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How To Choose A Right Tech Stack For Building Your Marketplace?

Aug 20, 20193 min read

Robert Krajewski

Co-founder and CEO of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, mentor and startup advisor.

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On the Internet, you can find plenty of information on how to build a 2 sided marketplace. However, before you do that, you need to make some decisions. One of them is about the technology stack. Tech stack is a collection of all technological solutions used to build an application, for example, a digital marketplace. It’s smart to make sure that everybody involved in a project are on the same page and share the same knowledge (e.g. about the technology). So, if you can’t sleep thinking about how to choose the right technology, here is some advice.

Tech stack – what is important?

What factors should be considered if you don’t know how to build a marketplace website? There are plenty of factors you might take into account. Let’s take a look at the most important of them.

  • Do you have your own team, or will you hire a team of specialists? This one is crucial. If you have a team, you will probably choose the technology they already know. Consider organizing the cross functional team, based on how skillful is your team. However, if you will be looking for a team of specialists to help you with the marketplace development, there is a wide range of possibilities. Just remember to check if they really are specialists.
  • How much time do you have? When do you want to launch your marketplace? How much money can you spend? The more time and money you have, the more personalized and sophisticated the solution will be. On the other hand, time is money, so you should think about a technology that will help you start quick. Shorter development means fewer expenses and sooner revenue.
  • You will probably start small with your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) but hopefully, the marketplace will soon grow. You can build your MVP on WordPress, as Airbnb did at the very beginning. Later on, the number of users on both sides will gradually increase. More users mean more traffic and more data. Therefore your solution needs to be easily scalable. 
  • You will need a mobile version. I really can’t stress how important it is for a digital marketplace to have its mobile version. People keep on buying more and more through their smartphones, tablets, watches… Simply put, it is a must. Alright, you don’t need it at the level of the MVP, but you will want and need to think about it as your marketplace grows. So, which technology will make it easier to build a mobile marketplace? We recommend Ruby on Rails combined with React.js, but it’s your free choice.

Can I buy it?

There is some marketplace software available on the market for those who don’t want to engage in building everything on their own. Out-of-the-box solutions are usually easy to use, but you are limited by their constraints. For example, they may lack integrations with the applications and systems of your choice. They may look cheap as well, but often it’s only an impression and as you grow, costs grow even faster. I mean that these solutions will seem OK at the beginning, but then you will have to migrate to some tailor-made solutions anyway.



Expert team – how to find it?

How to find experts in the right tech stack? If you don’t have your own team, you will likely look for the one that is experienced in building with certain technologies. But that is not enough. The team should also have expertise in marketplace development. And it means not only the buying-selling application. It is the security as well and integrations with various analytical tools. Some CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integration is desirable too. You see, it’s not that simple checking if a particular team knows how to build a marketplace website the way you want it. That said, there are some steps anyone can do. You should check the team’s portfolio, ask for some advice and check if they can help you make your business even better.

Marketplace User Experience

You should focus on your users’ experience. Only then you will win their hearts and minds. And cash. Thus, you need something reliable and fast. Users need to trust you and your place. UX has to be rewarding and fun. People will abandon the website if it runs slow. Or if it doesn’t work in a predictable way. There are at least two factors for you to take into account. One of them is the proper technology, and the other one is the execution. The first depends on your choice, the latter depends on how skillful is your team.

Successful marketplaces – what technology do they use?

Before you make your own decision, let’s look at the top digital marketplaces and their tech stacks. It will give you an idea of what is used in real life business. 

  • Airbnb is now built on Ruby on Rails in the back-end and  React.js in the front-end
  • Uber has chosen Python, Go, and Java combined with Fusion.js
  • Etsy works on PHP and Backbone.js
  • Amazon.com works on Java, C++, and Angular.js
  • Fiverr uses Ruby on Rails and React.js

Of course, they use much more solutions within their stacks. As said before, a marketplace needs much more than basic features. Let’s not forget about hosting. But apart from that, you will want to use some heatmaps, a confident payment solution, some kind of mailing, etc. But before you choose them, you need to decide how will you code your marketplace. If your chosen team has done this before, they should provide you with some marketplace tips. If you don’t know, ask them what technology do they advise.

Is there anyone to help me?

It isn’t easy to build a marketplace and decide how to do it. You will possibly avoid major mistakes if you reach for the support from experienced subcontractors. Yes, I mean us, the Ideamotive team. We know not only how to build a marketplace website, but also how to make it a successful business. 

Robert Krajewski

Robert is a co-founder of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, who with passion spreads digital revolution all around the internet. Mentor and advisor at startup accelerators. Loves to learn and discover new business models.

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