Matching offer and demand in an online marketplace?

I’m going to choose to interpret the word choice of “pattern” to mean systems/processes/UX/tech’

“What are the best systems…

“What are the best processes…

“What are the best UX designs…

“What are the best technologies…

…for matching offer and demand on an online marketplace?”

If I’m correct in your intended meaning, and though it is a loaded question, I would answer it like this:

Systems / Processes

Your marketplace marketing strategy creates demand by user demographics and possibly locations. Therefore, you must sync product with that incoming traffic. Platforms like Hired and Thumbtack launch in local markets to ensure they are able to meet the demand of their users because they know what/who that demand will be for. Make sure your product and marketing teams are spending a lot of time together during new market launch initiatives.

UX Design and URL Structure

User experience and SEO will both be crucial in your ability to match demand with your offer. First, set up your platforms’ main categories – products or services your marketplace offers, then regions you offer them. Your landing page URL structure should be: .com/category1/category2/location1/location2product-or-service-name

These will act as entry points for exact match keyword searches (i.e. “apartments for sale in Chicago” = “.com/apartments/2-bedroom/chicago/bucktown/123-fake-street”). This will allow search engines to easily determine what those pages are about, therefore ranking them higher, and allowing your platform to pull in more traffic for the products you are able to offer (not random search terms in areas your users do not service). As you offer more categories, your targeted search terms grow automatically.

As for UX restrictions on platforms unable to service more than one market or demo, you will want your main screen or index page to divert traffic accordingly. This can be done simply by splitting your main page into halves – one-half is for the users you can cater to, the other half is for users you do not cater to, but will some day soon”
Left Side: “If you are in the midwest, and seeking a professional, start here!” (search bar or button)
Right Side: If you are outside the midwest, and seeking a professional, click here.” (button)

The right side (the users you cannot help at this point in time) will be sent to a landing page where they will read copy along the lines of “We are excited you’re here, but unfortunately, you’re early. We will be expanding to your area soon so leave your email and location below so we can alert you when we expand to your city.” An email capture linked up to your CRM or drip provider can get them an email with ways they can help speed up your expansion to their area, some resource links, and social media pages to like…

Technology

In order to keep your offerings in line with demand, you can choose to use technology to keep UX customized. Depending on your budget, I recommend checking out the on-page machine learning and messaging systems of Boomtrain and BlueShift. Their tech will make sure the messages your customers receive, as well as the content they see on the page, matches their usage of your platform. If they continually come back for product/service X, they will see more content about that product/service in their inbox and on your homepage each time they visit. This is done by tracking what content they view/click each time they come back, then serving similar content to them dynamically through email and web page sections.

A free event-tracking and messaging platform to check out is Clevertap.com. After an SDK and snippet integration, they will tell you everything your users are doing on your platform, and give you the dashboard to message buckets of users who perform certain events. So every day, you can find the ideal users you want, and message them new offers, content or ways to use your platform to keep them coming back. The event data you will gather will also ensure you make the appropriate product iterations as you scale.

A cheap and robust CRM to look at (if you are targeting B2B and large ticket sales, but do not have a big budget to buy saas) is AgileCRM. For less than $50 a month, you can track your users as they browse your site, open and click your messages, forward your emails… assign contacts to sales people, add tags to contacts as they perform certain actions, set up drip campaigns based on those actions, embed lead capture forms and run nurturing email campaigns to convert those people to users… It’s a great tool for platforms in the B2B space.

That’s about all I have. I hope it was helpful 🙂

Leave a Comment