No-Code Marketplace — Building a Marketplace without Code

No-code tools speed up the development of digital products to a point where you can have a fully operational marketplace app in a matter of days. And while no-code lowers the barrier to entry for non-technical founders to launch their products, the approach comes with a set of pros and cons that have to be factored in early on — in-depth analysis at the start will help you decide how exactly a no-code platform should facilitate the development of a marketplace business.

a 3d rendering of a front store marketplace
No-Code Marketplace — Build a Marketplace App without Code

Benefits of Building an Online Mobile App Marketplace Using No-Code Tools

While the biggest benefit of using no-code to build your shopping platform is simply quickly turning your marketplace idea into a workable product, there are several other benefits to building online marketplace apps using no-code tools:

Reduced development costs

No-code tools can significantly reduce the costs associated with building and launching a marketplace. They decrease the need for custom development, allowing you to build and launch your marketplace at a fraction of the cost.

Faster time-to-market

A marketplace website builder for no-code development allows you to build and launch your marketplace much faster than traditional coding methods. This can be particularly beneficial if you have a short-term focus or need to get your product to market quickly.

a screen of a mobile app built using no-code blocks
By using blocks, you can build the application faster.

Low learning curve

No-code builders have a low learning curve, making them accessible to non-technical founders and individuals. This can be particularly appealing for those who are new to building digital products or have limited technical skills.

User-friendly

No-code development platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with a range of templates, custom elements, and integrations to help you build a functional and professional marketplace.

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Drawbacks When Building a Product Using a No-Code Platform

While the no-code approach to online marketplaces offers many benefits, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. Knowing the limitations of no-code marketplace software builders should be a big chunk of your decision whether to build with little code or opt for custom development.

Scalability

While no-code tools can be a great option for building an MVP or small-scale marketplace, they may not be as scalable as traditional coding methods. This can be a problem if you have ambitious growth plans or need to build a highly complex and customized marketplace. Consider a scenario where your audience matures to a point where they are loyal to your application but to keep them appropriately engaged, you have to develop new marketplace features or introduce new integrations that the no-code builder doesn’t yet offer.

Vendor lock-in

One potential drawback is vendor lock-in. When you build a product using a no-code platform, you are reliant on that platform for updates, maintenance, and support. This can be problematic if the platform decides to change its pricing model, discontinue support for your product, or experience technical issues.

Customization

While no-code tools do offer some level of customization, they may not offer the same level of flexibility and control as traditional coding methods. This can be a problem if you have specific business requirements or need to create a completely customized marketplace.

Best Practices When Building a Mobile Application Marketplace with a No-Code Solution

When building a mobile application marketplace with a no-code approach, there are a few best practices to follow:

Research and validate your idea

Before you start building your marketplace, it's important to research and validate your idea. This includes identifying your target market, understanding their needs and pain points, and testing your concept to ensure there is demand for your product. A great way to do this is by building an MVP and gathering feedback from potential customers. No-code is practically made for validating ideas.

different app screens in 3d
When building a marketplace app, opt for an iterative approach, where you add features in increments preceded by customer interviews.

Choose the right no-code platform

There’s a variety of no-code tools available, so it's important to research and select the one that best fits your needs and goals. Consider factors such as the type of marketplace you are building, your budget, and the level of customization you require. Also, the tool’s maturity, official support, and community around it will ensure the solution is stable and issues get resolved faster.

Define your necessary features

Determine which features are essential for your marketplace and prioritize them accordingly. Common features for a mobile app marketplace include inventory management, payment integrations, user profiles, and listings management.

Test and iterate

Once you have built and launched your marketplace, it's important to test and iterate to ensure a positive customer experience. This includes gathering feedback from users, analyzing metrics and data, and making continuous improvements to your product.

Types of Marketplaces That Can be Built Using No-Code Tools

There are several types of marketplaces that can be built using no-code mobile app builders, including:

Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces

These are platforms that allow individuals to sell products or services directly to other individuals. Examples include P2P marketplaces like eBay and Airbnb. These can often be a multi-vendor marketplace app, where buyers can be sellers and vice versa.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplaces

These are platforms that allow businesses to sell products or services directly to consumers. Examples include Amazon and Alibaba.

Niche marketplaces

These are specialized platforms that cater to a specific market or industry. Examples include wedding planning platform Zola and home decor marketplace Chairish.

Two-sided marketplaces

These are platforms that bring together two groups of users, such as buyers and sellers or service providers and clients. Examples include Thumbtack, which connects customers with service professionals, and Upwork, which connects freelancers with clients.

The Necessary Features a Mobile Application Marketplace Should Have

When building a mobile application marketplace, it's important to include the following features:

Inventory management

This is essential for managing and tracking the products or services being sold on your marketplace. It should allow vendors to add and edit listings, set prices, and manage stock levels.

Payment integrations

A payment gateway is essential for facilitating transactions on your marketplace. It should support a range of payment methods and be secure and reliable. Also, consider the availability of new payment methods like Klarna.

User profiles

User profiles are important for building trust and establishing a sense of community on your marketplace. This feature should allow users to create a profile, add personal information and a profile picture, and review and rate products or services.

Listings management

Inventory management is essential for vendors to manage their products or services on the marketplace. It should allow vendors to add and edit listings, set prices, and manage stock levels.

Responsive design

With the increasing number of users accessing the internet from a wide selection of mobile devices, it's important to ensure that your marketplace has a responsive design that works seamlessly across all devices.

Tools to Build a No-Code Online Marketplace

The sophistication and capabilities of most no-code marketplace builders have skyrocketed in recent years. We list only a handful of no-code platforms below, but the market is abundant in a variety of no-code tools designed for building marketplaces that work across devices. Some of the builders listed below were used to build quite a number of successful marketplaces.

Bubble

Bubble is a no-code platform that allows you to build, test, and launch web and mobile applications without writing any code. It offers a drag-and-drop interface, pre-built templates, and a range of integrations to help you create a functional and user-friendly marketplace. We tested Bubble in house, and it’s a highly versatile product with numerous capabilities.

Bravo

Bravo is a no-code tool that lets you create mobile apps from Figma or Adobe mockups. It's a great option for building the frontend for marketplaces. Depending on the type of marketplace and the number of queries in the database, you might need a custom backend.

example screens from Bravo app
Apps built in Bravo Studio for no-code development. Source: Bravo

Glide

Glide is a no-code app builder for creating apps from Google Sheets. It's a convenient tool for building simple, data-driven apps and marketplaces. Glide has hundreds of customizable templates that you can adjust to build a less complex marketplace (e.g., a listing).

Adalo

Adalo is a no-code platform for building mobile and web applications. It offers a range of templates, custom elements, and integrations to help you create a professional and scalable marketplace.

a screen shot from dashboard of no-code builder for apps
Adalo, no-code marketplace app builder. Source: Adalo

When to Use Native Development vs. No-Code for Building a Mobile App Marketplace

When it comes to building a mobile app marketplace, you basically have two main options: native development or no-code mobile app creators. So how do you decide which option is best for your business? Here are some factors to consider:

Short-term vs. long-term

If you are building a marketplace with a short-term focus, such as a one-time event, no-code tools may be a good option. They allow you to quickly and easily build and launch a marketplace without the need for native development (which can take longer). On the other hand, if you are building a marketplace with a long-term focus, native development may be a better option. It offers greater scalability and customization, which is often critical as your business grows and evolves.

Complexity and customization

Think of complexity and customization this way:

  • A marketplace website for no-code app development is a great tool for simple and straightforward marketplaces
  • Native development is better suited for more complex and customized projects.

That’s why if you have niche business requirements or need to build a highly customized marketplace, native development may be the better option. A no-code solution simply might not yet have the functionality you’re looking for.

Budget and resources

Native development can be more expensive than no-code tools, as it requires a team of developers and a longer development timeline. If you have a limited budget or are a solo entrepreneur, no-code tools may be a more cost-effective option.

Leverage No-Code to Build and Validate Fast

No-code tools have made it possible for anyone to build and launch a mobile app marketplace without any technical knowledge or coding skills. They offer a range of benefits, including reduced development costs, faster time-to-market, and a low learning curve. However, there are also drawbacks to consider, such as scalability limitations, vendor lock-in, and customization constraints.

When building a mobile app marketplace with a no-code platform, it's important to follow best practices, including researching and validating your idea, choosing the right no-code solution, defining your necessary features, and testing and iterating. You should also consider the type of marketplace you are building and whether native development or no-code tools are the better fit for your business needs.

By following these guidelines and carefully considering your options, you can build a successful and profitable mobile app marketplace using no-code.

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