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1. Sharetribe - There isn't a faster way to build an online marketplace business. Sharetribe provides all the things you need out of the box. This example by Maker Gabriel uses it as a marketplace.
- It has a dynamic search box, nav bar for multi page view, form to easily add to the marketplace for first time users, a grid, list or map style layout, dynamic filtering with multi categories, ability for user log in, paypal integration for payments. Eveything you need to get started.
2. Multi-sided marketplace capabilities - What is really hard to do is create two-sided experiences. One where you have a separate set of permissions for one user segment while different from the customer segment. What I mean by that is you have the supply and demand side of the marketplace. Each persona has different needs to be able to use your marketplace. Sharetribe takes care of all of this for you. I have used Sharetribe, when launching my first no-code startup. I could not recommend it enough as it is perfect for helping you focus on the product and getting your marketplace going.
What I would recommend though is when first launching a marketplace launch something else before you launch the actual marketplace. The hardest part about launching a marketplace is timing up getting the supply side and demand side to both be active and present on your site. This is really hard. Because in order to do so, you need critical mass. It's kind of like playing match maker organizing a dance party. You need to get both partners to the dance floors at the same time. And if you don't have invited a lot of dancers, your chances of getting a match are low. How can you add value to your niche. Some ideas are launch a tool that helps them with whatever your problem is. Launch a newsletter or some type of curated list where you can collect emails and begin to build a captive audience.
3. Sharetribe can be expensive. That is why I would recommend you start building your audience way before you launch a marketplace. The trial period is 30 days. While this is a long trial period, it usually is not long enough to build up a significant audience size. Typically you may need at minimum 6-9 months to build an audience if you are starting from scratch. Maybe you already have a massive following on Twitter or a large email list. Then you are ahead of the game. Secondly, Sharetribe Flex is a product that you'll want to research before you start your journey with Sharetribe. Because Sharetribe features are usually set, the enhancements added take time. I remember using the platform and requested a shopping cart feature. This was not yet on the platform in 2015. Because this was not a top item needed, it got pushed down the roadmap. They may have since then created this feature, but you'll need to consider that once you do get going with this product, it will be very hard to switch out of. Take a look at their Sharetribe Flex product to see if this might be good long term as well.
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