Net Solutions helped LBS build a
Double-Sided Marketplace That Enables Users To Buy and Sell Food Online
Lauren & Blair Steenholdt (LBS)
Retail & eCommerce
Native iOS (Swift)
Our clients, Lauren & Blair Steenholdt (LBS), seasoned players in the food industry, wanted to build a custom platform that allows users to sell and buy food items using mobile devices. They wanted this platform to facilitate home cooks, professional chefs as well as small-scale restaurateurs, while adding more cuisines to the menu for buyers.
Spending several years in the food industry, our client envisioned making an impact by building a unique solution that serves as a double-sided marketplace – generating equal opportunities for small and large-scale food sellers, and adding convenience for buyers.
Our client envisioned an application allowing interchangeable roles for the user – who could be both a buyer and a seller at the same time. They wanted equivalent functionalities for both the roles. A concept of this kind, called the double-sided marketplace, was rare in the UK, especially in the food industry.
One of greatest challenges in building this application was to accommodate the functionalities of both user and buyer, in the same user window. The demand was to allow a single user to sell his catalogue by maintaining a shop, and also allow him to purchase food items from other nearby shops as a buyer.
Since the same user was allowed to behave as a buyer as well as a seller, many features had to appear on one screen. All of this needed to be accommodated without hampering the UX of the application. In fact, since this was the first of its kind in the region, the requirement was to build a UI that was very intuitive, leading up to an awe-inspiring UX.
Another major challenge was to build a platform robust in functionality with scalable architecture. Being a food industry application, it drew the interest of almost everyone in the UK region. Hence, scalability was a critical aspect.
The client wanted the app to allow easy delivery from sellers via a third-party service provider, such that sellers don't need to cope with overhead costs of maintaining a delivery fleet.
The app would offer 3 types of shipping: delivery, click & collect, and postage. This was convenient for the users.
A specialized layer would manage how finances travel from the buyers to the sellers, platform owners and third-party delivery provider (Shutl). The platform commission charges would be transferrable to platform owners, order total with postage or shipping charges would be given to the seller. In case of a delivery service procured from Shutl, the charges for it would be credited to the platform owner who would then pay directly to Shutl.
The app ensured that the same user ID was applicable for both managing user shop on the platform and also buying items from other shops. The buyer could browse items from the shops available nearby, or whatever location they chose. A buyer could filter and sort the catalogue including by ingredients, according to one's preferences.
The app included some highly intuitive features, thus making it user-friendly while allowing several options on the screen. For instance, the sellers could add new products in their shop and choose relevant shipping methods, along with applicable taxation on the product. The buyers were able to add products from multiple shops and check out via a single cart management screen. This allowed simplicity to the user flow instead of individual product checkout.
The platform development started with building a mobile version for the users, while the administrative side was managed on a custom developed back-end. The technologies used were: