This article was contributed by Samantha Johnson who works as a freelance writer for 85 Digital.
Self-employment has become a growing trend in the US, with around 9.8 million self-employed people in the United States. There are numerous advantages to this new format of working, including job flexibility, the opportunity to work whilst traveling, greater earning potential, and the ability to make money by doing something that you genuinely enjoy.
With all this in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that so many individuals are looking to brand themselves as freelancers in a bid to be self-employed. One of the easiest ways to become self-employed is to create your own eCommerce website and sell products to consumers. Over time, this can become fairly passive and requires very low set-up costs. In this article, we will be looking at how you can create your own eCommerce marketplace using Azure.
Azure is a market-leading cloud computing platform that enables everyday people to develop products. If you are interested in becoming self-employed by setting up your own eCommerce business with Azure, this article will tell you everything you need to know.
How to set up a marketplace using Azure
Below are the basic steps that are involved with creating a marketplace using Azure. The process can take some time to perfect, and you may need the help of a third-party expert along the way. Nevertheless, building a marketplace with Azure from the comfort of your own home is possible.
Step 1: Choose your niche
The first step to creating a marketplace in Azure is to choose your niche and audience. Establishing this from the beginning will help you navigate other steps involved in the process. During this step, you should build a clear idea of what products/services you are going to sell, who your target audience will be, and how you will stand out from competitors.
Step 2: Choose a marketplace template
Next, you will need to choose a marketplace solution template that is offered by Azure. Azure offers a variety of templates, including eCommerce, business-2-business (b2b), and software as a service (SaaS). If you have little or no experience with Azure, an eCommerce business may be the best option because these businesses are considered to be easier to run than b2b or SaaS. However, the final decision depends on what time of product you are selling.
Step 3: Customize the template
Azure makes it possible to customize each template to best fit your brand and goal. Take time here to play around with different features and designs to create a marketplace that is perfect for you. It is possible to change things later down the line as you learn more about marketing and branding.
This stage is also where you can add your products and services to the marketplace. Make sure that your products are ready for purchase before uploading them to the platform.
Step 4: Integrate payment and order management systems
Before pushing your marketplace live, you will need to integrate payment and order management systems. Luckily, Azure offers a variety of services for this such as Azure Functions, Logic Apps, and Event Grid.
Step 5: Configure security settings
Last but not least, it is vital that you configure security settings to protect your customers. Azure provides security services such as Azure Active Directory, Azure Security Center, and Azure Firewall, which can be used to configure the security settings of your marketplace.
The security of your marketplace will play a significant role in building a community of confident buyers. This will help with the overall reputation of your business, which is essential for generating traffic and building a reputable brand.
Step 6: Test and deploy
After customizing the solution template, integrating payment processing and order management systems, and configuring the security settings, it’s time to test and deploy your marketplace. Use Azure DevOps to deploy your marketplace and ensure that it is functioning correctly.
Once you are confident that your marketplace functions correctly, you can publish it on the web. It is important that you perform regular maintenance and site monitoring to keep your site running smoothly.
Top tips for creating a marketplace with Azure
Above, we have covered the basic stages of creating a marketplace using Azure. However, there is more to building a successful business than simply creating a platform. To ensure your marketplace succeeds, you must build a good customer relationship, develop a strong marketing campaign and stay competitive.
Building a good customer relationship
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the best ways to make your business succeed in 2023. UGC is a type of marketing that involves content that is created by real customers. This could include reviews, social media posts, and YouTube videos. Some companies pay for this exposure. However, it is also possible to get UGC for free by building a good relationship with your customers.
One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that the process of using your marketplace is safe. As an eCommerce business, credit card fraud is the biggest threat to your customers. Therefore, it is vital that you put measures in place for detecting high-risk customers so that potential fraud can be stopped. All it takes is one negative review from a customer to destroy the reputation of your entire business.
Developing a strong marketing campaign
Another way to generate buzz and drive customers to your business is to deploy a strong marketing campaign. For this, you will need to create an effective marketing strategy that will get your campaign in front of the right people. Having a good understanding of your target audience is vital to this part of the process. Your marketing campaign should be targeted to your ideal customers.
New brands and marketplaces are being created every day which means that it is important to stay competitive. This means making your store stand out from others with excellent customer service, good user experience, exclusive offers, competitive pricing, and efficient shipping/delivery. Microsoft Azure offers a number of developer tools that can be used to help your marketplace to stay competitive. We recommend using these as part of regular marketplace maintenance.