Tue Jan 18 2022 - 3 min read
When it comes to marketplace apps, slow and steady doesn’t win the race. The industry is exploding and entrepreneurs are rushing to grab their share.
The problem for anyone trying to get in on that land grab is that most sectors only have room for one marketplace, and whoever gets in first tends to take the whole market. Customers generally want one platform to go to – once that loyalty’s been established it takes a truly unique offering and a mountain of ad spend to get them to switch.
If you take 18 months to get your MVP out, there’s a huge risk that someone else will have the same idea and beat you to it. But getting in first means you can start building those crucial relationships with your community of buyers and vendors, and you can be first to catch the eyes of investors desperate to get in on this boom.
So how exactly can we build your marketplace MVP quickly? Surprisingly, the answer isn’t all-nighters and energy drinks. Instead, we take an approach called Jamstack.
In a traditional build you’d make everything yourself. You’d construct backend infrastructure to take in server requests, write custom code for the checkout and payment process, and generally tackle the project from the ground up. That’s great in terms of having complete control over every aspect of the build, but the flip side is it can take forever (18 months or more, which is as good as an eternity when you’re dealing with time-sensitive markets).
With Jamstack you slash that time. You buy a backend platform that’s already made and plug it into your custom frontend.
For our marketplace apps, we use Swell. Swell is a headless solution, although that’s not as grim as that sounds. Headless just means that it provides all of the backend functionality – in this case, everything from the shopping cart to shipping and tax calculation, to coupon codes and discounts – that we can then build off.
In other words, it’s a way to skip reinventing the wheel. Instead of spending months writing code that’s already been done a thousand times before, Swell allows us to get the bare bones of your marketplace together in a week, and with a tested, robust platform behind it.
It’s like buying a box of cake mix so we can skip all the weighing out and get straight to the baking. Working this way, we can get – and have got – marketplace MVPs up and ready for download in four months, and we’re always trying to do it faster.
We know that when we say we can get your MVP out in four months there’s one question that comes to mind – what’s the catch?
It’s true that using a headless solution means relinquishing a little control over maintenance, and if anything goes wrong with their system you’re reliant on them to fix it.
But these are small drawbacks when it comes to the big picture. The goal is to catapult your app onto the market first. Once it’s out there and achieving market penetration, we can start work on bespoke elements to replace the headless software.
There are other e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and Woocommerce, that you can buy to take care of your backend just as quickly as Swell. But the downside is these more traditional platforms don’t have vendor API access, are coupled to your frontend and can’t be customised.
If we go back to our cake analogy, it’s like buying one ready-made from the bakery. And as a result, your MVP will feel less distinct and stand less chance of catching the attention of potential investors.
But with the headless approach we take, you’re getting the base ingredients, with the flexibility to make this your signature dish. We’re able to work between Swell and the frontend to weave in elements like messaging, vendor access and other bespoke functionality.
Simply put, you get the best of both worlds. An infrastructure that’s good to go in next to no time, along with an interface and user experience that’s built by us and tailored to your sector.
And you won’t just be able to get to market, you’ll be able to scale fast too. Because the bulk of the software has already been stress-tested on thousands of other marketplaces, you can trust it to handle as many users as you can throw at it from day one.
To see how Morrow can help launch your marketplace MVP ahead of the competition, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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