Multi-vendor online shops, aka marketplaces, are gold mines when done right. The big dogs are Etsy and Ebay, but you can find popular niche multi-vendor sites such as ThemeForest. The idea behind multi-vendor sites is to allow people, or companies, to create profiles and post their products for sale.
When customers come to your multi-vendor site they can pick one item from Peter web designer and another from Company XYZ and it is all processed through the same shopping cart. The multi-vendor payment processing system divides the payments behind the two vendors and everyone goes home happy. This ecosystem of people creating and selling in one place helps the customer find a more diverse set of products, and you, the site owner can make some big bucks through fees.
Unfortunately some of the more popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Squarespace are not able to provide multi-vendor interfaces for you. So, it's time we put together the ultimate list of multi-vendor online shops for you to create a wonderful community and potentially make some big bucks. Let's have a look.
CS.Cart is a popular and powerful ecommerce software that allows you to run your site off of your own server, improving security and giving you complete control over your content and maintenance procedures. The standard packages from CS.Cart don't let you make a multi-vendor site, but luckily the company provides a completely separate package for making this happen.
WordPress - Marketify Theme
A somewhat quicker way to implement a multi-vendor system is by using the WordPress platform, paired with the Marketify Theme, which is much easier for beginners since you just setup WordPress, implement the theme and start building the site from there. I like this method, since the theme is affordable, and you receive plenty of support from the theme creator.
Magento with Marketplace
Magento is an open source platform, similar to something like WordPress, except it focuses primarily on ecommerce, and it is certainly one of the best ways to build an online store, particularly a multi-vendor one. You can't simply allow multiple vendors through your website without the help of an extension. That extension is the Marketplace Multi-Vendor Module, which lets you convert a pre-existing Magento site into a multi-vendor marketplace.
Yo!Kart is one of the lesser known multi-vendor platforms, but it pulls its weight as a viable competitor. The intuitive interface is fully customizable, and it provides easy navigation for vendors and admins alike. Yo!Kart has a nice vendor profile area where people can upload products, modify listings and change pricing. All changes are first sent to you, the moderator, before anything is published on the site.
Sharetribe is intriguing because the system is built solely to help people create marketplace (multi-vendor) websites. They don't mess around with standard ecommerce sites, so you can rest easy knowing they focus on this one area.
Drupal with the UberCart Marketplace Module
Drupal is an open source content management system, similar to WordPress, where you can build a blog or website and start publishing your own content to sell items online. Standing alone, Drupal does not give you the functionality to make a multi-vendor site; however the Ubercart Marketplace Module changes that.
OpenCart with Multi Vendor
Opencart, the open source shopping cart solution, works wonders for standard online stores, but can it serve you well when designing a marketplace? It sure can, but it requires the Multi-vendor/Drop Shipper extension.