Multi-vendor eCommerce sites allow sellers to sell products and services through an umbrella website, paying a small commission fee in order to access a wide range of customers.
Why use a multi-vendor eCommerce Site?
Multi-vendor eCommerce sites can be standalone such as eBay or be incorporated into an existing website, using the name and reputation of the site to entice customers such as Amazon Marketplace and ASOS Marketplace.
Setting up a multi-vendor eCommerce site can be a great way to do business, allowing you to work with multiple vendors in order to sell a range of products to customers without having to manage all of the work yourself.
This article will provide an overview of 6 of the most popular multi-vendor eCommerce sites in the UK.
Top 6 Multi-Vendor eCommerce Software Options
1. Magento Marketplace
A popular choice with multi-vendor marketers, Magneto Marketplace offers easy solutions for clients. It features simple uploading for vendors, allowing them to upload multiple products as well as gain reviews for their services.
- Easily customisable templates and code
- Can add separate seller/vendor profiles and microsites (ideal for hosting numerous SKUs)
- Interactive feedback, reviews and star ratings
- Secure ‘contact seller’ forms with captcha protection
- Dynamic dashboards to track every purchase
- All currencies and languages supported
- Custom seller and shop banners to make you stand out
- Entirely free updates
Praised by users for its clean code and resilient structure, Magento Marketplace is a strong favourite with eCommerce vendors. Offering a wide range of customisable features and backed by a reliable support team, this is a great entry into the online multi-vendor marketplace. The product developers have even been known to implement customer suggestions into Marketplace updates, ensuring Magento remains as relevant to vendors’ needs as possible.
There is a one-off download fee of £300 for Magento Marketplace. You should also note that Magento Marketplace is an extension for the Magento eCommerce platform, which you will need to already be using.
IXXO offers a customisable multi-vendor service that is perfect for those looking for a reliable, all-in-one eCommerce solution. Vendors can manage their own stores and offer buyers the choice of an unlimited number of additional vendors and stores. These ‘landlords’ can even offer commission based fees as well as subscription services for using their space.
- Excellent compatibility – use with Joomla, Wordpress or as a standalone solution
- Optimised for mobile templates
- Real-time management of shipping quotes – including UPS, FED EX, Canada Post and more
- Unlimited drop shipping – calculate costs easily when shipping from multiple warehouses
- Integrate with social media and sell directly on Facebook
- Ticket support system ensures customer disputes are solved quickly
- Compatible with huge array of payment gateways
The IXXO website highlights a large number of companies using their software, which goes some way to justifying the product’s ease of use and reliability. With lots of customisable options, you can really drill down into the specifics of each transaction and minutely tailor your business to the way you want to work.
Prices vary depending on package size but begin at around £250 for the most basic package.
3. Marketplace eCommerce
Designed to combine with the eCommerce pairing of WordPress and The Cart Press plugin, Marketplace eCommerce is a useful solution for those familiar with the popular blogging site and its easy to use features. However, as this platform requires three components it can be a little bit trickier to initially set up than other template based solutions.
- Wide range of integrated payment options
- Merchants can publish products straight to the marketplace
- Quickly browse products by vendor
- Two modes available: Etsy & Classic
- Easy management and adjustment of commission rates
The consensus amongst users is that you ‘need time’ to fully understand this plugin and get the most out of it. With its range of functionalities, this is potentially a very powerful tool to transform a WordPress site into something much more. Just be prepared to take your time whilst mastering it.
The Cart Press plugin is free and The Marketplace eCommerce extension plugin starts from £64.
4. CS-Cart Multi-vendor
CS-Cart’s Multi-Vendor software is designed to work with existing CS-Cart sites to provide a range of useful features for multi-vendor eCommerce. CS-Cart is a great choice for eCommerce vendors looking to start a marketplace that can grow quickly, but who want to retain a degree of administrative control over who and what sells through their store.
- Sell products from multiple vendors through a single web store
- Unlimited amount of vendor accounts
- Individual admin dashboards for each vendor
- Strong security features offer comprehensive store protection
- Configure shipping method by vendor
- Clean interface makes it easy to manage what is sold in your store
- Track transactions and payouts with the in-depth bookkeeping tool
A quick and easy turnkey solution that works out of the box, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor stores are user friendly and supported by resilient back end coding and in-depth reporting. With multiple vendor order features for customers, single front-end storefronts and an unlimited amount of vendors, CS Cart Multi-Vendor features everything you could need to set up a marketplace eCommerce site.
Prices start at around £400 for a year’s use, or £1,000 for lifetime ownership.
5. Drupal eCommerce
Specifically built to integrate with Drupal’s own content management system, Drupal eCommerce arrives with the in-built ability to create multi-vendor eCommerce sites. Offering potent community engagement features and in-depth reporting, Drupal eCommerce is a versatile option for vendors who want to grow their brand alongside their business.
- Customise the look and feel shopping cart and page themes
- Set up subscriptions and regular payments
- In-depth and intuitive inventory management
- Wide choice of payment and shipping plugins (inc. PayPal and eWAY)
- Track and manage transaction and payments
- Easy to read sales reports
Users have found Drupal eCommerce easy to use and have praised the wide choice of customisable options, such as themes and payment methods. It benefits from being integrated with Drupal’s CMS system as this encourages content marketing, which plays a large part in ranking highly on Google thanks to the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates. This integration also saves time and money as vendors and their teams only need to master one set of tools (unlike other independent eCommerce solutions that integrate into other platforms).
Drupal is free to download and is supported by developers creating a wide range of free and paid-for additional features.
NextLevelObjects is a more advanced multi-vendor programme that can help businesses turn their eCommerce store into a fantastic multi-vendor and multiple product website. With a range of great features for easy management of site owners, vendors and customers, it is a complete solution for developers.
- Unlimited number of website, web store and vendor shopping cart configurations
- One size fits all code base and database works with all sites and stores
- Customise the front-end design and appearance of stores
- Added functions includes gift registration, comparative shopping and wish lists
- Supports wide array of languages and currencies
- Fully integrated inventory system with comprehensive reporting
With a huge degree of customisation available, NextLevelObjects is definitely one piece of software tailored towards more experienced eCommerce vendors. Users can channel any combination of stores, sites and vendors through shopping carts, which allows for the development of strategic vendor and partner relationships. If you can take the time to master its level of complexity, NextLevelObjects can revolutionise your eCommerce business.
Prices are tailored to your business needs and cost between £350 - £1800. An optional maintenance fee of £30 a month can be paid after the first year.
If you’re thinking of setting up an eCommerce site, then make sure you know what questions to ask before you start.
Or if you need some inspiration, you can check out these 15 brilliant HTML5 eCommerce sites.
However, if you want start making money now then complete the form at the top of the page and Expert Market will provide quotes for eCommerce software vendors suited to your specific needs.