Published: May 23, 2014 Last updated: Apr 8, 2022 Yan Kulakov

Marketplaces have become one of the growth leaders in the global eCommerce market. The transition to a marketplace model has become a great step to success for many large projects of electronic commerce. They expand their assortment by using goods from partners, without needing to purchase them in advance.

As technologies develop there become more opportunities to create a marketplace. In this article we will go through the code base and low-code technologies, and compare different types of platforms.

What is low-code technology

Before we come to the comparison of the different types of development platforms, there is crucially important information on the basis of how platforms can function. Generally speaking, in the following block there will be the discussion on types of platforms according to the amount of manually written code in them.

For decades, when working on a project, people had two alternatives: organizations could either create a platform and different applications with the help of developer teams or order a product for outsourcing companies. Today there is a third alternative that is affordable and user-friendly. Low-code tools provisioning closely match business requirements.

Low-code platforms have appeared naturally in order to simplify the process of creating websites and applications. Each website has a number of similar parts: blocks, user forms, layouts, buttons, etc. Here comes the idea: why do not people create developer platforms where they can construct a product using these parts? Such platforms have an intuitive interface and citizen users have a chance to develop and implement their own idea without any programming experience.

The difference between low-code and no-code technology is that a no-code method allows for creating websites without programming and there are no possibilities to add code-based parts. Low-code platforms are a combination of no-code and code-based parts of development.

The peculiarity of using low-code and no-code is versatility but at the same time it has many disadvantages. This kind of development is opposable to custom marketplace development. So, let’s learn about both of them in the example of real platforms and explore their possibilities.


Custom made marketplace VS customized ready-made platform VS non-extendable marketplace platform

These three types vary on the amount of code-based parts. They will be also compared by price, speed of launching, and other different possibilities.

Custom made marketplace

Custom marketplace is a fully code-based marketplace. For such marketplaces you need to find a contractor.

Such a type of launching a marketplace usually takes place on freelance platforms when you decide to develop a marketplace from scratch. Apart from a developer you will probably need to find several specialists: designer, content manager, template designer, and some others. Actually you need to form a team yourself and manage their work.

There are many proposals from full stack developers to create a website of any complexity. It is all in one. But a person cannot be good in all spheres and some parts of a marketplace can be not as qualitative as others.

Some people are gripped by the idea to “create my own marketplace customly“ and consider pure code as an appealing approach. That is why they choose to start from the ground. But what is the pure code? Anyways programmers use frameworks and other helping tools which serve as constructors. Especially when it comes to a full stack developer.

Timing: If we count timing for work of a developer with moderately experience:

  • Design—outsourcing 1-2 weeks
  • Layout—2-10 working days— it depends on the complexity of a website
  • Implementation of backend— about 14 days
  • Deploy to the server—in fact it is not so difficult, but it can take 2-3 days taking into account the issuance of a certificate and waiting for a change of DNS servers for a domain
  • Testing and debugging—about 7 days

Result: The development takes 1-2 months to launch. You get a simple custom branded marketplace for 60$ per hour.

Risks and challenges of this approach:

  • All these processes describe a creation of a basic marketplace without sophisticated features.
  • You cannot be sure that a specialist is as qualified as he or she writes in the SV.
  • There is no guarantee that he is reliable. You are not immune from his missed deadlines.
  • You fully depend on several people. If they could not work for any reason, it would be difficult to find new ones.
  • Remember that you should maintain the appropriate work of a website and your cooperation can last longer than you have expected. It adds more expenses to the total cost.

This way of developing a marketplace is a bit obsolete. Today there are a lot of technologies that allow for developing websites and apps quickly and cheaper.

Non-extendable marketplace platform

Non-extendable marketplace platform is a no-code platform without any possibilities to integrate with other parts. However, these platforms have a wide range of available features ready to use.

The main advantages are:

  • Simplicity—as it is a low-code platform, they have an intuitive design. You can add profiles, listings, notifications, etc.
  • Cheapness—this way of developing is the cheapest one. It is suitable for testing MVP and small businesses.
  • Fast start—this type of platform allows for starting a marketplace within one day which is very important in our time.

Risks and challenges of this approach:

  • You can face limits since there is no way to change or expand arranged features.
  • Usually such platforms have a subscription way of payment which in a long term perspective is an expensive solution.
  • You cannot control some crucial parts such as security.
  • A provider can change subscription terms, eliminate features, limit its services by territory, etc.


  • Sharetribe
  • Arcadier
  • Shopify

Result: The launch can take 1 day. You get a basic marketplace for small businesses for a fixed price 60-300$ per month or about 1500$ one-time payment.

Some people are concerned about the uniqueness of websites made with the tools. And anticipating your next question, it is possible to create a custom marketplace without pure code and not as limited as non-extendable one.

Platform with customization

Platform with customization is a low-code platform. It has possibilities to integrate the main no-code part with additional coded functions. It is the best decision for the business.

The main advantages are:

  • Simplicity—as it is a low-code platform, they have an intuitive design. You can add profiles, listings, notifications, etc.
  • Different ways of payment. There are usually two methods: subscription or one-time payment. At the first glance, a one-time payment may seem too expensive, the price starts from 1,500$, but in the long-term perspective within 3-4 years it will be paid off.
  • Relatively fast launch. You can start a business within a week.
  • Expansion possibilities. As you can add new features you have great possibilities for expansion.
  • You can partially divide your duties with a platform and take only those things that you want to manage yourself.

Risks and challenges of this approach:

  • Full completions may have too many features for small businesses.
  • You might have a team to maintain code-based parts.
  • May be too expensive.

All the disadvantages take place only for small businesses and start-upps. Since platforms with customization serve to save complicated problems of big players.


  • CS-Cart Multi-Vendor
  • Wizaplace
  • Yo!Kart

Result: The development of a low-code platform may take about a 1 week. You get a marketplace for a fixed price 60-300$ per month or 1500$+ one-time payment.

Let’s see all the features in one comparative table:

How to choose a developer for your project

Mikhail Shemenev, leading developer, Simtech Development

Apart from creating a custom made marketplace, you might need a developer for building new functions or maintaining marketplace processes. We have interviewed a leading developer of Simtech Development about how to choose a reliable specialist for a project.

  • Check hard skills—you can use code sharing services such as CodeInterview and CodeShare. It is a fast and efficient way to interview a developer. There is a high probability that a developer will choose a vacancy where there is no need to waste time on a TODO-application.
  • Define deadlines—this will allow you to count on prompt responses to your messages. “I didn’t answer an urgent message for two hours because I’m working tonight" is an unacceptable organization of work.
  • Long responses to your queries may indicate that the developer has more important things to do than your project.
  • S.M.A.R.T. planning is a great way to increase developer autonomy without sacrificing efficiency. You can read about smart planning in our article.
  • Self-development—almost every developer will tell you how eager he is to master a new technology. Alas, this may be only a dream, so ask what the last he studied, when it was and how he managed to apply it.
  • Form a list of interview topics and questions—don't forget to update them. A well-prepared and thoughtful list of topics will allow you to get a right developer for your tasks. Is it really necessary to ask about sorting algorithms if your tasks are far from this topic?
  • Routine or hobby—determining what means the job for the applicant is a very important stage. Does he like his occupation or just bare it from 9:00 to 18:00? If a candidate talks about their projects with interest, this is a positive sign.
  • Communication skills are extremely important. The ability to ask the right questions about a task and answer questions clearly can save hours and even whole days.
  • Ability to read and understand a task correctly.It's a shame when the task went into testing or even release, and half of the points from the task were ignored for some reason. How to determine an attentive person? In your vacancy, ask applicants to do a simple task like “write your first, last name, and email in the heading of the application letter". Some of them may ignore this request, another part can confuse something and write their mobile phone instead of email, and others will pass your little examination.


In conclusion, low-code technology is a beneficial one. Custom marketplace is a term not only for pure code based marketplaces but today may also be considered as a low-code marketplace with unique design and sophisticated features.

If you are eager to learn more about low-code platforms, you can check a demo version of CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.

Learn what Multi-Vendor is and
how it works in this 5-minute video:

Try Multi-Vendor for free