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 multivendor store as a shopping mall where many sellers operate under one roof. Besides marketplace sellers and buyers, an ecommerce marketplace has an operator that owns and manages the marketplace platform. 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.
There are many possible ways to start a marketplace. From a technological standpoint, you can either create a marketplace from scratch or buy a multi vendor marketplace software. Again, there are different types of multi vendor software available, and it’s important to understand which is which.
If you’re looking for a solution that’s instantly available, doesn’t require any developmental works, 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 need any difficult customizations, 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 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 implies the stretching of an existing ecommerce solution by adding marketplace functionality on top. 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 Commerce Marketplace Extension is one of those marketplace extensions 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 Commerce Marketplace Extension in more detail in later sections.