If you are looking to expand your eCommerce business, building a Multi-Vendor Marketplace is the next venture to include in your strategic plan.
Marketplaces represent a staggering opportunity for businesses across a variety of sectors. The new research results from iBe, the pan-European financial services advisory firm, say that currently half (50%) of online retail sales come through marketplace channels worldwide. iBe also predicts that sales driven from marketplaces are likely to exceed $7 trillion in the next five years (compared to today’s $1.7 trillion) which hails a new era in eCommerce.
This rise is driven by more and more companies embracing marketplaces to increase product range, expedite cross border expansion, and improve logistics, costs, and operations.
However, to effectively run a marketplace you need a multi-vendor ecommerce platform that is designed grounds up to have full control over the administration vendor relationship as it is the key to successful marketplace project completion.
In this post, we will go over the most essential features a marketplace script should have and give a brief review of top popular marketplace platforms.
Must-Have Features of an Online Marketplace Script
Selecting the right multi-vendor platform starts with determining the key features your business model requires from the script. And though there can be a ton of different business needs and platform functionality to serve them, one thing to remember is the script features should be able to accommodate the various scenarios of an admin-vendor and vendor-customer relationship system. So,below we are listing non negotiable features to look for while choosing a multi seller ecommerce platform.
Multi Vendor Website Features from Vendors’ Perspective
- Easy registration/listing for vendors. Third-party vendors need to be able to easily register and create their own product listings. If it’s difficult for vendors to list products, they’ll go somewhere else. They also need their own profile page to showcase these listings.
- Separate Mini Store for Every Vendor and Individual Admin Panel. Each seller should have a micro store right inside your marketplace. Micro stores contain: vendor company description, logo, products, product filter for vendor items. The micro store URL contains the vendor company name which vendors can promote as a separate store and attract customers to your marketplace.
Each vendor should also be provided with a separate admin panel. It will allow your vendors to manage their own store settings, products, and add vendor administrators with different access levels to the admin panel.
- Language translations. The platform should include translations into other languages to attract international vendors.
- Vendor locations. The feature allows your vendors to set their locations so that they could receive more orders from local customers.
- Real-time and Manual Shipping Calculations. The multi-vendor cms default functionality should allow vendors to use world-famous shipping methods ( including DHL, UPS, USPS, FedEx) for real-time shipping calculations, as well as to set their own manual shipping methods.
- Different Vendor’s Products in One Cart. When a customer places all chosen products from several vendors in one shopping cart, the order should be automatically divided into several orders with each vendor supplying the purchased items separately, while the customer gets to pay only once as a single order.
- Comments and reviews. Multi vendor script should offer the feedback and review system with an interactive star rating. Customers can comment and rate vendors, products, categories, and orders.
- Loyalty program. Customers will be encouraged to buy more and shop regularly with a built-in “Reward points” system which lets customers earn and spend points for purchases.
- Vendor account balance, sales reports & statistics. Sellers should be able to view detailed statistics on their sales in your marketplace. Besides, vendors need to see their account balance to track all payouts and commissions taken by the store administrator. Sellers can also review the income and expenditure statistics: total and per period.
Multi Vendor Website Features from Admins’ Perspective
- Multiple Levels of Administrative Access. Apart from having the root administrator access you need to be able to register employees and set different levels of access to the admin panel.
- Configurable Vendor Plans. You need functionality to create subscription plans for vendors with different conditions and limitations.
First of all, apart from commissions, it should allow you to take a monthly fee from vendors for selling in your marketplace.
Secondly, with vendor plans, commissions are pre-set for each plan, and a new vendor just picks the most suitable option. The vendor plans functionality will save you from troubles with setting commissions for vendors manually.
- Flexible product approval system. Product management should be simple and efficient. Product approval has to be flexible and handy at the same time. You will have 3 options: you can let your vendors showcase products without moderation, check every product added by vendors, allow certain vendors to add products without moderation.
Besides, you can choose either to approve product updates or let vendors update product details without moderation.
- Advanced Vendor Restrictions for enabling and disabling menus and set privileges. This way you can hide unnecessary menus and interface elements in the vendor panel and leave only those that are frequently used by a vendor.
- Advanced Vendor Payout System. They can be automatic or manual. Automatic payouts are usually carried out via a built-in “PayPal for Marketplaces” payment method. It distributes the payment between vendors and sends commissions to your account. If you need to make a manual payment, you need to use the vendor accounting feature to record each payout.
- Vendor debt payout. In order to motivate your vendors to pay you in time, the vendor debt payout function pairs with Vendor plans and allows you to block the admin panels of those vendors whose debt has reached the limit or who didn’t pay for their plan in time.
- Detailed statistics and reports. The multi vendor script should have integrated Google Analytics to generate detailed statistics about your website visitors. It will give you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is a professional multi-vendor eCommerce software for entrepreneurs who want to create an online marketplace from scratch or expand their existing business.
It has all the necessary functionality for opening a virtual eBay-like shopping mall with an unlimited number of vendor mini-stores.
The CS-Cart Multi-Vendor platform was developed with the primary focus on providing administrators full control over their vendors and giving the owner the maximum flexibility in configuring monetization options. Therefore, it has all the features mentioned above.
The administrators have everything they need to accommodate new vendors on the marketplace.
Each new vendor picks the most suitable vendor plan with pre-set conditions gets a separate mini-store with a personal fully-featured dashboard and reporting.
Vendors have everything they need to operate their stores and they do so with ease even having no previous experience with webshops software.
Compared to the other platforms on this list, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has a nice advantage in that you can tap into the huge number of extensions and support available for the platform.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor users recommend the platform for its ease of use, hassle-free accounting, and strong security. They keep leaving positive reviews that state how much they appreciate the ease with which store administrators are able to recruit new vendors, manage vendor rights and pay out the vendors immediately once they have made a sale, as well as collect commissions. CS-Cart marketplace owners also express their satisfaction with the security level of the script. They say they do not have any security issues during the entire period of using CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.
Capterra Rating: 4.9
Yo!Kart is a cloud-based multi-vendor eCommerce platform that is gaining popularity over the last couple of years.
However, being quite a young e-commerce marketplace platform (emerged in 2015), it is still not recognized by some technology.
Yo!Kart has multiple functions to run a successful multi vendor online store with ease such as simple payment arrangements, mail marketing tools, social media platforms integration, great interface, and highly appreciated user experience.
Ranking in search engines pages is a piece of cake with simple yet thorough SEO optimization tools included in yo!kart.
Yo!Kart offers user centered design and mobile apps for on-the-go sales. Yo!Kart comes with 1 year free technical support that lets you have a helping hand by your side whenever required.
Capterra Rating: 4.5
X-Cart Multi-Vendor Marketplace is an open-source marketplace software. It has tons of ready features for marketing (promotions, special offers, reporting, and analytics)—expanded sales channels, handy store management, excellent customer experience and more.
X-Cart delivers tools to small and large businesses that require an ecommerce platform. The package we’re focusing on today is called Multi-vendor, and it allows vendors to sell multiple products through your one storefront. All customers are able to place products from multiple vendors in a single shopping cart, and the vendors can view orders, change shipping methods and assign products to different categories.
The website admin can set up shipping protocols, modify any product in the marketplace and register new vendors. The idea behind the admin interface is to give you full control over everything that goes on in your shop. It’s a rather powerful platform, and I can see businesses of any size using this with success.
Capterra Rating: 4.2
Arcadier is the marketplace SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) provider that enables enterprises, SMEs, local communities, government agencies and entrepreneurs to build and manage their marketplaces quickly, efficiently and affordably.
Unlike most other marketplace SaaS platforms that offer a templated solution for all purposes, Arcadier allows users to choose from a bunch of options—from buying and selling goods or booking services to renting spaces and items and several other business models.
Besides these, they also offer several unique features like multilingual capabilities, private marketplaces, and social logins. The ability to edit JS code (which opens the possibility of additional customization and the ability to add our own payment service providers).
They’ve also got a Freemium plan where the pricing plan scales up with the number of transactions on the store.
Capterra Rating: 4.5
WCFM Marketplace (or WooCommerce Multivendor Marketplace) is a multi vendor WordPress plugin by WC Lovers.
The core version of WCFM Marketplace is available for free on WordPress Plugins and offers quite a lot in terms of features.
The plugin core offers both the basic vendor management you usually expect as well as more advanced features like reverse withdrawals, seller verification and multiple sellers offering a single product.
Among the WCFM Marketplace customized features like Flexible Commission, Refund Request, Withdrawal & Reverse Withdrawal, Single Product Multi-vendor, Ledger Book, Zone & Country Wise Vendor Shipping, Store Inquiry & Review and Stripe Split Pay.
There is no official list of supported WCFM Marketplace themes, but the developers claim it does support all WooCommerce themes.
Capterra Rating: 4.5
To convert your BigCommerce store to full-fledged MultiVendor MarketPlace, Webkul has developed “BigCommerce MultiVendor Marketplace” that converts your single admin online store to multi-seller Marketplace. It facilitates the process of adding sellers and keeping track of their orders and sales.
The platform is equipped almost with all the features described above including features for creating various plans for the sellers, better payout system for managing the payment process to vendors.
The developers of the plugin put an emphasis on flexible product approval functionality. They made the product management more simple and efficient. It is very handy for a seller to add a product. It gives you an option for auto approval of the product whenever a seller adds a product. If you want to approve a product manually then an admin can approve the product manually by configuring some settings. By this functionality product approval becomes very easy.
Capterra Rating: 4.3
Cocorico “Community Edition” is an open-source marketplace solution for services and rentals. It is a very powerful solution for in-service and rental marketplaces, such as Airbnb, Blablacar, or Drivy. It’s well suited to developers, well-funded entrepreneurs, or larger businesses.
With Cocorico you get quite a few more advanced features than you could expect from the big players’ marketplaces, such as a fully integrated and functional calendar, advanced yield management rules, handling of third-party payments and deferred payments, cancellation management, individually customizable commissions for buyers and sellers, and much more.
Capterra Rating: 4.5
Dokan is the best front end multi-vendor marketplace on WordPress, powered by WooCommerce. It helps you to build your own marketplace similar to Amazon and eBay.
The installation process of the plugin is easy, doesn’t require any technical skills, and takes only about 10 minutes. The experience was made easy with the plugin because of the guided setup that removed much of the confusion.
Dokan comes with a range of extensions that enhances the core capabilities of the plugin. You can select these extensions depending on your requirements and set up the WooCommerce marketplace.
For example, seller verification is an extension that lets you check the authenticity of your sellers by obtaining their social profiles, phone numbers, and photo verification. Dokan Simple Auctions allows vendors to create auction stores so they can create their own versions of eBay. Dokan Subscriptions charges your vendors with product limits.
Dokan is mobile-friendly, vendors can manage orders, see if an order is processing or pending, and even ship products to the billing address on the go.
Capterra Rating: 4.6
IXXO eCommerce Solutions is a software business formed in 2002 in Germany that publishes a software suite called IXXO Multi-Vendor.
IXXO Multi-Vendor is an ideal eCommerce solution for those who want to open and manage a high-volume marketplace as IXXO Multi-Vendor offers unlimited product and unlimited vendor capacity.
The software packs an impressive array of vendor-oriented features, themes, and templates that are optimized for both desktop and mobile platforms, marketing capabilities to help both you and your vendors to create and implement effective marketing strategies, and comprehensive SEO tools to help improve online visibility and generate/increase online traffic.
IXXO Multi-Vendor is an intuitive eCommerce platform. It allows marketplace owners to configure vendor privileges on a per vendor basis. This allows the marketplace owner to assign the basic vendor features to vendors who have no e-commerce experience and more privileges to vendors who are familiar with running an online store.
IXXO Multi-Vendor includes online, and 24/7 live support. The support team works and responds in a prompt and friendly manner.
Capterra Rating: 5
Marketplace Multi-Vendor Module is a popular extension for Magento which turns it into a fully-functioning multi-vendor marketplace. The developer, Webkul, also offers versions of Marketplace for WordPress, Shopify, and other content management systems. We’ve chosen to highlight the Magento version because it seems to be the most robust.
Magento is open-source software but unless you’re a specially trained Magento developer or a whip-smart coder you’re going to have to invest in bringing on talent to create and publish your store.
Magento Marketplace offers a complete dashboard of its own to your vendors. This dashboard has all the options needed for a vendor to manage their products, see customer reviews, check out wishlists, newsletter subscriptions, and more. It also includes a profile page for each vendor to display their information. This profile page also shows the customer reviews and ratings publicly.
The solution also offers a flexible commission system. It allows you to charge a different commission from each vendor depending on their products. Or, you can fix the commission structure to be the same for all vendors.
Capterra Rating: 4.3
Which multi-vendor marketplace platform is right for you?
Multi vendor platforms come in all shapes and sizes which makes it more confusing for entrepreneurs to choose the right eCommerce system for their projects. However, one thing to remember is that a multi-vendor marketplace requires a lot of accounting activities as there are commissions and payouts involved for every single vendor. If well thought out processes and tools are not inbuilt within the platform, going through all these steps can become cumbersome and error-prone.
Our best advice would be to contact each vendor from our list and try out the demo they provide to see whether their platform ensures hassle-free entry for vendors and serves your ultimate business goal – collecting revenue from commission-based vendor plans.
Start with CS-Cart Multi-Vendor and go down the list. Here you can create a free personal demo of CS-Cart Multi-Vendor and play with it for 15 days.