How to Build a Marketplace App: An Ultimate Guide in 2024

Do you want to increase your business’s brand awareness and visibility? Are you looking to establish your business on digital channels?

One of the best ways is to build a marketplace app for your business. Taking your business online increases the chances of your growth and sales as you serve a worldwide audience.

As a business owner, if you are looking to create a marketplace application from scratch, you have landed on the right blog post.

We know the online marketplace industry is challenging and tough due to large competition with top marketplace applications like Amazon, Etsy, and Wish. However, the right approach to developing a mobile application plays an important part in establishing your business.

In this blog, you will learn

  • Growth of online marketplace apps
  • The complete process of marketplace app development
  • Cost of building a marketplace app
  • Timeline to build a marketplace app
  • Types of monetization strategies
  • Technology stack for development

So, let’s get started.

Before learning the process of building marketplace apps, first, let’s know the opportunity and growth of the online marketplace.

Continuous Growth of Online Marketplace Apps

Here is a list of statistics on online marketplace apps as well as on MCommerce to help you understand the current market scenario.

  • According to a report by InsiderIntelligence, the US market of eCommerce sales is estimated to reach $468.29 billion by 2024 compared to $357.26 billion in 2022.
  • According to a survey by DigitalCommerce360, a total of $3.23 trillion was spent globally on the top marketplaces in 2021.
  • Online marketplace payments are estimated to reach $8.7 trillion by 2025, as per a survey of Finextra.
  • By 2026, MCommerce sales in the USA are estimated to increase by 8.7% of total retail sales from 6.5% in 2023, according to InsiderIntelligence.

These statistics show a positive sign to investing in marketplace app development for your business. As online shopping via mobile applications increases in the future, the opportunity to establish your business in the online marketplace industry seems to be beneficial. Let’s now learn the type of marketplace applications available for development.

8 Different Types of Online Marketplace Applications

There are multiple types of online marketplace applications available in the market. Depending on your business, choose the right types of marketplace application development. If you are not sure in which categories your business falls, here is a table that explains the types of marketplace applications with examples of applications.

Types of Marketplace AppExplanation of Marketplace TypeExamples of Applications
eCommerce MarketplaceAn online platform that connects buyers and sellers to sell and purchase physical goods and commodities.
  • Amazon
  • Wish
  • Alibaba
Service MarketplaceAn online platform that connects buyers and sellers who provide services like freelancing, consulting, and tutoring.
  • UpWork
  • Fiverr
  • PeoplePerHour
Peer-to-Peer MarketplaceAn online platform that allows transactions between individuals without involving intermediaries.
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Etsy
B2B MarketplaceAn online platform enabling businesses with other businesses for the purpose of buying and selling goods and services.
  • Alibaba
  • eBay
Niche MarketplaceAn online platform that is specifically fulfilling the needs of specific niches or vertices, such as vintage clothing or handmade crafts.
  • Poshmark
  • Etsy
C2C MarketplaceAn online platform that allows individuals to connect, buy, and sell services or products directly without the involvement of any third-party service.
  • Poshmark
  • OfferUp
  • Letgo
Rental MarketplaceAn online platform that enables individuals or businesses to rent out their services or assets to other people online.
  • Turo
  • Airbnb
  • Rent the Runway
Hybrid MarketplaceAn online platform that is a combination of multiple types of marketplace applications into a single platform.
  • Amazon
  • eBay

These are the core types of marketplace apps currently available in the market. In whichever category your business falls, create your marketplace application. Choosing a type of marketplace is essential as it impacts the whole process of development. That’s why selecting the type of marketplace application or deciding which type of marketplace application you want to create is very important.

Moreover, you can contact an experienced mobile application development company like Space-O. Consulting such an app development company helps to build a foundation for your mobile application and clear your doubts.

Want to Develop a Custom Marketplace App?

We are a leading mobile app development company, having a team of experienced mobile app developers who are skilled in Java, Swift, React Native, and Flutter.

Cta Image

Now, let’s learn the process of developing a marketplace application for your business.

How to Create a Marketplace Application from Scratch: 6 Steps Process

Follow these 6 steps for your online marketplace app development.

  1. Conduct Market Research for Your Marketplace Application

    Before developing your marketplace, you need to identify your target audience, learn about market trends, and understand the preferences of your target audience. To make a successful marketplace application, you must have the following information:

    • Identify your niche and determine the services or products you will offer
    • Find the right business model to meet your revenue goals
    • Knowing your target audience and their requirements and preferences
    • Choose the right mobile app platform for your marketplace app development
    • Find the pain points that you will resolve in your mobile marketplace app
    • Learn what type of user experience and user interface with proper navigation

    In short, having a clear idea of what type of application you want to build makes the entire development process easier.

    But, how do you find out all the details for your marketplace application development? Here are some tips to help you out.

    • Perform market surveys and gather data based on your user preferences, demographics, and behaviour to identify your target audience.
    • Analyze your competitors and know about their target audience as well as your competitor’s weaknesses and strengths
    • Create a user persona by making a detailed profile of your ideal customer with information, such as age, gender, occupation, interests, and pain points
    • Define your unique selling point to advertise and establish your application in the market
    • Use social media tools for identifying your target audience by collecting data on user behaviour, preferences, and demographics

    As much as you are clear about the type of mobile application you want to have for your business, it would reduce the cost and timeline of your development. Next, you need to decide the business model you want to include in your custom marketplace application development.

  2. Choose the Right Business Model for Your Marketplace App

    Multiple types of business models are available in the marketplace application. Check the following table to learn about the different types of business models. Learn about each business model and choose the best suitable for your marketplace application.

    Business ModelDefinitionExamples
    Commission-basedThe marketplace takes a percentage of each transaction made through the platform
    • Airbnb
    • Uber
    • Etsy
    Subscription-basedCustomers to pay a certain amount to gain access to the marketplace, usually, on a monthly or yearly basis
    • Amazon Prime
    • Spotify
    FreemiumThe basic version of the platform is free, but users can pay for premium features or services
    • Dropbox
    • Canva
    • Hootsuite
    Pay-Per-UseUsers pay for each transaction or service they use on the platform
    • TaskRabbit
    • Fiverr
    • Upwork
    Advertising-basedThe marketplace generates revenue by displaying ads to users
    • Facebook
    • Google
    • LinkedIn
    Listing-basedThe marketplace charges a fee for listing items or services on the platform
    • eBay
    • Craigslist
    • Letgo

    Depending on your type of marketplace mobile app development. You can choose the right business model for your business. However, modern marketplace applications implement multiple monetization models in their business to generate revenue. For example, the Amazon application uses two business models, such as the subscription-based model and the advertising model.

    However, if you are unable to decide on the right or most suitable business model for your marketplace application, here are key tips to help you.

    • Analyze your competitors to find out their monetization strategies
    • Understand the demographics of your audience and choose the right business model
    • Evaluate the revenue streams to find the best ROI-providing business model
    • Contact an experienced mobile application development for consultation

    Moving further, let’s decide the features for your marketplace application.

  3. Choose Features You Want to Integrate into Your Marketplace Application

    At this stage, decide the features you want to include in your marketplace application. Whether you are creating a B2B, C2C, or B2C marketplace application, choosing the right features is important. Depending on the type of your marketplace application, integration features and functionalities within your marketplace are the right decision.

    To give you a basic idea of features that you should include in your marketplace application, here is the list to help you.

    FeaturesAdminSellers AppBuyers App
    AuthenticationManage user authenticationManage seller authenticationManage user authentication
    User ManagementManage user accounts and permissionsManage seller accounts and permissionsManage user profiles and account settings
    Product ListingManage product listingsCreate and manage product listingsBrowse and search for products
    Order ManagementManage orders and paymentsView and manage orders and paymentsPlace and track orders
    ShippingManage shipping options and tracking informationProvide shipping options and tracking informationView shipping options and tracking information
    MessagingCommunicate with users and sellersCommunicate with buyers and adminCommunicate with sellers and admin
    ReviewsMonitor and moderate user reviewsRespond to user reviews and ratingsRead and provide product reviews and ratings
    AnalyticsView and analyze user and sales dataView sales and performance metricsView order and shipping details and history
    SupportProvide customer support and resolve disputesProvide seller support and resolve disputesContact customer support and resolve issues
    MarketingManage marketing campaigns and promotionsCreate and manage seller promotions and discountsReceive marketing communications and promotions
    NotificationsManage email and push notificationsReceive notifications for orders, sales, and messagesReceive notifications for orders, shipments, and more

    This is the list of basic or must-have features in a marketplace application. When you create your own marketplace application, you need to decide on advanced features for your mobile application.

    Making your application unique from your competitors helps to gain a competitive advantage. That’s why choosing the advanced features to integrate into your application is a must.

    As you decide on the features of your marketplace application, the next step is creating the design and user experience of your marketplace mobile application. Check the next step.

  4. Design of Your Custom Marketplace Application

    A mobile app designers team creates the design for your marketplace application. To design your marketplace application, first of all, the wireframe of your marketplace platform is created. Wireframe is a visual representation of your marketplace mobile application that includes the layout and structure of your app’s UI. Creating a wireframe for a mobile application consists of several components, such as images, buttons, menus, input fields, and text.

    As the wireframe of your marketplace application is created, an interactive prototype of your mobile application is created. Here is an example image of a wireframe of a mobile app.

    Dribble mokap

    Image Source: Dribble

    A prototype is a working model of your marketplace application that includes simple functionality and user experience.

    Creating a prototype of an application helps to test and refine your mobile application’s functionality, user interface, and user experience. This way, it becomes easy to identify potential bugs or issues during marketplace app development. Next, the development of your marketplace application gets started.

  5. Development and Testing of Your Custom Marketplace Application

    Depending on the choice of your mobile app platform either native or cross-platform, the technology stack of your mobile application gets decided.

    Now, your hire mobile app development team starts coding the features and functionalities of your marketplace application. Mobile app developers build the server-side infrastructure of your mobile application which includes, database and API integration. These APIs are developed to communicate between the front-end and back-end of your mobile application.

    In addition, the development also includes the steps of setting up user authentication, data storage and retrieval, and payment processing integration. Once the development of your marketplace application gets complete, next the testing is carried out.

    The QA team prepares a complete strategy to test your own marketplace app. Tasks of the QA team include ensuring your application’s code compliance with the best practices of development, identifying the issues, and testing your mobile marketplace app on different devices.

    By following testing life, the QA team tests your mobile application from every aspect that includes functionality and performance. All the testing is done with the help of different types of software testing, such as functional, unit, usability, performance, security, compatibility, and user acceptance testing.

    If bugs are found during the testing of your mobile application, then developers fix the issues accordingly. Once your marketplace platform app is 100% bug-free, then only the QA team sends further to the team for the further deployment process.

  6. Launch Your Marketplace Mobile App on the App Stores

    Once your marketplace app is ready for release, the app developers team deploy your mobile application on the different app stores according to your requirements. However, to deploy your marketplace app on the app stores, it needs to meet all the app store’s technical requirements and guidelines.

    Whether you want to deploy your mobile application Apple App Store or Google Play Store, the team of developers deploy your marketplace app accordingly.

    Generally, the time duration to get your approval on app stores like Apple App Store ranges from 2 – 5 business days and Google Play Store takes up to 7 business days. Certainly, the timeline varies depending on the workload of the app store team.

    As you are clear with the process of developing a marketplace app for your business, now you might wonder about the cost of mobile application development. Let’s check the next section.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Custom Marketplace App?

The average cost to develop a custom marketplace app ranges from $15,000 to $50,000.

However, the cost of creating a custom marketplace application depends on several factors, such as the complexity of the app, features and functionalities, the platform you choose, the development team’s location and experience level, and the timeline for development.

Let’s learn about the cost of developing a marketplace app based on its complexity.

The Complexity of AppExamples of Marketplace AppsCost of Marketplace App
  • Etsy
  • Poshmark
  • Letgo
$15,000 – $28,000
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Fiverr
$25,000 – $50,000
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • AliExpress
Starts from $50,000

As you have learned the cost of marketplace apps, let’s now learn about the timeline for developing a marketplace application.

Looking to Know the Exact Cost of Marketplace App Development?

Describe your requirements to us mobile app consultants. Our consultants will help you to create a complete roadmap and cost estimation.

How Long Does It Take to Develop a Marketplace App?

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

Certainly, the timeline to create a marketplace app whether for small or large businesses depends on multiple factors. Those factors are as follows:

  • The complexity of your marketplace application
  • The marketplace app features and functionalities you integrate
  • The platform you choose to develop your mobile app
  • The technology stack used for developing marketplace apps
  • The size of the development team and experience
  • The number of change requirements before deployment
  • The time requires to test and deploy your marketplace app

Get the general timeline of developing a complete marketplace app depending on the different complexity. Check the following table to learn about the timeline.

The Complexity of the Marketplace AppTimeline of the Marketplace App
Simple App4 – 6 months
Medium App6 – 8 months
Complex App9 – 12 months

If you are looking to get an exact timeline to develop your own marketplace app, then get in touch with our experienced mobile app consultant. Our experienced marketplace app developers will validate your application idea and provide your complete roadmap with cost bifurcation.

In the next section, learn about the top online marketplaces available in the USA and Canada.

5 Top Online Marketplace Mobile Apps in the USA and Canada

IconNameTotal FundingGoogle Play Store Ratings
Upwork logoUpWork$168.8 Million 4.0
131K reviews
Fiverr logoFiverr$111 Million 4.6
131K reviews
Etsy logoEtsy$97.3 Million 4.9
1.18M reviews
Airbnb logoAirbnb$6.4 Billion 4.5
1.41M reviews
TaskRabbit logoTaskRabbit$37.7 Million 3.9
12.1K reviews

If you still have questions regarding online marketplace apps, check the next section of FAQ.

FAQ During Online Marketplace Apps Development

  1. What are the benefits of developing a marketplace application?

  2. When you develop a marketplace app for your business, you get the following benefits.

    • Increase the revenue of your business with multiple sources of income
    • Grow your customer base by exploring the globally
    • Enhance the efficiency of your business by automating repetitive tasks
    • Offer flexibility to both sellers and buyers within your application
  3. What are the ways to market an online marketplace application?

  4. Here are 4 ways to use it to advertise marketplace platforms.

    • Utilize social media marketing
    • Start email marketing campaign
    • Perform app store optimization
    • Start referral marketing
    • Host events and sponsorships
  5. What are the ways to reduce marketplace app development costs?

  6. Generally, here are the ways that you can use to reduce your online marketplace app development costs.

    • Defining the clear scope of an online marketplace app
    • Using the third-party APIs and services
    • Choosing an outsourcing app development company
    • Considering building an MVP version of your application

Let’s Create Your Own Marketplace App

In this blog, you have learned about the complete process, features, timeline, and cost to create a marketplace app. Whether you have an idea to create a marketplace app for your small, medium-sized, or enterprise business, this process is followed.

Do you have an idea to create a unique marketplace app? Are you looking to validate your mobile app idea? Contact us. We are a leading mobile app development company in Canada, having experience in successfully developing 300+ custom software and mobile applications. Let’s connect and talk about your requirements.

  • 1
Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

back to top