It's a features image of the WordPress marketplace blog

WordPress Marketplace: Definition, Types, Examples, Comparison, and Lots More

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25 min read

If you want to launch an eCommerce business, an online marketplace is the best way to do that. A study on the online marketplace success rate conducted by Malcolm Smith of Bloomforth shows that,

55% of the businesses selling on marketplaces have profit margins over 20%. 

This stat might intrigue you to jump into the online marketplace concept right away. But hold on a second!

Before launching your marketplace and ensuring as much profitability as possible, you need to first identify what is an online marketplace, how a marketplace works, which platform will give you the most flexibility, and last but not least whether it’s suitable for you or not!

To guide you in this whole journey, today, we are here with this ultimate blog on the WordPress marketplace. So, keep reading to clear up your confusion!

What is a WordPress Marketplace?

It's a features image of the WordPress marketplace blog

An online marketplace is an eCommerce website or mobile application that connects buyers and sellers. In an online marketplace, there could be hundreds of thousands of buyers and several sellers. That means as a customer, you’ll get different products from different sellers.

An online marketplace works like a shopping mall. When you visit a shopping mall, you can get your necessary products from different shops, right? The same goes for the online marketplace. From an online marketplace, you can get different products from different vendors.

You choose a product, add it to your cart, pay the bill, and wait for the delivery. This is how an online marketplace functions. And when you create an online marketplace using WordPress, it’s called a WordPress marketplace.

Is WordPress Good for eCommerce Marketplace?

Launching an online marketplace has become comparatively easier after the arrival of WordPress. You don’t have to write codes to create a marketplace from scratch using WordPress. The first barrier to creating something online is coding, but if you’re using WordPress, you have already surpassed a barrier.

WordPress has a dedicated plugin called WooCommerce for creating eCommerce websites. And it’s the most used solution by far for eCommerce websites.

Data shows WooCommerce is the leading eCommerce platform with 23.39% of the market share worldwide.

An image that shows eCommerce market share in 2022

So, it’s certain that the popularity of WooCommerce isn’t a fluke, it serves people with advanced features to facilitate eCommerce platforms. That is why so many people are using WordPress and WooCommerce.

And to turn your eCommerce website into an online marketplace, there are solutions from WordPress as well. There is a WordPress plugin called Dokan for creating online multivendor marketplaces.

All you need to do is install WordPress on your cPanel, install WooCommerce, and finally install Dokan to create your marketplace. It’s as simple as that!

Benefits of a WordPress Marketplace

Easy to Get Started: WordPress has a little to no learning curve. All you need to do is buy a hosting plan, install WordPress, and start customizing your marketplace. After installing WordPress, you’ll get a clean slate to design. There are lots of free YouTube tutorials or blogs to seek some help in case you need it.

No Platform Fee: Using WordPress is completely free. You don’t have to pay WordPress a single penny of your income if you’re using WordPress as your marketplace platform. On the contrary, Shopify and other eCommerce builder solutions will charge you on a monthly or yearly basis for using them as your marketplace platform.

Flexibility: WordPress gives you the most flexibility to design your marketplace. There are thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins for you. You can change anything and almost everything about your chosen theme. There are page builders to design your site by changing the images and texts of your chosen theme. So, there is nothing to hold you back to design your marketplace as you want.

SEO-Friendly: WordPress gives you the most flexibility to optimize your site for search engines. You can customize every single page of your website for SEO, and create title tags, meta descriptions, as well as optimized URLs. WordPress themes are also usually fully responsive, and we know just how important mobile-first indexing is.

Community: WordPress has a huge user base. So, if you face any problem there is a community to help you out. Also, there are hundreds of YouTube channels, forums, FB groups, and blogs to learn WordPress from.

Security: We know it’s controversial to keep security on the positive side of WordPress. But it’s true that the core WordPress is secure. But the problem happens sometimes when you use vulnerable third-party plugins on your site. If you always keep your site, plugins, and themes updated and never use a vulnerable plugin, your site won’t be compromised.

Downsides of a WordPress Marketplace 

Self-Hosted Platform: Self-hosted means you have to buy hosting separately and then install WordPress on that hosting. So, installing and maintaining WordPress is your responsibility. And when your marketplace is getting more traffic, you would need to increase the hosting plan. That’s a hassle and increases the maintenance cost.

Loading Time: This platform is known for good performance. But the site loading problem arises when you don’t update your themes and plugins regularly. Also, using loads of unnecessary plugins can increase the site’s loading time.

Difference Between eCommerce Store and eCommerce Marketplace

Both eCommerce stores and marketplace are used to sell products online. But both of them have different approaches and procedures.

An eCommerce store works like a super shop. You’ll get different types of products from a single store. On the contrary, a marketplace consists of different sellers with different products, more like a shopping mall.

We’ve pointed out 6 major differences between a single store and a marketplace. Let’s check them from this table.

FeatureseCommerce StoreeCommerce Marketplace
DefinitionAn eCommerce store is a website that sells products from a single vendor to multiple customersA marketplace is a website that sells products from multiple sellers to multiple customers
PartiesBuyers and sellersMarketplace admin, buyers, and sellers
InventoryMaintain an inventoryDo not maintain an inventory
CostNeed budgets for buying hosting and creating a websiteJust need to pay commissions
TrafficYou’re liable to attract traffic to your storeAlready there is traffic for the marketplace
ExampleNike, AllbirdseBay, AliExpress, Walmart

Related: Online Store vs Marketplace: Everything You Need to Know

Types of WordPress Marketplaces 

An image to represent the types of WordPress marketplace

Basically, there are three types of online marketplace in terms of target customers.

  1. B2B – Business to Business
  2. B2C – Business to Consumer
  3. C2C – Consumer to Consumer

1. B2B – Business to Business

Business to Business which is known as the B2B model works like a wholesaler. That means in this model, companies/businesses trade their goods or services to other companies/businesses.

In terms of B2B, both the buyers and sellers are companies or business organizations. The number of sales is comparatively low here, but each sale usually contains a large number of products and a big amount.

Examples: Alibaba.com, Amazon Business, Global Sources, IndiaMART, etc.

2. B2C – Business to Consumer

Business to Business or B2B is the most popular marketplace type. In this model, businesses/companies direct sell products/services to the consumers without using a third-party channel or middleman.

The number of sales is huge in B2C as it shares the largest portion of the customers, more than 90%.

Examples: Amazon, AliExpress, App Store, etc.

3. C2C – Consumer to Consumer

Consumer to Consumer or C2C is a business type where consumers sell services/products directly to the consumers. It is almost like the B2B model. But in C2C, there is a third-party business or platform to facilitate the transactions.

Examples: Uber, Airbnb, etc.

Top 5 Trendy WordPress Marketplace Ideas for You

If you want to launch your own online marketplace, regardless to say you should find a niche that is trendy and profitable. In this segment, we are going to discuss the top 5 trendy eCommerce marketplace ideas that could be profitable for you.

  1. General eCommerce Marketplace
  2. Service Marketplace
  3. Learning Marketplace
  4. Health & Wellness Marketplace
  5. Food Ordering Marketplace

1. General eCommerce Marketplace

An online eCommerce marketplace is a platform where buyers can discover products from multiple third-party sellers, allowing buyers to purchase directly from the vendors. In short, it connects buyers and sellers of physical goods. Some profitable online eCommerce marketplace ideas are:

  • Fitness equipment
  • Pet food and toys
  • Fashion and beauty
  • Gadget and technology

2. Service Marketplace

An online services marketplace is a platform where customers can discover services from multiple third-party service providers who can be individuals, professionals, or companies. These are generally vertical marketplaces that focus on a niche service.

Some profitable online service marketplaces are:

  • Freelancing service
  • Home and cleaning service
  • Mechanic service

3. Learning Marketplace

Online learning also known as the eLearning marketplace is a platform where students or learners can take education offered by various course providers. Online learning marketplaces are generally focused on a niche category, also called the vertical marketplace.

Some trendy online learning marketplaces are:

  • Courses
  • Tutoring
  • Training

4. Health & Wellness Marketplace

Online health and wellness marketplace connects healthcare providers with seekers. Experts forecast that in the coming years, telehealth will become a common complementary service to traditional in-person visits.

By 2025, more than 43% of the US population is expected to become regular telehealth users.

Some health and wellness marketplace ideas are:

  • Health consultation
  • Medicine delivery
  • Yoga, meditation, or fitness training

5. Food Ordering Marketplace

An online food ordering marketplace is a platform where restaurants or home chefs can list themselves and consumers can order food from those providers. The food providers put out their menus and consumers can get their food delivered to their doorstep. 

Some trendy online food ordering marketplace ideas are:

  • Food ordering platform
  • Hospital, office, or airport food delivery platform

These are the most trendy and profitable online marketplace ideas now. You can choose one option from here or can come up with new ideas by brainstorming. But don’t forget to make sure your chosen niche has demand in the market.

Related: 9 Online Marketplace Ideas for You to Succeed in 2022

Must-Have Elements for Building a Successful WordPress Marketplace

There are some features that you need to implement for making your marketplace a successful one. Let’s check the must-have elements that you’ll need for your online marketplace.

  1. Clean and Simple Vendor Registration Process
  2. A Comprehensive Site Search System
  3. Product Reviews and Ratings
  4. Guest Checkout System
  5. Order Tracking Opportunity

Now we are going to know more about each of the above-mentioned points.

1. Clean and Simple Vendor Registration Process

As a marketplace admin or owner, the first thing you should ensure is to provide a simple vendor registration form. Your marketplace won’t be successful unless there are significant numbers of vendors.

So, welcome them with an easy-to-understand and distraction-free registration UI.

An image that shows a clean and simple vendor registration form.

2. A Comprehensive Site Search System

People are busy online. They want everything under their fingertips and they want it fast. So, whenever they are on your marketplace, let them search and find their preferred products within seconds by implementing a comprehensive site search option for them.

For this purpose, a marketplace owner should include a variety of filters, categories, and subcategories, as well as enable search by keywords. Another way to add value to the audience is to provide an autocomplete feature.

It is an image that shows how the site search works in an eCommerce site

3. Product Reviews and Ratings

A study conducted by Statista on the importance of reviews and ratings for eCommerce websites shows that,

Around 70% of customers generally read 1-6 reviews in 2021 before deciding whether to order goods or not.

Therefore, by including the review and rating section in a marketplace application, you will help vendors raise sales while increasing the trust in your platform. To prevent fake customer feedback, it is crucial to allow only verified users that have actually bought a product or service to leave their comments.

4. Guest Checkout System

Guest checkout means when a customer wants to buy a product he doesn’t need to register or log in to an account. The impact of this is that the user’s data that is entered during the checkout process is not retained by the company.

It encourages first-time buyers with a faster checkout process and no need to create a store account.

5. Order Tracking Opportunity

Order tracking opportunity lets customers know their order status. It’s a crucial feature for every online multivendor marketplace.

Order tracking includes features like shipment tracking, estimated delivery dates, and frequent updates on the order status. Together, these things play a key role in the customer experience, letting buyers know what to expect for their delivery and be notified of any delays.

These are the must-have features for an online marketplace to be successful. Apart from these features, there are a few more important elements that you’ll need to decorate your marketplace. We’ve previously talked about those elements in our other blog. You can check it as well to get more clear ideas.

Top Inspirational Online Marketplace Examples for You

You might have heard the name Amazon. It’s the most popular online marketplace right now. Let’s see who else’s are on this list of the most popular online marketplace.

1. Amazon

This is a homepage image of amazon eCommerce website

As one of the largest marketplaces in the world, it’s no surprise that Amazon continues to be a popular choice for retailers and customers alike. Not only is Amazon a major online marketplace for buying and selling goods, but it’s also the second-largest search engine on the internet. 

Amazon sells an array of products and has categories covering everything: from home and garden products to fashion, books, and beauty items. 

2. Etsy

Etsy homepage image

Etsy is another popular online marketplace nowadays. The platform hosts sellers who create and sell everything from vintage items to personalized products and collector items. 

Etsy is different from other marketplaces in that often the items listed won’t be available to buy anywhere else online (except, perhaps, the seller’s own online store), making it a unique platform for both sellers and buyers. 

3. eBay

A screenshot of the eBay online marketplace homepage

eBay was once an auction house for selling used items and still eBay has that option. Now it becomes one of the most popular online marketplaces, selling items in almost every category imaginable.

There are various benefits to selling items on eBay. It’s the second largest marketplace in the US (only beaten by Amazon), and buyers don’t need to find your individual eBay store to make a purchase. They just need to see your listings in search results. That’s how it works.

4. Walmart

The homepage screenshot of the Walmart eCommerce marketplace

Walmart is another popular online marketplace around the world. It allows third-party sellers to sell products on its site that span over 35 different product categories, including crafts, books, and computers. 

You don’t need to be based in the US to make use of this either – 5% of Walmart third-party sellers are currently based elsewhere, making this a great option for international merchants targeting a US audience.

5. Flipkart

An image of the Flipkart eCommerce marketplace

Flipkart is one of India’s biggest online marketplaces. In fact, the online store generated $4.6 billion in revenue in October 2021 alone! Originally the platform was an online bookstore, but it’s now expanded to offer other categories, including furniture, groceries, and clothing. 

Flipkart allows you to set up a merchant profile for free and its interface is easy to use for all abilities, allowing you to focus on getting your products in front of a potential 200 million users. 

Who Should Launch an Online Marketplace?

There is no such rule as he can launch a marketplace and you can’t. Anyone can launch his own online marketplace. But you have to make sure you really want to create a marketplace and you have a solid business idea.

Why do you want to create a marketplace business? Is it because you are tired of working for another company? Perhaps you want to save the world, make tons of money, or build a profitable side business. Whatever the reasons are, articulating your true motivations for being an entrepreneur is important because your strategy will depend on them.

The next step is to figure out what it is that you’re planning to build. Are you really passionate about a particular idea, or are you looking for a profitable niche?

The second chapter of our guide focuses on the topic of finding the best marketplace ideas, but it’s important to keep in mind that building the platform still requires a lot of dedication. The more passionate you are about the subject area, the more likely you are to succeed.

So the summary is:

If you have an entrepreneurial mindset and are ready with a marketplace idea, you can launch your own online marketplace right away.

Should You Build Your Marketplace Using WordPress?

WordPress powers more than 43% of the web. Regardless to say, it’s the most popular website solution around the world. And in terms of eCommerce websites, WooCommerce (WordPress eCommerce solution) is the most used solution followed by Shopify. So, it’s safe to say WordPress is a proven platform to create eCommerce marketplaces.

WordPress offers thousands of free themes and plugins. On top of that, there are loads of premium themes and plugins for creating eCommerce marketplaces. You can easily customize these themes as per your requirements. So, there is no design boundary.

WordPress lets you upload as many products as you want and add all the popular payment gateways. So, managing an eCommerce store is comparatively easier with WordPress.

In terms of running a marketplace, vendor registration and store listing are two main challenges for an admin. But WordPress solves this problem too by offering advanced plugins like Dokan.

So, in terms of creating an online marketplace, WordPress can help you the most. WordPress is equipped will all the necessary plugins and themes to make your marketplace journey easier and smoother.

Do You Still Have Any Confusion?

Throughout the blog, we have tried to address these questions:

  • What is an online marketplace and what is a WordPress marketplace
  • Difference between online store and online marketplace
  • Must-have elements for creating a successful marketplace
  • Top examples of the online marketplace, and
  • How WordPress can help you to build your dream multi-vendor marketplace

So, we are safe to say, now you know almost everything about the online marketplace and WordPress marketplace.

Then again, if you have any more confusion, don’t feel hesitation to ask us further. There is a comment box below for you to post your questions. We would like to address your queries. Thank you.

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