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Best and cost-efficient e-commerce platforms for multi-vendor marketplaces

Building the next Airbnb and Etsy has never been easier

Best and cost-efficient e-commerce platforms for multi-vendor marketplaces

Thursday November 16, 2017,

4 min Read

Starting your own online marketplace with no coding experience and a tight budget has never been easier. You’ve probably have heard the hugely popular website such as Etsy, Airbnb, or eBay by now. They are what we called multi-vendor marketplace website where buyers and sellers can connect and conduct transactions. The marketplace website acts as middlemen taking care of the payments which makes it convenient for both parties.


I’ve been thinking about starting a marketplace e-commerce website recently. So I started to look into the best and cost-efficient e-commerce platform providers which has the ability to support a multi-vendor experience. I am not technically trained, so I need something that doesn’t need any coding skills or complicated customization, and most importantly, I am also bootstrapping on my MVP, so it has to be affordable. My findings showed me that they are many e-commerce platform providers out there that can create marketplaces like Etsy and Airbnb. Sharing my discovery, here are the top five e-commerce platform provider that is rich in features but affordable in costs you may want to know about too.

1. Shopify

This could be the most popular e-commerce platform provider out there. It’s a fully hosted platform which means Shopify lets you organize products, customize storefront, accept various payment systems, track and respond to product orders—all within a few mouse clicks. It’s not a true marketplace platform as it’s mainly for a single merchant shopping cart experience, but there are plugins that can turn it into a marketplace. There are plenty of beautiful website themes to choose from and an excellent technical support that’s available around the clock. Price: Free 14-day trial and the cheapest plan starts at USD 29/month.

2. Sharetribe

Quickly gaining attention as the most established multi-vendor e-commerce, Sharetribe is probably the easiest way to create a marketplace website. It is really easy to setup and frequent updates make Sharetribe a reliable and bug-free e-commerce platform. Another bonus point with Sharetribe is that there is no lock-in, meaning all the data and code are yours to keep. Price: Free 30-day trial and the cheapest plan starts at USD 79/month.

3. Arcadier

Nobody knows about Arcadier until about a year ago. The platform offers “off-the-shelve” features that cater for retail, services, and rental marketplaces. Arcadier is packed with all the features needed to create a successful marketplace with an easy-to-navigate interface. Besides the elegant themes selection, you can edit some codes (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) to customize the website further and bring your own payment gateway. Price: Free plan available and the next paid plan starts at USD 39/month.

4. Nearme

Catered to enterprise-level customers, Nearme will custom build the marketplace to your liking. The all-in-one platform is rich in features with a great technical support that’s available 24/7. Worked with big brands such as Intel and Cisco in the past, Nearme is an ideal choice for those who want to scale up their online business but without the hassle and expense of hiring a new team of developers. Price: Cheapest plan starts at USD 1000/month.

5. Bigcommerce

It is one of the leading e-commerce website providers that offers enterprise, small business, and B2B (business-to-business) solutions. The all-inclusive e-commerce solutions platform allows users to be in control of the design, merchandising, and the business without worrying about the backend infrastructure. There’s an integrated online marketplace education that consists of in-depth videos, how to guides built right into the store’s dashboard. Price: Free 15-day trial and the cheapest plan starts at USD 29.95/month.

Perhaps “the best” is not the right word to use when it comes to deciding which e-commerce platform provider to choose from. It’s all about finding the right provider that can deliver important feature and service to help you build your marketplace without breaking the bank. Choose an e-commerce platform provider that is relative to your goals, experiences, and budget. When you’re able to do that, expect to have a successful marketplace up and running in no time.