Sooner or later every modern businessman comes to the idea of an online shop – it costs nearly nothing, no rent, no monthly bills, but it brings you customers and, consequently, profit. Surely, very few business people are familiar with coding and HTML, so they’re looking for a turnkey solution that corresponds to their demands. They dream of a ready-to-use web shop that doesn’t need any tuning, admin control and management – just load your products, prices and images, and start selling! But they think it’s just a dream that can never come true, and even if it exists, its price is unaffordable. What a huge mistake! They certainly don’t know about multi vendor shops – a sort of a virtual marketplace with many web shops for rent. They work under the same principle as brick-and-mortar ones: you pay a monthly or yearly rent for the right to use the existing marketplace platform and to build your own small online shop on it. All managerial and admin functions aren’t your business – everything you need is just download your product descriptions and images, delivery conditions and payment methods. Briefly speaking, just several clicks, and you’re ready to sell.

All this is true for a vendor looking for an already-implemented online marketplace. And what if you’ve got an idea to build another AliExpress with thousands of different sellers and millions of products? Are there any solutions that suit such a complicated demand? In this case you’ll need one of reliable and highly secure marketplace solutions that will become the base for a web platform with multiple e-stores. Let’s look through the minimal requirements for such software.

First of all, it should be scalable. No one knows how many sellers you’ll have in 1, 3 or 10 years. It’s much more rational to anticipate the future development of your business and choose a comprehensive solution with the option of unlimited number of vendors. You’ve got only 5 sellers in a month after launching, and a hundred in 6 months. Perhaps, in 5 years their number will grow till thousand or even more. Will you be happy and ready to change the platform in mid-course? Nowadays creating an online marketplace without multiple languages support is a complete nonsense. Your storefront may attire vendors from all over the world, so think about at least English, Spanish and French versions, as far as more than half of the world can read in one of these three languages. The same goes for multi currencies – US dollar, Euro and your local currency are strictly recommended. Of course, you can add more, but these three are a must.

As far as we’re talking about payments, don’t forget to integrate your internet shopping mall with numerous payment methods, such as cash, bank transfer, cheque, credit card, electronic money (Web Money or Pay Pal) and gift coupons. According to recent statistics, at least 6 from 10 residents of developed nations use mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) daily. The number of people executing payments on web stores from their tablets is doubling every year due to increase of security level. Besides, mobile Internet becomes cheaper and more accessible, and the number of mobile platforms’ users grows constantly. Don’t neglect these numerous users, because many of them can become your loyal customers. All they need is an attractive mobile version of your multi vendor shop, and high speed page load.

This speed problem is highly important. As most of modern Internet users, customers are very impatient and aren’t going to wait more than 2 seconds for a product preview or description load. You should provide them a flash-like (or even instant) page load and web marketplace navigation. Cloud storage and navigation are reliable solutions here. Provide your future merchants with powerful marketing features and control panel. They’ll appreciate a possibility to control their orders, sales and shipments in real-time mode.

Marketplace solutions

But in spite of all these features, your marketplace solution should still be user-friendly not only for final customers, but also for sellers, who are your direct customers. Your selling platform should have a simple, intuitive and user-friendly interface with quick and clear navigation. But how can you understand whether the solution is easy-to-use or not? It’s not a feature or an instrument marked in product specification, and the only way to figure it out is to use it yourself for several days or weeks. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask every internet shopping mall builder for a free trial period or a demo version of his product. Usually trial period lasts 1 month, and it’s more than enough to understand the major peculiarities of any multi vendor platform. It’s possible that after weeks of search you won’t come across the perfect solution that fits you best. Perhaps your demands are really special, and there’s no ready-to-use program with such functionality on the market. In this case you’ll have to pay a bit more (or significantly more, if your specifications are complex and numerous) for a customized solution. Remember that you can buy a customizable platform and add the necessary functions later on, when your shop brings you some money.

Anyway, even if you try your best to foresee every little thing to make your online marketplace really perfect, you’ll certainly discover several defects after launching. Don’t worry, that’s quite normal, because it’s impossible to build up a multi seller e-shop at the first try without any mistakes. Just keep going and start selling right now, you’ll rectify them later. You’ve already done the main thing, and from now on it will work for you and your prosperity.

To become more aware of powerful CS-Cart features, browse through the range of online marketplace themes we offer. You can find an ideal one for a virtual shopping mall of almost any size.

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