Top 5 Multi-Vendor Marketplace Platforms
ScienceSoft is a full-service provider of ecommerce development and consulting services with 19 years of expertise.
An online marketplace platform is your choice if you are planning to aggregate product or service offerings from multiple sellers. To monetize this business format, marketplace owners employ a commission revenue model but can also use the space to sell their own goods. Investing in marketplace branding and promotion, marketplaces can achieve a large consumer outreach, and with that attract and profit both from solid retailers seeking for omnipresence and smaller players avoiding to deal with their own ecommerce launch.
Being present on a marketplace, sellers get tools to manage their products and orders rather independently while you stay in control of marketplace performance.
Product types supported
- Simple – a product without variations.
- Configurable – a product with variation choice.
- Bundle and grouped – a product kit sold together at a reduced price.
- Downloadable – a digital file that can be bought and downloaded.
- Virtual – a non-tangible item like a service subscription or online courses.
- Bulk uploading products via CSV/XLS/XML files.
- Allowing sellers to add products to multiple categories.
- Allowing sellers to create their own product attributes.
- Restricted product categories subject to admin’s approval.
- No limitation in the number of products per seller.
Multi-vendor product experience
- Product offering aggregation from different sellers on a single product page.
- Concurrent checkout with products from different sellers.
- A seller’s profile with company information and a full product listing.
Seller management (by a marketplace admin)
- A customizable registration form for sellers.
- A quick admin view of the approval status for each seller.
- Admin’s access to a seller’s profile information.
- Manual and automated mechanisms for a seller approval.
- An admin’s right to supervise seller’s activities.
- A separate admin panel for each seller to manage product listings, payments, orders and sales analytics.
- Role-based access to a seller’s profile.
- Vendor-to-admin communication.
- Fixed and percentage-based commissions.
- Global commission rates.
- Tiered commissions based on a product category, a product price.
- Seller-specific commissions.
A marketplace may support:
- A direct payment option – customers pay directly to a seller who handles the accounting and marketplace commission payout.
- An aggregated payment option – a marketplace collects payments, keeps the commission and pays the profit to sellers.
- A seller’s order management dashboard with all current and completed orders.
- Automated splitting of orders with products from several sellers.
- Automated order invoicing after the payment has been received.
- A back-order possibility.
- RMA (return merchandize authorization).
- Integrations with selected shipping couriers.
- Seller-specific configuration of allowed shipping methods.
- Seller-specific flat rate shipping.
- Creating and printing shipping labels.
- Automated email notifications to customers following order status changes.
- Open code for business-specific customization of a marketplace platform.
- Supporting multiple languages, currencies and tax rates for different geographic areas.
- Enabling a multi-store with multiple websites and store views.
- Managing over 1M SKUs.
APIs for marketplace integration with a seller’s systems, namely:
- Order management system to centralize multi-channel orders.
- Product information management system to distribute product data via multiple channels.
- Inventory management system to control product stock levels in multi-channel sales.
- Mobile-optimized viewing and interaction experience.
- A possibility to enable a PWA for a near-native mobile app experience and offline mode support.
A marketplace pursues a business model different from brand-owned online stores, making even the best ecommerce platforms insufficient to its specifics by default. Here are the top 5 platforms that we at ScienceSoft consider the best for building a marketplace from scratch or evolving your existing e-store into a marketplace.
Best for: growth-oriented businesses in need of open-source code for customization
- Leader on the ecommerce software market according to reputed market research companies (Forrester and Gartner).
- Open-source code to extend and alter the platform’s off-the-shelf functionality to business-specific needs.
- Requires a multi-vendor marketplace module in addition to the installed Magento application.
- There are currently 2 market-leading modules for a multi-vendor marketplace setup and about 60 add-ons with complementary functions.
- Magento Commerce (from $3,999/month) offers all kinds of hosting: dedicated hosting on AWS, a private or any public cloud, and on-premises.
- Provides native solutions for advanced order management and business intelligence.
- Some of the clients: Surpluselectrical, UAE Store, Bag a Bouquet.
Magento marketplace solutions are varied in price, request individual project calculation
Best for: quick no-code marketplace launch
- Suitable for both product and service marketplaces.
- Customization is possible in the front end of the platform allowing for some flexibility in the user interface design.
- Integration APIs are available only within the Scale pricing package ($4,908/year), which may pose a limitation to companies that are not ready to scale up yet.
- Supports an API-first (headless) approach with its Enterprise package (custom pricing).
- The company grows rapidly expanding their market share with 300-400 new marketplace sign-ups a month.
- Some of the clients: Kinly, MedSourceHub, SnapSquad.
4 pricing plans at a monthly fee of $68, $170, $409 and custom pricing
Best for: single-vendor webstores aiming to grow into a marketplace
- Supports two implementation models: a full-stack marketplace solution (M Core + M Front End + integration APIs) and a headless marketplace solution (M Core + headless APIs + your existing ecommerce platform).
- As a headless marketplace solution, provides native integrations to build a marketplace on top of the most popular ecommerce platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and more.
- Offers end-to-end marketplace implementation and managed services.
- Australian-based, Marketplacer has recently started active expansion in the US.
- Some of the clients: SurfStitch (Salesforce Commerce Cloud + Marketplacer), MedCart, CamperMate.
Custom pricing based on business needs
Best for: middle-market marketplaces of physical/digital products or services
- CS-Cart underlies 1,300+ marketplaces. Though we see it prevalently as a middle-market platform, CS-Cart also has clients with 500,000+ vendors and 53,000,000 SKUs.
- In addition to feature-rich out-of-the-box marketplace functionality, offers 1,300+ ready-to-install add-ons to expand capabilities in marketing, website management, analytics and more.
- However, the more plugins are used, the more costly are the upgrades that are needed 3-4 times a year following new version releases. All pricing plans include free upgrades for the first year and the most advanced one – for a lifetime.
- The best-priced plan lacks some important marketplace features like category-specific commissions or separate checkout.
- Most clients praise a highly responsive support team and structured documentation to help with marketplace setup and running.
- There is a community of 350+ CS-Cart-experienced development companies.
- Some of the clients: ShopClues, Wikifarmer, Yumbles.
3 pricing plans at $1,450, $3,500 and $7,500/all one-time payment
Best for: building a marketplace MVP
- Offers two marketplace solutions: Sharetribe Go (a full-function no-code solution for a quick marketplace launch) and Sharetribe Flex (an API-first solution for extensive functional flexibility).
- It’s possible to start with Sharetribe Go (also, as a minimum viable product) and move to an advanced Flex as business matures.
- The budget for launching a Sharetribe Flex marketplace typically starts at $5-10K, the build time is 1+ month.
- A custom homepage is available for a recurrent fee of $99/month, which may pose inconvenience for businesses targeting to build strong brand identity.
- Though targeting primarily midsize businesses, Sharetribe has several Fortune 500 companies among clients.
- Some of the clients: Bikerbnb, Freedm, The Octopus Club.
- Sharetribe Go – 4 pricing plans from $79 to $239/month
- Sharetribe Flex – $299/month + a transaction fee (0.3-1%) based on monthly transaction volume
Custom marketplace software
We go for custom marketplace development if business requirements can be met only with unique and strictly business-specific architecture and functionality not offered by marketplace software providers. The decision on custom development is made after meticulous business analysis when the time, budget and viability of building workarounds to existing platforms are studied.
Will be estimated based on your business requirements.
One needs an in-depth understanding of the marketplace business model and an optimal technology set to make a marketplace venture a success. You can foster the knowledge and competencies in-house or team up with ScienceSoft – an experienced ecommerce services provider that will save your time and take care of cost-effective marketplace implementation.
We help to:
- Analyze the competition and coin a competitive advantage.
- Firm up your business strategy.
- Think through all capabilities to give to your future vendors.
- Plan a winning experience for end customers.
- Choose a technology best-suited for your business scope.
- Piece all functional requirements into a solution concept.
We assume a full ownership of the development to:
- Balance platform configuration and deeper customization to achieve business goals in an optimal way.
- Wrap up the website functionality into sleek design.
- Integrate chosen payment and shipping options.
- Make your website mobile-optimized to convert a mobile audience.
+ We back up your business with ongoing technology support, emergency help and further development on demand.
ScienceSoft as a consulting partner for a marketplace launch
Being in the process of an online marketplace launch, we looked for a consulting partner to help us shape a final product vision with strong competitive advantages.
Having accomplished all the market research activities, the <ScienceSoft's> consultant provided a report featuring our core competitors: their products’ efficiencies and drawbacks, and monetization models. The consultant also did a great job creating a dynamic UX prototype of our marketplace and planning integrations important for fast and effective business workflows.
Bader Alhamdan, Managing Director, Deyarat Trading Co.
Since 1989, ScienceSoft has been providing IT consulting and software development services. For retail businesses, the team offers assistance in ecommerce implementation and automation of in-store operations. Within all our services, we rely on a mature quality management system confirmed by the ISO 9001 certificate.