You have a fantastic marketplace idea. You’ve spotted a gap in the market, a huge opportunity and you’re excited to get going and make it a reality.
No doubt you’ve researched no-code and low-code tools and have realised that building a marketplace within a couple of months is very achievable.
Sharetribe looks like a fantastic solution - it provides you with a ready-made marketplace that you can easily customise in order to match the needs of your own business.
However, whilst Sharetribe offers a great range of essential marketplace features, it can be very tempting to want to add all the bells and whistles.
So I want to try and convince you that your MVP should be as lean as possible. Stick close to the Sharetribe Flex template, don’t add too many new features and only make small, light changes to the UI (colour, fonts and images).
I get it. I’ve been there myself. When I started building my own marketplace on Sharetribe Flex, I didn’t want people to recognise the familiar Sharetribe template. I wanted it to look unique. And I dreamed about all the awesome features I wanted to add to make my marketplace irresistible to customers and suppliers alike.
However, I had to remind myself that real goal of my MVP was to validate my idea and figure out if this was a viable business as soon as possible and for as little money as possible.
I had a timeline of 6 weeks and a budget of $5,000. This meant I had to be strict with myself and ensure my initial MVP was as lean as it could be. If I was to add all the features I really wanted, I’d have blown both my budget and my timeline - in fact, I’d still be building it now!
So, I had to hold my nerve and put these features into the backlog, to be built at a later date.
Once my marketplace was live (on time and under budget!) I soon found out that customers and suppliers will quickly tell you what features they are missing. It was also interesting to learn that the ones that you think are vital to the success of your marketplace might turn out to be of very little value to your users. The order of priority completely changed.
So, the big takeaway here is, save yourself the time, money and effort of building the wrong features before going live. Stay close to the template, launch your marketplace and then start adding new features based on customer feedback. I promise you, you’ll thank me later.
For those who need further convincing, I wanted to share some of the awesome built-in features that Sharetribe Flex has out of the box:
They literally give you a ready-made marketplace! These are handed over to you in the form of three-ready made templates:
Time-based bookings: Yogatime
Day-based bookings: Saunatime
Product marketplace: Sneakertime:
It’s worth mentioning here that you are only given the code, so if you’re non-techncial, you will need the help of a developer (and sometimes a designer) to customise the template and to get the marketplace live. This is why Sharetribe Flex is a low-code solution rather than a no-code solution.
So to sum things up, my advice for building your MVP on Sharetribe Flex is:
Remember, the look and feel can be changed later, and new features added once you have solid evidence (in the form of traction) that the marketplace is worth investing more money in.
The only customisations I recommend you make for your MVP are:
I hope this helps! Do get in touch if you have any questions.
With over eight years of product experience, Fiona designs beautiful, yet easy-to-use marketplace websites. What makes her unique? Well, she's an ex-marketplace founder and has previously worked for a Venture Capital firm so she has experienced life on both sides of the deal! Fiona is based in Oxfordshire, UK and has clients all over the world.Work with me