To feel the scale of the online marketplace market, look at your mobile screen. We see services for booking hotels, a platform for finding temporary accommodation, an application for carpooling, and so on. These are just a few examples.
Although the rapid development of the marketplace industry began several years ago, the market has not yet seen such a vast number of new launches as recently. This growth was especially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, there is still time to find your niche and overtake competitors.
Today we will tell you about our experience of creating a custom marketplace for selling boats, a recent project the Codica team delivered. We will tell you about our development process and do our best to answer the main questions on this project.
Why did the online marketplace for boats in Australia, Trade A Boat (a leader in its segment), decide to redesign a website and create a new web solution? What challenges did our development team face? What results were achieved?
Let’s find out together.
Why is building a marketplace a good business idea in 2022?
Marketplaces remain at the top of popularity and appear to be the most promising segment of e-commerce. The multi-million audiences of such giants as Amazon and eBay speak for themselves.
Analyst company Forrester Research predicts that in 2022, about 70% of all online purchases will be made in marketplaces.
Moreover, as you can see below, e-commerce sales worldwide will only grow.
Such popularity of marketplaces is not surprising. They are convenient both for buyers who can compare many products and vendors who receive powerful lead flow. Nowadays, you can choose a variety of niches for the marketplace: from narrow clothing segments to financial and logistics services.
Definitely, the number of marketplaces is increasing, consequently, the competition is growing too. So, by ordering marketplace website development services, you can create an outstanding platform, and significantly expand your audience. Also, you will leave behind many other enterprises competing with you.
Project overview and business challenges
Trade A Boat is a popular, Australia-based online marketplace. On this platform, dealers, private sellers, and buyers can sell or purchase new or used boats and marine equipment. Moreover, visitors can find news and exciting information about the world of boating in Trade A Boat Magazine.
When our client turned to us, they had an idea to refine their existing boat marketplace solution. Their main goal was to achieve better results in business.
Now, let's see what the client’s challenges were:
Conduct redesign of the existing solution and create a new website to make the boat selling website visually engaging.
Optimize the boat marketplace for mobile devices.
Increase private listings submissions.
Generate more leads for advertisers.
Maintain third-party integrations with service providers and dealer inventory management systems.
The main idea of our project was to refresh the existing web solution to generate more leads to the site and grow our business. The Codica team quickly and efficiently created our new website, maintained third-party integrations, and made the solution mobile-friendly - CEO, Marketplace Retail Company, Australia
Codica’s development process
Project Discovery Phase
The product discovery phase is the initial stage of marketplace website development. This stage helps analyze the client's business challenges, and suggest the most suitable ways to solve them.
At Codica, we always start with the product discovery phase and don't move on to the development stage until we get answers to the basic questions:
- who is the end-user of the product,
- what are users’ problems and pain points,
- what is the value proposition of the product,
- how the product can meet the needs of users.
This is exactly how we worked on the Trade a Boat project.
At first, we got to know the client of the Trade A Boat project and their goals. The main one was to implement a new web solution to make it successful and viable.
Then, we discussed the customer's existing business processes and the concept of a future marketplace for boats. Our team provided research on the target audience of our client's business and conducted competitive market analysis.
Also, we had a meeting to formulate solutions to business problems. After determining the scope of work, we set deadlines and priorities in the working process. Furthermore, our team distributed the appointments of specialists involved in the custom marketplace development process.
The discovery process is a crucial step. The quality of this stage determines further marketplace development. A properly conducted discovery phase assists to work out possible risks and reduce the level of problems in the future.
Undoubtedly, one of the indicators of successful design is customer satisfaction with the product or a service. Of course, people will leave a web page if they do not find the information they need or consider the design annoying.
So, what are the signs that you need to create a new web solution or redesign an existing one?
- The website is not displayed correctly on different devices;
- Most website visitors do not transform into leads;
- The resource is poorly promoted in search engines;
- Website navigation is confusing, and software modules are difficult to maintain;
- The platform has not been updated for a considerable time and is obsolete.
It is not enough only to create an online marketplace once and forever. Eventually, any business faces the need to redesign a website. Technology is developing rapidly, so any website can become obsolete. Cumbersome structure, limited functionality, outdated design, disconnected from branding, and slow loading speed make users leave the page. Therefore, they may choose the more modern competitors.
Speaking about our boat marketplace project, the client also faced the platform’s design problem. Codica’s experts conducted a high-quality redesign of the existing web solution. This helped to create a new website design that has helped to increase user engagement and the number of leads.
We chose turquoise as the primary color for the online boating shop because of the marine theme. As the secondary colors, we chose blue and beige. Also, we added visually-appealing photographs of boats and the sea for banners and blocks.
We updated the dashboard, customizations, calls to action to make it look neat and understandable. Thus, we enhanced user involvement due to the platform's more engaging and seamless user experience.
To sum it up, we delivered an intuitive and user-friendly interface to the client's request.
Of course, a well-optimized site is a good sales channel that constantly attracts targeted visitors interested in your product or service.
Concerning the Trade A Boat project, we advised our client on the PWA implementation, which allowed us to build a fast and mobile-friendly solution in a short time. This also helped achieve the main goal: improving the SEO rankings and website conversion rates.
PWA (Progressive Web Application) is a web development technology that visibly and functionally converts a website into a web application. In the desktop browser, the PWA remains an ordinary site. And when a user opens it in a mobile browser, the progressive web app works as a combination of a website and a mobile app. Thus, PWAs combine the benefits of mobile and web development.
Developing a PWA for Trade A Boat has improved user experience and improved the page load speed by several times. Now, users don't need to install or update the online boat store app. They can use PWA of the boat selling website in Australia even with a low Internet connection via mobile devices.
Also, we conducted search engine optimization (SEO) to make the online boat store more noticeable on the web. Thanks to improving the website’s Core Web Vitals indicators, we have provided more opportunities for rankings growth.
Let's take a look at the main advantages of PWA development for Trade A Boat:
- The application sends push notifications to users to simplify the process of alerting them about forthcoming events or sales. It is a good tool for customer retention and attraction;
- Developing and maintaining a progressive web app is much cheaper for our client than a mobile version;
- Thanks to the cache loading, PWA works faster than a website or mobile app, even with a slow Internet connection. So, it is an opportunity for instant interaction with visitors;
- Users don’t need to download the app from GooglePlay or the AppStore because it can be installed directly when they access the online boating store on a mobile device.
- The download file size is about 1 MB, which is much smaller than the size of the mobile version. So, a progressive web app will take less space on your device compared to mobile apps.
Tech stack we used for website development
We used the core tech stack of Ruby on Rails, React JS, PostgreSQL, and AWS when working on this online marketplace for boats. Below we will briefly clarify why we chose such a tech stack.
Ruby on Rails: At Codica, everyone is a fan of this framework, and for a very good reason. The speed of developing projects with RoR is 30-40 percent higher in relation to any other framework. Ruby on Rails can be used to solve various problems, such as to create an online marketplace.
For example, RoR can assist in developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for a startup. In this case, the speed of creation and a simplified, secure framework is paramount. Thus, Ruby on Rails will help you quickly create a product with basic features set and test it to get a more functional product based on it in the future.
React JS: We choose React JS to quickly create a complex enterprise application. It enables the development of a top-quality interactive user interface. Notably, React apps are also easier to scale compared with Vue apps.
PostgreSQL: We use PostgreSQL because it is a perfect tool for integrating with other tools. It handles data integrity and complex operations with ease.
AWS: Amazon Storage Service is the object storage designed to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the network. It is a storage service that features the highest reliability, performance, and unlimited scalability at a very low cost. Furthermore, AWS allows developers to focus on innovation without worrying about storing the data.
Also, for building a reliable and fast web solution, we used such additional integrations:
Support, maintenance, and QA
All the functionality must work right when delivering the completed product to the client. So, when it comes to tech testing and support, our customers receive the highest quality service that they have come to anticipate from the QA team.
Also, we provide maintenance and support services after the marketplace website development to help our clients grow their business and scale. When our customer needs to implement additional features to their Trade A Boat project, the Codica team will be glad to help.
Platform features delivered
Created the promotional packages
We created the option to choose advertising packages for dealers and private vendors. In such a way, the client aimed to assist them in promoting their listings. Without any doubt, the right promotion strategy helps attract purchasers and increase sales. Now, sellers and dealers can get unlimited listings or updates by choosing a suitable package, and many other services.
Included third-party integrations
We provided integrations with third-party services such as the CDS platform. Thus, the online marketplace for boats can receive listings from dealers all over Australia.
Thanks to these integrations, the Trade A Boat website increased user engagement and the number of listings.
Made a clean dashboard for advertisers
We made a clean-looking dashboard that would show advertisers all the collected data on their listings. So, they can see the number of views, users’ inquiries, and sales numbers.
With the help of these statistics, advertisers can correct their marketing strategies.
Created a user-friendly search
We made the search filters more structured, and convenient. Now, users can find what they’re looking for in a shorter time.
This update helped improve user satisfaction while searching on the marketplace boats website.
Arranged a convenient product card
The product card contains all the necessary data about the product. So, users can easily access any details they might need. We enhanced the product card with information about location, product category, etc.
Also, each category on the boat sales marketplace got an icon. Such an improvement increases readability, visual acceptability, and brings better user experience.
Simplified the process of ads creation
We have divided the process of adding product listings to the website into steps. To make an ad, the seller fills in all information about the good, adds a description, then photographs of the item, etc.
Our team delivered the value below through effective and results-driven work.
- Thanks to the PWA development, we launched a fast-loading web solution with extensive functionality.
- We created a fresh and user-friendly UI and UX design for the boat selling website.
- We arranged data synchronization between the online boating marketplace and the CDS platform. Thus, the various dealers' CMS/CRM inventory management systems were connected throughout Australia.
- Eventually, we customized the function of selecting various payable packages to promote listings. In such a way, we increased sales for dealers and private sellers.
During the work on the project, Codica's experts showed great communication skills and a high level of professionalism. They performed the work with high quality, taking into account all our requirements, and delivered the solution within the agreed time frame - CEO, Marketplace Retail Company, Australia
Below you can watch a short overview of how the web solution we delivered works.
In our case study, you can find more information about this boat marketplace development.
To sum up, сreating niche marketplaces is a global trend in the market. There is still time to find your niche and overtake competitors.
To get the web solution of highest quality, it is necessary to take into account all the stages of a website's development: planning, analysis, target audience definition, programming, testing, and optimization.
For the technical implementation of a successful project, you need qualified specialists that fully immerse themselves in the work. We would advise hiring a custom marketplace development company with the corresponding expertise and portfolio, and resources to be able to build a profitable web product.
If you already have an idea and are looking for a reliable online marketplace development company, feel free to contact us. We will discuss your task and offer the most optimal solution and ways to implement it.