How to Create a Marketplace Like Etsy in 7 Steps

How to Create a Marketplace Like Etsy in 7 Steps

It is hard to imagine how in the modern world full of competition and information flow, sites like Etsy manage to survive, moreover, be profitable and bring success to their owners. Etsy itself was doomed to disappear long before becoming live, and yet – at the moment it is one of the most popular marketplaces and is growing pretty fast showing a great example to websites like Etsy. Moreover, can be put in one line with major league players like eBay or Amazon. If you plan to create an online marketplace like Etsy but better, this guide should be your starting point. 

Building an online marketplace like Etsy always starts with an idea. Etsy became so popular because it fits exactly in the right place and connected creative people who wanted to sell their handmade products and people who wanted to buy them. While websites similar to Etsy offer services alike, none of Etsy type websites offered an exclusive platform for craft, art, handicraft and handmade items. This brings us to the starting point of setting up an online marketplace.

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Step 1: Targeting and Ideas

When working on your ideas, make sure that the platform you create offers something special and unique unlike other websites like Etsy. Search for trends, popular requests, get to know the audience and create a concept that would satisfy all of the above in one place and would allow you to build a marketplace website like Etsy but better. Choose the niche you understand the best, make sure it answers modern demands and answer yourself why it will be different from other similar to Etsy marketplaces? 

Step 2: Domain Name and Hosting

There are thousands of online shops like Etsy, so why yours should be better? Pick a proper, catchy name so people would remember it easily and would be encouraged to share it with others. Building an online marketplace heavily depends on VPS (Virtual Private Server). It is easier to start with the AWS (Amazon Web Services) first because they offer:

  • Great Load Speed
  • Great Performance
  • Great Availability
  • Fairly Affordable Fee

Step 3: Back-End/Technology

Now it’s time to actually start building an online marketplace like Etsy of yours. While WordPress might seem to be a great pick for websites similar to Etsy, CMS with a proper set of plug-ins would be a better choice to run the multi-vendor peer-to-peer marketplace. WordPress is the best solution for blogging where selling products is an additional option. Marketplace like Etsy requires a different approach and has different goals where selling and buying is the key feature. 

When we talk about frameworks for sites like Etsy, NodeJS and Laravel have proven themselves to be the best solutions. Thanks to:

  • Custom Development
  • Iteration
  • Quick Response
  • Great User Experience

you will be able to create your own online marketplace in around 1-2 month period and get your first sales and motivation to grow an Etsy like platform. 

Step 4. Design/UI

No matter how great you manage to create an online marketplace, the design is still what customers see first and want to interact with. Websites like Etsy do not require something extraordinary and should be based on 4 key elements: 

  • Easy Registration
  • Easy Navigation
  • Easy Selling 
  • Easy Buying

Intuitive User Interface (UI) followed by fast and responsive navigation will make your marketplace stand out right away. 

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Step 5. Functionality

When building an online marketplace, it is important to remember it has to satisfy all of the basic needs of your visitors. When we talk about setting up an online marketplace, the first things to have would be: 

  • Registration
  • Authorization
  • Catalog
  • Post Feature
  • Statistics
  • Payment Options
  • Personal Profile (different for buyers and sellers)
  • Multiply Wish List Options

Do not forget that websites like Etsy also have to be administered properly. For that matter, when building an online marketplace, it is important to have a private system that will function as a filter and will be able to: 

  • Block sellers/buyers for violating your Policies
  • Manage the Statistics
  • Approve/Decline Goods based on website regulations

It is not enough to simply create an online marketplace but is it is also important to manage it properly. 

Step 6: Monetization

So, you managed to develop a marketplace website and your similar to Etsy store is up and running. Now it’s time to make it work for you and bring you income. There are several options for monetizing the multi-vendor online marketplace. You can pick one that suits you best or combine a couple to your liking.

  • Ads (Pay for Clicks). Pretty popular among stores like Etsy, easy to implement, can bring great profit when offered to external and internal vendors. More of a passive income does not have 100% feedback, might be partially blocked using AdBlockers. 
  • Fee-Based (Item Commission). One of the most common ways to monetize income on other sites like Etsy. Sellers pay a certain percentage of their income when selling a product. It can range from 3% to 15% percent depending on the industry. 
  • Membership Plans. Used sometimes on websites like Etsy with vendors listing in range of 10-1000 products. For a certain monthly plan, sellers can list a certain amount of products. Plans may vary offering affordable options for those who sell less and expensive for those who sell more Usually, Membership plans come with a free trial to test sites like Etsy. 

Source: Synergy Way ©

Step 7. Marketing

There is literary a countless number of websites like Etsy and it is almost impossible to stand out by building an online marketplace only. Even if it’s a good one. When it comes to marketing an online marketplace – all options are good and the best results can be achieved only by combining them all. 

  • PPC Campaigns (Facebook, Adwords). One of the key instruments to popularize shops like Etsy and online marketplaces as such. It gives instant results but requires investments. With proper approach and keywords can reduce the expenses a bit. Requires target client research and proper organization. 
  • SEO. Effective but a time-consuming marketing strategy. If used properly, noticeable results will show in 6 months. Highly increases website and brand visibility and has great conversion rates but requires a lot of time. 
  • Ads on third-party platforms. It can be both super-effective and super-ineffective. Require proper research and suitable platform. Have a long marketing run. Completely depend on the correct type of ad. 
  • Inbound and Outbound Email Marketing. Not the most effective approach for websites like Etsy but requires minimum investments. Increases brand visibility, works directly with the target audience. 

Building an online marketplace like Etsy is a complicated process and requires great effort. However, the key element for success would be finding the most obvious problem for buyers and sellers online and be the first one to create an online marketplace that would answer all their needs. Otherwise – it’s going to be just another like Etsy store. 

Have a project in mind? Contact us to discuss and create something awesome together.

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