Turnkey solutions have taken over the software market today. Gone are the days of outsourcing your entire development projects and coding everything from scratch. Today, you can build an eCommerce website or an m-commerce app using ready-made solutions, that too within a fraction of the cost. One such name in the market is multi-vendor marketplace software.
What is a multi-vendor marketplace software?
Multi-vendor marketplace software is any ready-made solution that one can use for building a marketplace website or mobile app, without developing the basic functionalities from scratch. By basic functionalities, we mean every feature that makes a fundamental eCommerce website with support for multiple vendors to sell on it. Simply, they are eCommerce platforms for multi-vendor marketplace development.
How are multi-vendor solutions different from eCommerce platforms?
A traditional eCommerce platform is not much different from a marketplace software, except the former supports inventory-based eCommerce operations while a marketplace software, as the name suggests, allows a website owner to let third-party sellers sign-up and sell on his or her website as a vendor on it.
Let’s understand this with an example.
Magento, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, OpenCart, BigCommerce, Shopify, etc. are eCommerce platforms, as they support inventory-based eCommerce models out of the box. You can use any of these solutions to set up a basic eCommerce website, upload your products, and sell them to your customers. For example, Nike.com. They sell their in-house product, that’s why it’s an inventory based eCommerce website. However, Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba, etc. are also eCommerce websites, but they follow a multi-vendor model or more of a hybrid model, as Amazon also sells its own products on its website. Nevertheless, they also allow anyone to sign-up and set up their storefronts on their website. That's why they are marketplace eCommerce platforms.
Hence, when you are considering building a marketplace website like Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Etsy, and Alibaba, etc., you go for marketplace solutions, instead of traditional eCommerce software. This brings us to yet another point of discussion, the features of a marketplace solution.
Unique features of a multi-vendor marketplace software
We saw that a marketplace website or mobile app follows a different business model, which also implies that a marketplace solution must offer features unique to this business model. Although, a marketplace platform still is an eCommerce solution and most of its features are derived from traditional eCommerce platforms. Just a small adaptation of these features make them ready-made for setting up marketplace websites or a hybrid of both the business models:
› Vendors: Must support on-boarding of third-party merchants as sellers on the platform
› Dashboard: Must offer sellers with their dedicated dashboard on front-end of the platform
› Products: Must allow sellers to upload and manage their product listings and orders
› Tracking: Must allow the admin to keep a track of every third-party seller on the platform
› Revenue: A commission management system to bring revenue to the marketplace owner
› Analytics: Must allow admin to keep a track of earning-analytics for every seller
› Earning: Every seller must be able to track his or her earning analytics
› Payments: Admin must get easier ways to transfer seller earnings respectively e.g. PayPal
› Communication: A multi-channel communication system for-
• Customer-seller (depends)
› Review: Customers must be able to write reviews of products or share their purchase experience
› Refund: A refund or return management system that goes through admin to sellers from customers
› Subscription model: A subscription management system for the admin to generate extra revenue by offering value-added benefits to the members
› Ultimate control: Admin must have the decisive control of the platform, sellers, and its customers.
› Scalability: Must handle a large number of users, products, sellers, and third-party APIs with ease.
› Economical: The entire purpose of a ready-made marketplace software is to reduce the overall cost of development, deployment, and maintenance of the platform.
Top multi-vendor marketplace software in 2022
Considering the unique and important features, here is a list of top 10 multi-vendor marketplace platforms in 2022. However, before that, I would like to define two crucial concepts that I shall be using in this list:
I will be using this term to indicate that the vendors of the respective solutions are providing source-code. You have the freedom to host the particular solution on a supported web-server of your choice. That means, if you use a solution of this category, you have the sole responsibility to keep your source-code secure by choosing a safe web-hosting provider.
These terms will indicate that vendors of these solutions are not offering source-code access. Instead, they are offering web-based access to a hosted solution, where you can use a graphical user interface (GUI) to set up your marketplace. That means you cannot choose a web hosting provider, cannot access source code, and you have limited options of customizations. However, the software-vendors will take full responsibility for the security of your website.
CS-Cart is a popular name in the eCommerce solutions market. Its multi-vendor is well equipped with all the essential features that you need to build and run a marketplace platform in just a few steps. From a dedicated vendor-dashboard to a robust commission management system, user access control, and multiple monetization channels, you can find most of the essential features out of the box when you purchase a CS-Cart multi-vendor solution.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? CS-Cart offers a separate eCommerce platform for multi-vendor requirements. However, there is a dedicated eCommerce platform available for inventory-based business as well.
› Ease of use: CS-cart’s admin user interface is instructive. It offers simple interfaces for setting up your website and managing your day-to-day tasks with even better ease.
› Customizability: You can choose from a large number of CS-Cart extensions to customize your platform.
› Software Delivery model: Both hosted and open-source options are available under different plans
› Cost estimation: A 15-day free trial is available. After that, you can select from three major packages with increasing benefits like added m-commerce app, source-code access, customizations, etc.
Yo!Kart is comparatively a new solution in the market, but it is gradually gaining popularity for its convenient multi-vendor solution. Besides basic marketplace features, the solution provides email marketing tools and social media integrations. It boasts of its SEO-friendly architecture.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? It is a dedicated multi-vendor solution for creating marketplace platforms
› Ease of use: Comparatively easier than most of the open-source eCommerce solutions
› Customizability: Offers pro-level customizability and skilled programmers can modify its source-code with ease.
Software Delivery model: Self-hosted
› Cost estimation: An online demo is available to take a tour of the software. Guided demo options are also available. Besides, you can choose from three premium packages with different benefits:
Shopygen's Genstore is a multi-vendor marketplace script, one of its kind. It has all the essential marketplace features. However, the best aspect is the technology stack of Genstore, which uses the Node.Js eCommerce shopping cart. It's the technology stack of massive eCommerce businesses like Amazon, eBay, and PayPal. It must be something.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor?Offers both multi-vendor and admin-selling features. Additionally, some micro-personalized solutions are also available for creating service-marketplaces like Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb.
› Ease of use: The deployment is trickier than most of the ready-made solutions in the market. However, the company provides free deployment and training services. Once deployed, its MEAN stack-based interface runs quite smoothly.
› Customizability: Any MEAN or MERN stack developer can customize the source-code with ease.
› Software Delivery model: Self-hosted with open-source code access
› Cost estimation: An online demo is available for the solution. However, to use the solution, you need to purchase its source-code by making a one-time payment. The website shows two major packages:
BigCommerce is a popular name in the eCommerce solutions market, but it does not offer multi-vendor solutions out of the box. Instead, it allows third-party developers to build and sell multi-vendor extensions for its platform. Popular developers like Webkul are selling multi-vendor extensions, which you can use to turn your BigCommerce store into a marketplace platform.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? The Webkul extension is a dedicated multi-vendor solution for BigCommerce. However, BigCommerce is originally an inventory-based platform.
› Ease of use: BigCommerce is one of the most user-friendly eCommerce solutions in the market.
› Customizability: It offers limited customizability with no source code access.
› Software Delivery model: SaaS
› Cost estimation: A recurring free starting from $10/month + subscription fee of BigCommerce itself.
Arcadier is the world's leading and most scalable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) marketplace platform company. Multi-award winning, Arcadier provides white-labeled marketplace solutions to enable entrepreneurs, start-ups, large enterprises & governments to create their own B2B, B2C, retail, service bookings, rental, or procurement marketplaces. More than 15,000 marketplaces from 180 countries have been created utilizing the Arcadier platform.
Arcadier provides a range of marketplace features, from templates allowing users to get started quickly and affordably, to advanced headless and API-centric eCommerce solutions that allow clients with specific customization needs or high-security requirements to build their own white-labeled marketplaces efficiently and cost-effectively. You can expect all the essential marketplace features out of the box when you purchase an Arcadier package.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? Arcadier is a dedicated multi-vendor solution for creating marketplace platforms, with dedicated admin, seller, and buyer portals and even offers an admin-selling feature. It supports all marketplaces types including retail, services and rental for creating marketplaces like Amazon, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb respectively.
› Ease of use: Arcadier’s admin user interface is extremely easy to use, with instructive prompts to get started and a robust knowledge base that admins can easily search. Arcadier’s DIY SaaS solution offers marketplace templates and ready-made design options, making it hassle-free to set-up your preferred marketplace look and feel, without any coding knowledge required.
› Software Delivery model: SaaS managed with different hosting options available under different plans. Standalone environments are available upon consultation.
› Cost estimation: A 30-day free trial is available. After that, you can select from their recurring packages with increasing benefits like additional monthly transactions and access to their plug-in marketplace, custom code editors, APIs, and SDKs. Packages start at $79/month.
Like BigCommerce, Magento is not equipped with multi-vendor functionalities out of the box. However, a massive community of developers supports this platform. A large number of the Magento marketplace extensions are available in the market for your purpose. You can use any of these extensions to convert a Magento-based eCommerce website into a multi-vendor marketplace.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? Dedicated marketplace extensions are available from different community developers.
› Ease of use: Magento is not famous for its ease of use but heavyweight features and scalability to build large-scale stores.
› Customizability: It’s highly customizable. A Magento certified developer can customize your marketplace with much ease.
› Software Delivery model: Magento community edition is a self-hosted solution.
› Cost estimation: Magento community edition is a free eCommerce platform. However, you will need to purchase a Magento marketplace extension to introduce multi-vendor features to it. Different community developers sell their extensions at different prices. The process may range from $200-$500.
nopCommerce is the most popular ASP.NET open-source eCommerce platform with the advanced multi-vendor feature. The platform enables store owners to build any kind of marketplace due to providing many built-in helpful functions.
Other than allowing an infinite number of vendors to sign up and sell a limitless number of SKUs on your marketplace, a website owner has a lot of options available to them:
- order management information;
- discount and coupon issue;
- marketing activities (newsletters, banners, advertisements, etc.);
- membership or subscription conditions;
- shipping, payment, and tax options.
Owners have an access to and can monitor all sales, product, and inventory data provided by vendors from a single dashboard. Marketplace owners and operators may manage a store by providing self-service support for buyers and sellers. Finally, a multi-vendor marketplace can be scaled and modified to suit any market trend thanks to popular architecture patterns and open-source code.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? nopCommerce is an eCommerce platform with the multi-vendor feature out of the box. It has an opportunity to configure accessibility to certain functionality for all or certain groups of vendors.
› Ease of use: The user interface is straightforward but a bit complex compared to SaaS solutions.
› Customizability: nopCommerce is an extensible open-source platform that can be adjusted by .NET developers at ease.
› Software Delivery model: Your solution based on nopCommerce can be cloud and self-hosted or a hybrid solution.
› Cost estimation: The eCommerce platform is totally free to download, but you may need to purchase and install some integrations, as well as request a quote from our solution partners.
Zielcommerce is a white label Enterprise-grade marketplace software that lets you build & launch your own branded multi-vendor eCommerce platform with 100+ features. The Platform fits any size of business models and uses cases as ZielCommerce built on headless architecture with high profile technology stack. You can build an online eCommerce platform for both Android and iOS platforms and supports startups to large enterprises.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? Zielcommerce delivers the best marketplace platform with its dedicated multi-vendor solutions.
› Ease of use: Zielcommerce provides a perfect admin user interface that is completely user-friendly. Also, you can get technical assistance from our customer support team.
› Customizability: 100% customizable software. A Mean Stack developer can customize your marketplace with ease.
› Software Delivery model: The platform provides Self-hosted options.
› Cost estimation: Zielcommerce comes with a one-time payment method and there are no hidden charges. Just pay once and own the software with a lifetime license.
PrestaShop is a similar eCommerce platform like Magento and it does not support multi-vendor features out of the box. Following the same methods, you can get a PrestaShop marketplace module to introduce multi-vendor features.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor? Supports the multi-vendor model as an extension of the stock features using a PrestaShop marketplace module.
› Ease of use: PrestaShop is comparatively, easier, and lightweight than Magento, but it’s trickier than most SaaS-based alternatives.
› Customizability: Any skilled PrestaShop-PHP developer can customize a PrestaShop store with ease.
› Software Delivery model: Both Self-hosted and cloud-hosted options are available.
› Cost estimation: PrestaShop is free to use. However, a one-time cost to purchase a PrestaShop marketplace module is applicable. The cost of the good module may range from $200-$500.
Magento 2 Multi-vendor Marketplace Solution by CedCommerce is a one-stop solution for aspiring entrepreneurs to build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace website. This would enable the coming together of vendors on a common platform to market their products, showcase their vendor profile, manage orders from their dedicated vendor dashboard, and view sales reports. The Multi-Vendor Marketplace solution for Magento offers a multitude of features for transforming your Magento eCommerce website into a workable and feature-rich multi-vendor store such as Amazon and eBay. With the help of various Magento multi-vendor modules, vendors owning Magento 2 stores can create a website tailor-made to their specific business requirements.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor solution? CedCommerce Magento 2 marketplace solution is a dedicated solution for Adobe commerce/Magento 2 open source & Enterprise edition
› Ease of use: The vendor dashboard is very intuitive and easy to use. No technical skills are needed. Easy to customize and super fast setup.
› Customizability: As it is open source so it can be customized further by a developer. Receive a consultation from experts and iron out all your concerns and get the solutions customized.
› Software Delivery model: Open Source and Self-hosted solution.
› Cost estimation: Different packages are available starting from $299 - $1600. Plenty of ready-made add-ons is available for different features including various shipping & payment method integrations as well.
zCart Multivendor eCommerce Marketplace is wrapped with all necessary features that you need to launch your business hassle free manner. Nicely organized all functionalities with advance product search algorithm and a very organized catalog system like Amazon. Anyone can easily localize this script with their own language and currency and payment method. Already 4 translation files included for free. Its also a complete CMS with themes and plugins.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor solution? zCat is a dedicated multi-vendor application that delivers a best marketplace platform.
› Ease of use: zCart provides a comparatively easier solution with a well designed admin dashboard where admin has full control over the marketplace.
› Customizability: zCart script is fully open to customization. There is a custom css option to change the style of your marketplace without touching the code.
› Software Delivery model: zCart is a Self-hosted application with open-source code.
› After sale support: The developer team will provide 6 months of free technical support to answer your queries and fix bugs/issues. The support is renewble(optional) after 6 months.
› Cost estimation: zCart comes with a one-time payment method and there are no hidden charges. Just pay once and get the the lifetime license and lifetime free updates. It’s a huge advance that no other provider will offer.
A demo is available to test the features and functionalities before purchase. There are two types of licenses.
Regular license: With a regular license you can install the script only one places at a time. Price is: $299
Extended License: With the extended license you can install the script as many places as you want. Price is: $6999
You must have heard of WooCommerce, which is a shopping cart plugin for WordPress. Dokan is a similar WordPress plugin, except it specializes in converting any WordPress site into a marketplace website. If you have a WordPress website, you can install this plugin like any other WordPress plugin on your website.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor solution? This is a dedicated plugin to create multi-vendor stores. However, it does support product listing from the admin as well. Yet, if your aim to function only as an inventory-based store, I would recommend that you go for the WooCommerce stock edition.
› Ease of Use: Anyone with basic WordPress administration skills can use this user-friendly multi-vendor solution without any hassle. It is one of the most admin-friendly solutions in my list here.
› Customizability: Dokan supports Hundreds of WooCommerce themes and stock WordPress plugins. If you want to customize your store, you can install any of these plugins in no time. Besides, dozens of Dokan Modules are also available with advanced multi-vendor features.
› Software Delivery model: It is a self-hosted solution. You can download and install the source code on your WordPress site.
› Cost estimation: A basic free version of Dokan is available with lifetime access. However, the premium versions, in different pricing structures, are available with many useful features. You can choose from annual and lifetime licenses.
OpenCart is a popular eCommerce platform with one of the biggest communities of website owners and OpenCart developers. This PHP-based eCommerce platform has helped thousands of entrepreneurs build their dream eCommerce websites. Unfortunately, OpenCart does not come with multi-vendor-features out of the box. However, tons of OpenCart multi-vendor plugins are available to covert a basic OpenCart Store into a full-fledged multi-vendor marketplace.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor solution? OpenCart is a shopping cart solution, which acts as a base for multi-vendor plugins. To add the new features without breaking the stock source code, you need these plugins on your website.
› Ease of Use: OpenCart is lightweight and suitable for small and medium-scale multi-vendor needs. Anyone with basic website administration skills can manage an OpenCart website like a pro.
› Customizability: Tons of OpenCart plugins make this platform versatile and laden with advanced features. You just need to purchase and install an OpenCart plugin add features to your website.
› Software Delivery model: OpenCart is an open-source and self-hosted solution.
› Cost estimation: The stock version of the OpenCart is available free of cost on the official website. However, you will need to purchase a multi-vendor plugin to add marketplace functionalities. Just search for ‘OpenCart multi-vendor plugin’ and you will see tons of options.
X-Cart is a dedicated marketplace solution with ready-made features out of the box. It provides a dedicated interface for vendors on the front-end, while the admin has full access to the website. The multi-vendor software supports all the features in its stock version that we discussed in the beginning
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor solution? X-Cart is a dedicated multi-vendor marketplace software
› Ease of Use: The user interface is easier than most of the open-source solutions, but a bit complex when we compare with SaaS solutions. Nevertheless, I recommend that you acquire some basic technical skills to make the best use of X-Cart.
› Customizability: Since an open-source version is also available, any full-stack developer can customize your X-Cart score with ease.
› Software Delivery model: Both cloud and self-hosted options are accessible.
› Cost estimation: Although a basic hosted plan starts at $29.95/month, the actual pricing may vary as per your needs. You need to contact their sales team to get an exact quote.
Spree Commerce is an open-source multi-vendor platform with its own ecosystem of modules and extensions for superior customizability. It supports advanced features like the ability to place orders from multiple vendors in a single cart. Besides, it also provides dedicated storefronts and dashboard to the vendors.
› Hybrid or Dedicated multi-vendor solution? Spree Commerce offers a dedicated multi-vendor solution.
› Ease of Use: The admin interface of spree commerce is not the best in my list, but one can get the hang of it after a little training. Comprehensive documentations make sure that you get everything that you need for learning about this platform.
› Customizability: Spree Commerce's open-source model makes sure that you get the best experience in terms of customizability. The React.js based front end provides a smooth user-interface for customers and loads of options for customization using modules and extensions.
› Software Delivery model: It’s a self-hosted solution. You will need some skills to deploy your marketplace using Spree Commerce. I recommend getting help from a developer.
› Cost estimation: The stock solution is free to use. However, you will need premium modules and extensions for personalizing your website and adding new features.
Be advised that all the solutions in this list offer essential features to build a stand-alone multi-vendor marketplace. The only difference is in their software delivery model, which affects their usability and cost largely. For example, a self-hosted solution is trickier to use than a SaaS or managed solution, but it offers a better class of customizability and control over the platform. In the same way, a SaaS-based solution demands monthly recurring payments, but they offer loads of managed services in return. It's up to you to know your priorities and requirements better before choosing a software delivery model, and then the solutions that fall under respective models.