Have you ever been flicking through ASOS or Etsy? These are one of the world’s greatest and most popular online marketplaces. You could also build something similar on Magento, which is an excellent way for your ecommerce business to expand, increase your market share, and get ahead of your competitors.
What is a Marketplace & How It Works
Speaking figuratively, a marketplace reminds us of an online shopping center where anyone could market anything. It’s a profitable tool where users and small-sized businesses could easily dispose of products and give more visibility while creating their brand. It’s an effective method to launch your ecommerce business and instantly start raising your income.
Turning to the tech side of a marketplace — it brings together merchants who sell different kinds of items. That sounds like a standard online shop, but the operations under the hood are totally different.
Once shoppers enter a product page they’d like to buy and immediately click ‘Add to cart,’ the system creates an order through a seller/vendor who markets that product. Afterward, the merchant completes the order by sending a shipment to the purchaser.
Payment is handled by the marketplace via available payment gateways.
Merchants have their accounts (paid or free, depending on the policy), where they manage all sorts of things like product listings, pricing, shipping policy, sales reports, feedback, etc.
Based on the type of marketplace, merchants are charged a percentage of their revenue with/or without a monthly subscription fee.
What to Sell on Marketplaces
People could market different products over the Internet: anything from a paperclip to a motorbike or even a sailboat.
Such massive marketplaces as eBay or Amazon don’t narrow down their categories to entirely real or virtual products and provide all types of services like consulting, music composition, interior design, and even repairing.
There are service or product-specific marketplaces: car rental and car/parts selling marketplaces (Turo, JustShareIt), accommodation booking (Airbnb, Hostel World), buy and sell arts marketplaces (ArtQuid), etc.
Why Choose Magento 2 for Creating a Marketplace
The platform offers a range of capabilities that make it a valuable option for any marketplace owner, including:
- High performance and overall platform reliability;
- A large number of extensions and modules available for extending native powers and taking the business to the next level;
- Unlimited opportunities for integrations with third-party systems and APIs;
- Magento PWA solutions for an advanced mobile experience and fast performance;
- Freedom of scalability and customization;
- Wide range of payment and shipping options available;
- Product search and extensive dashboard functionality;
- An effective system of invoices, inventory & orders management tools.
For those looking to dive deeper into the topic, there is an informative blog post on the benefits of Magento as a platform for building a multi-vendor marketplace.
Magento Marketplace Examples & What to Learn from Them
The world’s premier marketplace selling sneakers and streetwear branded by Nike, Jordan, Yeezy, etc., has a separate web page “Sell Yours” for merchants, where they explain how it’s possible to store, sell, and ship sneakers with the help of their marketplace. They also have a portal for sellers that should sign in first to manage their commercial operations.
The innovative lifestyle store focusing on the sleeping experience allows independent brands and merchants to market their items. They also collect all the useful info and encourage website visitors to complete their application form to become a vendor.
We also have extensive expertise in creating Magento marketplaces in different niches and various business models.
For example, not so long ago, our agency had an opportunity to help a chain of restaurants in French cities that organizes online cooking courses to widen opportunities and reach new audiences. The project’s main idea was to expand the functionality of the client’s existing marketplace and enable any user to create and sell cooking courses.
We also worked on enhancing the B2B user experience for the Italian fashion marketplace. The brand had several websites used for different purposes and came to us with the goal to bring all of them under one roof.
List of Magento 2 Marketplace Extensions
So let’s find out what Magento may offer. Actually, the platform doesn’t provide any ready-made, easy-to-install with a no-coding-required solution. Still, there are some extensions we would like to talk about that may enhance your marketplace development.
You could get a pretty decent yet modest extension that allows a user to build a vendor account on the shop’s front-end part. Make it possible for them to create a vendor-specific URL with a dedicated store page, upload items to predefined categories, manage SKUs, view transactions, enable or disable vacation mode.
The module works with simple, virtual, downloadable, and configurable products.
Some of the other features Apptha put on their website include automatic product approval by store admin, the shipping cost per product assigned by the vendor, sales reports, order management, and commission calculation.
The functionality has a lot in common with the previous one: sellers could register their account on the front-end part and start launching their branded stores with collections of items, transaction lists, dashboards, rates, etc. Some key features, such as splitting orders and carts, are kept available as well.
Spoiler alert: there’s a strong likelihood that you need enough time and effort to work on bugs that will show up somewhere, especially in case you need to implement a range of add-ons.
Although support service is quick to react, in fact, keep in mind that the whole amount of bugs you may well discover will require much more investment than you may have initially planned.
The extension is designed for businesses that collaborate with other businesses: large orders and quantities, significant sums of money. As a result, enormous challenges, of course.
We’ve already paid attention to the fact that code quality in these extensions will leave much to be desired, but let’s make it worthwhile to this team: they offer practical solutions for many common business goals.
The central point of a B2B marketplace is similar to B2C, but before any deal is closed (that is, the order is placed), there is more interaction between the buyer and the seller.
Suppose you want to buy 10,000 t-shirts. Even if you found a vendor to fulfill such a bulk order, you probably will want to negotiate the quote and the timeline. In contrast, the seller will want to make sure they can deliver such a quantity in the specified timeframe.
It translated this business process into their B2B marketplace extension, which has a separate login for retail and wholesale buyers and a conversation mode between store admin and buyers/sellers.
Marketplace admin can approve sellers/buyers, review/approve products, set commission rates, view quotes, and conversations.
You might not find all the features required specifically for your business, but all in all, it’s an excellent B2B marketplace extension to start with.
From our point of view, it is one of the most influential and robust marketplace extensions, which offers different add-ons, such as Vendor Payouts that allow creating vendor payment manually or automatically, bundled payout method with PayPal, custom payout methods.
Still, this solution is not so simple and basic for website admins. It contains too many settings in different areas of the admin backend — it’s often not so simple to find out where to set what. Interestingly, it offers a one-hour video tutorial but honestly speaking, it doesn’t help too much.
There’s a range of settings to configure for a vendor, a handy tool for vendor-customer-admin interaction. As a whole, vendor settings and features are incredibly flexible here.
The code quality of the marketplace solution is relatively high. It’s so easy to customize it, but be ready that you’ll need to spend some time exploring how to build features and functionalities and learn to deal with them in the future, too.
In all fairness — it appears to be the leading marketplace extension for price, features, and user-friendliness. A vendor is developed as a user role in the admin backend, and the backend is smoothly built to make it possible for merchants to operate orders, add shipments, ship items, etc.
The solution also enables creating the only order for many vendors (they could see only their items in the order) or split it to let customers submit payment for each seller separately.
Cedcommerce believes in curating exceptional eCommerce experiences by providing affordable and effective e-commerce solutions. Their solutions are flexible, ready to use, and tailor-made to meet the specific needs of each client. They develop thoroughly researched and tested marketplace solutions that work towards enhancing the profitability of our clients in the best possible way. Advanced marketplace solutions work best for all types of businesses, whether it’s large, middle-sized, or small.
They provide B2B/B2C marketplace solutions that are built upon the latest industry standards and ensure delivering a premium business experience through simplified product search features in price comparison and multichannel adaptability.
List of Magento Marketplace Themes to Improve Usability
In addition to powerful functionality, you should also take care of the conversion-friendly and consistent appearance of your marketplace. There are many themes on the market for the needs of this type of business, but we’ve listed only a couple of the most common ones.
This responsive theme makes an impression of a clean and user-friendly look being a nice fit for marketplaces in different industries or niches.
The comprehensive list of features includes full responsiveness, almost unlimited choice of colors, layouts, and filters, advanced mega-menu functionality, various product labels, and RTL (right-to-left) support, etc.
Put it in a nutshell, this theme completely covers everything you may need when creating and managing a marketplace on Magento 2.
Another noteworthy theme that includes all the features at once is absolutely ready to use right now. Like the previous solution, it offers RTL support and allows easily translating Magento webpages, posts, tags, categories.
What else is under the hood? The theme supports complex tax & shipping options, a user-friendly shipping calculator, 360-degree product views, zooming feature for product images, extensive store reports, recently viewed & frequently bought together items.
Besides basic and expected features, the theme also offers hot deal products, multi-currency, product sliders and hovering feature, etc.
We especially recommend you to pay attention to the variety of page layouts for the homepage, category grids & lists, product detail pages, shopping carts, checkouts. All the pages that the theme offers have a stylish and minimalistic look that engages users and makes them spend more time on your website.
There’s a varied selection of modules and solutions that could help you transform your website into a marketplace, and we’ve explored only the most prominent ones from our perspective. Evidently, there is no magic cure, although it seems entirely rational to invest in purchasing and customizing the extensions available to effectively control and manage what is happening in your marketplace and introduce advanced functionality.
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