Contents

    Building a Marketplace Platform in Go: How Its Cost Forms

    Today, buyers prefer online shopping to offline. In 2021, $919B worth of goods were sold on U.S. marketplace platforms, and such platforms became a key to success for many businesses. For example, in Amazon, Taobao, and Tmall you can find thousands of companies selling their products. The easier it is to choose, buy and receive a wished item, the more likely users are to come back. At the same time, how attractive and convenient your online marketplace is, largely depends on the technologies you choose to develop it. 

    For 12 years the Surf team has been creating various projects, including online shops and marketplace platforms, and we know everything about programming languages to prefer for each case. In this article we’ll explain how much it costs to build an online marketplace and why Golang is best for the purpose.

    Online shops apps developed by the Surf team
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    What factors affect a marketplace platform development cost 

    Functions and features of a marketplace 

    To build an attractive online marketplace platform, you and a developer team you chose should be aware of as many trends as possible. The platforms become successful only if they include all the features users need to make online shopping easy and convenient. Here are some features typical for most marketplaces: at Surf we develop them for the clients’ projects regularly, so we know what is better to start with. 

    Profile details. Name, region, address, photo, orders history, transactions history—it’s a minimal tool set for a user profile. That is one of the first pages buyers and sellers see, and if it is convenient and attractive, they’re more likely to continue using your marketplace. 

    Login. This feature allows sellers and buyers to login into their accounts with a phone number, e-mail address, or a profile on social media. In this step, users appreciate an opportunity to enter fast and at the same time—data security the marketplace platform ensures. Importance of the feature for businesses is really high: the easier it is to login, the more people will use a marketplace. If the process is complicated, users feel annoyed—and it’s not a good beginning for the marketplace.  

    Example of easy login process from Chairish. Source: chairish.com

    Onboarding for sellers. Develop tools that help sellers understand how to register in your marketplace, load photos and descriptions of their products, and set up advertisements. Sellers are very busy, so a fast onboarding process is important. If you pay enough attention to this feature development, it’ll mean a good user experience and, as result, one more chance to become a marketplace that sellers like and recommend to each other. 

    Search options. Today, many ways of searching for items at marketplaces exist: exact search, product type search, category search, ordinary or voice search. To be user-friendly and popular among more and more people, a marketplace needs to have numerous options that make choice easy.

    Search options and convenient menu on Amazon. Source: amazon.com

    Wishlist. This feature helps not only to sell more, but to discover your customers’ way of thinking. Each wishlist is unique, and, thanks to it, you may form offers that will positively surprise your customers—so that, your platform will gain popularity. 

    Photos and built-in video player. These features help customers take a better look at items before ordering them, and most people consider it a must. If it loads fast and works well, the marketplace sells more products.

    In Amazon user can zoom photo of an item by rolling it over. Source: amazon.com

    Reviews. People appreciate marketplace platforms for honest reviews and real photos, or even videos of products they plan to order. It makes the choice easier, so the buyer’s expectations are much more likely to be met. And this is a great reason to come to your marketplace platform again and again. 

    Personalized recommendations. It implies that users’ behavior is analyzed by special algorithms to offer them products they would be happy to buy. So, the user experience becomes better, and business acquires regular customers. 

    How recommendations in Tmall look. Source: tmall.com

    Chatbots. The technology helps users learn answers to popular questions about their orders and form a feeling that your platform is worth their trust. As a result, the next time the buyers will need to order something, even if it’s an expensive product, there is no doubt that they will come to your marketplace, preferring it to others. 

    Subscriptions. Marketplaces and sellers can offer subscription plans for products chosen by buyers—so, they receive the products regularly, for example, monthly. It looks like a magazine subscription and helps businesses form a constant and predictable source of income.

    Payment integration. With the feature users can pay for orders in different ways: cards, PayPal, Google and Apple pay, bank transfers, cash, eWallets, etc. If they find a proper one, they have no reason to leave your marketplace for concurrents. 

    To see examples of attractive and convenient app design, take a look at our case studies.

    Programming solutions

    Programming language you prefer for a marketplace platform building can help you save money and time as well as can lead to wasting them. Golang is an up-to-date language developed for Google and often chosen for high performance, multithreading, numerous tools and libraries, and easy code. Thanks to the benefits of the language, it provides a developer team an opportunity to create and launch a marketplace significantly faster than with other languages.

    Go in a nutshell

    Curious about the benefits Go has over other languages? Read about it in one more article.

    Desktop and mobile apps

    To speak about a desktop version, for backend development Golang is the best choice: today marketplaces are transitioning from the monolithic architecture to microservices, and there is no as powerful language for this purpose.

    To learn about microservice architecture benefits and reasons why Go is meant for it, read in our article

    However, a convenient and powerful mobile application is necessary for a marketplace platform, too: today, 63% of buyers use mobile phones to make an order. The app’s backend is better to develop with Golang, and frontend—with Flutter. This  software development kit provides an opportunity to use one code for Android and iOS. As a result, companies have over 40% savings. 

    An app for a pharmacy chain built on Flutter by the Surf team. Learn more.

    Maintenance

    After a release a marketplace requires updates. So, developers detect and fix bugs in time, help maintain services compatibility with various devices and stay easy-to-use. It happens regularly to keep high functionality and competitiveness. Usually, these expenses amount to about 15% of the initial development cost per year.

    Out-of-the-box or custom solution 

    Out-of-the-box solution implies a standard toolset typical for most marketplace platforms. It is cheaper, but you won’t get a result that could help your company stand out from others.  

    Custom solution implies that a project is developed individually, suiting business specific needs. It’s a rational choice if you have a clear understanding of the results you want to get and are ready to explain your idea to the developer team. Of course, the custom solution  costs more and takes longer compared to out-of-the-box solutions, but it brings really effective results for those who want a unique value proposition for their businesses. 

    At Surf we have a huge experience in developing custom solutions. We are skilled and creative, and really like complicated tasks—it helps our clients get powerful business tools. For example, we developed KFC DSR—a custom ERP system which is scaled for over 600 restaurants. Automated scheduling, face-recognition system, various team management tools—all the features make the ERP system a powerful  business tool for a world-famous company. 

    Face-recognition in KFC DSR. Learn more.

    Developer team experience 

    Marketplace platforms aren’t easy to build. If a developer team does it for the first time the process takes more time, but the result often appears to be not as good as a business owner expected. For those who aren’t ready for “surprises” like this and want to be sure of the result, a skilled developers team with experience in online marketplace building is the best choice. 

    Also it’s important to find an IT team with Go developers: thanks to this programming language benefits, you’ll have a great opportunity to build an up-to-date, fast and easy working marketplace. Though the development cost per hour is higher than with many other languages, results will surprise you in a positive way. Why? For example, code is being written and corrected much faster; execution speed is higher; resource consumption is lower. It helps businesses save money indirectly.  

    Go developers average hourly rates in different countries
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    Price models IT teams use 

    Fixed price

    It’s an appropriate solution for small projects. When a client chooses a fixed price model, it means that development cost is estimated before the start of the working process. Any additional work requires a full agreement with a client, so cost and time of the development can increase significantly. The model isn’t flexible enough, and if a project is complicated, it bears many risks: for example, a budget overrun or missing deadlines.

    Time & material

    It’s the best solution for long-term and complicated projects. A development process is divided into stages (sprints) and estimated monthly, after each sprint is finished. Developers do not need to go through the complete approval procedure to add a new feature. With time and material model specialists are focused on results more than on building a list of features itself, and it helps businesses get better results, saving their nerves and time on development. 

    At the Surf team we work using this model. Our clients like it for its transparency in price formation, fast feedback from PMs and developers, and an opportunity to have better control over the project implementation process. Clients are always aware of task statuses and can ask us any questions whenever they like, so there are no unpleasant surprises after the development process is finished. So, we launch the project in time, and clients feel satisfied with the result.

    To learn how much your marketplace costs and see results you can get in advance, we offer to start with the Sprint Zero. PMs and Designers from the Surf team estimate a budget individually, show a scope of work and help you get a vision of the finished product concept. It takes 1-3 weeks and costs about 5% of a full project price. Learn more and try.

    Development cost in a chart

    To sum up

    1. A marketplace platform development cost depends on technologies you choose and features you want to see there. 
    2. Supported platforms and maintenance also affect development cost.
    3. There are two price models IT companies use: fixed price and time & material. The first one is better for small or short-termed projects, and the second one—for complicated, long-termed projects as marketplace platforms are. 
    4. Choosing a contractor and solution, note that for marketplace platforms building you need a skilled IT team with a representative and confirmed portfolio and detailed case studies. It will prevent your project from the risks of the necessity to change the vendor in the middle of the project. 

    At Surf we have much experience in marketplaces developing and launching. We use up-to-date technology stack to help businesses reach powerful results, creating projects in Go.