When building a multi-vendor marketplace app from scratch, it’s better to break up the entire process to several product development stages. Each step should ensure stable final release of your product.
The aim of this article is to concentrate digital product owners’ attention on the role of prototype in product development. Before we proceed with the prototyping process steps to take, let’s briefly review main aspects of each marketplace development ways-to-go.
5 Product development stages
In the universe of different business development techniques, newly emerged and traditional ones, the very backbone consists of 5 main product development stages.
Note: (in this article we’re about to concentrate on prototyping in product development part. Thus, we’ll give it the most of attention in this piece):
market research and analysis (your potential buyer persona portraits and their pains, product’s value);
drafting product’s blueprint;
and then going live
Define market niche and analyze everything
Consider this as a start of your marketplace app building adventure. Dig in the industry you’re dealing with or going to engage your project in. This step includes answering to how to create a strong value proposition for your product question, figuring out who your potential customers will be and the problems they’re facing or will come across. To get slightly closer to your user’s needs and pains, try to reflect on your buyer persona portraits, what kind of industry they deal with, what their preferences are, what their possible expectations from utilizing your services. Then you’ll need to analyze your competitors and decide what makes you stand out of the crowd and unique.
Bonus: Read about how to do a market analysis on the example of on-demand home services marketplace.
Drafting product’s blueprint
After you’re done with the previous stage, try to brainstorm the working mechanism behind your product. Decide upon the app’s business model and the way it’s going to supply users with its major functionality in a simple way. The most crucial part at this stage is to sketch out the efficient functionality model.
If you’re dealing with a start-up, you might be interested in reading our article on: ‘What To Do Before Launching a Successful B2B Marketplace Startup’. You can find there 2 previous steps explained in the tutorial-way.
Design and prototype development process. The very core
When moving through the product development stages there comes the time, when you have to move from the app’s draft UI/UX version to the creation of intuitive in use digital product. Prototyping in product development carries an important role in the entire product creation process. It allows you to project the app’s idea, test it, and see where else you can use your ideas and efforts.
Prototyping process steps
If we’re talking about prototyping in the context of outsourcing, we need to cooperate tightly with our customer, a product owner, on each step to deliver a truly expectable product in the end.
Let us show you 6 stages of prototyping in product development on the sample car rental project, called Apikocars. Briefly on product concept: C2C car rental platform, with its help, you can look for and rent a car based on your location.
Problem understanding/needs understanding
Figure out and build the list of typical and non-typical problems your customers face.
Problem/pains analysis, problem solution planning
Do the research on where lies the root of certain issue/or issues, the reason behind these problems. Design and prototype development process should revolve around how to satisfy customers' needs.
Research and brainstorm
Brainstorm with your team or friends how you can solve each of the particular problem (based on priority) of your customer. As you can see, 'Problem understanding', 'analysis' , and 'research' stages include performing an in-depth market exploration. Here you can figure out the uniqueness of your product, your buyer personas, the troubles they can wave 'bye' to by using your solution, and what your competitors have to offer.
Start the very creative process according to the results taken from the previous stages. Take a rough glimpse at how the marketplace project will look and work like
Together with releasing the beta version of your product and/or hiring a skillful quality assurance team you’re able to conduct an experiment and see if your product is competitive enough in its niche.
Iterate 2 previous steps if needed
If there’s an improvement to do or feature to add, return to the prototype stage and upgrade your app even more. Then, again, allow your target audience to test the functionality well.
First thing, is that we define how the project's workflow.
Here are some things to remember when quitting design and prototype development process and going live:
Make sure you’ve fixed bugs, noticed in the beta-version release, if you did such type of release, of course.
List the products on AppStore and Google Play if these are mobile apps. By the way, if you’re about to lead an active marketing campaign for your mobile product, it’s recommended to create a website for your project and spread the word about it across any relevant channel.
These are the steps to pave through in order to create a full-fledged, self-sufficient product. As you can see the role of prototype in product development requires lots of points of view to consider in order to collect new ideas.
At Apiko, we usually keep to such product development stages when at the preliminary development stage.
We get introduced to the issue our customer is trying to solve and the industry our client is engaged into. Is it B2B, B2C or C2C model you’re dealing with? The specifics of your business are of the great importance here, since the more details you provide us with, the more recommendations and services we can offer you.
Tech solution. The next thing is we together do the research and agree upon a tech solution for a certain feature or the entire solution. Usually, we propose build marketplace apps using such JS technologies, as Node.js, Express.js, React Native and others. At this stage, our customer and us decide which features are must-have for their business and we estimate the durability and price of the app development. We try to advice you on the technology choice, which can help you create strong value proposition.
Wireframes building. We create clickable wireframes and prototypes of your product to take a look at it in the real life. If we agree upon wireframes we can proceed with the design part
We try to cooperate the most with our customer at this stage. It’s a part where a lot of changes related to the technology choice and/or business point of view can be made. If we’re proceeding further and reaching the agreement on the preliminary development stage, it means that we can move to the product development/prototyping itself, which includes the coding part. If we imagine the workflow in schemes, it might look like this:
Such model ensures tight cooperation between UI/UX, marketing and development departments.
To sum up
If the project is curated wisely from the very beginning, there’re no doubts that it can turn to be a true phenomenon on the market. At Apiko, we’re always open to discuss prototyping in product development and advise you on prototyping process steps for the marketplace product .