How To Create a Marketplace App


AliExpress, Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Shopper, Uber, Airbnb, TripAdvisor – creating a marketplace app like these is likely your dream if you are reading this article right now. This is a brief outline of what you need to create a successful app.


First and foremost, you must conceptualize the idea or purpose behind the app. The idea must be competitive, so that it differentiates your marketplace app from the others. Simply answer the question: “What problem it will solve?” If the answer is “none,” you’d better think a little harder.


If your service promises to be useful, your next step is to conduct a competitor analysis. Write down all the marketplace apps that you are aiming to compete against; even the largest ones. View the applications to determine what features and specialties are contained. What category of consumer are the apps focused on? Examples might include book lovers or gardeners? Perhaps there is an age criterion. It is necessarily to select your target audience. You should always keep in mind the person whose needs you are going to meet.


If you are still confident in your idea, you now need to grab a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. Write down all the functions that your marketplace application will have. Write everything that comes to your mind, because it will help you as you begin to design. You can then carefully review the list and highlight the functions that must be in your app. This could be a search, chat functions, ratings, etc. including, of course, your main feature.

The main purpose is to create an an minimum viable product (MVP), so that extra functions that are not required are eliminated in the initial stage. This will save you time and money, because in the future, some of those additional features might become unnecessary.



At this stage, you should also look into the future and think about the direction in which the marketplace will develop:

  • horizontal marketplaces: provide different categories, such as renting apartments, buying, and selling
  • vertical marketplaces: provide one or several, but similar, categories

By understanding the marketplace, you can understand which tools the application will need in future.


Now you must consider how your customers will pay for goods or services. There are many options, including major debit and credit cards, digital wallets (PayPal, PayU, Citrus, etc.), net banking, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

Don’t forget about security. Every app must report the user data that are collected and for what purpose. Apps can ask for approval of terms of use, payment conditions, or a privacy policy after downloading.


If you are planning to create an app using builders, pay attention to those with an embedded analytical system. This allows you to keep track of various statistics, including from which sellers customers buy, which countries your buyers are from, the most popular product group, etc. This is necessary for you to understand which direction to pursue, in order to improve your marketplace.



After analyzing all the points above, it’s now time to think about design. Most likely, when you imagine your application, you have a certain layout in mind. If the sheet of paper on which you wrote down the functions is still nearby, begin to sketch out the appearance. Schematically show the location of the future menu buttons and you already have your first model created. 


Now for the most interesting part of this topic, there are at least three ways to create an app:

– Code it from scratch; – Custom development; – Using an app builder.

It all depends on the level of your technical knowledge and the amount of money you are prepared to spend. If you have the time, skills, and desire, you can create an app by writing your own code. If you can afford a developer, then the third option is ideal for you. If you do not have the necessary skills or enough money, then you can use the second option to create a marketplace app.


You can choose from the following builders: BuildFire, MYMARKETPLACEBUILDER, or Appster. All these options are suitable for creating a marketplace app, but you need to carefully study the functionality on the respective websites to choose the right fit for you. If you are not sure whether the application is suitable or if you have questions, the websites provide an online chat. Some builders even have open source code, but that can take a long time to figure out. You have to be quite sure that you want to start this long process.



+ quick;

+ relatively cheap;

+ do not need special knowledge.

– limited opportunities.

To sum up, builders are a good option for most people who want to start their own business. You can certainly try to make an app by yourself, and such desire is understandable, but practice shows that only a small number of people are completely satisfied with the result. Other people seek help from specialists, because they lack the expertise, require help altering the design, or the reality of the execution did not match expectations.


One of the most widespread builders for creating websites is WordPress (WP). 32% of all sites in the world are created using this service. If WP is used to create websites, then why are we considering it in the discussion of a app mobile? Well, all websites created by WP have an adaptive design for mobile devices. You can install WordPress, purchase a domain, and make your idea a reality.

To get started on WP, you need to select a theme and install plugins to extend functions. Many people use WC Marketplace, WooCommerce Multivendor Marketplace, or WooCommerce Frontend Manager plugins.


The themes below are a great place to start, and later you can choose something that is more on-brand for you.

  1. Marketica – eCommerce and Marketplace WordPress Theme
  2. Makery – Marketplace WordPress Theme
  3. Pasar – eCommerce and Marketplace WordPress Theme
  4. Olam – WordPress Theme
  5. Hestia – WordPress Theme

This top five list was compiled by positive user reviews to give you a place to start. There are many other sites (except WP) where you can purchase both paid and free themes; e.g.,, or

Amongst all the themes and plugins, you are sure to find something, but be wary, because your site could be lost among thousands of similar formats. In general, the advantages and disadvantages of WP are the same as for other builders.

Despite the presence of a large number of plug-ins, none of the applications can replace custom development, because these are ready-made options that you will need to customize.


If you decide to use the services of professional developers, do not forget to ask to see examples of their work and to make sure that you can afford their prices. It is better for you to work closely with them, instead of handing them a mock up and forgetting about it until the app is ready. Explain clearly what you expect, and at each development stage agree upon all the nuances and details.

After you’ve been provided with a ready-made app, test it on your devices and conduct a beta test to see how it works for a small group of live users.



The cost of the app depends on a number of factors:

  • Functionalities: The more functions your app includes, the more expensive it will be and the more time it will take to develop the application. Therefore, as noted in the beginning, only the most necessary functions should be pursued.
  • Operating system: The price will also depend on the OP on which the app will available.
  • Interface and design: These are the key factors that people will consider when deciding to use the application or not. An intuitive interface and an attractive appearance will ensure your success.

The approximate cost of a native-developed MVP is given below:

iOS Android
Mobile development technology $9,000-$11,000 $10,250-$12,250
Back-end development $4,750-$6,500 $4,750-$6,500
Admin dashboard $2,000-$2,500 $2,000-$2,500
UI/UX design $3,000-$4,500 $3,000-$4,500
Quality assurance $2,075-$2,625 $2,250-$2,825
Project manager $1,375-$1,500 $1,500-$1,875
Total: $22,200-$28,625 $23,750-$30,450

Native-developed means that the application is developed on the “native” language of each platform; e.g. Java/Kotlin for Android and Swift for iOS.

A little hint: If you want to reduce the cost of the project, you can develop an iOS and an Android app sequentially or simultaneously, because the total cost will be less than developing two completely separate apps.


Which will you choose? If you feel that you can do it yourself, give it a try. You can also try the builders, but remember that the functionality is extremely limited and will not be able to satisfy all your expectations.


The nearly perfect method is custom development. By agreeing with the developer the layout of your app, you get exactly what you intended, including the functions you need, the design you like, and, most importantly, you do not need to do anything by yourself. You simply control the process and promote your app. But why is this “nearly” perfect? It is not for free, and could actually be quite expensive. However, you will save your time and effort in order to produce a perfect product.

If you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of the three methods, and you’ve chosen custom development, write to us. The VironIT team will consult with you to create a marketplace app based on your specific needs and wishes.

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