial not to lose sight of the main goal of any online marketplace – to initiate and complete financial transactions between buyers and sellers. If you don’t get that right, nothing else matters.
Getting payment transactions right means that both sides have to be absolutely confident and secure in the exchange. Buyers need to know that their personal and financial information are secure and that only the authorised amount will be deducted from their bank accounts. Sellers have to trust that they will be compensated for the goods or services they delivered. Without that trust, no transactions can take place.
This is one instance where building a customised solution from the ground up is the wrong way to go. In this case, popularity is an advantage because with that popularity comes trust. That is why we use PayPal marketplace and Stripe Connect for marketplace transactions.
Since Stripe and PayPal are two of the most popular payment gateways, many of your potential buyers and sellers probably already have accounts with them. These companies focus on nothing but secure user-friendly financial transactions, which frees you up to work on differentiating your marketplace, without risking your reputation due to poor transaction software.
Both have an international presence, allowing your marketplace to facilitate transactions regardless of where your vendors and buyers are located. PayPal and Stripe are also developer friendly and thus easy to integrate. Most importantly, their anti-fraud protections are second to none, which will give everyone on your platform the confidence to buy and sell. We can help you integrate and customise a payment system for your marketplace site.
In some respects, web design was a lot easier back in the 1990s. Everyone was using the same sort of device; if you wanted to go online you had to use a desktop or laptop. There were different brands, but they all involved a single screen which you interacted with via a mouse.
The rise of smartphones and tablets changed all of that. Suddenly, websites had to be able to convey the same information on a much smaller screen where navigation was done by touch. Your website now had to accommodate these two very different ways of interacting with your web pages.
Front-end frameworks like Bootstrap made designing for different screen sizes much easier. Instead of creating one set of pages for desktops and laptops and another for smartphones and tablets, Bootstrap allows you to create a responsive website that works on any device.
It has become a standard for device interoperability – it saves your developers time, it works for all browsers, and it is very adaptable. We can help you implement and customise Bootstrap so that your marketplace website works perfectly on all devices.
You have built a marketplace with an engaging user-friendly front-end and a powerful back-end that can scale as your business grows. Your marketplace works on any device and its payment mechanism is beyond reproach. You have optimised everything, except for one thing – your growth potential.
Instead of making your marketplace a mere platform for people to buy and sell goods, you can transform it into a complete eco-system. You can do this by making your platform interoperable with other systems through an API.
An API is the standard for allowing different machines to communicate with each other. An inherent problem with siloed systems is that if you want to publish information from one system to another you need to manually key in the information.
An API allows you to work around that restriction by building a bridge between the two systems allowing information from one database to be translated and added to another. This basic functionality provides a lot of benefits for a growing marketplace.
For example, an API can make life much easier for your vendors. Instead of manually entering their product line into your system, vendors can use the API to connect your marketplace to their internal systems and automatically transfer the information to your website.
An API also allows you to integrate with other partners to enhance your marketplace’s functionality without having to do additional coding. In short, an API saves everyone time and encourages innovation – it is the key to unlocking your site’s potential. Talk to us about creating a value-adding API for your marketplace platform.
Would you like to know more about the suitability of a particular technology for your marketplace? Get in touch for a free audit and recommendations.