Why Choose a Marketplace-Tailored Solution Over a Multi-Seller Plugin

Find out the difference between the two options, and decide what is the best choice to start your own online marketplace

Types of eCommerce platforms

If you decide on a platform for your online marketplace, you probably know there are several types of marketplace engines: self-hosted solutions, SaaS, Paas, etc. We know how easy it is to get confused among a huge variety of products when just starting your business journey.

In this article, our comparison will be focused on two types of eCommerce platforms. The first is a solution tailored specifically for multi-vendor marketplaces, and the second is a plugin for online stores that allows you to turn your shop into a marketplace.

It is always easier to learn from examples. That is why for a simpler understanding we'll compare two products:
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor and Dokan.
What is Dokan?
Dokan is a WooCommerce plugin that allows you to convert your WooCommerce store into a multi-vendor marketplace.

How to create a Dokan marketplace or any plugin-based marketplace?

Basically, the process is always the same: first, you install the main software, and then you add a plugin or extension. It means you'll always have to use several pieces of software simultaneously.
First of all, create a Wordpress website
Install the WooCommerce extension to turn your website into an online store
Install the Dokan plugin to turn your single-store website into a multi-vendor marketplace
The main trouble with the extensions for marketplaces is the enormous amount of installations and engines you use simultaneously
With plugin-based marketplaces, not only do you have to use three solutions at the same time, but you also have to be aware of the subtle aspects such as support policy, extension compatibility, and hidden payments for these platforms.
Are there any benefits of plugin-based marketplaces?
  • Simplicity. There is no need to learn a new platform if you want to extend your store to a marketplace.
  • Variety of options. If you want to stick to your favorite eCommerce platform, there are usually several different solutions provided by the third-party developers.
  • Popularity. As a rule, the plugin-based marketplaces are most common among popular eCommerce platforms for single-seller shops such as WooCommerce

Why prefer a marketplace-tailored solution?

Let's consider CS-Cart Multi-Vendor No-Code as an example:

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor No-Code is a cloud eCommerce platform for multi-seller marketplaces that allows you to launch your marketplace in a week and provides you feature-rich functionality. And most importantly—those features are made specifically for multi-vendor marketplaces.

Clear pricing plans or hidden costs?

Plugin-based marketplaces
One of the main disadvantages of plugin-based marketplaces is the hidden costs. The subscription price may be tempting, but usually it does not include tools or services essential for a marketplace operation.
While WooCommerce and Wordpress, and even one of the Dokan pricing plans are free, there are tons of payments that you won't be able to avoid when launching your marketplace on the platform (payment plugins, shipping plugins—most of the plugins are paid).
Marketplace-tailored solutions




500 products
Revenue up to $5,000
50 vendors
1 admin
5,000 products
Revenue up to $10,000
500 vendors
3 admins
200,000 products
Unlimited revenue
Unlimited vendors
Unlimited admins
Mobile app
Marketplace-tailored solutions do not imply any hidden costs. All the features and services to quickly start your MVP are usually included in the price.

There are no hidden costs in CS-Cart Multi-Vendor as well. You can choose your plan depending on the type of your project:

Marketplace-tailored solution or extensions/plugins?

If you want to build a huge and prosperous marketplace with Dokan you probably have to consider some of its premium plans. All the features that allow you to set a stable process with no or minimum interference from your side are not provided with cheaper Dokan plans.

Here is the list of functionalities you may consider crucial for your marketplace that are offered only in premium Dokan plans. That makes it impossible to choose the Free or Starter plans:
Export and import tool
Available in Dokan starting from the Business plan. You won't be able to export or import any data if you use the Free, Starter or Professional plans.
Communication with customers
Available in Dokan starting from the Business plan. Vendors won't be able to communicate with customers if you use cheaper plans.
Return merchandise authorization
Available in Dokan starting from the Professional plan. The ability to make refunds is not provided for the Free and Starter users.
Available in Dokan starting from the Professional plan. You won't be able to use SEO tools to improve your website's ranking in search engines.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor No-Code provides all these features out of the box. Any pricing plan will allow you to build a strong and flexible platform.

Compare CS-Cart and Dokan functionality

Multiple storefronts
Design editor for vendors
Vendor locations
Vendor-specific categories
Integration with Zapier
Built-in database backup/restore tool
Bulk product editing
On-site content editing
Multiple product page templates
Call requests
Payment methods
70+ default payment methods
20+ payment methods in the Add-on Market
PayPal and Stripe
Common products for vendors
Category commissions
Sales reports
SEO tools
Realtime shipping rates
Customer-to-vendor communication
5+ realtime shipping methods
Manual shipping methods
Integration with Shipstation
26+ built-in translations
4 translations
Return merchandise authorization

Learn more about the CS-Cart Multi-Vendor No-Code features

Marketplace management system

  • User groups
  • Message center
  • Setup wizard
  • Vendor onboarding
  • Help center

Payment and shipping systems

  • Manual payouts
  • Over 70 integrated payment methods
  • Apple and Google Pay
  • Automated money distribution (Stripe Connect and PayPal Commerce Platform)
  • Fulfillment from marketplace
  • Realtime and manual shipping rates

Seller administration system

  • Separate vendor panel
  • Vendor payouts
  • Vendor debt management
  • Vendor rating
  • Common products
  • Configurable vendor plans
  • Simplified import for vendors

Marketing and SEO tools

  • SEO
  • Cross-selling and upselling tools
  • Product reviews
  • Call requests
  • Banners
  • Gift certificates
  • Promotions

Product and order management

  • Common products for vendors
  • Export and import tool
  • Data feeds
  • Downloadable products
  • Advanced order management system
  • Return merchandise authorization
  • Abandoned carts

Marketplace scaling

  • Multiple storefronts
  • 26+ built-in translation

CS-Cart Reviews

Learn what other platforms tell about us:
4.7 out of 5
4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5


What would you prefer when buying an armchair? To buy the ready-made item, beautifully covered, all with soft arm pads and a seat, and a comfortable backrest? Or to get a backless stool just to buy other parts in addition, and then try to adjust the parts to each other not even being sure that everything will properly work out in the end?
All that to say, choosing a platform intended for multi-vendor marketplaces in the first place is a smart and farsighted solution that will help you to avoid any unnecessary risks, compatibility issues, and hidden costs.