Questions that save money when you choose marketplace software

People like answers. But having the right questions is not less important if you just started to dive into some complicated subject or difficult process. Setup of marketplace software is one of the more difficult processes because marketplace is a very complicated type of e-commerce tool. Usually, such software is very expensive. It is easy to overlook some significant points during the research stage. This often leads newcomers to waste a lot of money and time. In this article I list questions that are intended to help you to decide what is the best marketplace software for you. I hope it helps you to save your money and valuable time. Of course, you may have some unique requirements. If yes then let us know, and we try to provide you with our professional help. Meanwhile, I discuss questions that are common for all types of marketplace. You can use this questionnaire as marketplace software selection criteria. I sorted them by importance below.

What is marketplace software?

Marketplace software is a type of e-commerce software that allows you to set up an online marketplace. Marketplace is a type of e-commerce platform to engage other vendors to sell products on it. There are many types of marketplaces. Most popular of them are: B2C,B2B,C2C. B2C (Business-to-consumer) is a platform where a company sells a service or product directly to consumers. An example of B2C marketplace is Amazon. B2B (business-to-business model) is a model in which companies sell their products or services to another business. Those products or services could be then re-sold to another business or a customer with a mark-up or used in different projects. An example of B2B marketplace is Alibaba. C2C (customer-to-consumer) is an e-commerce platform that allows individuals to find and transact with each other. Examples of C2C marketplaces are Etsy and eBay. From technical point of view there are two types of marketplace software: self-hosted and SaaS marketplace software. Self-hosted marketplace software is known as marketplace script. It is an e-commerce program that is needed to be installed and configured manually on user’s web server. SaaS (software as a service) marketplace software is called the cloud marketplace platform. It is developed by other companies, installed on their servers and can be rented by other people. Self-hosted marketplace software is better when you are a tech-savvy person, or you have tech employees who can configure or extend it. This type of program requires more technical skills but is more flexible and gives more freedom in building marketplace. SaaS solution better when you want to start doing business immediately with minimum preparations. It is worth to mention that there are two options of building self-hosted marketplace software. The first option is to buy an already created marketplace script. The second option is to hire a software company and build the platform from scratch.

Since i have introduced types of marketplace i am going to write about points for selecting right marketplace tool. Below, there is a list of most important questions along with related recommendations. Those recommendations fit for all types of marketplace: B2C, B2B and C2C and other. Mostly they are common for both: scripts and saas software. If you have an interest to find specific features of B2B marketplace software, then you can read this article.

1. What are the technical limitations of the marketplace software?

This question can be divided into many small ones. First of them is how many products can marketplace accommodate? If you want to earn with your multi vendor marketplace, then you need to engage as many vendors as possible. For example, if you are going to have 1000 sellers on your marketplace and each vendor will sell 1000 products then your database will store a million products! You need to ask a seller of e-commerce software about how many products and categories does the program support? Also, you can ask seller to provide proof link of working marketplaces that use their software and check how it works on live. Try to find if there are another restrictions like maximum count of simultaneous visitors can be served by your marketplace, maximum count of registered users are supported by marketplace software? How many nested categories can be hosted by marketplace?

2. How powerful do you need the hardware on your server to be?

This question matters when you are going to buy marketplace script and install on own server. It is not relevant in case if you are going to use sass marketplace solution. So if you decide to rent cloud marketplace, then you can skip this question. After you found answers on first question, now you need to know what hardware is needed to work smooth with so huge database? It is a very critical thing because often it requires dedicated computers with 4,8,16 or more core processors, far more than 8 GB of memory and with SSD disks. For instance, server with 4-core CPU + 32 GB memory + two SSD hard drives costs in average 100USD per month. These are your expenses. Thus, hardware requirement is a super important question. Often, it is recommended that you need 1 dedicated server for marketplace script and separated server for database: SQL/NoSQL. Hence, expenses for marketplace can be twice and more highly.

3. Can the users provide feedback and review from within the marketplace?

feedback and review feature of marketplace software

Did you know that the main problem for all customers before they decide to order product at online store is trust? Because customers cannot be sure that they send money to swindler. By the way, one of most significant reasons of why customers prefer to purchase at marketplace platforms like Amazon, eBay and Shopify is higher trust to big platforms opposite to small shops. Especially this is true for new customers that doing first order. Thus, you should give client to have ability to abuse and to leave review in case if seller is irresponsible or is not honest. This is why feedback and reviews are critical features for your multi-vendor marketplace.

4. What pricing plans are there?

Pay your attention to marketplace software seller’s pricing policy. Occasionally, pricing plans with the lowest price do not contain all features you need. You should research software license carefully.

5. How is difficult to create unique view of multi-vendor marketplace?

Nobody wants to look similar to other competitors. So, you need to find out if the program allows creating own design? The Best option is when marketplace software allows admin to customize view via administrator panel. Also, it would be great if it allows making deep changes of its view via programming way.

6. Does marketplace software support the creation of new features?

Sometimes we can have some unique requirements that are absent out of the box. It is significant to have the ability to extend or even overwrite part of the functionality of e-commerce software. But another significant point is to allow replacing or extending features without changing code of marketplace script itself. So, some scripts support to create extensions. Extensions are programs that overwrites or extends part of the functionality of software. E-commerce software that allows to create extensions are called e-commerce framework. So, you need to wonder if marketplace software is a framework.

7. How big is the extension ecosystem for this marketplace software?

Now, I can suggest you to find web page on publisher’s website where you can see all extensions, that belong to marketplace software are researched by you. As I already mentioned, extension is a separate program, that can be installed and is used to extend features of another program. Very often, after purchasing marketplace script you can notice that many features are absent. So, better to research extensions ecosystem of e-commerce tool before make purchase. Often, extension can cost higher than marketplace software by itself.

8. Does publisher of marketplace software offer a free trial period?

Usually program’s seller allows downloading and to use marketplace script for free for week, two or even month period. I suggest you do not ignore this option. When You are using trial version, then you can see what things software really allows implementing and what does not. When I tried to do the same I started to understand what some of feature’s descriptions mean. Often, before using trial version we have false thoughts about some of described features of the script. Sometimes, software’s seller allows using free trial only after you request them about it. Try to ask seller for trial if it is possible.

9. Are there free demo that is accessible online?

Difference from previous point is that you do not need to install and use free trial version on your side. Instead, You can run and try a free demo on the seller’s website. This option allows you quickly to get an idea about the script’s features. Try to request if there is opportunity to test how it works at publisher’s website.

10. How is vendor access controlled?

Actually, it is not one question. We can divide it into list of questions:

  • Does marketplace software allow restricting count of products that seller can add?
  • Can the admin of the marketplace restrict categories of products that a vendor can sell?
  • Does script allow restricting how many products each seller can sell per month?
  • Does the script allow setting up maximal revenue that vendor can earn per month?
  • Can admin control payment/shipment methods for arbitrary seller?

11. What commission rules does e-commerce software support?

Find out what fee plans does marketplace software support? There are possible options:

  • Subscription fee. It is the case when seller needs to pay you some money per some period: month, year etc.
  • Commission based on sum of transactions. If vendors can sell more goods, then the more money they should pay you.
  • Category commissions. This option means that you can set up different commissions or subscription fee for different categories.
  • Combination of 11.1-11.3 commissions

12. Does the marketplace software provide API ?

marketplace software provide API

API is needed to create mobile applications or connect different external websites with your marketplace. Some of the sellers who sell at your marketplace platform already have their website or sell on other platforms. In such cases they might want to synchronize information on their website with information at your marketplace. It is better than to input manually the same information for several times. You may want to provide API access for your clients to allow them to create the own synchronization code. API also are used to create mobile applications.

13. How big is e-commerce software community?

This feature means how many active users use this program. More people use then bigger its community. It is pretty outstanding feature of each e-commerce tool. Bigger community of marketplace software is then more chances for you to get help for solving any kind of issues.

14. What SEO features does marketplace software support?

To be SEO compatible each e-commerce platform should provide creating of title tags, meta descriptions, SEO URLs and 301 redirects. Also, you need to be sure that pages of marketplace load fast. Additionally do not forget about modern SEO features like rich snippets in products and category pages.

15. Does software provide mobile apps?

Mobile apps are software that you can install on mobile phones. First, mobile apps are useful for vendors that sell on your marketplace. For example, when client buys some product at vendor’s micro store, then it can notify immediately vendor about purchase. Also, it can notify vendor about some requests or messages are sent from customers. Another promising technology appeared few years ago is PWA. PWA is a JavaScript program that can be installed on devices. It used to speed up to load website pages and also can work when your device is offline. It looks like a light version of mobile application for your website.

16. What payment methods are available?

There are few important points you need to check. Which payment methods are supported out of the box? Does script allow creating nonstandard payment option and setup into marketplace as extension? What payment methods are provided by software’s seller as extensions

17. Does software provide messaging between the vendor and the customer?

There are many options: chat messaging, voice messaging, sending client’s requests into seller’s email box. You need to find out: does marketplace script have its messaging software system? If not, then additionally you need to buy some installable or cloud based live chat software.

18. What options are there for populating the database?

It includes all possible options for adding/updating products and prices at the store. For example, marketplace script may allow vendor to import products from excel/google sheet, import products via XML or JSON. Also, it would be good if marketplace can link product with appropriate pages on external seller’s websites or other e-commerce platforms so that marketplace script pulls product updates from external web pages. This feature can allow sellers to save their time.

19. Does it support multi currency?

This feature allows customers to select currency from list and see price of products and order them with selected currency. If you have an interest in adding such feature into marketplace then please check if this feature is included in script out of the box or do you need to buy it as separate extension?

20. What types of products does marketplace support?

This is a list of possible types: Simple, Downloadable, Grouped, Bundle, Configurable, Virtual, and Booking.
Virtual products, or digital goods, represent non-tangible items such as memberships, services, warranties, or subscriptions. This type is very close to downloadable type. Downloadable type allows selling books, software, video etc.

21. Does script support multi-language interface?

The multi-language marketplace allows business owners to reach a huge number of prospects cost-effectively. This feature is useful if you are going to extend your business worldwide. If this is your case, then you need to check if multi-lingual feature is included in marketplace script, and you do not need to pay additionally to install it.


Building a marketplace is a complicated process. It depends on many conditions. Sometimes, people start to build a marketplace omitting some important things. After they notice that part of significant features are lost, but it requires much more time, efforts and money to implement them than it required when they were at initial stages of project. In this article I introduced points that should be considered before you start of building your marketplace. Each alive marketplace is unique. Thus, you can have your own unique requirements that is not listed in this article. We are happy to help in this. You can get consultation from us using this FORM. Also, you are welcome to share your valuable thoughts using comment form below. I am going to describe many interest e-commerce tools in my future articles. If you have an interest in this you can subscribe to our blog updates.

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