A multi-vendor website is an e-commerce website where multiple users can sell their stuff and website owner can make commissions on their sales. In other words a multi-vendor website stands for an online e-commerce marketplace. for instance, Amazon.com or eBay.com are two of the biggest marketplace websites and people across the world have been generating revenues at these websites. Anyone can join marketplace websites for free and in return they have to share a percentage of revenue generated with the marketplace website.
Way back in 2012- 2013, it was hard to find a plugin that could fulfill the needs of a marketplace website. The little, in the name of a marketplace plugin, was a plugin named wpmarketplaceplugin that was actually a can of worms. This plugin ended up abandoning its users. But soon multi-vendor requirement turned heads and many developers started coding plugins to fulfill multi-vendor/marketplace requirement, where people could sell their own products.
With the dawn of 2014, there had been some good marketplace plugins and theme that were able to fulfill requirements of an online marketplace.
There are three kinds of multi-vendor websites sell goods online;
- Amazon type websites that sell both physical and digital stuff
- Themeforest or Shutterstock type website that sell just downloadable stuff
- Freelancer type websites that sell just services
How to set up a website like Amazon or ebay with WordPress
If you have lots of passion, energy but not enough money that could cover heavy development cost, you can head over to WordPress to get a marketplace website like Amazon or eBay. Yeah, it is indeed possible with WordPress to build this kinds of multi-vendor e-commerce portals. Here, I tell you the ways you can do it with;
After installing WordPress, install the free e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. WooCommerce is the most powerful e-commerce tool enriched with thousands of addon-plugins developed across the world.
Then install one of the plugin that aim at multi-vendor websites;
Comparison table – Dokan vs WC Vendors vs WC Marketplace
- Free version available
- Comission Model
- SELLER FRONTEND FEATURES
- Add and Manage products
- Product Images
- Product Categories Tags
- Add variable products
- Add Downloadable Products
- Run a limited time discount
- Tax options
- Update order status
- Frontend order tracking module
- General Shipping options
- Product level shipping options
- Back-ordering system
- Stock management
- STORE DISPLAY SETTINGS
- Store header image
- Social media links
- Custom store url
- Store specific contact form
- Store specifc ticket system
- Google Map
- Store SEO Options for sellers
- Advanced Features
- WooCommerce Booking Integration
- OTHER FEATURES FOR SELLERS
- Withdraw Options
- Seller reports
- Seller vacation mode
- Coupon creator
- Manage/Moderate Reviews
- Admin Anouncements for sellers
- ADMIN OPTIONS
- Single Product from multiple sellers
- Seller verification system
- Admin reports
- Trusted Sellers
- PUGIN SUPPORT AND UPDATES
- Tech Support
- Free Product updates
14 Days Conditional refund
- Percentage Fixed (paid addon)
- Paypal, Skrill PayPal adpative and Stripe (paid)
- 1 Year
- 1 Year
- Percentage and Fixed
- PayPal, PayPal adpative Stripe (Paid addon)
- 1 Year
- 1 Year
No question asked
- Percentage and Fixed
- Paid Addon
- Paypal Mass Pay, PayPal adaptive
- 1 Year
- 1 Year
Most powerful multi-vendor WordPress plugin to the date
Comes with lots of features and addons
Seller dashboard is impressive
Supports PayPal, Stripe and Skrill
Dokan costs you more than others
Dokan comes with all advanced features essential to set up a marketplace website with WordPress including feature rich frontend seller dashboard and admin controls. If price is really not a concern for you, Dokan, along with the premium extensions is sure to turn out to be the best multi-seller WordPress plugin that works with WooComnmerce shopping cart.
Let’s have a look on Dokan's splendid features
Powerful frontend dashboard for sellers
Dokan’s developers have successfully brought WooCommerce options to frontend. Sellers can manage almost everything without ever needing to touch WordPress backend. From editing their profile information to managing products, orders and all other features, vendors can do it from the frontend dashboard.
Advanced WooCommerce products editing on frontend
When a seller adds a product they can customize advanced product options such as product variations, stock, discounted price, scheduling of discount, SKU, limit quantity per order, allow/disallow backorders, image gallery etc..
Sellers can view orders/update order status
With frontend order management, sellers can view all orders, filter orders by date or order status. Sellers can update order status (such as processing, pending, shipped etc..)
Percentage based commission system
Site admin can set custom commission per sale, based on percentage system. You can add a specific commission for a specific seller that will bypass universal commission structure. If you want to charge sellers with a fixed fee, there is an addon of Dokan at your disposal that lets you create subscription packages to list products on your marketplace. With this addon you can set validity of subscription too.
Frontend coupon creator for seller
Dokan makes things a great deal easier by incorporating the coupon system for WooCommerce into frontend and site sellers can feel free to create their own custom coupons
Seller verification system
This feature is available as an addon. Seller verification addon adds the verification functionality to your website. If you want to make your site more reliable, you can add a verification system. Verification addon adds photo ID upload, phone verification and social media sites account verification (Twitter/Facebook)
Seller fund withdrawal options
Currently Dokan comes packed with PayPal and Skrill. PayPal adaptive and Stripe are also available but as paid addons.
Custom store options for sellers
Sellers can add custom banner to their store pages, contact form, social media links, Google map etc..
Sellers vacation mode
One of the most required feature of a marketplace is “vacation mode for sellers”. If seller wants to pause their store for some reason, they can put their store on hold for a certain duration. Using vacation mode will avoid unwanted orders and their unfortunate cancellation after order placement. Vacation mode helps sellers avoid negative customers feedback.
You can let your sellers edit customer reviews if you want
Although it is not a good practice to allow sellers to moderate customer reviews because it hurts marketplace credibility. But you have choice to enable this option. If site admin enables it, sellers can manage their customer reviews.
This facility is available via a Dokna addon. With the help of it, sellers can list their stuff for auction.
Support ticket system
Support system is available as a Dokan addon. If site admin activates this addon, sellers will have a support button on their store page. Customers can create support tickets which in turn should be be handled by sellers.
Tax Options for seller
In the latest release of Dokan, sellers now have options to customize tax on their own.
Product level shipping and custom store url
Product level shipping and custom store url are other new feature added in the new version of this plugin
Pros – Free version is available, Advanced multi-vendor plugin, Stripe support, store template editing (good for developers), frontend product editing, flexible commission settings on vendors’ sales)
Cons – No money back guarantee
WC Vendors is a rock-solid WooCommerce addon with the help of which you can start a shining multi-vendor marketplace like eBay or Amazon. The beauty of WC Vendors is that it brings everything on frontend and your site sellers/vendors get a professional products, orders, profile and setting management dashboard. At the pro dashboard, vendors can see their total sales, current commissions, paid commissions, recent orders and recent products in a very nice look. Vendors can also filter data based on dates.
Set up commissions on vendors’ sales
WC Vendor admin dashboard lets administrator specify the type and amount of commission. There are two ways that you can set commissions in;
- Percentage + Fee
- Fixed fee
Pay your vendors immediately via Stripe and PayPal adaptive payment
If you are not selling something whose payment can’t be refunded, then you can make your site vendors happier by paying them instantly (automatic) when someone buys their products. But instant payments to vendors are not recommended if there is any risk of frauds (that cannot be ruled out in most online businesses).
Frontend products and orders management for vendors
WC Vendors sets up a beautiful frontend dashboard for vendors where they can add, edit products and manage their orders. Considering this feature WC Vendors is a solution for those who want frontend product and order management in WooCommerce. Most of the WooCommerce custom product data such as downloadable products, affiliate products, grouped products, SKU, Private Listing option, Tax status, tax classes, etc., is editable at frontend. Full featured backend like order management is also available on vendor dashboard. They can modify order information and can also add notes to an order.
Vendors can create coupons and set shipping charges
Who can deny the importance of the discount coupons? WC Vendors lets your site vendors create their own custom coupons for their products.
Vendors’ store pages with their header banner upload facility and rating system
Every vendor has his/her own store page (much like the eBay seller page) where they can upload header banner image to represent their branding. Store page displays all products from a seller. Store page also displays seller rating
Still the plugin is lacking some advanced WooCommerce features
Update – Adding variable products from frontend is now possible.
Undoubtedly, WC Vendors offers to build a powerful multi-vendor website but excellence is yet to be reached for the plugin. It still doesn’t have some very important features of WooCommerce available for Vendors and one of them is adding variable products from frontend. However, it is on the plugin’s upcoming features list.
Also, you should be aware of the fact that they don’t consider any refund request.
Pros – An advanced marketplace addon for WooCommerce, frontend product editing, 30 day-no-question refund, Stripe support, instant or threshold payments, automatic payments to vendors (optional), email and forum support, several frontend options for vendors
Cons – You may face several bugs during customization of the plugin, plugin lacks many advanced features like WooCommerce Booking, development backbone seems to be
WC Marketplace is a WordPress plugin that works with WooCoomerce turning your WordPress site into an online marketplace. The core functionality of this plugin comes free and you can download the plugin from WordPress repository. However, if you need to add advanced features like product frontend editing, frontend reporting etc, you need to buy WC Marketplace premium addons.
This plugins is much like WC vendors in features having support for Stripe and PayPal instant payment, payment threshold, frontend product editing for vendors, vendor approval function, custom commission settings for different products (that override global commission for select products). WC Marketplace comes with even more options in admin control panel such as automatic payment scheduling for vendors, PayPal masspay option, payment on withdrawal request etc.
YITH Multi Vendor
Pros – Affordable, receive commissions on sellers sold products, PayPal support
Cons – Frontend product/order management is not available for vendors, no fixed commission fee option, No Stripe, fewer options to configure
YIT Multi Vendor is another WooCommerce add-ons that lets other people sell their things on your e-commerce portal and lets you collect commission on their sales. But the difference in functionalities of both plugins is big. YIT Multi Vendor is still way behind WC Vendors. No frontend vendor dashboard is available where they could add/update their products or manage orders. Unlike WC Vendors, YIT Multi Vendor lacks Stripe integration but has only PayPal as a way for vendors to get paid. This plugin offers a basic kind of multi-seller functionality for your WooCommerce powered e-commerce website.
Easy Digital Downloads (just to sell downloadable goods)
Pros – comprehensive solution to set up a multi-seller marketplace to sell downloadable products, setup a marketplace like Themeforest, Codecanyon etc
Cons – Requires expensive addons to solve the marketplace purpose
Easy Digital Downloads is a free WordPress plugin to sell digital downloadable products. Just like WooCommerce, the free plugin contains the core functionalities but to make the plugin for a specific use like digital products marketplace, you need to buy some paid addons of the Easy Digital Downloads. You require these two vital addons;
- Frontend submissions – turns your site into a full featured digital marketplace website like Themeforest, Codecanyon or TemplateMonster – where anyone can sell their downloadable products and has a frontend panel to manage their account and products
- Commissions – Adds the revenue sharing system between site owner and sellers
- Wallet – lets buyers have option to deposit fund into their accounts
- Rating – Rating system is a must have part of a marketplace website and so is this extension
There are many other paid extensions for Easy Digital Downloads available to beef up marketplace functionality (Stripe, Discount Pro, Authorize.net).