Starting or managing a multi-vendor marketplace can be a daunting task. In fact, while a traditional SaaS or ecommerce startup should see traction within 6 to 9 months, a marketplace can take three years to validate. In order to keep striving toward your goal of building a successful marketplace, it's important to continuously learn from other marketplace founders and ecommerce experts.
If you need some marketplace guidance, check out any of the books for marketplace founders below to get ideas on how to grow your marketplace, learn from companies who successfully built their own platforms, or find inspiration for future scaling.
This book outlines how platforms and marketplaces are changing our economy. While reading, you’ll get insights into platform models and how to select the right one for your business. You’ll also learn how to monetize platforms to ensure long-term business viability.
If you have an idea for a marketplace but are unsure how to build it, this book is for you! You’ll be walked through how to take a concept from idea to execution and do it with sustainable success in mind.
An understanding of the economics behind multivendor platforms is critical to long-term success. Matchmakers will walk you through examples from some of the biggest industry leaders in the space, and instill learnings about how to succeed on your marketplace entrepreneurship journey.
Building a multi-vendor marketplace is attractive because they don’t have high startup costs. But once built, you need to figure out how to scale and grow the company. That’s where Platform Scale comes in. This book will help guide you to think through the challenges you’ll face as your business grows and how to plan for them in advance.
To grow a marketplace, you’ll need to harness the power of network effects–the phenomenon where a product is more valuable the more people use it. This book will walk you through case studies of companies that have successfully navigated network effects and how you can apply lessons learned from them to your own business.
As one of the world’s most successful multi-vendor marketplaces, Alibaba offers many insights for marketplace founders to consider as they build their own. This book covers how Jack Ma pivoted from being an English teacher to a marketplace founder over the course of 15 years, leading to one of the world’s largest IPOs to date.
While Amazon is ubiquitous in the marketplace industry now, it wasn’t always that way. The Everything Store follows the growth of Amazon from the mid-nineties dot com boom to its near-failure in the crash of the early 2000s and then finally to its emergence as the market behemoth we know today.
As a follow-up to The Everything Store, Brad Stone writes Amazon Unbound to detail the changes that the company has undergone in the last decade to become much more than a simple online marketplace.
In The Upstarts: Uber, Airbnb, and the Battle for the New Silicon Valley, Brad Stone shares the founding story behind Uber and Airbnb and how founders Travis Kalanick and Brian Chesky changed the rules to build these powerful marketplaces.
While it started off as an idea many thought would fail, Airbnb disrupted the travel and hospitality industry seemingly overnight. This book tells the story of Airbnb’s growth from an idea to a beloved tech company.
You may think you know the story behind Facebook, but this book tells it from a different perspective. Pulling from hundreds of interviews from inside and outside of Facebook, the narrative told in Facebook: the Inside Story will help you see the company in a new way.
Cliff Lerner built Snap Interactive, a technology platform that connects with social media platforms like Facebook. In this book, he chronicles his learnings from building Snap (now known as Peer Interactive) and the lessons you can learn as you build your own business and marketplace.
You may not think of Uber as a multi-vendor marketplace, but it is. This book will help you understand why, as well as chronicle chronicles the start of Uber and its often-public stumbles. (Plus, it’s the inspiration for the TV series of the same name.)
Reid Hoffman knows startups: he helped found Paypal and later started LinkedIn. In Blitzscaling, he shares tips on how to grow quickly to serve a global market. The book covers three types of scaling: revenue, customer, and organizational scaling.
Successful marketplaces require user growth, both in terms of consumers purchasing products and vendors who sell them. Traction walks you through how to plan for this growth, ideas to attain it, and pitfalls to avoid to ensure long-term business success.
As you build and scale your multi-vendor marketplace, it’s important to keep your internal structure and team in mind. This book will walk you through how to hire the right people to create a product your customers love, all while profiling product leaders at successful companies to model your organization from.
Whether you need the inspiration to build a marketplace or ideas to consider as you face scaling, you’ll find what you need in this list of books for marketplace founders. If you need more inspiration, check out Nautical Commerce’s library of reports.