eCommerce Blog on Running an Online Marketplace

Open Your С2С Marketplace Like Craigslist

Why a C2C Marketplace is a Great Business

So, you’re about to start a C2C eCommerce marketplace. Great idea! Let’s take a look at some researches and find out about the C2C marketplace potential for the upcoming years.

A C2C online marketplace is a shared economy. According to the PwC research, a shared economy will grow from today’s $15 billion to $335 billion by 2025. This is insane growth and you can’t doubt it when you look at how fast the popular C2C marketplaces grow year by year.

For example, Craigslist, a C2C mixed marketplace, has over 80 million listings, 60 million users, and 50 million page views per month. In 2015, the marketplace earned a revenue of $396 million and in 2016 this amount grew to $690 million. In 2018, Craigslist’s revenue is estimated at $1 billion, which is a nearly 50% increase from 2016 revenue. That’s absolutely incredible growth.

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A consumer’s product search behavior has already changed. Consumers don’t google for products. They go straight to marketplaces and search for goods there. 54% of consumers already start the product search on Amazon avoiding Google search.

You can divide physical products into two big categories: non-food goods and food. Both are great and have a great potential, especially in specific niches where the competition isn’t strong yet.

A marketplace of handmade products also has great potential—starting from 2011 the handmade products industry has grown up to 45% and still actively grows.

Selling fresh food produce is a very promising business model as well. Forecasts predict that online grocery sales will reach 20% of all retail grocery sales by 2025 and will count $100 billion.

Time to jump in!


A service marketplace business model has a great forecast for the upcoming years and many niches are still not occupied.

Let’s take a look at Craigslist. Besides physical products, people offer and look for jobs on Craigslist. The number of job listings posted there monthly rises beyond 1 million. Considering Craigslist’s insane growth, creating your own C2C service marketplace now can pay off greatly.


A C2C booking marketplace business model has a great forecast for the upcoming years as well.

A C2C booking marketplace Airbnb is expected to earn $3.5 billion in net revenue by 2020—it would be a 3,400% increase from what the company earned in 2016.

Incredible, isn’t it? It’s high time to create a C2C booking marketplace to get your share!

Why CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is a Good Fit for a C2C Marketplace of Any Scenario

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has all the functionality you’ll need to start your product, service, booking, or mixed C2C marketplace. But not only functionality matter. Here are 4 reasons why you should open your C2C marketplace on CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.

1. Necessary Functions for C2C

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has over 500 eCommerce functions on board: SEO tools, promotions, reward points, and other marketing tools, functions for sellers, reports and analytics, notifications, and more. We’d like to focus here only on the specific must-have functions for a C2C product, service, and booking marketplaces. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has them all.

Powerful catalog management
Sellers can fill the catalog manually or use a flexible mass product import, configure products by tweaking over 45 product parameters, create an unlimited number of product features, filters, options, product variations, and product categories.
Sellers can attach files to listings so that buyers could download them. These could be user manuals for equipment, samples of reports, contracts, forms, and so on.
Bulk product editing
Sellers can edit 45 product parameters in bulk for hundreds or thousands of products listed in the marketplace in a few mouse clicks.
Shipping methods
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor integrates with 8 major shipping carriers with dozens of shipping options for each. You can easily add more shipping methods and functions via third-party add-ons.
70+ payment methods
You’ll be able to offer your marketplace users the most convenient payment options. Multi-Vendor integrates with over 70 payment gateways, and more specific gateways can be added via third-party add-ons.
Downloadable products
Multi-Vendor supports digital product distribution out of the box. Users can upload files to sell, set the availability period and activation mode.
Common products for vendors
You can forbid sellers from creating new products. Enable them to only use listings created and designed by you. In such listings, sellers can only set their prices and quantity. Of course, you are free to allow sellers to add their products as well. This function adds a comparison table to a product page. If a product is sold by several sellers, a buyer can compare prices and choose the best listing.
Vendor subscription plans
You can create subscription plans for sellers with different conditions and limitations. Apart from commissions, it allows you to take a monthly fee from sellers for listing their products or services in your marketplace. With subscription plans, commissions are pre-set for each plan, and a new seller just picks the most suitable option.
Checkout by seller
At checkout, buyers can place orders from different sellers separately. For example, a buyer can pay for a product from seller #1 now and pay later for a product from seller #2. Plus, sellers can create their own payment methods and allow buyers to use them at checkout. In this case, the whole payment goes straight to the seller.
Vendor data pre-moderation
Before a new user can showcase his or her products or services, you need to make sure they fly under the rules of your marketplace. Check the seller and the content, and approve or disapprove.
Seller micro-store and vendor backend control panel
Every seller can have his or her own micro-store with filters, search, pages, and unique design, plus—a separate backend panel to manage sales and listings.
Call requests
To simplify the buying process, sellers can get incoming requests. When a buyer clicks the call request button on a product page, a new order with the “Awaiting call” status is created for the seller.
Customer-to-vendor communication
Connect buyers with sellers so that the latter could answer the buyer’s questions about the product or the service. With the Customer-to-Vendor Communication function, buyers can send a message to sellers right from the listing.
Comments and reviews
Reviews are crucial for any business that cares about its reputation. Buyer reviews help sellers get fair credit and earn a good image in buyers’ opinion. Multi-Vendor offers the feedback and review system with an interactive star rating.
Vendor locations
Sellers can set their locations so that buyers could choose the seller in the desired location. The Vendor locations function allows you to display a map with all the sellers in the chosen location, enable seller filtering by distance from the buyer’s location, show nearby sellers on the marketplace homepage, and more. The Vendor locations function allows buyers to easily find products and services near them or in the desired location.
Booking reservation system
On the CS-Cart add-on marketplace, you can get an add-on that enables an advanced booking system on your marketplace. This flexible tool helps to create and manage appointments/reservations online on your Multi-Vendor C2C marketplace.

2. Minimum Viable Product

Launching a C2C eCommerce marketplace can cost you thousands of dollars. If you’re not sure that you will 100% succeed with your marketplace project, you won’t be ready to spend that amount of money for sure. We wouldn’t.

As our customers say, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has a perfect price/functionality ratio, which means you can quickly launch a fully functioning eCommerce marketplace without spending a lot of money. Our Multi-Vendor software is a perfect solution to test MVP.

3. Scalability

So, you’ve tested MVP and looks like your C2C marketplace has great potential (of course it does!). Eventually, it will grow and you will probably need to adapt it to your changing business strategy.

Thanks to open source code and tons of ready-made add-ons, you can scale your Multi-Vendor C2C marketplace vertically, horizontally, or how you need it. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is very flexible and extremely scalable, which is confirmed by our customers.

4. Support

You won’t be left behind after you buy CS-Cart Multi-Vendor. Our support team of professionals will always be at your disposal at the launch and after it. You will get 90 days of free technical support and you’ll be able to get assistance any time after these initial 90 days. Our support team will help you set up your marketplace, maintain, and upgrade it.

Of course, this is just a small part of all the default functionality that Multi-Vendor can offer for your C2C online marketplace. Request the demo to explore all the functions.

Some Successful C2C Marketplaces Built on CS-Cart Multi-Vendor

There are dozens of awesome C2C marketplaces built with CS-Cart Multi-Vendor. We picked these to show you.


The Lavky marketplace was launched by a group of enthusiasts who are keen on exchanging collection items from former USSR countries. On this marketplace, you can buy, sell, and exchange rarities from USSR. The marketplace owners say they strive to connect as many collectors and completists as possible on a safe and convenient trade platform.


Semex is a marketplace from Brazil, selling new and used bicycles and parts. This is not just an eCommerce marketplace but a big community and information portal run by passionate riders and even a former sports director of Red Bull. They have a community of over 500,000 riders and support of Brazilian companies such as Ironman Brazil, Brazil Ride, and iFood. They also have a chain of 200 bike shops in the country.

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