Best Multi Vendor Marketplaces Platforms for eCommerce to consider in 2023
- MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE DEFINITION: WHAT IS A MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE?
- HOW TO SET UP A MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE?
- PROS AND CONS OF MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACES
- BENEFITS AND FEATURES OF THE MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE SOFTWARE
- TYPES OF MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE SOLUTION PROVIDERS
- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE PLATFORM IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
- SUMMARY ON HOW TO CREATE A MULTI VENDOR WEBSITE
- APPLY FOR MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE ECOMMERCE PLATFORM DEMO
If you want to build your own ecommerce marketplace, then you’re probably looking for multi-vendor marketplace platforms or plugins and extensions that you can use on top of your existing ecommerce solution. To save you time, we’ve compiled a list of the best multi vendor marketplace platforms in 2022, so you don’t have to!
Before we dive in, here’s what you’ll learn by the end of the article:
- Definitions of a multi vendor marketplace platform, plugin, and extension
- Key features you need to look for in an ecommerce platform
- Things to consider while building a multi vendor marketplace
- How to choose the best marketplace platform
- Best multi vendor marketplace platforms
- Why Virto Marketplace is the best marketplace solution for your business
Multi Vendor Marketplace Definition: What Is a Multi Vendor Marketplace?
An online multi vendor marketplace is an ecommerce marketplace business where multiple sellers and buyers conduct transactions. You might think of a multi vendor store as a shopping mall where many sellers operate under one roof.
How does a multi-vendor website work?
In a multi-vendor marketplace, there are three parties: marketplace vendors, buyers, and marketplace owners or operators. The marketplace owner manages the marketplace platform and oversees the operations of the store. Depending on the operator’s chosen business model and business strategy, all suppliers pay either a commission for selling on a marketplace or a subscription fee. There are other business models that the marketplace owner might employ, for example, earn revenue through the selling of marketplace data or by offering marketing services.
How does multi vendor marketplace differ from an ecommerce website?
The difference between a regular online store (or a single vendor marketplace) and a multi vendor marketplace is in the number of online sellers – the former doesn’t have the capabilities to support multiple sellers, whereas the latter does.
How does an online marketplace make money?
There are a few different ways that marketplaces can make money:
- charging listing fees from sellers
- charging transaction fees on each sale
- selling advertising space on the marketplace platform
- offering premium memberships with additional features and benefits.
The best way to monetize your marketplace will depend on your specific business model and goals.
Examples of multi vendor marketplace websites
The best well-known examples of multi vendor ecommerce marketplaces are Amazon, eBay, Etsy, AliExpress, Taobao, and Flipkart. We’ve written a few comprehensive articles about multi vendor ecommerce platforms, including Best Marketplace Platforms to Sell Merch and Shop and B2B marketplaces, so you may check them for more examples.
How to Set up a Multi Vendor Marketplace?
There are many possible ways to start a marketplace. From a technological standpoint, you can either create a marketplace from scratch or buy multi vendor marketplace software. Since there are different types of multi vendor software available, it’s important to understand which is which.
How to properly choose multi vendor marketplace software for your business?
If you’re looking for a solution that’s instantly available and is ready to roll out of the box, then you’re looking for a readymade multi vendor marketplace platform. Readymade platforms might not be ideal solutions for those whose business processes follow specific non-standard logic and require a high degree of customization, but those companies who are on a tight budget, do not require any specific features, and would like to launch a marketplace business as soon as possible, might prefer to go with a readymade solution.
You may choose to buy a B2C or B2B online marketplace multi vendor software that would require some retrofitting and tweaking or you may choose to use a marketplace plugin or extension on top of your existing B2C or B2B ecommerce platform.
A marketplace plugin can help you create a multivendor store like Amazon or eBay with just a couple of clicks. Marketplace plugins are usually not as sophisticated as marketplace extensions but they do their job just as well and might be exactly what you need if you’re operating a small business and would like to expand your offering by including more suppliers and partners in your network.
A marketplace extension, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated implementation that stretches an existing ecommerce solution by adding marketplace functionality on top of the core platform. Instead of building a marketplace from scratch or buying a readymade marketplace platform, you may choose to utilize a marketplace extension that attends to different marketplace scenarios that your business requires. Virto Marketplace is one of those marketplace extensions (also available as a standalone complete solution out-of-the box) that supports both first and third-party marketplace models and consists of separate operator and vendor portals that can be seamlessly added to your existing ecommerce platform. We’ll talk about Virto Marketplace in more detail in later sections.
For a detailed review of major software players, proceed to Best Multi Vendor Marketplace Software in 2022.
For the bottom line advice on setting up your own marketplace and choosing the best software, jump to Summary.
Pros and Cons of Multi Vendor Marketplaces
Below we’ll look at both benefits and drawbacks of selling, operating, and buying on multi vendor websites.
What are the benefits of using a multi vendor website?
There are multiple benefits for all involved parties. This way, besides the freedom to choose which revenue model and platform they use, marketplace owners benefit from extending their marketplace offering and getting direct access to valuable data and customer insights which can be further capitalized on should they choose to do so. Vendors benefit from choosing the platform they wish to partner with, market their products and services alongside competitors, and get access to analytic reports and actionable insights. Customers primarily benefit from an abundance of choices that the marketplace platform offers.
What are the disadvantages of using multi vendor websites?
Multi vendor marketplaces can be more difficult to set up and manage than single vendor stores. Since there are multiple sellers, it can be more difficult to ensure quality control across the board. Buyers may have to wade through lower quality products to find the gems. And finally, suppliers can face serious competition that might compel them to lower their prices or lose customers.
Benefits and Features of the Multi Vendor Marketplace Software
When you’re looking for multi vendor software, such as a readymade platform, plugin, or extension, you need to make sure that the solution has enough capabilities to cater to your specific business needs. We suggest looking for at least the following features:
- A dedicated vendor portal
It goes without saying that the most important feature of multi vendor software is a dedicated vendor portal that facilitates the registration and listing of third party vendors. Online sellers need to be able to register, upload their product listings, and have a dedicated place to showcase those products to potential buyers, such as a vendor page or an ecommerce storefront.
- A dedicated operator portal
To make sure you have control over the platform’s performance, seller-buyer interactions, and overall operations of the store, your chosen multi vendor software must have specific operator functionality, such as
- All-encompassing overview of buyer and vendor activities,
- Task management features,
- Case tracking to provide timely support for buyers and vendors,
- Lead management features, and so on.
- 3rd party API integration
It’s extremely important that your chosen multivendor platform connects easily and seamlessly to third-party systems, including your own internal software like ERP or CMS and those of your multiple vendors. Moreover, if your platform supports API integrations, it will connect to any sophisticated third-party ML and AI engines, such as recommendation mechanisms, intelligent search, and so on. So make sure that the platform of your choice is API-powered.
- Advanced & intelligent search features
In our practice, we’ve seen clients who switched solutions because their previous ecommerce platforms could not cater to the search needs of their buyers. As mentioned above, your multi vendor platform has to be API-driven to be able to connect to a desired third-party engine. For example, Virto Commerce works with such engines as Azure Cognitive Search and Elastic Search that leverage knowledge mining to a whole new level. One of the many advantages of a multi vendor platform that uses Azure Cognitive Search is that it uses custom ML models to extract information from all types of content.
- Dashboards and analytics
Both vendor and operator tracking and analytics are much better when data is visualized. So look for platforms that allow you to not only keep track of earnings and expenditures but also have reporting features that gather and structure the available information and data insights for you.
- Multi-channel communication
Extensive involvement of third parties clearly implies that the communication must be at the top-notch level to ensure everyone stays on the same page and any issues are addressed in a timely and efficient manner. Therefore, make sure that the platform of choice supports multi-channel communication in the following directions: seller-to-admin, admin-to-seller, buyer-to-admin, and buyer-to-seller.
- Support for a chosen revenue model
Since your multi vendor platform must be able to support your revenue model (whatever it might be, for instance, vendor commissions or subscription fees), you need to make sure there’s a built-in subscription and/or commission management system within the multi vendor software of your choice.
- Scalability under peak demand
Your platform must be able to handle a large number of buyers and vendors, so make sure it is powerful enough to sustain any scalability issues.
Types of Multi Vendor Marketplace Solution Providers
There are two more things to consider when choosing a multi vendor marketplace solution provider, as there are typically two types of multi vendor solutions you can encounter on the market, such as:
Open source platforms imply that the solution vendor provides you with the source code and gives you all the freedom (and responsibility) to choose a hosting solution on a supported web server.
The SAAS solution vendors do not typically offer source code but offer web-based access to a hosted solution instead, meaning while you can’t choose a web hosting provider, you are not responsible for the security of your marketplace as that responsibility is fully delegated to your SaaS solution provider.
How Do You Know Which Multi Vendor Marketplace Platform Is Right for You?
To arrive at the best possible decision regarding the choice of a multivendor marketplace platform, you need to consider a few things and answer the following questions:
- How much money are you willing to spend? What’s your budget?
- What type of platform are you looking for? Is it software with open-source code? Is it a proprietary solution? Do you have to find a hosting provider? Are you willing to be responsible for the platform’s security?
- If you happen to operate an ecommerce platform, are you willing to buy a marketplace multivendor module or an extension that connects to your own marketplace? Do you want to start from scratch? And if you don’t have an ecommerce website yet, would you want to invest in a ready-made multivendor marketplace or build a solution out of separate composable modules?
- What kind of multi-vendor marketplace are you building? What type of features do you require? Does the platform of your choice have all the necessary functionality for the successful operation of a multi-vendor marketplace? Are you going to be responsible for product management? Will your vendors have to deal with their own product listings? What responsibilities are you willing to delegate to your sellers in general?
- Are you going to operate on a local market or do you have international ambitions? If you’re aiming at international sales, does the platform of your choice have localization options? What about payment integrations? Does the platform have multiple payment gateways? What are the preferred payment methods of your local suppliers?
- Does the marketplace vendor have an online demo or can you schedule a consultation?
- Does the platform’s vendor offer any development services?
Answering these questions will help you to arrive at the ultimate decision regarding the choice of a suitable solution.
Best Multi Vendor Marketplace Software in 2022 & Multi Vendor Marketplace Platform Comparison
Below you’ll find what we consider the top 20 multi vendor marketplace platforms in 2022, so take your pick!
Mirakl, founded in 2012, is considered one of the best and perhaps, the most expensive marketplace and drop ship solutions. Christened as the best-of-breed SaaS platform, Mirakl fully automates marketplace operations including seller onboarding, third-party catalog integration, order management, and seller invoicing while taking full responsibility for security, performance, and quality of marketplace experience. Mirakl’s multi-vendor platform is a scalable and cloud-based solution that has a modular REST API architecture with proprietary pre-built connectors. As of now, there are over 300 marketplaces with more than 35,000 sellers that are running on a Mirakl platform. Among Mirakl clients are the following well-known and respected companies: Best Buy Canada, Toyota Material Handling, Conrad, and Astore.
CS Cart multi vendor ecommerce software
CS-Cart multi vendor marketplace open source platfrom offers a full set of features out of the box (more than 500) and therefore, might be an ideal solution for those who do not wish to waste time and money on custom development. As the platform has a sufficient number of built-in add-ons (more than 1,000), it can be rolled out as-is. For those who wish to tinker with a bit of a layout and design without touching the code, there’s the Layout Manager with 9 different styles out of the box. However, if you have enough developer resources or would like to build something unique, CS-Cart welcomes you to do so by offering full access to its source code. A few more features that make CS-Cart a good multi vendor marketplace software include an advanced vendor payout system, vendor micro-stores, reports and stats, and granular administrative access levels. As of now, there are more than 1,300 multi vendor stores that are running on CS-Cart with more than 35,000 stores in total.
Zielcommerce ready-to-go multi vendor ecommerce marketplace platform
Zielcommerce posits itself as a fully customizable and easily scalable multifaceted ecommerce platform that would suit any business model, be it B2C, C2C, B2B, a product, service, or digital marketplace. Zielcommerce offers a powerful set of admin, vendor, and buyer features, reporting, and analytics tools. Moreover, Zielcommerce is a multilingual (80+ languages) ecommerce marketplace software that supports multiple currencies and payment gateways. As of now, Zielcommerce serves more than 100 customers.
Yo!Kart multi vendor marketplace ecommerce software
Yo!Kart is a customizable self-hosted multi vendor ecommerce platform with multilingual support. As advertised on the website, the company specifically targets enterprises in the precious metals & FMCG industry. Despite being a popular choice among large enterprises, Yo!Kart is also suitable for startups, small and medium-sized businesses. In the evidence of Yo!Kart’s support for SMEs, the company offers flexible payment options: for example, the basic Yo!Kart multi vendor store can be bought for less than 1,000 dollars, while GoCustom Yo!Kart package can be paid in instalments. According to the company, Yo!Kart especially prides itself on superior user experience and user friendly web and mobile apps. Among its highlighted features are also the product catalog system, tax and shipping management modules, and multiple payment options. Moreover, Yo!Kart has been tested for more than one million products and 250 concurrent users, so if you’re operating a SME business, perhaps give Yo!Kart a try.
Arcadier multi vendor marketplace platform
Although advertised as a no-coding platform, Arcadier can be fully customized if you buy an Enterprise package that allows for bringing in your own developers or choosing one of Arcadier’s development partners. For those unwilling to spend time reinventing the wheel, there are plenty of templates and built-in features that require zero coding and are instantly available out of the box. There are, however, custom code editors and a full suite of APIs, for those who still wish to tinker with marketplace features and functionality. Based on your chosen subscription plan, the platform offers a comprehensive set of features, such as granular user management, customizable payments, marketing features including email management and SEO/Analytics, among others. For 500 dollars a month, you can also get private plug-ins and PHP SDK access.
IXXOCart multi vendor platform & shopping cart solution & ecommerce software
IXXOCart multi vendor shopping cart software with its 1,000 built-in features allows you to roll out your multi vendor online shopping mall out of the box. In fact, IXXOCart has two solutions for aspiring multi vendor marketplace owners, such as IXXO Multi Vendor Standalone and IXXO Multi Vendor Plugin for WordPress. As announced, the platform can host an unlimited number of vendors and buyers but primarily caters to SMEs. IXXO admin and vendor features are both powerful. There are multiple vendor plans available including subscriptions and commissions, as well as both automated and manual payment calculations. There are also a product approval system, powerful admin panel, stats, and reporting. IXXOCart supports more than 100 payment methods and can fully integrate a Facebook store. Most of the platform features are available in the Classic License, which is around 1,500 dollars, charged as a one-time payment.
X-Cart multi vendor marketplace ecommerce software for ecommerce stores
For those ready to start as soon as possible, X-Cart multi vendor marketplace software offers many native multi vendor features out of the box. However, if you need to fine-tune and tweak the platform’s functionality to suit your particular business needs, X-Cart is ready to do it for you: the company offers custom development, migration, and hosting services. A self-proclaimed mobile-first ecommerce platform, X-Cart has an excellent storefront experience with plenty of design templates to choose from and an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface. X-Cart has powerful marketing functionality including effective SEO tools, email management, integrated analytic tools, and loyalty program management, among others. The platform also supports more than 120 payment processing providers, recurring charges, multi-currency transactions, and automated taxation.
Spree multi vendor marketplace ecommerce software and multi-store platform
Spree is a headless open source multistore and multivendor ecommerce platform that’s available for free with a fully functional storefront on Rails & Bootstrap, as well as React and Vue Storefront starter packages. Don’t like any of the default storefronts? Not a problem, you can create your own with Spree SDK. Spree may also very well serve as an ecommerce engine and admin dashboard for native mobile apps on iOS or Android via Storefront REST API V2. Spree uses Elasticsearch, has ‘simple Spree recommended products’ out of the box, or can integrate with any third-party engines for advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities. Spree is totally customizable but would require some developer knowledge to work with the technology.
Laraship Laravel multi vendor marketplace & online marketplace software
Laraship Laravel Marketplace is a Laravel multi vendor ecommerce platform that is currently rated as one of the best platforms based on the Laravel framework. Since inception in 2015, hundreds of stores have switched to Laraship, so if you’re a PHP fan, then Laraship might be worth a try. Thankfully, Laraship provides all access to source code with the license so you can modify and customise your store to your liking. As of now, Laraship integrates with 10 payment gateways and has more than 40 modules and themes to expand features like Laraship Directory, Classified, and Subscriptions.
Multi-vendor marketplace extensions
Virto Marketplace supports both first and third-party marketplace models and connects to virtually any existing ecommerce solution without replatforming. The resulting solution can be further adapted, extended, or recomposed to accommodate different marketplace requirements and business scenarios.
Virto Marketplace has all the necessary features for running a successful ecommerce store: catalog, order, contract, and inventory management, third-party system integrations, order-specific workflows, and access controls, among many other features specific to a B2B environment.
Virto’s Extension can support multiple monetization strategies from commissions to subscriptions, can be localized with ease in any language you want, can support multiple payment options including net terms and credit lines, and can be adapted to support any scenario that’s unique to your business. Virto Commerce is headless, open source, cloud-native and API-powered, which means it can scale and supports third party integration with any system.
Spryker multi vendor marketplace extension
Spryker is a modern cloud-native PaaS solution that’s API-based and enterprise-ready. The Spryker Marketplace solution operates as an extension of an existing ecommerce functionality, and just as Virto’s solution, can be added to an already operating single-vendor marketplace platform. Since Spryker primarily targets large established businesses, the company calls its marketplace solution the Enterprise Marketplace.
Orocommerce multi vendor marketplace extension with multi vendor marketplace module
OroMarketplace Extension is primarily a B2B focused integrated marketplace solution that can be built on top of an existing online marketplace platform. Since the solution involves custom development, Oro stresses the fact that its solutions can follow any business logic and can be developed in collaboration with its implementation partners to suit any specific need of the customer.
Multi-vendor marketplace plugins
If you’re operating a Magento or BigCommerce store and would like to extend its functionality to allow third parties to sell their products alongside yours, then Webkul’s plugin, available on Magento and BigCommerce Application Marketplaces, can help you to convert your default Magento/BigCommerce store into a complete multi-seller ecommerce marketplace platform. By utilizing a Webkul’s plugin you will allow third parties to sign-up on your store, create their seller storefronts, manage orders, and shipments. Moreover, buyers will be able to leave reviews, rate sellers, and interact with them. As a business owner, you’ll have access to an extensive and feature-rich admin panel that will help you oversee your store operations.
Webkul Shopify multi vendor marketplace extension
If you’re operating a Shopify marketplace and would like to extend its functionality to include third-party vendors, then multi vendor marketplace extension from Webkul is a way to go. Webkul’s extension is available from the Shopify app store with a 15-day free trial and $10 per month after. The extension allows you to stretch the capabilities of your Shopify store and include unlimited number of sellers and products, as well as syncronise with stores on other platforms like Magento and Prestashop.
Complete multi vendor marketplace for Opencart from Purpletree
OpenCart is an online store management system that’s PHP- and MySQL-based; although it’s available for free under the GNU General Public License, the extensions and plugins on its online marketplace are typically offered for a small fee. With that said, if you’re owning an OpenCart store and are willing to extend its functionality to include the sales by third parties, there’s a plugin called Complete Multi Vendor Marketplace that’s available from the OpenCart extension marketplace for 69 dollars. As advertised on the extension marketplace, the multi vendor marketplace plugin for OpenCart that’s developed by Purpletree software company has more features than similar plugins by competitors: it supports PayPal and Stripe, works with OpenCart Mobile app, has comprehensive documentation, is available in multiple languages (19), has dedicated seller and admin panels with respective functionalities.
WooCommerce WordPress multi-vendor plugins
WooCommerce is an open source ecommerce plugin for WordPress that’s designed for both small and medium-sized online merchants using WordPress. Since WooCommerce only allows you to create a single vendor store, to extend its functionality further, you’ll need another plugin to turn your online shop into a multi vendor marketplace. Product Vendors from WooCommerce might be the plugin you need. Product Vendors allows you to collaborate with multiple sellers on your site and in return take a commission on sales. The plugin also allows you to reduce your administrative role by entitling your multiple vendors to manage their own products, use PayPal Payouts to delay commission payments in case of returns on physical products, oversee the operations of your and vendors’ store by receiving reports and statistics, and integrate with other plugins to extend the functionality even further.
YITH WooCommerce multi vendor marketplace
YITH is another WooCommerce WordPress that turns your single vendor ecommerce store into a multi vendor marketplace. For around 100 dollars, you’re getting a year’s worth of updates and customer support, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s also a free version of the plugin with limited functionality; however, if you’re serious about getting your multi vendor store up and running, then we recommend investing in the premium version. If used in combination with the YITH Frontend Manager plugin, your site will have a frontend dashboard that multiple vendors can access to manage products, orders, and commissions of their shop. Apart from that, the multi vendor functionality that YITH offers mimics the one described above for Product Vendors.
Dokan WooCommerce multivendor marketplace
Another WooCommerce WordPress Multi vendor plugin that’s worth mentioning is Dokan, currently available in 15 languages. With Dokan, vendors have their own personalized dashboard on the store frontend, while backend access is restricted to admin only. Dokan also comes with a free responsive ecommerce theme that has widgets developed specifically for Dokan. Dokan has a few add-ons that you can download for managing bookable products, creating an auction, or just adding other features that might be missing from the standard Dokan package. Dokan is available free of charge; however, there’s a PRO version available that already comes with auction and booking add-ons, as well as other powerful features such as Ajax search, subscription manager, live chat, seller verification, and others.
WC Marketplace for Wordpress
WC for WordPress is a WordPress plugin that gives you a totally customizable marketplace solution with automated commission disbursements and a split payment system. You can strat with a free WC version and then move on to a paid version that offers a bundle of add-on features for around 500 dollars. You can also purchase separate add ons for as low as 20 dollars if you’re looking for something in particular and are not ready to invest the full sum.
Multi vendor marketplace platform comparison infographic
It’s important to note that the platforms that have been listed for B2B marketplaces can be adequately used for B2C, however, the opposite is true – the B2C marketplaces can be rarely satisfactory for B2B purposes (even with B2B extensions such as those offered by Yo!Kart). So if you’re operating a serious B2B-first marketplace, it’s important to choose the platform that is specifically built with complex B2B scenarios in mind and can fully meet your and your customer needs. For more insights into the functionality of B2B ecommerce platfroms and detailed review of the seven best players, head on to read Best B2B eCommerce Platforms in 2022: Essential B2B eCommerce Features
You might also be interested in the following articles:
Summary on How to Create a Multi Vendor Website
If you’re looking for opportunities to create your own multi vendor store, you have a few options:
- If you’re operating an existing ecommerce store and would like to extend its functionality to allow third parties to sell their products using your ecommerce platform, then you can opt for purchasing a marketplace extension such as the one offered by Virto Commerce
- If you’re operating a single vendor BigCommerce, Magento stores, or some such websites, you can check out their respective application marketplaces for any marketplace extensions or plugins that can add marketplace functionality to your existing ecommerce store
- If you own a marketplace on WordPress like a single vendor Woocommerce, you can look for marketplace plugins to extend the existing marketplace functionality, such as Dokan or Product Vendors.
- If you don’t have an existing store, but would like to create a marketplace website, then you may purchase a ready-made marketplace platform such as the one offered by Zielcommerce.
Otherwise, you can create a single vendor store first and then add marketplace functionality on top. For example, create an ecommerce platform with Virto Commerce and then use its Virto Marketplace Extension to allow third party vendors to register and trade on your site.
Apply For Multi Vendor Marketplace eCommerce Platform Demo
If you’re looking for a robust multi-vendor marketplace platform, then there’s no better solution than Virto Commerce. If we can give you just one reason why it is so – Virto Commerce can extend virtually any platform without replatforming, which is a huge advantage. Moreover, compared with other solutions on the list and market, Virto Commerce offers one of the most democratic prices for building digital commerce stores. Finally, Virto Commerce code is open source, which means you don’t have to rely on the Virto Commerce team to make your own modifications and can infinitely customise your store to your liking and particular business requirements.
Interested to learn more? Schedule a demo now and we’ll explain how it works!
We’ll never get tired to reiterate one simple principle – flexibility is the key when choosing a platform. Business requirements, markets, customers, goals – all of it can change, and so should your ecommerce platform so it accommodates the changing needs of your business. If it cannot do so, then you’ll need to replatform, and that involves a lot of unnecessary hassle. Therefore, choose your ecommerce solution with flexibility and adaptability in mind. As your business grows, your ecommerce should grow with you.