Building a Marketplace App in Go: How Its Development Cost Forms

    Building a marketplace app is an extremely attractive idea since today online shopping explicitly prevails offline. For instance, in 2021, $919B worth of goods were sold on U.S. marketplaces, and such platforms became a key to success for many businesses. And the easier it is to choose, buy and receive a wished item, the more likely users are to come back. At the same time, the attractiveness and convenience of your service largely depends on the technologies you choose to build a marketplace app. 

    For 12 years the Surf team has been building various projects, including online shops and marketplace platforms, and we can clearly say what programming languages are best for each case. In this article, we’ll explain how much it costs to build such a service and why Golang is a perfect choice for it.

    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 ecommerce platform, you and your development team need to stay up-to-date on trends and include user-friendly features. Surf’s proficient in this task due to the amount of completed ecommerce projects, so we know what is better to start with. 

    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 app ensures. Importance of the feature for businesses is really high: the easier it is to login, the more people will use a service.

    Example of easy login process from Chairish. Source:

    Onboarding for sellers. Make it easy for sellers to understand how to interact with your service: register, load their products, and set up ads. They are very busy, so a fast onboarding process is important. The more attention you pay to this feature development, the higher will be the chances to become a sales channel that sellers like and recommend to each other. 

    Search options. There are many ways of searching for items at marketplaces: exact, product type or category search, and ordinary or voice search. To be user-friendly and popular, a marketplace must provide users with the freedom to choose the search options.

    Search options and convenient menu on Amazon. Source:

    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 application 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.

    On Amazon, user can zoom photo of an item by rolling it over. Source:

    Reviews. People appreciate marketplaces 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 application 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 UX becomes better, and business acquires regular customers.

    How recommendations in Tmall look. Source:

    Chatbots. The technology helps users learn answers to popular questions about their orders and form a feeling that your ecommerce application is worth their trust. As a result, the next time the buyers need to order something, even if it’s an expensive product, you can be sure that they will opt for your services, preferring them to others. 

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

    Programming solutions

    Choosing the right programming language for building a marketplace can save you time and money. Golang, developed by Google, is a modern language known for its high performance, multithreading, and many tools and libraries. It allows for faster development and launch of ecommerce apps compared to 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

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

    However, convenient and powerful mobile apps are necessary for marketplaces, too: today, 63% of buyers use smartphones to make an order. The best option for app’s backend is Golang, and Flutter—for frontend. This development set provides an opportunity to use one code for Android and iOS, and, subsequently, save up 40% of resources.

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


    After a release an app requires regular updates in order to keep high functionality and competitiveness. So, developers detect and fix bugs in time, help maintain services compatibility with various devices and keep the service easy-to-use. Usually, these expenses amount to ~15% of the initial development cost per year.

    Turnkey or custom solution

    Turnkey solutions are standard toolsets used by most marketplaces and are cheaper, but may not help your company stand out. Custom solutions are individually developed projects tailored to a business’s specific needs, but cost more and take longer. However, they provide effective results for those who want a unique value proposition.

    Surf has vast experience in building custom apps and platforms and enjoys tackling complex tasks. For example, we developed KFC DSR, a custom ERP system with automated scheduling, face recognition, and team management tools, which has been successfully scaled for over 600 restaurants.

    Face-recognition in KFC DSR. Learn more

    Developer team experience 

    Developing marketplaces is challenging and inexperienced developers may take longer and produce subpar results. A skilled team like Surf which is experienced in Golang provides a great opportunity to create a fast and modern marketplace app and ensures a reliable outcome.

    Want to hire a Go developer, but aren’t sure of success?
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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

    This model is ideal for long-term and complex projects. The development process is divided into stages (sprints) and estimated monthly, allowing for flexibility in adding new features without a complete approval procedure. The time and material model focuses on results, rather than just building a feature list, leading to better outcomes and time-saving. 

    Surf uses this model, which clients appreciate for its transparency in pricing and fast feedback. Sprint Zero is a great way to estimate costs and get a better understanding of the finished product. It takes 1-3 weeks and costs about 5% of the full project price. Learn more and try it out.

    Development cost in a chart

    To sum up

    1. A marketplace application 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-term projects, and the second one—for complicated, long-term ones such as marketplaces. 
    4. Choosing a contractor and solution, note that for marketplace app 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 great experience in developing and launching marketplaces. We use up-to-date technology stack to help businesses reach powerful results, building ecommerce and other projects in Go.