E-commerce has been one of the biggest facilitators for businesses around the world to increase their sales. Over the years e-commerce has been growing at a tremendous pace as the customer buying pattern has shifted towards online buying. Right from fashion to essentials to electronics to cosmetics, people are buying everything online and it has become one of the biggest sources of expanding the business horizon at minimal cost and efforts.
While e-commerce is considered as a platform that is used by an enterprise to facilitate in getting more customers on board and convert leads to sales, there is one other form of e-commerce which is a business model that is used by enterprises around the world as a product offering! And that form of e-commerce is known as multi-vendor e-commerce applications!
What is a multi-vendor platform?
While e-commerce is a platform for one enterprise to sell its products online, a multi-vendor website or application is a platform that is a solution which an enterprise will sell to other enterprises who wish to sell their products online. All the e-commerce giants such as Amazon, e-bay, Alibaba, and others are basically a multi-vendor platform.
Here the platform is offered to multiple enterprises and they can create their own online store using the multi-vendor application. Each store will have its entity with unique product offerings, filters, pricing policies, and many other such features. While the enterprises earn from their online sales, the platform earns in the forms of commission on each sale or in form of subscription fees from each enterprise.
Now that it is clear what a multi-vendor application is, let’s understand how one can develop a Shopify based multi-vendor e-commerce marketplace solution, which should be an ideal Marketplace development company, and what features and functionalities the multi-vendor application must provide.
Shopify Multi-vendor Application 101 for Enterprises:
How one can develop a custom Shopify based multi-vendor e-commerce marketplace solution?
First and foremost let’s understand why Shopify multi-vendor e-commerce solution! There are three major reasons to this choice and that is Shopify is an open-source platform, Shopify is the most user-friendly e-commerce platform and because of that Shopify is also one of the most adopted e-commerce platforms around the world! Apart from that, it is easier to find a relevant and experienced Shopify marketplace solution provider for your product.
While the multi-vendor application development is a technical process and there is not much a non-technical entity can contribute towards it, there are many things that an enterprise must plan before the development of the Shopify Multi-Vendor application.
Things enterprise must plan before the development of the Shopify multi-vendor application development:
1. Target market:
A multi-vendor platform can be for a single Industry such as multi-vendor for cosmetics, it can be for the whole Industry spectrum such as multi-vendor for clothing, accessories, shoes, and others and it can also be multi-vendor for various industries and businesses such as Amazon. Thus, you must have a clear understanding of the target market, a clear idea of the business operations of the target market, and the customizations that you would require for your Shopify multi-vendor marketplace solution.
2. Points of parity and points of difference:
Every platform must have certain similarities for user relativity as well as certain unique selling points to create a competitive edge in the market. Thus, when you approach a marketplace development company, you must have both these things clear in your mind so that the marketplace developers can create your platform as per your expectations.
3. Go-to-market strategy and development budget:
You must know how you will target the market and how your multi-vendor marketplace solution will contribute towards it. Apart from that, you must also get a clear timeline of the development from the Marketplace development company and you must also plan your budget for both the development and for the marketing well beforehand.
What features and functionalities a multi-vendor application must provide?
There are certain things that a marketplace must provide to both their users i.e. the vendors and the end-customers. These features and functions are essential for a satisfactory experience and to keep your platform relevant and on top of the mind of both vendors as well as customers.
Features essential for vendors:
• Easy to use product uploading and editing interface
• Price customization options
• Marketing Automation tools
• Shipping facilities for safe and affordable courier
• Personalized and generic promotions and discounting options
• Reporting tools to access valuable customer insights
• Clear and automated payment process
• SEO and Social Media marketing options
• Personalized customer experiences opportunities
Features essential for end customers:
• Clear and defined product navigation
• Personalized buying experiences
• Filtering options
• Financing options
• Multiple payment options
• Social Media sharing options
• 3D product displays
Which is an ideal Marketplace Development Company for your Shopify multi-vendor marketplace solution?
As much as your clear vision is essential for the success of your marketplace, so is the execution of the whole vision! Thus, you must choose a marketplace development company that can not only deliver an expected marketplace solution but also contributes towards it to make it a future-proof and scalable solution. To ensure that, the Marketplace Development Company that you choose must have:
1. Technical Proficiency required to develop the required Customizations:
The first thing you will need to determine is whether the team that you are hiring understands your technical requirements and have the necessary technical skills to execute your vision. For that, you can either ask personal interviews with the resources that you wish to hire or you can also ask them to take a technical test.
2. Past Portfolio:
Along with technical skills, it is also necessary that the developers understand the multi-vendor platform and they also have some experience of development in the past so that you can ask for their contribution in making your platform perfect. Also, when they have prior experience, you can check the performance of the platform that they have built and they are also aware of the challenges that they might face.
3. Domain Expertise:
If you are planning to develop a multi-vendor marketplace solution for a specific industry or a business vertical, then the multi-vendor application must have all the industry-specific features and functionalities. If the developers understand the market better, they can help you finalize your functionalities and can also help you understand the market and development challenges.
With these things in mind, you can successfully venture into marketplace development along with an ideal marketplace development company. While this is just the beginning of the long journey towards success, it is rightly said that “well begun is half done”.
Rakesh Jain is CEO and Co-founder of MobiCommerce which is the pioneer multi-vendor marketplace development company in the middle east that deliver high-quality end-to-end eCommerce solutions for all major eCommerce platforms which include Magento 1, Shopify, and Prestashop. He and his team work on a range of technologies which include React Native, React JS, NODE JS, and GraphQL & provide an out-of-the-box solution.