40 Must have features for creating the best multivendor marketplace

40 must-have features for building the best multivendor marketplace

Multivendor marketplaces have become a common practice for D2C brands to grow their businesses and establish a central touchpoint for their customers. As e-commerce has grown and become more accessible, the technology associated with running an online marketplace has also grown substantially. Online marketplaces today are equipped to ensure the highest standards of customer experience while making sure that all operations on the backend are running smoothly.

Shipturtle brings you a guide on the must-have features for your multivendor marketplace so that you and your organization don’t leave a stone unturned to satisfy your customers. This guide has been divided into seven important aspects for creating a multivendor marketplace on Shopify:

  1. Website Design
  2. Vendor Management
  3. Payments
  4. Order Management
  5. Security
  6. Compatible Apps
  7. Support

Sign up here to get your manual for the must-have features for building a marketplace.

I. Choosing the correct website design for your multivendor marketplace to appeal to your consumers

In creating a marketplace that captivates customers and guarantees prompt and effective delivery, it is imperative to incorporate the following essential features. These features are carefully selected with a focus on website design, ensuring that your online marketplace is equipped with the necessary elements strategically positioned for optimal functionality for your Shopify marketplace.

Important features for Creating a marketplace website

1. Carts:

Marketplace Platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify have played a significant role in the establishment of numerous online marketplaces, showcasing their expertise in delivering appropriate technology for the advancement of online stores. Customized solutions frequently demand a substantial level of proficiency and can sometimes result in higher costs. Utilizing platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, known for their stability and extensive developer community, proves to be cost-effective and adheres to best practices for any marketplace platform.

2. Marketplace-Friendly Theme:

When creating a marketplace website, marketplace themes play a vital role. Every direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand possesses unique requirements, necessitating a customized theme tailored to fit both the online marketplace model and the volume of orders on the platform. Opting for the appropriate layout and theme holds the potential to significantly enhance consumer loyalty. Custom themes further enable multivendor marketplaces to concentrate on their core offering – the products.

It’s crucial to underscore that distinct brands and marketplaces exhibit diverse preferences when it comes to themes. For a D2C brand engaged in direct consumer interaction, a heightened emphasis on user experience becomes paramount, with factors like smooth checkout processes, intuitive site navigation, and overall convenience playing pivotal roles. In contrast, marketplaces often opt for a product-focused theme that not only showcases the available products but also facilitates users in exploring various aspects of the product range.

3. Custom fields and pages:

Each online marketplace operates with a unique multivendor marketplace model, order processing, and shipping management workflow. When building a marketplace, the website design should be tailored to incorporate features about these vital modules. In the case of a Shopify multi seller marketplace, it becomes essential to have a dedicated onboarding page for sellers, ensuring a seamless and efficient process that minimizes the time required to bring products to market.

4. Checkout:

While creating a marketplace website, a speedy, secure, and efficient checkout process can distinguish one online marketplace from another. The adoption of a one-click checkout has the potential to transform the way ecommerce brands engage with their audience

5. Pin Code Restriction:

Achieving a one-click checkout is contingent upon addressing consumer queries prior to the checkout phase through website design integrations. Anticipating whether a product can be delivered to a specific location beforehand can significantly reduce the number of dropouts during the checkout process on a website.

Building a multivendor marketplace website can be a complex task due to the involvement of numerous vendors selling through the online marketplace. Given the impracticality of each seller delivering to every location, managing customer expectations by providing information on delivery feasibility in their area enhances user convenience.

In hyperlocal marketplaces, there are often delivery constraints for specific pin-codes. Communicating to users whether delivery is feasible within their area can save time and elevate the overall experience, a crucial factor given the short delivery spans associated with hyperlocal marketplaces, where user experience takes precedence.

6. Reviews and Ratings:

Earning and sustaining consumer trust and loyalty pose significant challenges. To enhance brand trust with each user visit, the website design for your Shopify marketplace should incorporate a robust system for managing reviews and ratings. This not only provides valuable insights for product improvement but also offers users a compelling reason to make purchases from the website.

7. Whitelabel

Strengthening a brand and its identity can enhance recall among both consumers and vendors. In the world of online marketplaces, White labeling serves as a valuable tool for brands to engage with their audience through visual elements that resonate with the brand.

White-labeling is widely recognized for its significance in building trust with both vendors and consumers. Embedding the brand identity of your online marketplace in all communications and touchpoints is crucial to ensure that stakeholders perceive their interactions with a legitimate and trustworthy organization.

8. Marketplace Type:

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Every marketplace website operates on a distinct marketplace model, whether it’s B2B, B2C, or C2C, necessitating a website design that aligns with the specific requirements of each model. For a B2B online marketplace website, the design would centre on presenting product information effectively, with a primary focus on lead generation. Conversely, a B2C multivendor marketplace would prioritize sales, enhancing the consumer experience across all facets of the website. In a C2C model, the emphasis lies on facilitating the most effective and convenient connection between buyers and sellers.

B2C marketplaces, characterized by a vast product range and high order volumes, impact not only the website’s structure but also elements like order management, shipping, and returns. The UI/UX of B2C websites is often tailored to optimize the value and volume of sales.

C2C marketplaces act as intermediaries between consumers, striving to simplify interactions on the website. The website design encompasses the entire process, ensuring ease for consumers listing their products, connecting with buyers, and making sales through both online and offline channels.

B2B marketplaces focus on furnishing essential information to prospective clients, incorporating custom features such as call scheduling, lead forms, and gated forms. These features aim to provide convenience and ease for prospective clients to engage with the marketplace.

9. Seller Profile:

Ensuring streamlined communication with vendors is imperative for any multivendor marketplace platform, be it a marketplace on Shopify or WooCommerce. It is crucial to incorporate seller profiles with customized access, allowing vendors control over their pages and policies within the multivendor marketplace.

Having a dedicated seller profile page is equally essential, providing consumers with a direct avenue to connect with their preferred brand. The seller profile plays a vital role in aiding consumers in comprehending the brand and the values it embodies.

10. SEO For Multivendor Marketplace:

When building a marketplace, marketplace SEO plays a pivotal role in amplifying visibility and driving conversions on e-commerce platforms, requiring a distinctive fusion of conventional SEO practices and specialized strategies tailored for online marketplaces. Key tactics involve optimizing website architecture, employing on and off-page SEO techniques, and incorporating a comprehensive multi-channel marketing approach. In contrast to standard SEO, marketplace SEO strategically targets customers with commercial intent, aiming at those poised to make a purchase. Challenges encompass managing extensive product listings and maintaining consistency across third-party vendor submissions.

Effective strategies in marketplace SEO encompass streamlined site navigation, swift mobile responsiveness, secure SSL protocols, and engaging content marketing. Mastery of these techniques can significantly elevate organic traffic and boost sales, distinguishing your listings in the competitive digital marketplace.

At Shipturtle, we comprehend the challenges faced by online marketplaces in their growth journey. That’s why our offerings extend beyond mere marketplace technology. We provide a comprehensive package for creating a marketplace website and it’s growth. It includes Shopify web design and development, coupled with SEO and SEM services. This approach ensures that we not only assist marketplaces in establishing their online presence but also guarantee visibility and foster business growth.

11. Marketplace Solutions: 

Creating a marketplace website frequently involves the collaboration of professionals from diverse fields. The development process typically necessitates the involvement of experts in branding, digital marketing, website development, operational support, and the creation of custom applications to ensure a fully operational marketplace website. It is essential for your website to engage affiliates who can assist not only in enhancing your marketplace but also in guiding other vendors to replicate similar success on your platform.

II. Managing vendors at the touch of a button

The second most crucial element for any multivendor marketplace on Shopify or WooCommerce lies in the effective management of vendors. Generally, a vendor management module should be user-friendly, dependable, and ensure safety and security, providing an additional advantage of enhancing efficiency for both vendors and stores.

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1. Vendor Onboarding:

The time required for market entry can be a distinguishing factor in the competitive landscape. To expedite the vendor onboarding process, a straightforward onboarding procedure and dashboard prove instrumental in attracting more vendors to your website within a shorter timeframe.

An essential component of the vendor onboarding module is the onboarding form, which represents a critical touchpoint for collecting confidential information and establishing the groundwork for a robust partnership. The onboarding form should incorporate fields for gathering company information while avoiding unnecessary data fields. Furthermore, it should adhere to regulatory procedures, simplifying the business engagement with the partner. The inclusion of company documents validating the partner’s legitimacy contributes to building trust and transparency, facilitating the establishment of a long-term partnership.

2. Vendor Dashboards:

When looking for a marketplace platform, unified vendor dashboards is a key feature. Implementing a tailored dashboard for each vendor to engage with your store and address their specific needs can effectively oversee vendors on your Shopify multi seller website. This dashboard empowers vendors to make product purchases, process orders, and track earnings seamlessly.

In the intricate network of multivendor marketplace, where numerous sellers are interconnected through a central website, managing all these entities while preserving their independent identities necessitates a dashboard solution. This centralized tool has the capability to execute various processes with a simple click, offering a streamlined approach to complex procedures. This simplification not only saves time and enhances efficiency but also opens up possibilities for new revenue streams for both the multivendor marketplace and the individual vendors.

3. Vendor Website Sync:

Automating inventories and products directly through your partner website can save time and help you focus on the things that matter most. Building customer relationships!

Some of the notable features that a vendor website sync feature must have in itself are:

  1. Product Syncing: Automatic upload of products on partner websites when the vendor updates the same on their website is a magical feature that can change how quickly marketplace and D2C brand owners go to market.
  2. Inventory Syncing: Imagine the simplicity of operations if manually updating inventory for each product was removed from your daily routine. Automatically syncing inventory while constantly updating it can be extremely useful for the marketplace.
  3. Order Push: Collecting orders and simultaneously preparing them for shipping in a matter of clicks can save significant time for the marketplace and partners.

4. Vendor Permissions:

Exerting control over the features and modules for each entity and user role plays a pivotal role in ensuring the security of both your vendors and Shopify marketplace.

Given the distinct workflows of different online marketplaces, customizing permissions for each vendor becomes essential. For instance, a B2C marketplace may require unique vendor access, allowing them to monitor order volumes, select shipping options from the marketplace or their own fleet, and manage reconciliation and invoicing on the fly. Simplifying such intricate workflows by tailoring permissions to the specific needs of each vendor can be a laborious undertaking, and technology providers are adept at swiftly streamlining these complex operations.

5. Vendor Customer Chat:

Eliminate the need to connect your customers to their preferred vendor on your website. Enabling the customer to connect with the preferred vendor directly can boost the user experience, loyalty, and conversions.

6. Vendor Catalog:

Uploading products manually can be a cumbersome task for most marketplaces. Bulk uploads can enhance efficiency for any marketplace. In marketplaces with products that frequently change, this feature provides a massive boost in productivity by being able to upload and manage a large catalog of products that keep changing according to trends or seasons.

Catalogs that are easy to load and manage, coupled with a simple user-facing display, can significantly increase vendor efficiency and provide the online multivendor marketplace with a way to gauge vendor performance.

7. Analytics:

Implementing data-driven decision-making for your Shopify store marketplace has the potential to enhance revenue, average order rates, and attract new and returning users. A comprehensive dashboard offering a holistic view of every aspect of your website can significantly expedite the decision-making process for your online multivendor marketplace.

This dashboard should encompass all major parameters crucial for assessing the efficiency of the multivendor marketplace. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue, average order revenue, NDR, and RTO are vital metrics to include. Additionally, the analytics should incorporate parameters related to partner efficiency. Evaluating shippers and vendors enables you to prioritize partnerships and provide incentives to top performers, fostering further enhancement of the marketplace.

8. Mobile Support:

Accessibility over a mobile application can help you manage your Shopify store marketplace on the go and initiate processes that require your supervision, no matter where you are.

Ease of accessibility plays a crucial role in making sure quick decisions are taken without any inconvenience, especially when it comes to marketplace operations. Decisions such as order returns, misplaced deliveries, and cancelled orders can often save a lot of time for marketplaces, and being able to do that on the go is an added benefit for anyone who is running an online marketplace.

III. Managing Payments, Commissions, and Reconciliations for your Multivendor Marketplace

The best marketplace app for creating a multivendor marketplace needs to make sure any transaction happening on your website is safe and secure. Three essential features for your multivendor website that can help your marketplace platform thrive are:

image 2

1. Commission Calculation:

When building a marketplace, especially a shopify multi seller marketplace, requires a streamlined approach to commission calculations. Streamlining the manual processes associated with calculating vendor commissions, considering factors such as products, returns, and regulations, can substantially reduce the time allocated to manual tasks. This efficiency allows the online marketplace to dedicate more time to cultivating customer relationships.

The process of calculating these commissions typically entails reconciling store-wide orders and aligning them with the respective vendors, a challenging and labor-intensive task, particularly with a high volume of orders. To simplify and enhance efficiency, implementing a multivendor marketplace feature that automates these calculations proves to be a valuable solution.

2. Payment Integrations:

Safe and secure methods to transfer money to vendor accounts can simplify the regulatory challenges faced by brands. Payments are often two-fold in a marketplace. Customers want the flexibility of having a number of payment options, be it via UPI, credit, or debit cards, whereas vendors would require tax compliances to be met before any payment is processed.

Having a payment partner can simplify these tasks, which often require a high degree of expertise from a compliance and regulatory framework perspective. This is an essential feature when building a marketplace, to ensure the smooth running of your online marketplace.

3. Reconciliation and Accounts:

Reconciliation has been a major challenge for any multi vendor marketplace on Shopify or WooCommerce, and automating these processes/managing accounts can help brands tide over liquidity shortages and compliance filings.

Automation of your accounts helps marketplaces make vital decisions regarding their spending, especially during times of high demand and quick deadlines. Factoring in expenses, sales, and revenue can lead to profitability in a shorter period of time.

IV. Order management: the backbone of an efficient supply chain system for multivendor marketplaces

To ensure the smooth management of any multi vendor marketplace, order management and operations should be easy, automated, and accurate. Minimizing errors in processing orders can reduce revenue leakages and open new revenue streams for the online marketplace.

Order management for multivendor marketplace platform
40 must-have features for building the best multivendor marketplace 10

1. Order Automation:

Incorporating built-in modules that handle order management, shipper assignment, payment calculation, and disbursement proves beneficial for marketplaces by saving time. The potential creation of revenue streams stemming from enhanced cost efficiency and time savings serves as an additional advantage for any multi vendor marketplace.

Automating these processes not only contributes to time savings for marketplaces but also facilitates growth through the introduction of additional features to their marketplace. Emphasizing constant innovation and prioritizing consumer convenience are key strategies that can help marketplaces remain relevant in an era marked by escalating competition.

2. Shipping Integrations:

Inbuilt shipping integrations for the online marketplace can provide the user with flexibility and options. Choosing the right shipping partner and optimizing costs for a number of orders can be extremely useful, both from a store and a user perspective.

Choosing between your own delivery fleet or a host of shippers can provide vendors with convenience in making sure that the customer experience is not harmed while servicing orders on the partner website. Consistency in providing the right service can differentiate great brands from others.

3. Shipment Tracking:

We are living in an era where consumers are increasingly becoming impatient and often require an update on their shipment. Shipment tracking is one of the hygiene features without which a marketplace is unable to function and grow.

It is also vital to understand shipment status so that timely intervention can help solve delivery problems even before they arise. This can not only save valuable time for marketplaces and sellers but also have a positive impact on consumer sentiment.

A marketplace platform should be enabled with a single dashboard to view all your shipments with parameters to gauge the effectiveness of each shipper can help monitor shipper performance and thereby increase efficiency by suggesting the correct remedies for each shipping partner. Shipping tracking for users can increase customer loyalty and help the marketplace establish trust with both vendors and consumers.

4. Invoicing:

The ability to create an invoice that addresses the unique challenges of the marketplace can have long-term benefits from a regulatory and accounting perspective.

Every marketplace has different invoicing requirements. A B2B invoice often has a number of regulatory and tax procedures to ensure that organizations can effectively comply with regulatory procedures. A B2C invoice, on the other hand, is aimed at safeguarding brands from consumers while establishing a certain degree of trust with them.

5. NDR: 

Non-delivery reports can help vendors and online marketplaces identify a corrective mechanism with which they can reduce returns and save on costs related to shipping, packaging, and store management.

It is also a very effective tool to effectively communicate with the shippers about the corrective action that needs to be taken to solve similar problems that may arise in the future.

6. Returns: 

In the world of multiple Shopify marketplaces, managing returns is often one of the most cumbersome tasks for a multi vendor marketplace. Having an efficient return process in place and customized for each vendor helps the marketplace reap great rewards.

The return process is often complicated and differs according to the marketplace type. Building a strong foundation of processes and then automating any manual tasks involved in them can greatly benefit any marketplace.

7. Custom email:

Link your marketplace emails to your service and send customized emails to your customers with the right branding to increase consumer recall.

Branding often plays a major role in the success of any marketplace, and having your email client connected to the marketplace, along with the option of sending customized mailers, can foster legitimacy and trust between marketplaces and consumers.

8. Digital Products:

We are slowly seeing the rise of digital marketplaces offering digital products in the form of PDFs, reports, and appointments. The multi vendor marketplace website should have the option for the marketplace to store files and for the user to download them seamlessly. Calendar and appointment integrations are very useful for marketplaces providing consulting services.

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V. Creating a safe and secure online multivendor marketplace

Security is often a neglected aspect of any website or multi vendor marketplace. Having a scalable, secure, and immutable security framework for your multivendor marketplace can make doing business secure for your users and partners.

1. Scalability:

As your multivendor marketplace grows, the data processed on your website increases multifold. The website should be created on a framework that is scalable and can engulf large quantities of data while being secure and agile.

Scalability is one of the key challenges that marketplaces face due to increase in the number of processes and tasks. To not only collect and process this data but also utilize the process data to enhance productivity is essential for laying down the blueprint or future roadmap for many marketplaces. Marketplaces need to employ data collection, processing, and representative technologies across stakeholder groups to grow in a manner that is sustainable in the long run.

2. Data Security:

Controlling access, storage, and movement of data on your website between different users can play a vital role in how you manage your multi vendor marketplace. Data security can often play a crucial role in establishing trust with various stakeholders involved in running a marketplace. Making sure that vendor, customer, and marketplace data is protected from internal and external factors can often be a tedious but nonetheless a vital process.

3. Traceability and Change Logs:

Having traceability and logs for any changes made by users can help the system provide valuable feedback on how to manage your website. Error reduction and efficiency increases can be extremely valuable for your multivendor marketplace.

Traceability and change logs are often utilized in the development of applications and features that are used to further enhance a marketplace. These change logs are extremely crucial to ensuring scalability and data security for your marketplace, while traceability can foster accountability amongst various verticals involved in the smooth functioning of a marketplace.

VI. Building an ecosystem of applications for a 360-degree multivendor marketplace solution

A multi vendor marketplace plugin often has a range of features that cater to the website. There are a number of features that often require an extended ecosystem or affiliate program. Having compatible apps that have expertise in crucial aspects can reduce the burden of responsibility on a single application while providing the users with the safety of choosing from a number of affiliate applications.

1. Tax Compliance:

Incorporating both vendor and customer compliance aspects into your marketplace is an essential feature. Affiliate applications, which can help marketplaces manage both sides of compliance, can greatly benefit any multi vendor marketplace website.

Increasing regulatory challenges are often considered to be a major bottleneck in the growth of any marketplace. Taxes are one of the major instruments in maintaining cordial relations with government authorities. Building these features within the various applications utilized can save on SME costs to deal with matters on the same.

2.  Subscriptions:

Subscriptions often require a different website model, and outsourcing the same to an application that specializes in providing subscriptions can reduce the cost that goes into custom development for the same on your multi vendor marketplace Shopify/WooCommerce app.

Subscriptions can completely upset the existing workflows for any marketplace. Subscriptions have their own set of processes and automations and require external partners or solutions to effectively manage and operate them.

3. Upsell and cross-sell:

Upselling and cross-selling are slowly gaining traction as alternative models of selling in the e-commerce world. Having applications that can enable both can be a game changer for any multi vendor marketplace application.

Frequently bought together is a small feature that we have often noticed on horizontal marketplaces. If 20% of your customers purchase that additional product, it would lead to a significant increase in the average order revenue. It can also help you sell products from multiple vendors within the same order.

4. CRM:

In an era of growing privacy concerns, a well-equipped CRM is essential for managing consumer data and utilizing that data to increase sales through outbound marketing.

CRMs can effectively increase marketplace visits by nurturing consumers by constantly messaging them with the right message. Building audience databases according to interests, products, and categories can make your marketing even more effective. At the same time, a CRM is essential for complying with the privacy frameworks of the operating country.

VII. Enabling the user to understand the platform better

Finally, the last set of features deals with the consumer requirement of understanding how to utilize your plugin. The best practice for any multi vendor marketplace website is to provide its users with a clear picture of how to use the plugin, which has the option of customisation and other support features.

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1. Documentation:

A comprehensive knowledge base and learning materials can help decrease the time to install and utilize your plugin. This can also increase the potential to upsell features and add-ons by having a central repository to address any questions related to the plugin.

Technology is often hard to understand for those who actually use it. Documentation plays a vital role in spoon-feeding the users on how to use the platform. A quicker time to market and stable operations are byproducts of efficient documentation. Creating a deep-seated understanding and the possibility of building a long-term relationship with the marketplace is the direct benefit.

2. Customisation:

Some unique challenges don’t have an existing plugin on the market to address those requirements. Custom builds and configurations are a way to overcome those challenges for any multi vendor marketplace.

Once the multi vendor marketplace has reached a certain level, challenges often require customization. Employing the correct talent and technology can solve these challenges and lay the foundation for explosive growth in the marketplace.

3. Live Chat Support:

Impatient customers often lead to a loss in orders. Timely resolution of queries and assistance with the purchase of a product can increase revenue for any marketplace.

It has become an industry norm to make sure that the customer experience is placed at the heart of any marketplace, and live chat support is an increasingly common practice amongst marketplace owners to make sure that the client is happy.

4. Open API’s

Many other marketplace applications to enhance the functionality of your website require open integration, over which new modules can be added or built. Open APIs are extremely useful if your multivendor marketplace is witnessing growth and constantly facing new challenges that need quick solutions.

The article is an exhaustive list of all the features that you will require in your journey to building the next successful marketplace. You can download a summary table by signing up here so that you can always be aware of the features that will be essential in making sure that your marketplace reaches new heights.

Shipturtle is the best marketplace platform for converting your store into a Shopify store marketplace that has nearly all of the features mentioned above and can be a great asset in the form of a marketplace expert and plugin to help you achieve your e-commerce goals.

Book a demo to learn more about Shipturtle here.

Sign up for a 14 day free trial here.

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