I am in the process of building a marketplace with the goal of connecting professionals. I understand that marketplaces take a long time to build and you have to deal with the chicken and the egg problem. Not to mention the fact that liquidity, meaning volume of people on the site, is also a critical factor to succeed.
With this in mind, I was hoping you all could share some viral loops that you have seen very effective when building marketplaces online? Thanks for the responses in advance!
Hi Abdul - I'm actually in the middle of building a B2B marketplace myself and have been thinking through the chicken and egg problem.
What I decided to do on the problem of liquidity is the following:
1) make sure there's solid retention for when people do get on board. This means developing features alongside the marketplace that would ensure a party (buyer/seller) will want to use the product even under low liquidity. A blog could provide good content to offer people value. A forum is another way to keep parties on the same side of the marketplace (buy or sell) returning to the side till the marketplace achieves critical mass.
2) to stimulate liquidity, I've decided to seed one side of the marketplace manually. For instance, in my case, I'm building a marketplace where businesses buying a service will connect with businesses providing that service. For this kind of marketplace, you don't need to wait for the service providers to join: you can add a bunch of them, then invite the owner to claim the listing and add info to it. That way the party looking for the service finds something useful and the party providing the service gets an incentive to join and start managing that listing. Then at least you can concentrate on adoption on one side of your marketplace only.
Hope this helps
Could you share some details about the marketplace itself? I am not necessarily specialised in online marketplaces... But I am more than happy to give you my opinion considering my experience as a Business Developer and Innovation Consultant.
Don't pick you're marketplace before you've heard what your users want. If you build what they actually want (and fast) you'll earn their traffic.