If you need to create a multi-vendor marketplace where visitors can sign up and list their products for sale, then you will pleased to know that WordPress is a great choice for such a project.
Thanks to the wide-range of themes available for the software, building almost any type of website with WordPress is usually just a case of picking the right theme and plugins, and creating a marketplace website is no exception to this.
A while back we published a guide to creating an ecommerce store with WordPress, but if you want to create a multi-vendor online store, then this post will give you all the information you need to get started today.
What is a Marketplace Online Store?
Just so that we are clear, the main way that an online marketplace differs from a regular online store is that it usually has multiple vendors listing their products for sale.
A popular example of such a store is the ThemeForest WordPress theme marketplace where developers can sign up and list their items for sale.
Amazon.com is another popular example, as although a lot of the products are sold by Amazon, other traders or vendors can sign up and list their own products for sale at the online store.
While an online store typically contains items listed and fulfilled by one individual or company, a marketplace can accommodate multiple sellers, who list and provide their own items or products to customers.
Why Build a Marketplace?
One of the benefits of creating an online marketplace is that it can be a good way to generate revenue online. By creating a place where vendors can come and list their products, without going through the trouble of building their own store, you can take a cut of their profits or charge them a fee for using your platform.
Another benefit of creating a marketplace is that it allows you to give your online store a boost and accelerate its growth if you only have a few products of your own to list. By inviting carefully selected vendors to join your store and turn it into a marketplace, you can increase the chances of it becoming a destination, compared to when you are just starting out with only a few products in your inventory.
By joining together with multiple vendors, you can all work together in promoting the marketplace and generating traffic. This approach benefits all parties selling their goods at the store.
So now that we are clear on the benefits of building a marketplace store with WordPress, here are the tools you can use to create such a website.
Marketify is a highly attractive WordPress theme that is perfect for creating a multi-vendor marketplace.
The theme now supports the sale of both physical and digital products, expanding the functionality of this template since it was first launched.
Even if you just want to list your own products for sale, whether digital or physical, Marketify is a good choice as an ecommerce WordPress theme, however this template really comes into its own when its used to build a marketplace website.
The theme has been built to integrate with the free Easy Digital Downloads plugin which is perfect for selling digital products online. However, if you really want to add all the best marketplace features to your site, you will need to use the Marketplace Bundle of Easy Digital Downloads extensions.
This bundle of Easy Digital Download add-ons brings many of the essential features to your marketplace, while automating a lot of the other time consuming tasks that arise from handling sales from multiple vendors and managing transactions and commission pay outs.
When it comes to looks and features, Marketify isn’t lacking in either department and it’s a great theme for building a marketplace website to sell almost any type of product online.
Stock is a stock photography marketplace theme which allows you and other vendors to sell digital photographs online.
The theme is fully responsive and retina ready to allow you to optimize the user experience, no matter what device your photos and store are being viewed on. Stocky has a very modern and professional design that will help convey a trustworthy and premium user experience to your visitors and vendors.
Like the Marketify theme, Stocky has been built to use the free Easy Digital Downloads plugin to handle the online shop functionality of your site. This means if you want to only sell your photos you can use the free version of this plugin.
However, if you want to allow visitors to sign up and start listing their own items for sale and manage their transactions and commissions, you will need to upgrade to the premium Marketplace Bundle of add-ons for Easy Digital Downloads.
If you want to create a multi-vendor marketplace where your users can upload and sell their digital stock photography online, then Stocky and Easy Digital Downloads could be the best option for you.
Dokan is a full featured marketplace builder for WordPress that comes as both a theme and a plugin. This means you can combine the two to build your marketplace, or use the plugin with an existing theme of your choice.
When it comes to adding the ecommerce functionality to your site, Dokan makes use of the free WooCommerce plugin.
When using Dokan to build your marketplace, each seller that registers gets their own store on your site, complete with a dashboard for giving them an overview of how their store and products are performing. The tool includes front end submission forms and pages to prevent your vendors from having to navigate the WordPress admin areas of your site.
In a bid to help you build the exact store you want, there is a growing number of add-ons available for Dokan which allow you add the features you need to upgrade your marketplace. There is also now a child theme available that can be used to give your online marketplace a visual overhaul.
Dokan is a great looking marketplace solution that includes all the features you need to create and manage a multi-vendor store with WordPress.
WP Marketplace is a plugin that you can use to create a multi-vendor store with WordPress. There are two versions available: free and premium.
With WP Marketplace, your online store can sell both physical and digital products, and there are a number of add-ons available which allow you to add even more features and functionality to your store.
Once installed on your site, you can even offer deals and discounts to entice visitors to make a purchase. Customers can also sign up and get access to members-only areas on your site, giving them another opportunity to access special offers.
The marketplace-specific features include a front end shop manager that allows members to manage their own stores on your site though a series of front end pages, instead of logging into the WordPress back end.
From their dashboard area, vendors can view their sales, check earnings, and request withdrawals of their balance.
While the core Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) plugin is free and a great way to start selling digital products online with WordPress, if you want to use it to build a fully featured online marketplace, it is recommended that you upgrade and install some of the premium extensions available for it.
As the EDD team have created some very useful add-ons that anyone running a marketplace website will find beneficial, they have chosen to group those add-ons together to create the Marketplace Bundle, giving you all the tools you need in one package, at a discounted rate.
Amongst the features this bundle will add to your site, you will find:
- Commissions: for setting and managing commissions for your vendors
- Frontend Submissions: forms for registration and product submissions
- Points and Rewards: reward customers for purchases
- Recommended Products: display cross sell products to increase sales
- Wish Lists: let customers save products they love
- Product Reviews: enable customers to leave feedback
- Social Login: allow users to login via Twitter, Facebook, etc.
If you are building a marketplace with WordPress and have chosen your theme, installing this set of extensions for EDD can give you all the features you need to make your site a success.
Once again, the relative ease with which you can build a multi-vendor ecommerce marketplace with WordPress shows how versatile this this software really is.
By using one of the above theme and plugin combinations you have all you need to get started. Alternatively you can use one of the above plugins, or plugin bundles, alongside a theme of your choice or custom creation to build a marketplace with its own unique look and feel.
If you have any marketplace-related questions, please leave them in the comments below.