How do I build a minimum viable product (MVP) marketplace?

Having done all your research, you should have a pretty good understanding of your potential customers’ problems and how your marketplace is going to solve them. That covers the problem/solution but you now have to work out the product/market fit, in other words, how do you supply and identify a large market with a suitable product.

To enable you to do this you’ll need to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) marketplace.

You’ll need to start by working out who your early adopters are likely to be, those who will be the first to want to use your multi vendor marketplace and give you all important feedback. You want to present them with core features that mean you are solving their needs. It is only when these people start using your marketplace that you’ll have the priceless information needed to improve your product until it is at its optimum. 

This stage can’t be missed, it is imperative that you build your own MVP marketplace. The worst thing that can happen to your marketplace is that no-one uses it because you’re not offering a product anyone wants. You need to validate your marketplace from the start, and this is one of the benefits of a minimum viable product. If you begin without doing this, chances are your marketplace will fail.

Although this is all part of the process and something of a ‘prototype’, you still want to make it as finished and polished as you can. It won’t be perfect at this stage as you won’t have had the feedback yet, but it does need to deliver what you’re promising so the feedback is based on what your marketplace will actually be like. If you put it out at this stage with bugs or looking unprofessional, users will automatically be put off. 

That will result in poor feedback that might have nothing to do with your core idea, simply how you’ve presented it. You want to delight your early adopters, so bear that in mind from day one, put in the time and effort and present an amazing product that people will want to use, take their feedback onboard and perfect it. 
When you look at building a minimum viable product in regard to marketplaces, MVP actually stands for Minimum Viable Platform (rather than product). You’ll only know if your marketplace is viable once you launch your platform and people start using it.

Talk to us about releasing your MVP marketplace

So how do you go about building a minimum viable product? If you’re not a developer – which most people aren’t, you’ll want to work closely with a company such as Code23 who will be as invested in your product as you are. 

By working with a partner (like us!) we can make sure that you are doing your idea justice. Your marketplace will be professional and functional from day one and vendors and customers will be able to start using it, so feedback will be accurate and actionable. 

The marketplace platform will be easy to administer and everything will be set up for you so you can concentrate on your idea and the research. We will take care of the coding, hosting and payment system… and your MPV will be ready to go.

Before launching, be clear in your own mind what it is you want to learn from the launch and what information will enable you to determine if your assumptions about your marketplace are correct. To do that you’ll need to define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of your marketplace to see if they are met.

In conclusion, when it comes to your business, the MVP is the basic solution that solves your vendors and customers problems in a way that other marketplaces haven’t to date. Make it a great experience for everyone!