How to Create a Competitive Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Marketplace Website

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
September 20, 2021
How to Create a Competitive Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Marketplace Website
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
September 20, 2021
How to Create a Competitive Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Marketplace Website
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
September 20, 2021
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CEO at Aspirity
Written by
This article was written
in collaboration with
Maria D.
UI/UX Designer at Aspirity
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The "sharing economy" companies that are emerging on the back of fundamental changes in consumer habits have revolutionized entire industries in just a few years. They are not just turning into global companies but also bring profound changes to the entire business environment. And these global transformations and trends are matched by the fast-growing peer-to-peer marketplace approach.

Peer-to-peer is a two-sided business model in which users can switch their roles: today, you are a buyer, and tomorrow you are a seller. These solutions are based on the sharing economy, which is no longer just a financial theory, but a powerful global force.

The trend is that more and more entrepreneurs worldwide are choosing a business model that allows using technology to create successful companies in those markets and projects in those niches where it would seem there is no place. The P2P marketplace is the model that reflects the market transformation and those cardinal changes that it continues to experience. Therefore, let's find out how to build a peer-to-peer (p2p) marketplace website so that your business multiplies many times over.

Peer-to-peer Marketplace Software: What Is What

The main idea of such a two-sided business model is the full equality of participants. As a rule, this is an interaction between users to save money, make a profit, and unite in communities. The key feature of the two sided marketplace is the involvement of a "third" party — the owner of the site where offers, products, services are posted. And this is the main difference between such a sharing-based platform and a classic online store. The owner of the peer-to-peer shopping marketplace simply provides users with the opportunity to find each other and complete the transaction.

When a marketplace reaches a certain level of growth, its value increases exponentially. This is due to the network effect, which means that the entire network becomes more valuable when more people use it because users benefit from each other. It is much more difficult to compete with a business that has built a network rather than a traditional e-commerce provider that makes the market position a kind of monopoly in a niche or industry.

The most prominent examples of P2P marketplace platforms are Amazon, BlaBlaCar, Couchsurfing, Uber, eBay, Etsy, Rakuten, Airbnb. And according to the PwC forecast, by 2025, the volume of the global P2P solutions market will reach $355 billion (for comparison, in 2015, this figure was $15 billion). This confirms that the peer-to-peer marketplace software is definitely one of the most popular business models in 2021.

Let's find out why this is so, how to become a part of this fast-growing industry, and how to build a peer-to-peer marketplace website.

Benefits of Creating a Peer-to-Peer Marketplace

The peer-to-peer economy is a model of the present and the future. And this is due to numerous advantages of P2P marketplaces.

Networking effect

In 2021, word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing tool. This is one of the best ways to get the word out about your variety of products or services and attract new customers. The key benefit is that this tool is completely free, and your clients are engaged in promoting your business.

Expanding the audience

The main task of any business, regardless of size or direction, is to increase the number of clients constantly. Your goal is to develop just a system for direct and close interaction between buyers and sellers. Peer-to-peer website technology allows you to do this without any extra effort, and this is what makes this platform so attractive.

Financial benefit

The peer-to-peer approach assumes that buyers and sellers come to your site to satisfy their needs, and you make a profit with minimal effort and maximum gain. If we compare, for instance, an e-commerce solution and a P2P site, the second option is the best choice for business owners, primarily in terms of cost savings. You don't even need to be in production or look for suppliers of goods. The site visitors will be both sellers or lessors and buyers or renters.

Simplicity of designing

The peer-to-peer website development process is straightforward, and the main thing is to decide who to entrust the design to. There are several options for creating a scalable peer-to-peer marketplace. You can develop it on your own. However, be prepared that it will take a lot of time and require significant investments. If there is no opportunity, time, or desire to look for a development team, you can outsource the design of the marketplace. This will cut the time, but certainly not costs. If you have a long-term project, in-house development will always be more efficient and profitable.
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One place for different solutions

The peer-to-peer platform is a kind of multifunctional solution. The client will have all the services or products in one place that helps to get income faster. You, as a P2P marketplace owner, combine supply and demand on one platform.

Possibilities for branding

A P2P service works in such a way that sellers enhance your brand and popularize it. Moreover, the peer-to-peer platform is always about improved marketing. You can offer various discounts and other sales promotion technologies to increase your sales.

No geographic restrictions

Online trading allows you to go far beyond your location, and your region does not limit the number of potential customers. Moreover, delivery issues are not the responsibility of the marketplace owner, so your platform can function whenever your target audience exists. Your most demanding task is to provide a convenient platform that offers interaction between the seller and the buyer, and due to the absence of geographic limits, the number of visitors can grow exponentially. This is another advantage of creating a P2P marketplace website to grow your business.

Peer-to-Peer Marketplace Software Development Process

So, how to develop a P2P online marketplace?

Focus on your experience & scrutinize the market

There are many user-driven markets for which the P2P marketplace is in demand. And you must rely on your expertise when choosing an industry. You need to understand your consumers and their requests. And the best way to do this is to use your knowledge and experience. Before building a peer-to-peer website for your business, your task is to identify the needs of your target audience and fully satisfy them.

One more important part of the research is investigation. Conduct a general market analysis and explore your competitors. This will help you define your key competitive advantage and your unique selling proposition.

Find your niche, and start a new project by looking for an idea that will solve the real problems of sellers and buyers. Constantly look for new solutions to old tasks, apply innovative approaches in your activities, think like a user, but be yourself. Look for competitors' weaknesses and work with them. Find areas where you do not overlap and create a successful business idea in this niche.

Look for a functionality balance

Don't forget that your peer-to-peer market service must satisfy the needs of two audiences at once, as well as cover the functionality needed for support managers. Different consumer goals mean different business strategies. Find a balance between supply and demand, be custom-oriented, improve user experience, and keep users in mind. Create a customer journey map and user stories.

Define and narrow your audiences. Consider that each of them needs a different approach. Who and how will you involve first: sellers or buyers? Make as broad a proposal as possible, but remember that targeting everyone means targeting no one.
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Think about a service interaction model

Think deeply about the concept of buyer-seller interaction, and make users come back to your service by enhancing their experience. How will your potential audience use the service? What are their goals, needs, and preferences? What will they expect? How can you improve the UX? Also, think about the procedure of finding products and making a purchase. Simplify the transaction system as much as possible, make it understandable, and, of course, secure.

Invest in marketing

To create a successful P2P marketplace software platform that will profit, you must primarily invest in its promotion and reputation. Develop effective strategies, constantly look for relevant promotion channels, do everything to increase audience engagement. Marketing is expensive, but good marketing will quickly cover the costs.

Listen to your customers

In the p2p marketplace development process, it is essential not only to do but also to analyze. Study the behavior of your users and consider their feedback. React to the wishes of potential customers, satisfy the needs of the audience, implement new functions at the request of users. Be flexible and remember that the user interests always come first.

Cost To Develop a Peer-to-Peer Marketplace

The cost of building a P2P marketplace from scratch is flexible and highly variable. It depends on the region, the developers' rates, project size, type of the marketplace, functionality, tech stack, etc.

And first, the price is directly related to the option you choose. For example, if you need to create the front-end and back-end from scratch, the cost will be higher than if you chose the existing infrastructure. The best way to determine costs is to find a development team to estimate the project. However, be prepared that you cannot exactly calculate the price in advance.

One way or another, it's all about your budget. Let's take a look at the options available according to our pricing in 2021. So, here is what you will get in terms of basics and design within your budget.
Small project. $10,000-30,000. Basics: requirements (feature list, users stories), 2 user roles, development basics. Design: design kit, clickable prototype, 3 user validation sessions.
Medium project. $30,000-100,000. Basics: requirements (feature list, users stories), foundational UX, 2 user roles, development basics, 1 3rd party integration, adaptivity. Design: design kit, clickable prototype, 5 user research interviews, 5 user validation sessions.
Large project. Over $100,000. Basics: requirements (feature list, users stories), foundational UX, 3+ user roles, development basics, 2+ 3rd party integration, adaptivity. Design: design kit, clickable prototype, 5-10 user research interviews, 5-10 user validation sessions.

What Are the Key Requirements for a P2P Marketplace Platform?

Once we know how to build a peer-to-peer marketplace software for scaling a business and how much it will cost, let's look at key features that an ideal P2P business model should include. Since P2P solutions cover different audiences and industries, it's easy to detect a common pattern that unites all successful projects.

So what makes marketplaces so attractive and highly usable?

Efficient UX and UI design solution

Visuals, product photos, web service appearance, aesthetics, and more are essential for website design. Include the best UI/UX components and approaches in a template to make your platform simple, clear, attractive, and intuitive. Remember that the design should be responsive and scalable, and the interface should be user-friendly. Consider the user's journey through the buying and selling processes and make sure the customers and sellers are satisfied with their experience from the beginning to the end.

However, don't think that UI is more important than UX. In P2P services, convenience and standard patterns are more significant than a super original and out-of-box UI. Understand the needs of your audiences, their feelings, emotions, behavioral patterns. Think about a user-centered interface design, ensure usability, accessibility, information architecture, responsiveness, and great user interaction with the site.

Product catalog and clear administration of goods & pages

Each user should be able to add a service or product to the platform. In addition, the service must provide the ability to create, change and edit the ads to raise the chances of sealing a deal. Take care of the functionality to add photos and detailed product descriptions, as this is exactly what will help buyers navigate and make decisions among the plenty of offerings. Customers should also be able to leave feedback, comment, view, and rate ads.

Customer service & tracking

Make sure that, if necessary, customers can always get quick 24/7 support and answers to all questions. This is what will push them to make a purchase decision. Individual service is always highly valued by users.

What's more, take care of the user tracking solutions implementation. This is useful both in terms of marketing tasks and for realizing how customers get to the site and what they do. So, you will understand what prompted them to buy or what stopped them from making a deal. This information will show if your service works the way you want it to.

Reviews and feedback forms

The peer-to-peer platform always remains impartial in terms of vendor competition. This means that consumer reviews on such marketplaces are much more reliable than in standard online stores. Here, reviews are not filtered or optimized. That is why convenient rating systems, feedback forms, and blocks for reviews are crucial parts of any P2P project.

Possibility of email/SMS notifications

The key idea of a P2P marketplace is that two parties can easily communicate with each other and quickly complete transactions. Therefore, the task of the owner of the platform is to set up this process. Messages and answers should not be lost; personal notifications should come to the mail or phone number. You can also enable push notifications, but don't use them to send spam. Users will not appreciate this.

Ability to compare and rate products

To make a P2P marketplace software attractive to potential customers, do not forget that user convenience is a priority. People come to marketplaces not to choose the goods from a specific seller but to explore all possible offers. And you must help them. The platform must allow sorting ads by different criteria, comparing them, rating, and filtering.
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Advanced search function

The difference between marketplaces and ordinary online stores is in the variety of products and services offered. And the difference between marketplaces and good marketplaces is in advanced navigation, an easy search bar, and convenient sorting and filtering of ads. The visitors must be able to find and buy the product of interest quickly. Narrowing the number of ads will greatly simplify the shopping & buying process.

Payment acceptance system

If a customer wants to make a purchase or place an order, they should be able to pay for it in just a couple of clicks. That is why several payment options should be available on the platform. Complicated checkout forms and a slow buying process are the main reasons visitors leave the online service before purchasing.

And finally, our main tip. When you develop your own peer-to-peer marketplace platform from scratch, always keep in mind that the easier it is to buy something, the more you buy. And never stop getting better.

Consider Aspirity Your Trusted Partner

The creation of progressive and innovative P2P solutions for businesses is one of the key directions of Aspirity — a UI/UX design studio & web development agency. Our team has solid global expertise in this area and offers advanced peer-to-peer services.

We work with all niches and are ready to take on a project of any size. If you have a ready-made concept for a P2P platform, we will help with its implementation. If you don't have a business model, we will build it with you. Our experts provide support at all stages of development: from preliminary assessment to launch.

Our Case: Helthjem Flash Sales

Our works speak for us and our expertise is supported by successfully released cases. Take a look at the solution our team has developed for Helthjem Flash Sales. We have created a peer-to-peer marketplace software for a Norwegian Delivery Service that fully meets the business objectives, satisfies customer needs, and matches the demands of the market.

Bringing Aspirity's expertise to your project will help you create the best commerce experience. We will help you reach a new level of UX. Entrust us with the development of the peer-to-peer platform and experience all the benefits of the P2P approach.
Move the slider to see the store in "editable" vs "published' mode

Final Thoughts

Traditional online stores have already begun to give way to P2P platforms that match global transformations. World experience shows that marketplace solutions are equally profitable and effective for small or large businesses and for any industry.

We at Aspirity will help your business keep up with the times and get the most out of peer-to-peer marketplace development.
This article was written in collaboration with Maria D. UI/UX Designer at Aspirity
For more than 2,5 years, I've been working as CEO at Aspirity. I help professionals launch digital products by providing dedicated development teams.
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