Marketplace Strategy 2021 – Top-10 Marketplace Software Platforms on The Market
Today, it’s hard to imagine people living without the Internet and all the digital innovations that come with it. Likewise, with the convenience and automation that comes with doing business online, it’s hard to imagine businesses going back to their old, slower, and manual labor-dependent processes.
The rise in the number of digital online shoppers, which is currently forecasted to be 2.14 billion this year, makes way for the proliferation of many e-commerce stores and online marketplaces. Moreover, modern digital shopping is also opening opportunities for entrepreneurs to make the most of the digital shift.
Instead of only putting up online stores, some are investing in marketplaces that could cater to multiple sellers to create a network that brings a large customer base.
If your vision is to be bigger than an e-commerce store, learning about the different marketplace software platforms available on the market should be your first plan of action.
What is an Online Marketplace?
An online marketplace is an Internet app or website that allows multiple sellers to connect to numerous buyers on its platform.
It is a type of e-commerce marketplace that adopts the B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) business models. Online marketplaces can cater to both wholesale and retail selling.
It earns its profit through post-selling fees deducted from the sellers’ sale of an item. It also earns through its loyalty and membership programs, extended services, and app integrations provided by third-party partners.
Among the world’s leading and most reputable online marketplaces are Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Etsy, and Walmart.
What is a Marketplace Software Platform?
A marketplace software platform is also known as a multi-vendor marketplace. It’s because it is a digital solution that allows multiple sellers to create their digital storefronts in one place, where customers can purchase single items or services.
It provides extensive features that allow the user to build a functional and sustainable multi-vendor marketplace. Moreover, it acts as a foundation that hosts online marketplaces and provides its software licenses.
Marketplace software platforms can be independent providers or extensions that you can install from some e-commerce platforms.
Criteria for Choosing a Marketplace Software Platform
Knowing where to build your multi-vendor marketplace is just as important as learning about your market. The success and sustainability of your marketplace will not only depend on your sellers and buyers but also on the support and functionalities that your website can receive from your chosen marketplace software.
Here are the key factors you need to look for in a marketplace software platform:
- Niche or business models supported by the software. Is it b2b, b2c, c2c, wholesale, retail, online arbitrage, etc.?
- Agility, extendibility, and adaptability of the software platform. Does it offer features focused on solving the needs of buyers? How about its integration with other devices like mobile phones?
- Costs. Is the cost of the marketplace software justified by the inclusive features and apps?
- Security and licensing. Does it follow data privacy regulations and secured license agreements?
- Support and resources. What tools, resources, and support can the software platform give for your business?
Top 10 Marketplace Software Platforms on the Market
You can find plenty of marketplace software platforms to choose from just by browsing through the web.
But to lessen the burden of researching them one by one and cut the process of blindly clicking through the ads, you can instead go through this list of the ten best marketplace software platforms available on the market.
- Dokan Multi-vendor Marketplace Plugin
Dokan is a WordPress plugin just like WooCommerce. To be more technically accurate, it is a WooCommerce extension meant to work alongside WooCommerce to transform your WordPress e-commerce website into a multi-vendor selling platform.
Presently, it has over 1 million downloads and over 60,000 active online marketplaces. It offers a low-cost start-up. It provides reliable customer support, and it is highly customizable. It works with any WooCommerce themes and provides an easy-to-navigate interface for users.
- CS-Cart Multi-vendor
The CS-Cart multi-vendor platform supports over 1000 online marketplaces. It is considered the most award-winning marketplace software platform, with awards like Trusted Vendor and Quality Choice. No wonder it’s supporting over 35,000 e-commerce marketplaces and stores.
It comes with over 500 features you can use to increase the functionality of your marketplace. It is 100% customizable, and its best features include its seamless integration with the mobile app and other advanced levels of administrative access.
It is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) online marketplace platform that supports B2B and B2C business models. It optimizes customer experience by centralizing and categorizing all product catalogs.
It provides an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. It also helps convert mobile applications to online marketplaces through REST API integrations. It is highly customizable, with lots of templates to choose from.
Arcadier provides full hosting for marketplaces that focus on goods, services, and rental.
It facilitates several business models, including Peer-to-Peer (P2P). It offers round-the-clock customer support on various mediums.
It offers SEO-optimized themes and customization tools to attract vendors and buyers.
Most importantly, it provides marketplace plugins for your business needs like content management systems (CMS) and marketing. These plugins can be found in Arcadier’s Plugin marketplace.
Sharetribe is another cloud-based marketplace software platform that offers full hosting. It is rich in features and provides great storefront customizability.
The best thing about Sharetribe is that it offers two marketplace options. It has Sharetribe Go and Sharetribe Flex that are built based on what you currently need in your marketplace. The Sharetribe Go is meant for people who are still starting with their e-commerce marketplace.
It has numerous features to increase your marketplace functionality but not as many as Sharetribe Flex. The Sharetribe Flex is meant for later, when you want to scale your business and needs more e-commerce functions.
Yo!Kart keeps up with the competition by offering an easy-to-use interface and customizable themes for storefront designs. Its best offering is the SEO tools you can use to optimize your multi-vendor marketplace.
It caters to both local and global markets, and its interface and systems are tailor-made for different sets of audiences. It integrates with 3rd party APIs and provides additional back-end functionalities.
- WCFM Marketplace
WCFM Marketplace is another free WordPress plugin you can use to add multi-vendor functionality to your e-commerce website. Like Dokan, it integrates with WooCommerce and uses WooThemes for storefront designs.
It offers different vendor membership modules and advanced seller management features. It has mobile WCFM Apps that serve the essential people in the marketplace. The WCFM Store Manager App is for sellers to monitor their marketplace business. The WCFM Multi-vendor App is for buyers, so they can access your marketplace via their mobile phones. The last one is WCFM Delivery App that is for delivery agents’ use.
- Magento Multi-vendor Marketplace Extension
Magento is an open-source e-commerce website builder just like Shopify or BigCommerce.
To be able to add multi-vendor functionality to your Magento store, you need to install the Multivendor Marketplace Extension.
It has features tailor-made to the needs of every set of users. Needless to say, it focuses on enhancing the customer experience.
It performs with great functionality and provides control over the customizability of your storefront.
Moreover, it implements a flexible commission system and offers up to 3 months of the free customer and technical support.
- BigCommerce Multi-vendor
BigCommerce is another website builder supporting numerous e-commerce stores, which can now be converted to online marketplaces, thanks to the marketplace extension. The extension is made purposely for scaling and growing your BigCommerce e-commerce business.
Some of its best features are full admin access control, the smooth payout for sellers, easy product management, and an actionable seller panel.
- Shopify Multi-vendor Marketplace
There are other marketplace software platforms out there that are better than the Shopify Multi-vendor Marketplace. However, it should make a list for a number of reasons; firstly, because Shopify supports 1,700,000 e-commerce businesses that might be looking for ways to scale; secondly, because it has one of the best search engine optimization (SEO) features, and lastly because it can integrate into multiple channels.
Its existing e-commerce functions are enhanced by the additional features the Shopify Multi-vendor Marketplace can offer. Better SEO, product management, customizations, and app integrations are just some of the benefits entrepreneurs will get from building a marketplace with this host.
Here are some Shopify tips for you to learn. Check out our blog: A Full Guide on Killer Shopify Apps You Will Absolutely Want to Install.
What kind of business models can online marketplace software support?
Depending on the focus of the multi-vendor software, it can adopt the b2b, b2c, or c2c business model. Some support p2p, crowdsourcing, subscription, retail, wholesale, and many more. You will instantly know what models are used by the software by looking at its features. It will show you where the developers choose to focus on.
Can you build a multi-vendor marketplace without using marketplace software platforms?
There are several ways to build an online marketplace, and that includes building it from scratch. You can code your own website or hire a developer to do it for you. But, of course, it will be costly and may be risky in terms of security. Another way to set up your own multi-vendor marketplace is to develop it on open-source, self-hosted, and API-based sites like the software platforms.
What are the common challenges faced by multi-vendor platforms?
Some of the challenges commonly faced by marketplace owners or admins are liquidity issues, customer service, and building trust within the developer-marketplace owner-buyer circle. The overall organization of tools and features, including product presentation, may also affect the results of your marketplace. If your marketplace is messy and not pleasing to the eyes, you’ll find it hard to draw customers to your site.
As a visionary, you might always be asking yourself a question, “What’s next for my business?”
One way to scale and grow your company is to set up an online marketplace instead of putting up more e-commerce stores.
Yes, it will entail more complex responsibilities, but there is numerous marketplace software with simplified systems to make the marketplace processes easy for you.
All you need to do is figure out the business model and industry you would want to enter, know your audience better, and learn as much as you can.