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5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Multi-Vendor Marketplaces (2016)

Have all those successful multi-vendor marketplaces got you wanting to create your own?

With the massive popularity of websites like Etsy and ThemeForest, multi-vendor ecommerce marketplaces have become a popular way to sell both physical and digital products.

Customers are happy because they get to choose from a wide selection of products from multiple vendors, and you’re happy because you get to charge vendors a commission. However, multi-vendor marketplaces require some unique functionality, which means that you definitely need special software if you want to create your own multi-vendor marketplace.

We’ve already covered the best ecommerce platforms, so today, let’s look at the best platforms for multi-vendor ecommerce marketplaces as they relate to the essential criteria of a good marketplace store.

Let’s not lose any time and get straight to the list of the best platforms for multi-vendor ecommerce marketplaces (in no particular order):

WordPress with Mayosis + Easy Digital Downloads

Mayosis is a popular WordPress theme which integrates tightly with Easy Digital Downloads to create multi-vendor marketplaces for digital products. It’s affordable price-wise and easy to use thanks to its familiar WordPress interface.

Mayosis registration and listing process:

Mayosis makes it easy for vendors to register with a simple form. Once registered and approved, vendors can submit their product listings from the front-end – so you don’t need to worry about forcing vendors to use the generic WordPress dashboard.

Vendors will also get their own profile page which lists all of their products and a short biography:

best ecommerce multivendor platforms: Mayosis listing

Mayosis search functionality:

The basic Mayosis search function is fairly bare-bones. Users can search by keyword and then sort by category:

But, if you purchase something like Search & Filter Pro, you can greatly extend this functionality.

Mayosis review system:

Verified customers can easily review products via a front-end form. Mayosis automatically adds schema markup to all reviews and vendors can quickly view all their reviews from their dashboard.

Mayosis digital or physical products:

Because it’s based on Easy Digital Downloads, Mayosis is almost* exclusively for digital products. If you’d like to sell physical products, you’ll need a different platform.

*You can use EDD to sell a few physical products in a pinch – that’s just not what it’s best suited for.

Mayosis commissions:

Mayosis lets you set commissions for your entire store, as well as custom commissions for individual vendors. It also generates a .CSV of all unpaid commissions which you can upload to PayPal’s mass payment system to make paying commissions simple.

Mayosis pricing:

The Mayosis theme itself costs $64 at ThemeForest. BUT, if you want a functional marketplace, you’ll also need to purchase the Easy Digital Downloads Professional Pass for an additional $299. The Professional Pass gets you access to all the marketplace functionality, as well as all the premium EDD payment gateways.

All in, you’re looking at $363 for the theme plus essential Easy Digital Downloads functionality.

You’ll also need your own ecommerce WordPress hosting to host your store.

Magento with Marketplace

Marketplace is a popular extension for Magento which turns it into a fully-functioning multi-vendor marketplace. The developer, Webkul, also offers versions of Marketplace for WordPress, Shopify, and other content management systems. I’ve chosen to highlight the Magento version because it seems to be the most robust, but you can view versions for all of the platforms here.

To learn how the basic ecommerce platforms compare, check out our Shopify vs WooCommerce vs Magento comparison.

Magento Marketplace registration and listing process:

Vendors can register via a simple front-end form. Once approved, they’ll have access to a detailed dashboard:

Multi-vendor ecommerce marketplace platforms

The “add product” form is detailed, but not very pretty. It looks like a backend form, which isn’t very user-friendly for vendors trying to create numerous product listings:


Vendors also get their own detailed profile page which displays all of their products and ratings. As you can see, the vendor profile page is significantly more detailed than Mayosis:


Magento Marketplace search functionality:

Magento Marketplace has slightly better search functionality than Mayosis out-of-the-box. Customers can search by keyword and then sort by category, price, relevance, and name:


Magento Marketplace review system:

Customers can easily review both stores and individual products. The site admin can manage and approve these reviews.

Magento Marketplace digital or physical products:

Magento Marketplace can handle both physical and digital products. Vendors can specify whether their product is physical or digital when they create a product listing.

Magento Marketplace commissions:

You can set a global commission rate as well as an individual commission rate for each store. The Commissions dashboard makes it easy to keep track of all the numbers:


Magento Marketplace pricing:

The Marketplace extension costs $349 by itself. You’ll also need to consider whether you can use the free Community Edition of Magento for your needs or if you’ll need to pay for the Enterprise Edition. If you need Magento Enterprise, that gets pricey fast.

WordPress with WooCommerce + WC Vendors Pro

There are several plugins which can add multi-vendor marketplaces to WooCommerce. I’ve chosen to feature the WC Vendors plugin because it’s well-supported and has both free and premium versions, but here are two other quality options you can consider:

  • Product Vendors – not a huge fan because it forces vendors to use the WordPress backend (it’s cheap, though – just $79).
  • Dokan – very similar functionality to WC Vendors Pro, but cheaper ($149/year for the Starter plan).

Compared to the other platforms on this list, WC Vendors has a nice advantage in that you can still tap into the huge number of extensions and support available for WooCommerce.

To see this approach in more detail, check out our guide on how to create a multi-vendor marketplace with WC Vendors.

WC Vendors Pro registration and listing process:

Vendors can register via a simple form and then manage their products from a front-end dashboard like Mayosis:


The Add Product options are essentially the same as you’d see when using WooCommerce in the WordPress admin. But, they’re presented in a slightly more user friendly way:


Vendors also get a simple profile page with their logo, social accounts, reviews, and product listings.

WC Vendors Pro search functionality:

You can harness the power of any number of WooCommerce extensions to add search functionality.

WC Vendors Pro review system:

WC Vendors allows customers to review individual products. These individual product reviews are then aggregated into one overall “store rating” for the store profile page. The aggregated store rating gives a nice snapshot of a vendor for potential customers.

WC Vendors Pro digital or physical products:

Again, because it’s built on WooCommerce, WC Vendors Pro lets vendors create both physical and digital products.

WC Vendors Pro commissions:

WC Vendors Pro allows for some neat commission structures. Rather than only a flat percentage, you can charge flat percentage, percentage + fee, or flat fee. Commissions can be paid instantly when using Stripe.

Note – commission payouts work in reverse to the other plugins – rather than the site admin earning the commission, the individual vendor earns the commission. Keep that in mind when setting your commission structure.

WC Vendors Pro pricing:

WC Vendors Pro costs $249 for one year of support/updates (you can also grab the WC Vendors Pro Bundle for $499 per year, which includes even more features). You’ll also need your own WooCommerce theme, which will cost extra. If you’re looking to save money, you can use a free WooCommerce theme to get started.

There is a more limited free version of the plugin, but I think you should go with the Pro version if you’re serious about creating multi-vendor marketplaces on WordPress.


Sharetribe is a service aimed exclusively at creating multi-vendor marketplaces. It differentiates itself from the other options on this list in two ways:

  1. It lets you create a marketplace for products, services, or rentals. The other options only allow for products.
  2. It’s focused more on creating peer-to-peer marketplaces rather than multi-vendor marketplaces with organized storefronts.

So, Sharetribe definitely won’t be for everyone. But if you are looking to create a peer-to-peer marketplace, it’s the platform for you.

Sharetribe registration and listing process:

Sharetribe’s registration and listing process is definitely geared more towards individual sellers than organized stores. The interface is slick, but wouldn’t work for uploading large numbers of products:

Sharetribe Add New Listing

Sellers get a profile page listing their products, but again, it’s more like a profile for an individual than a profile for a store.

Sharetribe search functionality:

Sharetribe’s search page is functional – users can search by keyword and then filter by price, category, and tags. It should have all the filter options most stores require.

There’s also a map view, which is a nice touch for local marketplaces:

Sharetribe search function

Sharetribe review system:

Users can leave feedback for a seller after their purchase. Other shoppers can see these reviews on the seller’s profile page.

Sharetribe digital or physical products:

You can set up Sharetribe to sell either physical or digital products. It’s very flexible in this department.

Sharetribe commissions:

Sharetribe lets you set a percentage, minimum fixed fee, or combination. This commission is automatically paid to your PayPal account whenever a customer makes a purchase from a marketplace seller, which is nice. You don’t need to be actively involved in any part of the payment process.

Sharetribe pricing:

Sharetribe charges a recurring fee based on the number of users in your marketplace. The cheapest plan without Sharetribe branding is $149 per month for up to 1,000 members (or $119 per month if you pay for 6 months at a time).

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Edition

The multi-vendor version of CS-Cart is a feature-rich but pricey multi-vendor marketplace platform. Because the multi-vendor edition has multi-vendor functionality integrated from the ground up, it feels more cohesive than the other options on this list which rely on extensions.

CS-Cart registration and listing process:

Sellers can register via the front-end. Once they’re logged in, they’ll see a very nice dashboard panel:

CS-Cart Vendor dashboard

The Add Product tab isn’t very aesthetic, but it is functional:

CS-Cart Add new product for vendor

Sellers can also easily search and manage all of their products and stock from their dashboard.

CS-Cart search functionality:

CS-Cart definitely has the best default search functionality. Customers can sort and filter by a variety of options.

But even better is that each vendor’s profile page includes an option to search only that vendor. None of the other platforms offer this default functionality.

CS-Cart review system:

You can choose to enable or disable reviews globally or for individual products. Customers can only review individual products, though. There’s no aggregated vendor rating.

CS-Cart digital or physical products:

CS-Cart allows you to sell both physical and ‘downloadable’ products. You can enable selling downloadable products via the General section in the Settings.

CS-Cart commissions:

You can set the commission rate for individual sellers. Commissions can be either percentages or flat fees. When customers pay, the money goes directly to you (the site administrator). You then distribute the money according to the commission structure.

CS-Cart pricing:

At $1,450, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is by far the most expensive option on this list. It has great functionality but $1,450 is still a lot of money.

Essential features of multi-vendor marketplaces

If you want to create a successful multi-vendor marketplace, you’re going to need these features, at a minimum:

👐 Easy registration/listing for vendors:
Third-party vendors need to be able to easily register and create their own product listings. If it’s difficult for vendors to list products, they’ll go somewhere else. They also need their own profile page to showcase these listings.
👍 Quality search feature
Search is always essential for any ecommerce business, but for multi-vendor marketplaces, it’s doubly important. Customers need to be able to find what they need in a sea of third-party products (think how crowded ThemeForest search can get!).
Easy reviews
Because you’ll have multiple sellers, customers need to be able to easily review sellers and products so that sellers can establish a reputation.
🛍️ Digital vs physical
Some marketplaces are limited to digital or physical products. You’ll need to pick the option that fits your goals.
💸 Ability to charge commission
As the owner of a marketplace, you’ll generate revenue charging a commission. Your platform needs to not only allow this but also make it simple for you to handle payments so you don’t get overwhelmed.
💰 Price
There are some massive variations in price for multi-vendor marketplaces (for WordPress and otherwise), so you’ll need to carefully weigh the platform’s price vs. its features when choosing one.

Which multi-vendor marketplace platform is right for you?

While all are worthwhile options, the multi-vendor marketplaces I listed aren’t interchangeable.

Which platform is your favorite for multi-vendor marketplaces? Share your picks in the comments!

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. Learn more below:

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Layout and presentation by Karol K.

Yay! 🎉 You made it to the end of the article!
Colin Newcomer

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Li Teoh
August 30, 2018 8:16 pm

Hi Collin, is there a multi-vendor marketplace platform that transact both online (app) as well as physical in store card present payment?
The platform operator curate a group of vendors and they operate from a physical location (eg shopping mall) but transactions are processed like in a multivendor marketplace platform.
Whether the consumer purchase it online and pick up the product physically from the store or shop and pay at the physical store, all transactions will go through a escrow function and allocates the commission to the platform owner and the balance gets distributed back to the vendor.

June 5, 2018 5:13 pm

Let me understand the following, these extensions offer back office functionality only? That is, catalog consolidation pricing, product information consolidation, financial reconciliation, reviews etc.
The actual storefront, order capture (prod page, listing page, cart, checkout, search result) is still in Magento?

May 29, 2018 2:32 pm

Thank you Colin! This is really a well-written article and shares some real valuable information for the newbies like. Magento is definitely one of the best platforms for creating a virtual marketplace. I know this as I already have a Magento-based marketplace. Creating a marketplace on this platform was easy. Knowband’s Magento marketplace extension helped me out. I would request you to share a comparative study of the different platforms. That would be really helpful in find the apt solution for the startups.

Isha Singh
May 9, 2018 2:47 pm

Thank you for the valuable pieces of information, Colin. For learner and who wants to build a successful E-Commerce Site, this is the best post to learn. I would really like to share one more e-commerce platform that is Magento which I had used recently. Magento is one of the fastest-developing e-commerce platforms having a go-to option for flexible, affordable e-commerce business deployment. Keep up the great work.

Eva Martin
March 27, 2018 6:19 pm

Very comprehensive article! I´ve been considering launching a marketplace for the independent sellers, starting off by some <1000 items, <100 vendors (with an option to extend in the future). Which solution would you recommend? Is WordPress/Woocommerce scalable and safe enough? Magento seems to be far to expensive, rather would consider it later on, when the business goes big. Also which hosting server would you recommend? cheers

Sabina Ionescu
April 10, 2018 3:06 pm
Reply to  Eva Martin

Hey Eva, and thanks for stopping by. WordPress & WooCommerce are great for scaling, here’s a showcase of online stores created with WooCommerce
For hosting, these are our favorite providers

January 5, 2018 1:26 am

Looks nice but paying 1500 and receiving only 3 months of support is strange. I like what WP plugins do. You pay a low price (150, 250, etc.) but you get 1 year of support. Renew for either the same price or less, and get another 1 year of support. Also, WP plugins include a lot of features, including Stripe Connect for either free or a very low price. You and X Cart are doing things differently and while it’s your right, as a potential customer, I don’t like it so I’ll stay away. I know many feel the same. When I took over a company in September, I realized the previous person was charging for support after 1 year ends. I removed that and now offer unlimited support. Updates are good for one year, and can be renewed for a low price.
It’s silly to make anyone pay for support (basic support, that is). It’s like if someone on the street asks you for help, will you charge him or help him freely?

Or start the conversation in our Facebook group for WordPress professionals. Find answers, share tips, and get help from other WordPress experts. Join now (it’s free)!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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