Making Marketplaces and Connecting People

I have been creating a 3D printing marketplace named MakerShop that connects 3D printer designers with people that want the designs in real life. People can download the designs to 3D print themselves or they can have a service like i.materialise print and mail it to them.

This the first real online marketplace that I’ve created. My other apps and websites have been utilities, like this online collage maker.

Marketplaces are about matchmaking. A person with a desire is matched with someone who can fulfill that desire. This can sometimes result in a chicken and egg problem when the marketplace is starting up. The marketplace might not be able to attract fulfillers until there’s more demand and people won’t visit the site until their are more fulfillers/designers/shops.

Some strategies I’ve used to kick start the MakerShop 3D printer marketplace is I seeded it with content, I invited friends and other people regularly to visit the site and I used SEO to make sure there was a steady stream of people continuously coming to the site.

My approach to developing the marketplace has been continuously improving it instead of one big launch. For this reason I try and get a continuous and increasing number of users instead of a single.big punch.

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