How to Make the Open Marketplace “Adoption-Ready”? ✅
Over the last few days, we’ve reviewed Particl’s past development accomplishments with a full 2019 development review as well as a summary of all the progress made on the Open Marketplace since its mainnet release.
As is pretty evident, the development of Particl’s Open Marketplace has been pretty strong and consistent throughout 2019, but that’s really been the project’s greatest strength ever since its launch in mid-2017.
However, there’s one very important fact to consider — great development only takes you so far. This isn’t early crypto anymore when innovative projects were rewarded with exposure and growth simply based on development accomplishments. In reality, what the blockchain community is still looking for, even after all these years, is the metaphorical “killer app”, that first blockchain product that will significantly improve on something concrete and bring the masses on board. In other words, it is looking for blockchain to cause a paradigm shift.
In fact, the crypto community has more or less “seen it all”, especially considering the large number of projects that have fundraised millions of dollars based on bold promises but haven’t delivered a single thing yet. And even those projects that have delivered live blockchain products have seen very little adoption from anyone outside the few crypto hobbyists. The reason for that is actually pretty simple — crypto’s “killer app” is still missing and nowhere to be found.
“Isn’t Particl THE Killer App”?
With that in mind, many within Particl’s community would be fast to point out that Particl’s Open Marketplace is just that — crypto’s killer app. After all, it offers a LOT of benefits that simply cannot, by design, be offered by the more traditional online marketplaces currently in existence…and that’s all thanks to blockchain and distributed technologies. It charges no commission and barely any fee at all, is inherently private by default, provably secures your data by completely getting rid of third-parties, requires no sign-up, no login, no personal or business information, is censorship-proof, free to use, and works from anywhere in the world as long as you can connect to the internet. In fewer words, it completely redefines the very nature of eCommerce by taking it through the evolutionary path and making it much better. And that simply wouldn’t be possible without blockchain and the other novel distributed technologies employed by the Particl platform.
So why isn’t Particl getting more adoption? Why isn’t Particl the new hot marketplace on the web? To understand why that is, it is important to look at it from a different perspective, one that’s not coming from a hardcore cryptocurrency enthusiast.
This is precisely what this article is going to breakdown. What are the marketplace’s current pain points? What are some of its obstacles to adoption still standing to this day? How can these be fixed or eliminated so that any effort towards user adoption starts yielding positive results? Get prepared, because this is the last blog post before Particl’s reveal of the new development roadmap. This article is intended to give the precise reasoning behind the roadmap’s visions and will explain the team’s strategy moving forward, WITH adoption in mind. Now let’s get to it!
What’s the Marketplace’s Current Stage of Development?
Before getting into the finer details, we first need to understand a very important fact — Particl’s Open Marketplace is still in its Beta phase, meaning it is still early software that’s in its testing/development phase. It is not a final product, far from that, and that’s true even though it is currently running on mainnet.
While Particl Desktop is certainly one of the most appealing crypto wallets out there, and while the Open Marketplace itself is pretty impressive for a live blockchain product, it is still missing key features intended for its final version. It is also relatively complex to use for most people (in this case, think in terms of “non-crypto users”), both of which make adoption a real challenge.
That, alone, explains the marketplace’s relatively low level of adoption compared to traditional online marketplaces. Particl’s current users can still definitely be considered as pioneers, and perhaps still at this point, testers. Only once Particl gets “adoption-ready” will it start seeing any significant increase in the levels of adoption.
But the same key question remains — how do we make that marketplace adoption-ready? The answer is more obvious than it may seem — you just gotta fix what makes people NOT want to use it, and then, once that’s done, you can start reaching out to people and actually expect a decent “lead conversion rate”, aka the number of people you reach out to that convert into marketplace users.
What are the Marketplace’s Current Pain Points?
The first step to increase the marketplace’s adoption is to first understand what’s preventing it from getting said adoption. What could be better? What’s missing? To that end, the Particl team has recently received a feedback report from a very prominent crypto company which ended up being directly in line with what had been observed by the Particl team itself.
As it currently stands, the reasons can mostly be separated into 4 different categories:
- Missing features
Because Particl is not a final product yet and still in Beta, it is in no way feature complete. That means a lot of features simply aren’t ready or even started yet. These features could be tools that make sellers’ life easier, indicators that help buyers make better-informed purchasing decisions, etc.
And while the release of Market Management will mark the end of an important development phase for the marketplace, one that was mostly focused on developing the base layer of what the marketplace was always intended to be when Particl was first launched, the next phase that will then begin will also have its load of very important features, although they might not impact the overall structure of the marketplace the same way Market Management will.
And even then, once Market Management and other features will release, they probably will have to be improved further moving ahead in time. Which brings us to the second category…
- Required improvements on some features/functions
Releasing a feature is something. Making sure it’s as efficient and smooth as it needs to be is another. That much is made pretty evident with the major refactoring of the marketplace that is currently underway and will hit mainnet on the same release as the Market Management. Indeed, it is expected to significantly improve the marketplace’s performance, make it much lighter, and will also noticeably change the look and feel of it. Not surprising when you learn the update introducing Market Management touches around 80% or more of Particl’s marketplace components…
As time goes by, developers figure out more efficient ways to implement features and functions. The process of making those changes, after a feature is released, is called “refactoring”. Code refactoring is also important when introducing new, major features that touch components also touched by other previously released features. That’s to make sure the code’s health remains good and that the network doesn’t end up being a big pile of spaghetti code.
But more specifically in the context of user adoption, features that are already out or about to be released may need improvements moving forward before they become user-friendly. Additionally, features may be released in many different phases, first bringing the base layer for it, and then improving on it by adding more functionalities and efficiency in following updates.
- Required improvements on the marketplace’s performance and stability
Sometimes, the required improvements can be harder to pinpoint because they are not directly related to specific features or functions. That’s because it may be the whole back-end that requires some refactoring and improvements. While these changes are more difficult to track and, at times, to even feel their impact, it definitely shows over multiple releases, each containing its own set of general improvements.
Those improvements are what make the marketplace generally faster. They are what makes listings sync up more quickly, what makes listing fees smaller, what makes loading times shorter, etc.
It’s easy to overlook this particular category. After all, it’s a normal reflex to be thinking that once all the key features are in place, the product is ready to market. But there is much more than that, and each feature needs to be appropriately integrated and feel right before it can be considered as ready.
Considering that today’s traditional online marketplaces are built on the web, and also because most people access those with pretty decent internet connections, speed and “hassle-free” user experience is expected from both sellers and buyers now more than ever. Even more so, users will generally be willing to spend a little more if it means simpler and more pleasant user experience. Which leads us to the fourth and final category…
- Required improvements to the user interface (UI) and experience (UX)
“UI/UX is everything”, or so… Referring to the previous statement, “users will generally be willing to spend a little more if it means a simpler and more pleasant user experience”.
Of course, UI/UX is not the only thing that matters, but it is what glues everything together so that it makes sense and just feels right. You can have all the features in the world, but if they are displayed confusingly or unpleasantly, people will generally not even bother. That becomes even truer as a product’s learning curve gets steeper.
The reason behind this is mostly due to time constraints and the over-saturation of options available to users. Especially in the case of marketplaces — there are hundreds, if not thousands of them. Even if a marketplace’s value proposition is significant, it’s pretty hard to change people’s habits and get them to move from a marketplace they know and feel comfortable using to one that is complicated to understand and doesn’t look as good (it’s pretty fair to say…looks do matter).
So, is Particl’s Open Marketplace complicated to use? The answer might be “no” to you, but be assured it’s probably a resounding “YES” for most people you know. So how do you make these people leap forward and into this new age for online marketplaces? You gotta make sure that each of these 4 categories is being taken care of by the development team and bring the marketplace to a point that it may finally be considered “adoption-ready”.
In 2020, Let’s Tackle Those Issues!
Now that we know where lies the adoption hurdles for Particl’s Open Marketplace, it’s now time to strategize and plan around those. As such, the Particl team has crafted a brand new development roadmap for 2020 and beyond. With adoption in mind, each of the roadmap items has been carefully selected to eliminate what would make people not want to use the marketplace. There is one specific reason behind each of these items.
It’s important to understand, though, that the 4 categories mentioned above are tightly intertwined. For example, you can’t spend too much time on UI/UX when the marketplace may still significantly change structure as it will with the integration of Market Management. But you should still do a little, as long as you keep development hours wastes at a minimum. This is why Particl’s development team is focusing on these 4 categories as the underlying line of thinking behind the new roadmap’s content.
The Time to Reveal the New Roadmap is NOW 🎉
Yes indeed, the time to reveal the new roadmap has arrived! We now know just how much has been done in 2019, how far has the marketplace has progressed since releasing on mainnet, and what are the reasons it’s not been getting more adoption up until now. We are now equipped with all the tools to fully understand the reasoning behind the items included in the new roadmap.
With that being said, you can safely expect the new roadmap to be revealed next week, with its full and detailed breakdown being published on Particl.news.
As Market Management comes out in the next few weeks and with the new roadmap giving a clear indication of the way forward for the project, the entire Particl team is more than excited for what lies ahead of us all. There is no stopping the Particl train anymore!