An online marketplace is basically an online store where multiple merchants can sell goods or services to customers. Due to increased demand only when they need, we are seeing a renting over buying trend, which brings a lot of business opportunities with online rental marketplaces these days.
If you are thinking of starting a rental marketplace, there are basically 2 options:
- Develop a rental marketplace from scratch.
2. Start with a ready to launch platform.
If you are just looking to test a concept, using an existing ready-to-use system like Sharetribe might work short-term.
But if you are thinking long-term to build your own custom platform, you have to develop a marketplace from scratch with your own ideas & your own niche. Here, I am talking about things you need to consider while building a peer-to-peer rental marketplace from scratch.
- Come up with a niche that you want to focus, to begin with.
While building a p2p rental platform, there is a chance that you try to build a platform for everyone and end up doing some common marketing strategies which won't bring good results.
From the experience working with some startups building marketplaces, what I found interesting is that the ones starting with a focused niche turns to be successful faster, especially if you are a startup and can't spend much on the initial launch.
- Make payment methods an easy & flawless process.
A flawless payment process is what brings online platforms more repeatable sales. Have some option for the user to add cards, save their information and easily checkout after making their purchases. That will make the user stick to your platform which brings in more sales.
- Think of different revenue models and choose the best which works for the type of products you rent.
For an online rental marketplace, you can have different revenue models. You can charge a commission from the renters, limit no. of renters & charge them a flat monthly fee, charge renters for making their products 'Verified' on search, include an advertising system etc. If you are planning to rent only machinery/ vehicles through the platform, an hourly/ daily charging model might work well. Based on the type of products and repeated rental chances, you can define your revenue strategy.
- Include star ratings & reviews.
I have also found that including ratings & reviews in your product improves credibility and make more chances for people to try the products. It also brings in a lot of feedback from the existing customers which you can use to improve the quality of products.
Adding this surely helps!
- Make sure the user can find what they need, easier & faster.
There should be search, categories filters and suggestions which makes it easy for the user to find what they want easier & faster. Not everyone likes to browse through the whole products and find what they want. Make customer touch points as easy and lesser it can be to make it less effort for the customers.
- Recommendation system to boost sales.
Have you gone through the suggestions you see on e-commerce platforms just to see what they are and ended up buying them. Well, I have. Most people don't exactly know all the best products available in the market. They surely go through it if it attracts their interests and there is a chance they buy it too.
- Have a mobile first design.
Mobile is not just an extension of the web now, everyone checks out products more on the go than on their laptops. So building a mobile-first responsive design from the beginning is important to attract all kind of users. You can compare what is needed on bigger screens and what needs to be on mobile screens and design the platform based on that.
- UX is very important.
User Experience is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. This includes different customer touch points while using a website, web application, or software. Building a great user experience helps you increase brand loyalty, more conversions and helps you get more customers down the line. Also having a proper UX defined will help you get more user surveys and find what works & what doesn't. Not just in a system like this, UX is very important in every business you do.
These are some of the points I felt which can improve an online rental marketplace as a system.