For those of us who’ve spent the past twenty years watching the emergence and development of online marketplaces, it’s easy to be overawed at how far they’ve come. From an early life as simple, clunky listings sites, they’ve expanded and developed at an eye-watering speed, growing exponentially in both scale and sophistication to become a major part of the global commercial landscape.
But while online marketplaces offer countless advantages over the brick-and-mortar stores of conventional retail, there’s still a huge amount they can learn from the physical markets that continue to line streets from São Paulo to Shanghai: from powerful intangibles like personalized service, to specialized product knowledge, or the unique atmospheres and visual experiences created by individual shops and stallholders.
But for many of the people who build the tools for creating online marketplaces, there’s no reason that the experience of buying goods and services remotely, via a website or app, should not come to include all the best parts of dealing face-to-face – presented alongside other benefits that traditional channels simply can’t offer.
With this in mind, we present our latest roundup of the some of the newest and most eye-catching ways to create an online marketplace that will offer a truly rich, unique, and compelling customer experience.
1. Magento Marketplace Multi Vendor Module. Magento is a hugely popular system for creating e-commerce stores, and Magento 2 Multi-Vendor Marketplace Extension converts your Magento Store into a full-featured online marketplace.
- Lets sellers create and display a custom url for their store
- Impressively powerful
- Separate seller and buyer dashboards
- Separate seller collections
- Vendors can create their own attributes
- Fully customizable
- Entirely open source
- Very complicated to configure
- Extensive functionality takes a long time to learn your way around
- Overkill for smaller marketplaces
- Needs the support of a substantial development team
2. uMarketplace Suite enables you to transform your Magento store into a powerful, robust and feature-rich online shopping mall, with multiple independent vendors offering their products either via a centralized catalog, or through individually-themed microsites.
- Great flexibility of control over commissions
- Vendor vacation feature lets sellers take time off
- Includes a handy feature for generating shipping labels
- Nice extendability, with lots of addons to choose from
- It’s pretty expensive
- The documentation is not great, considering the price tag
3. X-Cart Multi-Vendo gives you the power to handle an unlimited number of vendors, customers, products, and orders. Open source code makes for the ability to set everything up just as you need it, while tons of ready-made features are included: for marketing (promotions, special offers, reporting and analytics), expanding sales channels, handy store management, providing an excellent customer experience, and more.
- Responsive: auto adapts to any device
- Simple drag-and-drop interface
- Open source
- Guest checkout option
- Admin dashboard is not very user friendly
- Features are rather limited in the free version for developers
- The hosted versions are very expensive
4. Market WordPress Theme lets you create a full marketplace for digital products based on the Internet’s most popular website platform. Each individual seller can create their own unique storefront, complete with bio, contact form, and a custom header image.
- A great solution for digital downloads
- You can include both audio and video content
- It’s easy to customize
- Very little documentation
- Installation requires a separate, paid-for plugin
5. MicrojobEngine is a WordPress theme that allows the creation of online micro jobs exchanges – places where people who require a person with a particular skill, and people who possess skills they want to find a market for, can come together. Using EngineThemes coding, it provides a convenient way to help freelancers and employers find each other.
- Built-in personal wallet
- Subscription-based posting
- Extensions come at an additional cost
- There’s an admin limitation on withdrawal amounts
Online marketplaces are progressing along multiple axes at once: the underlying technology is becoming more advanced, customers are growing more numerous and more demanding, new markets in the developing world are opening up, and new types of marketplace commerce are appearing. Considering all this, it’s not surprising that new marketplace solutions are popping up at a rate of knots. So, we hope what we’ve presented above proves helpful, and watch this space – we’ll continue to keep you posted on new developments as they happen.
Start working with the improved Marketplace Platform Advisor: https://roobykon.com/marketplace-advisor