eCommerce Blog on Running an Online Marketplace

Sharetribe vs. CS-Cart: Which Marketplace Platform Best Suits Your Business Needs?

Choosing the right software for your online marketplace is a big decision for anyone starting a venture. It’s like picking the right boat for a sea trip. The right choice makes your journey smooth and successful, while the wrong choice leads to problems. In the end, it all comes to finding a ship built for your specific journey, whether you’re crossing calm lakes or braving stormy seas.

The Sharetribe software is one option that’s gotten a lot of attention for being user-friendly, making it a popular choice for people who want to start their own marketplace website without getting stuck in technical details. Every other Sharetribe review highlights its ease of use and supportive community, making it an attractive option for beginners.

However, choosing a marketplace platform that doesn’t fit your business may cause big problems, like not making enough sales, leaving customers unhappy, not being able to grow and scale, and wasting time and money on a solution that doesn’t work well. It’s like going on a sea trip with a boat that’s not ready for the waves.

This article aims to help you understand two big options for creating a marketplace: the Sharetribe platform and CS-Cart Multi-Vendor. We’ll look at what each one offers and how they can meet different business needs, helping you choose the right one for a successful business journey.

Watch the Sharetribe vs. CS-Cart comparison video

Table of Contents

Sharetribe Highlights: No Code Marketplace Builder

Easy to Use

Sharetribe, a fantastic platform known for its no-code nature, simplifies the process of launching an eCommerce marketplace. This is invaluable for entrepreneurs without technical skills, offering an easy start without the need for coding or hosting knowledge. It’s perfect for marketplace operators looking to bring their marketplace idea to life quickly and efficiently.

Community Support

The Sharetribe team and its vibrant community provide a great support system. This network acts as a marketplace studio, where you can share ideas, seek advice, and find inspiration. It’s an essential resource for anyone navigating the complexities of marketplace creation, offering a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.

Educational Resources

Besides the software, Sharetribe is also a learning hub with Sharetribe Academy at its core. This resource is packed with educational materials designed to guide marketplace operators through the intricacies of launching and managing a marketplace. It’s like having a personal guide through the journey of marketplace creation.

Sharetribe Academy

Unique Features of Sharetribe

Smooth Onboarding

Sharetribe’s welcoming onboarding process acts as a roadmap for new users. It introduces functions in an accessible manner, ensuring you can start building your business idea without delay. This smooth start is crucial for maintaining enthusiasm and focus on your goals.

Sharetribe onboarding

Ready-to-Use Design

Sharetribe offers a ready-to-use design, ensuring your marketplace looks professional from the outset. This feature is particularly beneficial for marketplace operators who wish to launch quickly without compromising on aesthetics.

Default storefront design in Sharetribe

Go Live Easily

The seamless transition from a demo to a live marketplace underscores Sharetribe’s effectiveness as a no-code marketplace builder. This capability allows you to test your business idea in real-world conditions and then go live with ease, eliminating the common barriers to launching an eCommerce marketplace. All you need to do is to subscribe to one of their plans.

Solutions for All Needs

Whether your focus is on a product, service, rental, or peer-to-peer marketplace, Sharetribe provides tailored solutions. This adaptability ensures that your marketplace can be tailored to your specific needs, making Sharetribe a versatile choice for beginning entrepreneurs across various sectors.

Eqpme, a rental marketplace built with Sharetribe
Let’s sum it up: Sharetribe stands out as an easy to use platform for marketplace operators. Its functions, supportive community, and comprehensive educational resources make it the go-to choice for beginners and small businesses looking to turn their idea into reality fast.

CS-Cart Highlights: Customizable Marketplace Solution

Self-Hosted Platform

CS-Cart is a self-hosted solution, which means you keep it on your server with access to its code. It empowers users with the ability to control every aspect of their marketplace. This level of control is perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs who start with just an idea and wish to see it flourish into a full-fledged service for customers. It extends infinitely, offering the freedom to tailor the platform to precise business needs through custom development.


The platform’s extensive array of features enables businesses to build a marketplace that’s not only functional but also scalable. This growth potential ensures that as your customer base grows, your marketplace can grow with it, without the need for a complete overhaul. CS-Cart’s feature-richness supports a wide range of services, catering to the diverse needs of customers.


CS-Cart’s commitment to education through its Marketplace Academy provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources needed to harness the platform’s full potential. This educational support is crucial, empowering users with the knowledge to manage their marketplace effectively or to communicate their needs to professional web developers for custom development.

CS-Cart’s Marketplace Academy


The versatility of CS-Cart lies in its super customizable nature. It’s designed to cater to any business scenario and objective, from serving a niche market to scaling up for a broad customer base. Whether you’re looking to offer products, services, or both, CS-Cart can be tailored to meet these needs, making it an ideal choice for businesses at any stage of development.

Considerations for Using CS-Cart

While CS-Cart offers a wealth of advantages for building a marketplace, it’s important to consider:

Let’s sum it up: CS-Cart focuses on customization, combined with support for scalability and a rich set of features. It empowers users to create a service that truly resonates with their customers. With the right approach and possibly the assistance of professional web developers, CS-Cart offers a solid foundation for any company looking to make its mark in the online marketplace arena.

CS-Cart vs. Sharetribe: Key Differences

When exploring marketplace platforms, CS-Cart excels in areas like customization, flexibility, and marketplace management. Both CS-Cart and Sharetribe serve distinct business needs effectively, yet depending on your specific ambitions, one might suit you better.

Design Editing

Sharetribe marketplace solution is easy to use, offering a ready-to-launch design that’s perfect for those who love Sharetribe for its simplicity and quick setup. While convenient for quick launches, design customization in Sharetribe requires opting for a higher-tier plan.

CS-Cart provides a wide array of customization options from the start, making it a great platform for those who wish to significantly modify their marketplace’s design and functionality. This flexibility is a game changer for businesses aiming to create a unique online presence or require specific features beyond standard offerings.

Storefront design tools in CS-Cart

Marketplace Management

Sharetribe offers a simple approach by standardizing admin roles. All the admins have equal rights. However, for those who seek more nuanced control, Sharetribe’s top-tier plan provides greater flexibility in admin management, aligning with those looking for a robust platform that can grow with their business. Also, you don’t have any demo content from the beginning, and you can’t add products yourself. That’s quite a downside that slows down mastering the marketplace processes.

CS-Cart shines by allowing detailed adjustments to admin access rights. This capability is crucial for delegating responsibilities within your team, making it a legitimate solution for a new marketplace looking to extend infinitely in scalability and control. Also, you have full control over your catalog from the beginning.

Tweaking admin privileges in CS-Cart


Sharetribe keeps things simple with an easy-to-use, ready-to-go solution. This is great for starting fast without worrying about add-ons. But, it also means there’s less room to customize or add specific functions that aren’t already included. Unlike CS-Cart, Sharetribe doesn’t support third-party add-ons, which could be a limit if you’re looking to add unique features to your marketplace.

CS-Cart has over 2,000 add-ons, letting admins add new features, make their marketplaces better for customers, and run things more smoothly without needing to build these features themselves. This makes it easier to keep up with market trends, satisfy customer needs, and stay ahead of the competition. From adding new payment options to using marketing tools or getting detailed analytics, CS-Cart has everything a growing marketplace needs.

Scalability and Growth

Sharetribe offers an appealing path for scalability, ideal for those prioritizing ease of use over complex customizations, unless they move to higher-tier plans for more customizability.

CS-Cart’s self-hosted nature lays the groundwork for scalability, supporting extensive customization and direct code modifications for unique features. This approach caters to businesses planning substantial growth and looking for a platform that can extend infinitely with their expanding needs.

Let’s sum it up: CS-Cart’s robust customizability, flexibility, and comprehensive marketplace management features make it an ideal choice for businesses aiming for significant growth. Meanwhile, the Sharetribe marketplace remains a beloved option for those seeking an easy start and simplicity, with the possibility to enhance management flexibility and customization on higher service levels.

Live Examples: Sharetribe and CS-Cart in Action

When it comes to choosing the right marketplace platform, an essential aspect to consider is the survival rate of the marketplaces it hosts, as well as the overall number of active Sharetribe marketplaces. This consideration is crucial as it reflects the platform’s ability to sustain and support businesses effectively.

According to data from BuiltWith, Sharetribe marketplaces have a significant presence online, with around 4,000 historical and live websites. This number showcases Sharetribe’s capability to support diverse online businesses, from small projects to larger, more established marketplaces.

Sharetribe usage stats

On the flip side, CS-Cart demonstrates a more substantial footprint with over 41,000 historical and live sites according to BuiltWith. This higher figure suggests a broader adoption of CS-Cart, potentially offering a higher marketplace survival rate compared to Sharetribe.

It’s important to note that BuiltWith will not detect CS-Cart if a marketplace admin does not want it to. According to our database, we have over 50,000 stores and marketplaces built with CS-Cart since 2005.

CS-Cart usage stats

Highlighting some active examples gives further insight into each platform’s versatility and effectiveness:

Examples of Sharetribe marketplaces:

The Octopus Club, a kids products marketplace

Examples of CS-Cart marketplaces:

Yumbles, an artisan food marketplace from the UK

These examples underscore the potential of both platforms to support a wide array of marketplace concepts, from Sharetribe marketplaces specializing in niche products to CS-Cart’s versatile solution that can accommodate everything from small businesses to global enterprises.

To Conclude

Sharetribe and CS-Cart are both great for starting a marketplace, but they fit different needs. Sharetribe is easy to use, making it perfect for individuals and small businesses who want a simple way to start. It’s all about getting your marketplace up quickly without needing to know a lot about technology.

CS-Cart, however, is best for bigger businesses that want more control and the ability to customize things. It’s for those who have big plans and want to make sure their marketplace can grow and change as needed.

So, if you’re just starting and want something straightforward, Sharetribe is a good choice. But if you’re thinking big and want to customize a lot, CS-Cart might be better for you. Try CS-Cart free demo to see if it fits your business objectives:

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