Throughout this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of using Bubble's no-code web app builder to build your own marketplace app without code. Whether you’re looking to launch a business with your custom marketplace or just starting to understand what you can do with no-code tools, this guide will share useful tips and resources for you to think about as you start building your app.
How to Build Different Marketplace Apps
With Bubble, the possibilities for your marketplace are endless. Here are some guides we’ve put together on building some well-known marketplaces. You can potentially copy and customize these to make your own app:
Bubble App Showcase: Marketplaces
Just like you, thousands of marketplace founders have built their apps on Bubble. Here are a few examples:
- Marlow: Partners individuals with executive career coaches. Read the founder interview.
- Piershare: The “Airbnb” for boating docks. Listen to the founder’s story.
- StringTheories: Connects guitar students and tutors in Dublin. Read about the founder's experience.
—Mary Fox, Marlow Founder
Frequently Asked Questions about Building Marketplaces in Bubble
Q: How much will building and owning a marketplace on Bubble cost me?
A: In practice, building on the platform is free, whereas launching your app with a custom domain starts at $25/month, with the ability to upgrade as your app scales or your business grows. You can view our pricing plans here.
Q: How long will it take me to build my marketplace on Bubble?
A: It depends on each person’s experience and learning style, but building with Bubble is several times faster and cheaper than using traditional programming for the same result. Some of our app founders have been able to release fully functional MVPs in as few as 100 hours after discovering Bubble.
Q: What services can Bubble connect and integrate with for my marketplace?
A: Bubble offers hundreds of pre-built integrations that support marketplaces, including payments (Stripe, Paypal, etc.), email (Sendgrid, Mailchimp, etc.), and analytics (Mixpanel). Here’s our complete integration list.
Q: Can I scale my marketplace on Bubble if it becomes very successful?
A: Yes! With our paid plans, Bubble is equipped to handle scaling automatically, allowing you to expand and scale your app’s servers to meet your growing user numbers, traffic volume, or data storage.
Q: Can I hire someone to build my marketplace app for me?
A: Yes! A number of agencies build Bubble apps that are then easier for you to maintain and update than an app built in code. You can find available Bubble agencies here.
Additional Resources for Creating Your Marketplace
Did you know that we offer a variety of Bubble Bootcamps that can help you hit the ground running on your marketplace app? Our Jumpstart Bootcamps can help you master the basics, and our Build and Launch Bootcamps can help you build a launch-ready marketplace app in just 8 weeks. From ironing out your app’s framework to mastering a specific Bubble technique to polishing your data structure, our Bootcamps are the best way to learn Bubble. For even more help building your app with Bubble, check out these resources:
- One-on-one Coaching Sessions - Structured learning with expert instructors
- Bubble Templates - See our very own Bubble Marketplace of ready-built, free and paid marketplace templates. Some great options are:
Getting Started on Your Marketplace with No-Code
Your marketplace app will only be as solid as the planning you do in advance. We’ll start by highlighting the key things to think about:
- Create the Data Structure of your marketplace app.
- Plan and design your app’s User Interface.
- Build out buying and selling functionalities with Workflows and Plugins.
If you haven’t already, it’ll be useful to get comfortable in the Bubble editor. We recommend completing our introductory lessons and crash courses, which guide you step-by-step through the most common Bubble features. This will help you get a running start when you build your marketplace.
Configuring Your Data Structure
When kickstarting your project, you can choose to begin by wireframing your product design, or building the necessary fields within your database.
In this case, we’ll start by laying out the data types and fields that you will use throughout your various app pages. In a marketplace, there are usually three core data types:
- User - Already exists in the Bubble editor by default; additional example fields include Seller Name, Seller Logo, Products.
- Product - Example fields include Title, Image, Price, Seller.
- Sale - Example fields include Product, Buyer (User), Seller, Price.
Bubble’s default database makes it easy to create different data types with unique fields. For more guidance, check out the video tutorial on configuring your data structure below or read about it in our Bubble Manual.
Designing a User Interface and Page Structure
Next, we will focus on using Bubble’s visual design tool to shape the user-interface of our product. First, determine your app’s page structure with some key marketplace components in mind:
- Header - Where users can find your logo, a search bar, a navigation menu, signup, and login/out buttons.
- Search Page - Used to display a list of products/services that are being sold in your marketplace.
- Product Page - Used to display the full details of each product/service and where a user can add the product to their cart.
- Public Seller Profile - Used to display details of the seller whose product/service you are looking into buying and all of their listings.
- Private Seller Dashboard - Where the seller can manage their listings, modify their payment settings, and view a dashboard of their sales.
- Cart and checkout page - Where the buyer can complete a purchase.
This video tutorial walks you through the basics of designing an interface:
You can also read more about these concepts in our Bubble Manual:
- Bubble Manual: Creating a Page Structure
- Bubble Manual: Building a User Interface
- Bubble Manual: Setting Up Your Database by App Type
Build Out Features with Workflows and Stripe
Now that you’ve structured both the design and database for your app, it’s time to stitch it all together and make your product functional.
Some of the core features and functionalities of your marketplace app are involved with conducting transactions. The main examples are:
- User and Seller Sign-in System
- Upload a listing
- Charge a buyer for purchase
- Pay a seller after purchase
- Take the marketplace commission from a purchase
- Send an order confirmation email
Most importantly, you will likely need to install a plugin to easily accept payments and process orders. A common plugin for this is Stripe. You can watch a full video tutorial on how to implement Stripe below or read about it in our Manual.
There are many more resources that offer detailed instruction on configuring these workflows, including in our How To Build articles.
Launching Your Marketplace
Once you’ve gotten familiar with creating custom data fields, displaying dynamic content, and installing plugins, you can get even more creative and refine your marketplace until it's ready to launch. Our paid plans will also let you host your app on your own custom domain.
Check out the video tutorial below to understand how to deploy your app, or learn more by reading in our manual.
A couple of last tips we’ll leave you with:
- Talk to potential users about your marketplace idea during the planning stage. This will help you better understand crucial features to include when you start building your MVP.
- Adjusting to user feedback and iterating after your app goes live is easy in Bubble. You can update your live version at any point and create saved versions to roll back to if needed.
- We know learning on Bubble takes a little bit of time, but our community is here to help! Head over to the Bubble forum to collaborate.