A multi-vendor eCommerce platform is a turnkey solution designed to build online marketplaces where multiple sellers can sell their products. It includes all the basic eCommerce functionalities and essential integrations to streamline and manage multivendor marketplace operations. A turnkey multivendor eCommerce platform saves business owners considerable web development time and resources. This can be in turn utilized in the marketing of your online multivendor marketplace.
There are many types of multivendor eCommerce platforms, such as SaaS, hosted, and self-hosted. This blog post will provide you with all the information you need to know about and how to build a successful multivendor marketplace.
Growth of Multi-vendor eCommerce Marketplaces in recent times
Growth spurred by the pandemic crises
In 2020 – during the initial days of the pandemic, we witnessed a boom in e-commerce as sales soared by nearly 44% – the highest annual growth rate in two decades. Multi-vendor eCommerce marketplaces saw substantial growth as the gross merchandise volume (GMV) grew by 81% year-over-year in Q4 2020, according to Deloitte Digital.
Expected growth post-pandemic
Although the pandemic-driven growth has been hard to sustain, the growth of the eCommerce industry is on an upward trend. Consumers have been getting accustomed to shopping for their needs online, global supply chains have been evolving to support digital expansion, and technology has been progressing to provide more result-oriented tools. Businesses now see value in a digital sales channel as an imperative, and integral component that will drive the revenue for the present and prepare them for an even more digital-driven future.
A report from INSIDER’s Emarketer forecast validates the expected market trend, the global eCommerce market is projected to be of $5.55 trillion value by the end of the year 2022. Furthermore, this figure is expected to grow steadily in the years to come.
In this growth, eCommerce multi-vendor marketplaces have been playing a leading role. Their success has been the key driving force, catalyzing the industry’s global impact.
The success of multi-vendor marketplaces can be attributed to:
The accelerated shift online for businesses ― in line with evolving consumer preferences.
Benefits for all participants ― multiple revenue streams for marketplace owners, an ecosystem with established customer footfall for the sellers, and multiple options for the buyers.
Dynamic seller base offering in-demand products/services (even beyond their inventory) to customers with little risk or overhead cost.
COVID-19 had fueled the digital revolution, and since then buyers are increasingly turning online for their needs and the sellers are adopting online sales channels, to meet the buyers in their preferred space. The surge in demand for e-commerce has prompted aspiring business owners to start their online multi-vendor marketplaces. Amid the intense competition and higher commission fees charged on eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, the emergence of these new marketplaces has helped local sellers to thrive in this digital era.
If you are looking to build a sustainable multi-vendor marketplace like Amazon or Etsy, you need to choose a reliable eCommerce marketplace platform or software that fulfills your business requirements.
Best Multi-vendor eCommerce Platforms or Software to Start an Online Marketplace
To help you build a future-proof multi-vendor marketplace, we have listed the 8 best multivendor eCommerce platforms. These multi-vendor platforms are inherently designed to create an online marketplace and are also scalable and easy to customize. We reviewed these sta platforms based on their in-built feature list, trusted clientele, pricing, and rating on popular review sites (like G2, Capterra, & GoodFirms).
Yo!Kart is one of the best multi-vendor eCommerce platforms the industry has. It is a powerful self-hosted multi-vendor ecommerce platform to build online marketplaces in the B2B, B2C and P2P industry. Launched in 2015, the multi-vendor software has been used by 5000+ businesses in 70+ countries. Yo!Kart has all essential in-built features and multiple third-party integrations like ShipStation, TaxJar/Avalara, Stripe Connect, MSN Translator, MailChimp API, and more.
Yo!Kart software allows vendors to set up their individual storefronts. It has separate dashboards for admin/seller to streamline e-commerce operations. Also, the multi-vendor platform is fully responsive and comes with native buyer apps for iOS and Android platforms.
Team Yo!Kart regularly comes out with new products and updates.
Earlier this year, Yo!Kart B2B was launched to cater to the B2B eCommerce space It has in-built features like Request for Quote (RFQ) module, Minimum order quantity, bulk price discounts, etc.
In recent times, the latest version for Yo!Kart ― V10 has also been launched with a completely refreshed UI, streamlined eCommerce workflows, multiple features, and additional integrations.
Key Features of Yo!Kart multi-vendor eCommerce platform:
Global product catalog System
Single-page workflows and logic-driven UI for efficient operations management
Order inventory management and customizable shipping management
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) Compliance
Supports global operations with robust scalable engine, Multilingual and Multi-currency
Multiple payment gateway integrations including Stripe Connect for real-time split payment
Multiple Payment methods (Payment gateways, e-Wallets, BOPIS, COD, and more)
Abandoned Cart Management
PCI-DSS and GDPR compliant
Sell Digital and Physical products
Result-oriented marketing features like Affiliate module, Discount coupons, and more.
B2B eCommerce features
Lifetime license and source code ownership
Up to 1-year free technical support
Yo!Kart has more than 5000 clients in 70+ countries. Yo!Kart has quickly grown into a proven & best multi-vendor software trusted by several small & mid scale, billion-dollar enterprises and some Fortune 500 companies. The clientele includes UNI Diamonds, Voyij, My Cart Mauritius, Bozinga, and many more.
Yo!Kart has an overall rating of 4.3 on Capterra, 4.9 on Good firms, and 4.7 on G2 with reviews from clients worldwide. While most clients have applauded Yo!Kart multi-vendor software for its extensive customizability, UI/UX, outstanding technical support, and affordable packages. The only real complaints are there for limited themes and time required to learn the system.
All Yo!Kart versions are available for a lifetime of use by acquiring the License. The license is part of bundled packages, which are available for a fixed, one-time price. The pricing for Yo!Kart packages start at $999 for V9.3, and $1499 for Yo!Kart B2B and Yo!Kart V10. All the packages are self-hosted and include free installation, zero transaction fees, and complete source code ownership. They have been curated to cater to varying business needs.
Who should buy Yo!Kart – A Custom-Engineered Multi-vendor Marketplace Solution
Yo!Kart is a white-label multi-vendor eCommerce platform ideal for businesses who want:
An intuitive user-interface with a satisfying user-experience.
Complete control over e-commerce marketplace operations.
Flexibility to easily modify or accommodate new changes in the marketplace.
An extensive feature-rich multivendor ecommerce solution just under their budget.
To hire a team that offers full support from the design development to the marketing stage.
Need a complete overview of all essential e-commerce features in Yo!Kart?
Yo!Rent is a multivendor e-commerce marketplace software built with high precision to provide entrepreneurs with the desired functionality to launch versatile eCommerce businesses. Operating in 70+ countries, Yo!Rent has helped thousands of entrepreneurs in materializing their business ideas all around the world.
To power enterprise-level businesses and deliver your eCommerce services in multiple countries, Yo!Rent is also fully scalable and comes with multilingual & multi-currency functionality. In terms of business scalability and growth accommodation, Yo!Rent has unlimited listings, transactions and user profiles, which make it an ideal solution to support your online marketplace idea from startup to enterprise level.
The latest version of Yo!Rent, Yo!Rent V3 also comes with industry-specific designs, which are expertly designed for heavy equipment, automobile and fashion industries. These designs come with niche-specific features and functionality, which make them a complete suit to launch a powerful eCommerce business in their respective industries.
Lastly, Yo!Rent is fully customizable to support any unique features and business preferences.
Key Features of Yo!Rent Multi-vendor Platform:
Inventory management for real-time inventory automation
Order management for after-sales business process management
Request for Quote (RFQ) management for price negotiation and handling complex orders
Returns and cancellations management for a high customer satisfaction rate
Product comparison for decision making and improving customer experience
Discount coupon management for introducing new discounts and setting up a reward points system
Sales add-ons for upselling complementary goods and services
Yo!Rent has assisted numerous entrepreneurs across the globe in launching resilient eCommerce marketplaces. For example, its client GearFlow, a heavy equipment platform was able to raise $1 million in seed funding. Aloklub, Spain’s first online sports equipment rental marketplace was also developed by online rental software, Yo!Rent. Some other renowned clients of Yo!Rent are Kouture Studious, StageWing, Rentera, JC Lease, MaltaMarkt and more.
Yo!Rent has received an overall rating of 4.5 on G2, 5.0 on SourceForge and FinancesOnline and 81% score on Comparecamp.com. The platform has been praised for its after sales service, user-friendly dashboard and the wide range of features. Some clients have shared in online reviews that the software has the steep learning curve.
Yo!Rent Pricing: Currently, Yo!Rent’s pricing is only available on quotation basis. Interested entrepreneurs can get in touch with Yo!Rent’s official team to get their quote.
3. CS-Cart: Self Hosted Multi-vendor Software
CS-Cart is a widely used multi-vendor eCommerce platform to build an online marketplace. The platform is self-hosted and comes with many essential e-commerce features right out of the box, such as a vendor payout system, advanced order management system, multiple storefronts, and more. Plus, there is an app store where you can find and integrate several add-ons like Facebook Conversion API, Live currency converter, advanced Mailchimp, and others.
Key Features of CS-Cart multi-vendor software:
Real-time shipping rate estimates
Regular updates and enhancements
Secure self-hosted solution with GDPR compliance
Customizable vendor storefronts
Advanced admin and seller panel
Configurable vendor monthly subscription plans
45 days free technical support
More than 1,300 online marketplaces globally, run on CS-Cart multi-vendor solution. ShopClues is one of the renowned clients they have.
It has received an overall rating of 4.7 on Capterra and 4.8 on G2, with clients praising CS-Cart for its third-party tools and regular updates. But, there have been regular complaints about the limited & paid tech support, poor user-experience, addons quality, and more.
CS-Cart Pricing: The marketplace platform comes with a 15-day free trial, and the pricing starts at $1,450 (one-time fee) for the basic package. There are extensive mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms, although these apps are only available for multi-vendor plus (at $3,500) and multi-vendor ultimate edition (at $7,500) albeit at a much higher price than what you’ll get at Yo!Kart.
Learn In-depth Difference Between Yo!Kart And Cs-Cart
Shuup is a fully customizable open-source multi-vendor solution to start an online marketplace. It is an innovative multi-vendor e-commerce platform designed to build both horizontal marketplaces like Amazon as well as vertical marketplaces such as Airbnb. The multi-vendor eCommerce platform comes with features like data migration, cross-selling, tax management, inventory tracking system, order management, and more. It has a centralized dashboard for the admin to manage product listings, shipping methods, check sales reports, and more.
Key Features of Shuup Multi-vendor Platform:
Built-in layout editor to customize the feel and look of the marketplace
Fully responsive design for consistent user experience (UX) across all devices
Complete content management system (CMS)
Freedom to personalize individual vendor storefronts
Easy to Customize as per business requirements
Built-in Paypal and Stripe payment gateways
Open-source API to integrate third-party payment processors freely
Since its inception in 2014, Shuup has delivered niche-specific marketplaces like pharmacy retailer network, B2B workwear marketplace, Gaming hardware marketplace, and more for clients around the world. However, the company has not mentioned how many clients are using the software.
Shuup marketplace software has a rating of 4.3 on Capterra and 4.8 on G2 where clients appreciate the platform for its extreme flexibility, custom integrations, and support. But, there are often complaints as well regarding the difficulty to operate the platform, issues with generating coupons, frequent bugs, and more.
Unlike Yo!Kart or Cs-Cart, Shuup has higher pricing & works on a monthly billing model. It comes in two distinct pricing packages – $299/month for the SaaS license and $1499/month for a self-hosted license. Although native mobile apps can be developed with Shuup’s open source license, there are no ready-to-use mobile apps available.
5. Sharetribe: SaaS Multi-vendor Software
Sharetribe is a cloud-based e-commerce platform designed to build custom multi-vendor marketplaces with ease. It is a hosted marketplace solution with a subscription-based model for businesses to start their multi-vendor store. Sharetribe has two products – Sharetribe Go and Sharetribe Flex. While the latter allows businesses to build a customized online marketplace using powerful APIs, the former – Sharetribe Go is a marketplace platform that delivers a scalable online multi-vendor marketplace without coding.
Key Features of Sharetribe Multi-vendor Platform:
In-built product catalog management system
Advanced payment system with support for over 25 currencies and 200+ countries
Fully responsive to all devices and screen size
A hosted solution to maintain and scale your e-commerce business
Individual profiles for users (buyers and sellers)
Social sign up for users
SEO tool to optimize your marketplace
Powerful customization tools to scale your business
Sharetribe is powering around 1,100 marketplaces in 70+ countries since 2011. It is an excellent solution for small to medium-sized businesses.
It has a rating of 4.4 on Capterra and 4.5 on G2. Sharetribe is an easy-to-use platform, customizable using front-end development, and offers excellent customer support according to client reviews. There are a few complaints as well, like lack of ready-to-use APIs, limited marketing features, only two payment gateways (Stripe and PayPal), and limited customization features.
Sharetribe Go comes with 4 recurring packages: Hobby at $99/month, Pro at $149/month, Growth at $199/month, and Scale at $299/month. Plus, there’s a 30-day free trial available. All packages include unlimited traffic, marketplace listings, and transactions. Currently, Sharetribe does not offer iOS, Android, or any other mobile apps. However, the $99/month plan comes with Sharetribe Branding.
Sharetribe Flex plan pricing starts from $299/mo (subscription fees). Also, transaction fees are applicable if the monthly transaction volume is above 30K.
6. Magento Multi-vendor Marketplace Solution by CedCommerce
Magento 2 Multi-Vendor Marketplace solution by CedCommerce is a one-stop solution for aspiring entrepreneurs to build a multi-vendor marketplace website. This would enable the coming together of vendors on a common platform to market their products, showcase their vendor profile, manage orders from their dedicated vendor dashboard, and view sales reports. The Multi-Vendor Marketplace solution for Magento offers a multitude of features for transforming your Magento eCommerce website into a workable and feature-rich multi-vendor store like Amazon and eBay. With the help of this Magento multi-vendor solution, vendors owning Magento 2 stores can create a website tailor-made to their specific business requirements.
Key Features of CedCommerce Multi-vendor Platform:
Facilitating Online B2B and B2C marketplace: Create Magento 2 multi-vendor marketplace for B2B and/or B2C needs, which enable businesses to be both sellers and customers.
Leveraging Mobile Commerce: Your Magento 2 multi-vendor marketplace will be mobile-friendly.
Local Courier Support: Magento 2 marketplaces built to support well-known courier services like FedEx, Aramex, UPS, etc.
Offer Headless PWA marketplace.
Support multiple Payment Methods: Extend payment alternatives on your Magento 2 marketplace with support for services like PayPal adaptive, Stripe connect, PayPal marketplace, etc.
CedCommerce Clients: CedCommerce Magento marketplace solution is a reliable multi-vendor eCommerce platform with clients across the globe. Antikolis, MyMall, Rack Tribe, Purple Box, Vajor, Wafi Apps, Univar Solution, Oneagrix, Expressgrass are some examples.
CedCommerce Pricing: Pricing for CedCommerce Magento marketplace extension comes in 3 tier pricing strategy for solutions ranging from $60 CE – $1600 CE. Additional Enterprise/Commerce editions are available over and above these packages ranging $100 – $1000, depending upon the chosen solution.
7. Growcer: Self Hosted Multi-vendor Platform
Growcer is a robust on-demand multi-vendor platform to start a hyperlocal marketplace. It is a readymade multi-vendor eCommerce solution that comes with all essential e-commerce features, such as a product catalog system, commission management, tax management, order tracking, click-and-collect, PWA, and more. Growcer is a highly customizable and scalable solution to start e-pharmacy, liquor, dairy products, pet food, board games, and a variety of other hyperlocal online marketplaces.
Key Features of Growcer Multi-vendor Platform:
Readymade buyer & delivery apps
Fully customizable platform to build a personalized grocery marketplace
Growcer is trusted by 200+ clients worldwide in such a short duration. It is ideal for entrepreneurs as well as enterprises to start online grocery & other hyperlocal marketplaces.
Growcer marketplace software has a rating of 4.4 on G2, with clients praising the solution for its intuitive admin panel, frictionless user experience, amazing customer support, and all essential features/integrations like Mailchimp, Stripe Connect, Google Analytics, and other third-party software right out of the box. The only real complaint is that first-time users need to invest time to learn the system.
The pricing of the Growcer multi-vendor solution starts at $8000 (including both buyer and delivery mobile apps). It is a one-time license fee with no transaction charges or recurring fees of any kind. Also, you get complete source code ownership, free installation, and 12-months of free technical support. Growcer has readymade buyer and delivery staff apps for iOS and Android platforms.
8.Kreezalid – SaaS Multi-vendor Platform
Kreezalid is a SaaS-based multi-vendor platform to build a customized e-commerce marketplace. The solution is integrated with powerful e-commerce features to enable business owners to quickly scale their online marketplace. Kreezalid is intuitively designed, mobile-friendly, and has a plugins library to integrate new functionalities streamlining the entire marketplace operations.
Key Features of Kreezalid multi-vendor platform:
An official partner of Stripe Connect and Mangopay – two in-built payment gateway integrations.
Streamlined tax management and shipping module management.
An app store to find and add new features, services, and plugins to the marketplace.
In-built SEO and digital marketing tools to increase search engine visibility.
Integrated analytics system and quick access to Google Analytics.
Kreezalid is available in English, Spanish, French, and Danish languages.
In-built modules for user management and listing management.
Kreezalid is a reliable multi-vendor e-commerce platform with clients across the globe. The solution is ideal for startups as well as enterprises.
It has a rating of 4.2 on Capterra and 2.3 on G2. Kreezalid offers an intuitive user interface, excellent admin panel, and allows selling digital products – as shared in the client reviews. But, the multi-vendor eCommerce software lacks in UI/UX, essential features/integrations, offers limited personalization options, has only two payment gateways, and does not provide the best customer support.
Kreezalid comes with a 14-day free trial and a single pricing plan at $299/month. Both monthly and annual billing options are available. Also, there is premium support from the Kreezalid team at an additional $95/month. There are no ready-made mobile apps by Kreezalid.
Launch a Scalable, Affordable, and Feature-rich Online Marketplace Today.
Arcadier is a SaaS-based eCommerce multi-vendor platform. The solution is integrated with APIs to allow business owners to achieve more. Arcadier is well-designed and refined. The recurring payment cycle tenure can be customized as per suitability. The solution has a plugin library to integrate new functionalities.
Key Features of Arcadier multi-vendor platform:
Private marketplace ― choose to set approval for sellers or buyers
Built-in Analytics support
Mobile responsive design
Custom Domain can be applied for.
In-built modules for user management and listing management.
Arcadier is a reliable eCommerce solution with clients across 180 countries Some of these are Kinley, PlatformXChain, Snapsquad, and more.
The eCommerce marketplace platform has a rating of 3.6 on Capterra. According to the reviews, Arcadier offers a customizable marketplace with good features. But, client reviews also reveal that customizing the marketplace can be difficult and expensive.
Arcadier comes with a 14-day free trial and a single pricing plan at $99/month. Both monthly and annual billing options are available.
X-Cart is a self-hosted multi-vendor platform that is also open-source. Just like Magento that brings some benefits and some complexities to the table. The solution is customizable and businesses can tailor their launch. Also, if the solution fits the bill for a business, it can be a good long-term choice.
But, being open-source ― customizations, after-sales, and other essential services need to be managed by the business and which leads to extra development costs.
Key Features of X-Cart Marketplace
Responsive design ― the website can be accessed on multiple screen sizes
Digital products can also be offered alongside physical products
Customizable and good integration support
Cloud search also possible
Real-time shipping prices
X-Cart Marketplace Clients:
X-Cart has clients across the globe, some of which are Trademark Hardware, Mysterious secrets, and KB Authority.
X-Cart Marketplace Ratings:
It has a rating of 4.2 G2. X-Cart client reviews suggest that it has support for Plugins, simple to use, and option for self-hosting as some of the highlights while clients reported that lack of reporting, unstable updates in the past, lack of support for payment gateways like Mpesa, and high customization and after-sales charges as some of the impediments.
IXXO mutlivendor is another standalone multivendor software that comes with a decent set of features. Although the team also provides a multivendor plugin for WordPress, the standalone solution is an entirely different product.
IXXO multivendor develops its products after research into the industry requirements. This benefit is with the business owners, who get a feature-rich solution.
Key Features of IXOXO multivendor
Ease of Use
Built-In blogging module
IXOXO multivendor Clients:
Some of IXOXO multivendor’s clients are Snakeguides , Cascadiaworkshop, Brainpad, and more.
IXOXO multivendor Marketplace Ratings:
It has a rating of 4.8 on G2. IXOXO multivendor client reviews suggest that it has good number of features. Moreover, the Admin panel is easy to use. The drawback is the lack of documentation and insufficient sales channels.
IXOXO multivendor Pricing
IXOXO multivendor pricing starts at a one-time fee of $1495 for the Classic pack, $2795 for Business, while Enterprise pack is RFQ.
ZielCommerce marketplace solution is a flexible eCommerce platform that allows entrepreneurs to create a marketplace for B2C, C2C, and B2B business models. The marketplaces developed are secure, payment-ready, and tailored to the business requirements.
ZielCommerce has features to manage most eCommerce operations such as shipping, inventory management, payments, and more.
Key Features of ZielCommerce marketplace solution
Product Catalog Management
Multiple revenue streams supported
Flexible payment terms
ZielCommerce multivendor Clients:
Some of IXOXO multivendor’s global clients are Frampo, Briovita, Sprokkets, and more.
ZielCommerce multivendor Ratings:
It has a rating of 4.4 G2. Client reviews suggest the presence of independent Admin panel as easy to use and efficient. According to clients, the drawback isthe lack of payment gateway customization.
ZielCommerce multivendor pricing
ZielCommerce multivendor pricing is subjective to the needs and is available after requesting for Qoute.
Multimerch marketplace solution comes with rich features for the vendors on the marketplace. The team also offers an invite-only community for marketplace owners.
Multimerch has dedicated dashboards for the Admin and the vendors and also has an efficient payment system on the marketplace. The software caters to both the B2B and the B2C business models.
Key Features of Multimerch marketplace
Ease of Use
Dozens of payment gateway integrations
Inventory management for sellers
Custom product listing forms
Customizable Shipping rates
Direct communication channel between buyers and sellers
Multimerch marketplace Clients:
Some of Multimerch’s clients are Roobycon, MieuxEnseigner, Chopni, and more.
Multimerch Marketplace Ratings:
It has a rating of 4.9 on Capterra. Multimerch’s client reviews suggest the Admin panel is easy to use, has multiple revenue generation channels, and more. The drawback is the steep learning curve.
Multimerch Marketplace Pricing
The pricing for the marketplace can be obtained by requesting for quote form the customization partners of the platform.
14. Marketplacer – Platform for Enterprises
Marketplacer is a platform that is built exclusively for enterprises. They have clients in 10+ countries. Their business offering is based on a scalable solution that can be used to extend business.
Marketplacer goes beyond just providing a solution and also offers other related services to its clients. Moreover, they also offer linking services to sellers of marketplaces
Key Features of Marketplacer
Sync inventory with Mconnect
Manage sellers efficiently
Lead Generation Engine
Supports multiple third-party integrations
Some of Multimerch’s clients are Woolworth, Optus, Myers, and more.
It has a rating of 4.9 on Capterra. The client reviews for Marketplacer suggest good customizable options with result-oriented features, good performance, and good customer support. The drawback is that UX writing is specific to Australia and can be ambiguous to American usage.
The pricing for the solution has not been revealed on the company website or popular third-party sources.
15. Apurple – eCommerce solutions
Apurple offers businesses multiple solutions that cater to many niches within the eCommerce industry. With clone scripts, you will be able to build your marketplace like the popular market players the script is based upon.
Apurple adopts a popularly implemented technology stack for its products with some leading open-source technologies. This can render robustness to the solutions.
Key Features of Apurple
Multi-level Admin access
Sellers and customer management
SEO optimized site
Apurple has a rating of 4.1 on G2. The client reviews for Marketplacer suggest easy-to-use software with a clean interface. Clients further suggest that the drawback is the software and its services can be expensive and slow in performance.
16. ShopyGen– Platform for Enterprises
ShopyGen has been built with the MEAN stack, which includes MangoDB, ExpressJs, AngularJs, and NodeJs. These are open-source technologies that provide ease of scalability to the code.
Furthermore, there is also an integrated Facebook chat messenger with the software. This can help marketplace owners to establish a communication channel using one of the most popular social media platforms.
Key Features of ShopyGen
Robust Admin Panel
Unique Seller Dashboard
Facebook Chat Bot
Host Physical and Digital products
Supports multiple revenue channels
It has a rating of 4.0 on G2. The client reviews for Genstore suggest an easy-to-use software. The drawback is that price can be high and steep learning curve.
ShopyGen Pricing The pricing for the marketplace software is offered with a two-tiered approach: Genstore Standard at $399 and Genstore Premium at $999
Other Options To Start an Online Multi-vendor Marketplace
1. Use of Multi-vendor Marketplace Plugins
Multi-vendor plugins are add-ons built by third-party developers for Shopify, WordPress, Magento, and other e-commerce platforms. As the name suggests, these plugins can be quickly configured to either start an online marketplace or transform an existing e-commerce store into a multi-vendor business. Dokan, WCFM Marketplace, Webkul – for instance, are some of the most popular multi-vendor plugins available.
While these plugins save hours of development time for business owners, there are several challenges associated as well, like – limited scalability, upgrade costs, persistent performance issues, vulnerability to malware/external threats, and more as shared in clients’ reviews. Moreover, these plugins aren’t out-of-the-box multi-vendor solutions like Yo!Kart, CS-Cart, or Sharetribe, which limits a business owner to build an enterprise level multi-vendor marketplace.
2. Multi-vendor Marketplace Development from Scratch
Another option is to build a completely personalized multi-vendor marketplace from scratch. This option is suitable for those who have envisioned a unique marketplace idea that cannot be fulfilled with a standalone marketplace builder or plugins. This is because any development from scratch requires a dedicated team of experts, hundreds of thousands of development hours, and is highly expensive (anywhere between $100K to millions of dollars) depending on individual business requirements.
Still, business owners who wish for a multi-vendor store development right from scratch may hire a development team specializing in crafting custom marketplace solutions. Reputed companies like Scnsoft, Rubygarage, and FATbit Technologies follow agile development methodologies to build a custom online marketplace from scratch. These firms have a rating of 4.8, 4.9, and 4.9 on Clutch respectively.
Existing Business and Revenue Models in Multi-Vendor Marketplaces
Integral Business Models: Horizontal and Vertical Marketplaces
Standalone multi-vendor eCommerce platforms can easily be aligned to create both horizontal and vertical marketplaces – two integral e-commerce business models. Some of the world’s leading online marketplaces or disruptive startups are based on either of the two business models. Alibaba marketplace, for instance, a retail giant that dominates the e-commerce space, follows a horizontal marketplace model. Similarly, the likes of Etsy and Newegg are vertical marketplaces that focus on a specific niche, i.e. vertical marketplace model.
A horizontal marketplace is more extensive catering to more than one industry in a larger market. Such marketplaces have a huge customer base, implement broader policies to cover several product categories, and are highly competitive for a new retailer. Vertical marketplaces, on the other hand, are niche-specific businesses with a well-defined audience. These multi-vendor marketplaces deliver specialized products services, implement a centralized policy across the marketplace, and have less-intensive competition.
Revenue Models for Online Multi-vendor Marketplaces
The marketplace business allows the opportunity to earn via multiple revenue channels. While the majority of online marketplaces operate with one or two revenue methods, in reality, there are several revenue models that a business can adopt. For instance, Amazon has a diverse revenue model which includes commission fees on each transaction, affiliate program, paid advertising space, a subscription-based model with Amazon Prime, and more.
Explore the multiple revenue streams possible with contemporary marketplace solutions
Following is a list of multi-vendor marketplace revenue models:
Freemium model – When a multi-vendor marketplace has both free and premium (paid) features, it is said to be following a freemium revenue model. It is a preferred revenue model by businesses that wish to reach a substantial/sufficient user base. Freemium revenue method offers fast lead generation and unlimited access to the platform. Craigslist, for instance, is a prime example of a marketplace that utilizes the freemium revenue method.
One-time sign-up fees – Another popular revenue method is the one-time seller registration fee charged on the online marketplace. Here, the admin receives a sign-up fee when a new seller registers in the marketplace. It is a non-recurring charge that a vendor pays to get access to the marketplace.
Subscription fees – When a user (buyer or seller) is charged a recurring fee to access the platform, it is termed as a subscription fee. Many popular multi-vendor marketplaces have a subscription-based model. Amazon, with its Prime membership or Netflix, with its monthly subscription plans – are two examples of marketplaces with a subscription-based revenue model.
Commission Fees – It is the most popular online marketplace revenue model. Here, the admin charges a fixed percentage or commission fee on every transaction that occurs in the online marketplace. The admin may charge a commission to either buyer or seller or even both. Upwork, for instance, is an online marketplace that charges commission fees to both freelancers (service providers) and clients (consumers).
Per delivery fee – It is an additional fee associated with the delivery of a product. Amazon – the retail giant – charges delivery fees to non-prime customers and offers free shipping to prime customers for the majority of orders. While many multi-vendor marketplaces charge a delivery fee, the overwhelming success of Amazon Prime has prompted other marketplaces to rethink their strategy and adapt.
Selling own products – Selling your own products in your e-commerce marketplace makes it a hybrid business model where the third-party sellers are directly competing with your products. Amazon, for example, lists products of its own alongside third-party retailers and generates a major chunk of revenue on the marketplace.
Featured Ads, Affiliate and other advertisement options – Featured listings and banner advertisement is an important revenue generation model in an online marketplace. Marketplace sellers buy advertising privileges to have a featured listing at the top – increasing visibility on the multi-vendor marketplace.
Multi-vendor eCommerce Marketplace FAQs
Q: Why are multi-vendor eCommerce marketplaces more successful?
According to a recent analysis by DigitalCommerce360, top e-commerce marketplaces (like Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, and others) generated $2.67 trillion in revenue in 2020, accounting for nearly 62% of global internet sales. E-Commerce marketplaces have always been more successful with their excessive variety of products, instant access to a large audience (for sellers), and more revenue generation/growth opportunities for the business owner. It is a lucrative business model for entrepreneurs and enterprises looking for substantial growth.
Q: How do I create a multi-vendor website swiftly?
To build your multi-vendor website quickly, start by identifying a reliable multi-vendor marketplace platform that fulfills your business requirements. Turnkey Multi-vendor eCommerce solutions deliver a ready-to-launch online marketplace, saving both time and money.
Q: What features does a Multi-vendor eCommerce Website need to have?
A multivendor eCommerce store requires hundreds of essential features and integrations to streamline store operations. These features vary among marketplace users (admin, seller, and buyer). For instance, an admin or marketplace owner requires features like product catalog, inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, multiple payment gateways, and more. Similarly, for sellers, features like shop inventory, shipping profile management, discount & coupon generation, sales reports, import/export, and others are crucial. Lastly, the multi-vendor ecommerce platform must have these advanced features for buyers like Pay at Store, Multi-lingual, Invoices, Product comparison, etc.
Q: Are mobile apps necessary for a multi-vendor store?
As per Statista, more than half of the total website traffic comes from mobile devices and smartphone apps play a significant role here. Also, according to a 2020 report by Poq commerce, shoppers have shown a higher intent to buy on mobile apps. This makes mobile apps a mandate for a multi-vendor business to maximize its full potential.
Q: Are Shopify or BigCommerce Multi-vendor Platforms?
Q: What factors do enterprises need to consider when choosing a multi-vendor platform?
Time to market – The time required from conceptualization to stable market release is termed as time to market. eCommerce Platforms that deliver ready-to-launch online marketplaces significantly reduce businesses’ time to market.
Scalability – It is the measure of a platform’s ability to handle system processing demands by adding new resources or modifying existing ones. For instance, how well a system performs when the traffic increases or how a database handles growing user queries. When choosing a marketplace solution, enterprises should pay close attention to the scalability aspect.
Customizability – The ability to tweak or customize the multi-vendor marketplace software to incorporate operational needs of the organization. Customizable eCommerce solutions enable enterprises to personalize the marketplace as per their business requirements.
Expert Technical Support – Bugs/errors in a system can hamper your business performance and impact growth. Hence, it is advisable to choose a reliable multi-vendor platform that offers timely support for any technical concerns at no additional cost.
Multiple revenue channels – Select a multi-vendor eCommerce solution that supports multiple revenue methods like an affiliate program, seller subscription, commission fee on each transaction, and more.
SEO Friendliness – An SEO-Friendly marketplace ranks on top of SERPs, enhancing sales and leading to an increased conversion rate. Choose a multi-vendor eCommerce software that offers business owners complete access to SEO tools to optimize the page loading speed, user experience, meta tags, and more in your online marketplace.
Q: How much does a multi-vendor eCommerce software cost?
The pricing of a standalone multi-vendor marketplace software varies depending upon your business requirements, customization requests, additional integrations required, and more. SaaS multi-vendor software pricing starts at $50-100 per month, whereas licensed multi-vendor ecommerce software pricing starts at $1000-$10000 (one-time fee).
Q: How to customize a multi-vendor website?
Customizing a multi-vendor website requires dedicated designing/development hours from a skilled team of experts. To customize an online marketplace, you can either hire the team behind the multi-vendor solution or have an in-house development team do the job for you. Also, you need access to the source code for any kind of customization.
While standalone or licensed based multi-vendor eCommerce platforms offer complete source code ownership that makes it easy to customize. Any customization to a SaaS-based multi-vendor software is limited to the list of add-ons available and anything beyond it is either not possible or is truly expensive to be built.
Q: How to attract sellers to a multi-vendor website?
Pre-planning your initial marketing strategy or assessing your options is a fundamental approach towards attracting sellers to a multi-vendor marketplace website. For instance, creating a “coming soon” landing page, using social media marketing, or advertising on online ad networks – there are several steps that can help with your seller onboarding.
Q: How to market a multi-vendor marketplace website?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be the first step when your multi-vendor marketplace website is live. Create meta tags, schema code, alt tags, and make other on-page SEO changes to make the website search-friendly. You can start writing blogs on your website and third-party channels to build brand awareness and traffic. Plus, keeping your target audience in mind, you can start doing paid advertising on channels like Google Shopping Center, Facebook, or Instagram.
Other Multi-vendor eCommerce Related Articles
Lastly, if you still have questions or need relevant information regarding multi-vendor business models, marketplace solutions, or vendor onboarding process, here are a few suggested articles to read: