How to build online marketplace without code

Yes. Now it is possible  to create a fully functional marketplace without any line of code, without hiring a development team and without spending thousands of dollars upfront. You can build a marketplace by yourself within reasonable time. We are going to show you how to do this by creating a small online marketplace example.  We prepare a detailed tutorial, which is intended to teach you how to create your own marketplace. We will provide a lot of information, so we need to split our tutorial into several parts. If you do not want to miss important articles then you can subscribe to our blog’s update.  Now, lets describe how our marketplace will work and list the project’s requirements.

Our demo marketplace will be intended for publishers, who want to promote and sell their software. In our project, software products are also called listings. You can easily adapt our marketplace application to marketplaces for selling other kinds of digital products like pictures, e-books etc. Each publisher is able to register, login and create their own listings in vendors’ dashboard. Listings can be published in marketplace front pages for selling. Any visitor can search, see detailed information of digital products and buy them through a checkout page .

Let’s divide the entire marketplace application into a few parts.

Application’s functional parts.

1. User management.

We need to allow users to register and to select their roles during registration. Our marketplace will support 3 roles: Administrator, Seller and Buyer. Sellers can create listings inside their dashboard. They can also edit and delete items. Also, sellers can see who and when ordered their products.
Buyers can search, see and purchase digital products. Administrators will have all above capabilities, plus they can manage other user accounts, like enable, disable, edit and delete them.

2. Listings management.

Each software product (called listing) can be created, edited and deleted. Only those users with Seller roles can create and manage their own listings. Software product, used in our marketplace app will have such attributes:
-title
-description
-logo
-url of page of software product on vendor’s website
-price
-price type. This attribute can have two possible values: one-off payment or recurring payment. First means that the buyer needs to pay for the product only once, when he purchases. Second means that buyers should make periodic payments.
-recurrent payment period. This attribute is related to the previous one and means how frequently buyers should make recurring payments: monthly, annually. Apparently it makes sense when the value of the price type is recurring payment.
– free options: This attribute shows if a software product has free version or provides free trial period, or free online demo
-deployment – means operation systems are supported by software product. Available options: SaaS, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux.
We will create the possibility for buyers to filter software based on such attributes: price, price type, recurring payment period, free options and deployment. This is why we need to create a search filter in the search page.

3. Products catalog part.

All users can search products in the catalog page. They also can open the product’s details page and see its information: title, description, price etc.

4.Checkout part.

Each visitor can add products to the shopping cart. Afterwards, the client is able to purchase it. We allow only registered visitors to order products. It means they need to register as a Buyer in our marketplace.

5. Buyer dashboard.

Each Buyer can see his orders in Buyer’s dashboard

Also we need to prepare the interface and page structure of our application. We suggest to divide it into such parts:

  • Header – Where users can find your logo, a search bar, a navigation menu, signup, and login/out buttons.
  • Search Page – Used to display a list of products that are being sold in the marketplace. Also we will add our search filters.
  • Product Page – Used to display details of the seller whose product/service you are looking into buying and all of their listings.
  • Private Seller Dashboard – Where the seller can manage their listings, modify their payment settings, and view a dashboard of their sales.
  • Cart and checkout page – Where the buyer can complete a purchase.

Selecting a platform to create our marketplace.

We decided to build our demo marketplace using Bubble. It is a good tool for creating complex applications without using code. Bubble is a no-code solution for building web applications of any complexity. It enables non-technical people to build web applications without needing to type code. Instead, users draw the interface by dragging and dropping elements onto a page and defining workflows to control the logic. Process of building applications using Bubble is similar to the process of working in Adobe Photoshop or Blender.
Using bubble platform you can create your own copy of such famous web projects: shopify, etsy, amazon, ebay, craigslist etc.
Beside marketplaces you can create: social network, booking app, community and review sites, jobs boards, educational tools.

Bubble is one of the most advanced visual programming environments to build robust web apps. Bubble editor offers a wide flexibility that allows experienced developers to achieve pixel-perfect products with complex designs and responsive requirements.
Here is list of most prominent capabilities of bubble for marketplace development:

  • -Allows for designing, developing, and hosting MVPs and full-fledged web apps with mobile-friendly design.
  • -An intuitive interface with a drag-n-drop editor.
  • -A variety of free and paid templates created by Bubble designers.
  • -800+ plugins, to connect to external services including Stripe, Google, Facebook, and more. Bubble offers hundreds of pre-built integrations that support marketplaces, including payments (Stripe, Paypal, etc.), email (Sendgrid, Mailchimp, etc.), and analytics (Mixpanel). Here’s bubble’s complete integration list https://bubble.io/integrations
  • -Bubble has good scalability features and is equipped to handle scaling automatically, allowing you to expand and scale your app’s servers to meet your growing user numbers, traffic volume, or data storage.
  • -hundreds of how-to learn items with examples which teach you how to build web applications. There are loads of video tutorials, articles and an online Bubble forum where ordinary Bubble users share tips on tackling responsive design issues, building without code, app design, etc. all provided for free (paid plans get access to email support from the Bubble team).

Building on the bubble platform is free, whereas launching your app with a custom domain starts at $25/month, with the ability to upgrade as your app scales or your business grows. You can build your marketplace with Bubble is several times faster and cheaper than using traditional programming for the same result. Some app founders have been able to release fully functional MVPs in as few as 100 hours after discovering Bubble.

Initial preparations

You can build a marketplace app for free on Bubble by signing up and clicking ‘new app’ on the home page. Then, you need to assign some application attributes. Input name of application, select Marketplace option inside ‘What kind of app are you building?’ , ‘External customer facing’ in ‘Is it customer-facing or internal?’ field , select any goal in ‘What’s your goal with this application?’ field. Then click the ‘Create new app’ button. At this step we finished our initial preparations. Now we will go through further steps to get our application working. We will describe these step detailed in our future articles:


Create new application bubble.io

  • User management part.
  • – Listings management part.
  • – Front end catalog part.
  • – Checkout part.
  • – Buyer dashboard

Conclusion

Building marketplaces requires a a lot of work or much money, but with Bubble, developing software helps make easy profit a feasible undertaking.
In our future articles we will give you a step by step full guide on how to build your own marketplace using Bubble. Please subscribe to our newsletter to not miss important updates.

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