In recent years, the marketplace business has gained significant popularity among startuppers. Thanks to the universality and relative simplicity of the marketplace platforms. Almost every type of business can be adapted to this type of online platform.
When the marketplace business was only getting started, there was only one way to develop your own platform. People had to build a custom application from scratch. This was quite difficult and costly teamwork of numerous specialists in web development.
Nowadays, numerous software providers have created out-of-the-box marketplace development platforms. These tools allow the marketplace development process to be speeded up and simplified.
The custom and out-of-the-box solutions differ in many aspects; however, both ways have their benefits.
In this article, we will also speak about the existing platforms, their pros, and cons. and give you some advice on how to develop an online marketplace or choose a development platform.
How to Develop an Online Marketplace: Custom Development VS Out-of-the-box Solutions
Pros and Cons of Out-of-the-box solutions
Using custom development will allow you to build a working platform in a timely manner. Your product will have a customized design. And you will be able to choose and add any necessary functionality.
Such services will allow creating a marketplace platform. It is possible for people without a technical background and with a limited budget.
By choosing different subscription plans, you will get access to a different number of the provider’s resources. The data will be stored on their servers.
Pros of Out-of-the-box solutions
- Simple development
Out-of-the-box solutions are easy to use even for people with no technical background. Their customers can use lots of patterns and templates to create their own websites.
- Budget prices
As a rule, ready-made tools providers charge relatively low fees and sometimes no fees at all
- Several functions
For example, an opportunity to customize the functionality may cost additional money. But all in all ready-made solutions appear to be cheaper them custom development.
Cons of Out-of-the-box solutions
- Hardly customizable
When you use out-of-the-box solutions, you’re basically using templates. Such templates are hard or impossible to alter the solution to your needs. That means a ready-made software is good to develop an online marketplace with basic functionality.
Vice versa, if you develop a marketplace like Airbnb, pay attention to custom development.
- Poor functionality
As far as ready-made solutions are templates, they have a basic set of features of an online marketplace: admin dashboard, search and filters, booking system, and other most common functions. And that’s not going to be a problem if you are planning to build some typical product.
Aiming to build an innovative product with some unique features? Choose out-of-the-box solutions that may not fulfill your business needs.
Pros and Cons of Custom Marketplace Development
The most advanced and challenging option is to consider the services of a software development company. They will offer you a team of developers and QA engineers. Moreover, you can work with project managers. They will take into account all your requirements and preferences. As a result, you will create exactly the product you want.
At Sloboda Studio the core expertise lies in the development of online marketplace platforms. We’ll share why custom development is not always the best solution.
In this article, we will pay the most attention to the out-of-the-box platforms. They allow creating a marketplace relatively quickly and cheaply. The most famous platform for online marketplace development is Sharetribe. Now we are going to consider the possibilities of Sharetribe. Along with its main competitors: NearMe, Marketplacer, Arcadier.
You will learn about the basic possibilities, pricing, strong and weak points of each solution. Hopefully, this will help you to choose a marketplace development platform for your needs.
Pros of Custom Marketplace Development
- Needed functionality
When you develop a custom product from scratch, you develop any architecture and features. Basically, you can implement almost any idea with an experienced team.
NB: But don’t be in a hurry to implement all the ideas at once. First, we’d recommend starting with MVP. Secondly, after receiving some market feedback. It would be easier to continue development and upgrade the project in accordance with feedback.
Custom development makes your marketplace more scalable and flexible. If needed, you can extend your features or add the new ones in the future. The whole marketplace becomes more quality as far as you are paying attention to every implemented feature.
Most software companies offer expertise in particular technologies. Did you decide to use some “marketplace technologies” like PHP or Ruby on Rails? it would be convenient to find an agency that specializes in these technologies. They will offer you marketplace development from scratch.
Cons of Custom Marketplace Development
- Longer development
Custom development includes lots of tasks and processes. Discovery research, business planning, determining tasks, development, testing, debugging… And yes, lots of communications. The process will definitely be longer than launching a ready-made template.
- More expensive
While ready-made solutions will cost you some basic fees, professional development wouldn’t be that cheap. The hourly rates for web development may reach $75-180 in the USA and Central Europe. However, you can hire outsource marketplace developers with rates $30-50 per hour.
Read also: Cost to Develop an Online Marketplace
TOP 4 Platforms for Marketplace Development
Sharetribe is a constructor that allows people to develop an online marketplace. Selling things and services, renting a property, booking a property or location, etc.
The platform provides a quick and efficient marketplace constructor. It allows building a working, quick, and mobile-friendly platform within just a few minutes.
The client does not need to worry about payments. The basic platform has integration with Stripe and Paypal. It works with more than 20 currencies in more than 190 countries. You can charge the fees, hold the funds, and manage the finances.
Sharetribe offers extensive functionality to make the work with the marketplace platforms more convenient. You can use an advanced search system, built-in messenger, unlimited number of listing, localization to different languages, the possibility to select the currency, etc.
Like similar services, Sharetribe offers its clients a paid subscription with different plans. There are Hobby ($99/month), Pro ($149/month), Growth ($199/month), and Scale ($299/month).
The main difference in the subscription plans is the capacity of the marketplace. The platform with Hobby subscription is only able to handle 100 users. Each other plan increases the capacity by 10 times. To 1000, 10,000, and 100,000 users respectively.
Additionally, the plans differ in terms of their customization options. The Hobby plan offers unlimited traffic, listings, images, transactions, and access to the 7-day support.
If you want to save a bit, we recommend paying 6 months in advance. This will be about 20% cheaper.
Pros of Sharetribe
Sharetribe offers everything you need for a stable and scalable marketplace for a moderate cost. It is really user-friendly and accessible. Even to users who don’t have a significant technical background.
If you decide to change your provider, you can just download your marketplace copy. Then delete it from the Sharetribe servers, and migrate it to a different one. This option opens up numerous possibilities for users to scaling the business.
Cons of Sharetribe
Sharetribe offers a lot of opportunities for building almost any type of marketplace. And it is possible that you will want to have something completely different. Sharetribe may not have the necessary features or offer you ones you don’t want.
Near Me | Marketplace Software
Near Me is a highly configurable marketplace platform. It allows setting up a fully custom design and offering access to HTML/CSS. The marketplace can have functionality of the biggest marketplaces like Airbnb, Upwork, Etsy, and eBay.
The marketplace based on NearMe will have a powerful, mobile-friendly dashboard, secure shopping cart. They also provide the possibility to localize the platform in any language. They also provide built-in SEO tools, account management, and support by phone or email.
Starter plan: $500-1000 monthly. The starter plan offers a capacity of up to 10,000 users. In includes technical support via email, a custom domain, and a free SSL certificate. Additionally, the platform can be translated into different languages.
PRO-subscription: $2000 monthly. In addition to the starter plan, there is a more advanced solution. It offers a more powerful platform with a capacity of 25,000 users and priority phone support in addition to the email one.
Pros of Near Me
NearMe offers a functional and advanced platform with a wider range of customization options.
Cons of Near Me
The pricing of NearMe is comparatively higher than that of Sharetribe.
Although it is justified, NearMe may be not affordable for clients on a tight budget. Unlike Sharetribe, NearME do not allows downloading a marketplace. So it would be difficult to migrate to a different provider.
Marketplacer is a universal platform that allows you to build almost any type of marketplace. Choose everything from sites for selling goods and services to events and booking platforms.
They provide a wide range of options for sellers and customer management. Use its admin panel, advanced search system, and a secure shopping cart.
For marketing and advertising, they offer a powerful marketing toolbox. It allows users to manage advertising, the content of the platform, and other media options.
Pros of Marketplacer
Marketplacer provides powerful analytics options, which Sharetribe does not have. You can integrate Google Analytics, track Seller and Advertisement performance, generate Financial reports, etc.
Besides, you can choose any revenue model you’d like. Including Commission, Subscription, Listing fee, Pay-per-lead, etc.
Cons of Marketplacer
Marketplacer is less customizable than Sharetribe. Like NearMe, it does not allow users to move the marketplace to a different provider.
Arcadier is a software provider for marketplace platforms. It offers the ability to custom build a platform. Such platforms suit any type of business – selling goods, services, renting a property, etc. Owners can make their platform private by allowing new users to register only via invitation. Simplify the registration process: log in to your existing account via Facebook or Google. Or create a new account.
The basic payment providers are already integrated into the marketplace. So the marketplace owner will not have trouble establishing a payment system.
Any other payment provider can also be added to the marketplace. Arcadier has already created a search system, admin panel, and seller dashboard. There is also a built-in messenger, allowing the parties to communicate with each other.
Arcadier provides 4 subscription plans: starter, basic, growth, and scale. They all include an unlimited number of users and listings, Google Analytics integration, email support. Localization to different languages and custom domain names is supported too. Having paid for a subscription, the user is not charged any additional fees for transactions.
A difference between the plans is in the limitations as to the number of transactions. The cheapest Starter plan offers up to 500 transactions. The most advanced Scale plan – up to 10,000.
Furthermore, there are other functions in each type of subscription. The basic plan gives the possibility of adding custom code and customizing the home page. A Growth plan provides the Marketplace API access. The Scale subscription offers hosted API integrations.
Generally, the price of the subscription depends on the frequency of billing. If you choose monthly payment, you will have to pay
- $39 for the Starter plan
- $79 for the Basic plan
- $199 for the Growth plan
- $399 for the Scale plan
By paying for a six-month subscription in advance, you will be charged:
- $199 ($34/month) for the Starter subscription
- $403 ($68/month) for Basic
- $1,015 ($170/month) for Growth
- $2,035 ($340) for the Scale
The cheapest solution is to pay for a year in advance, which will cost you:
- $305 ($30/month) for the Starter plan
- $711( $60/month) for theBasic plan
- $1,791 ($150/month) for the Growth plan
- $3,591 ($300/month) for the Scale plan
Pros of Arcadier
They also have extensive partnership networks of design, marketing, SEO, and PR agencies, as well as payment facilitators. These options make maintenance of the marketplace clear and easy. Additionally, the platform can be localized to different languages.
Cons of Arcadier
The platform is not scalable enough. Users may have issues while scaling his growing marketplace platforms.
How to Сhoose a Marketplace Development Platform
We have considered the functionality of Sharetribe and its most famous competitors. All of these platforms offer a basis for creating your own marketplace. But the scope of their services and pricing plans is quite different.
How to create a perfect marketplace? To build a custom platform from scratch. In any other case, you will face certain restrictions and limitations. Before selecting the necessary platform, we recommend considering the following issues:
- Required Marketplace Functionality
Before choosing the platform and starting the actual development, plan the business logic. Describe its value proposition, monetization model, the way the parties will interact. The more detailed the plan is, the more mistakes can be avoided.
- Platform Functionality
Having considered your requirements on the platform, you should study the market of software providers. Each of them offers a different number of resources, applies different restrictions, provides different functionality, etc. The proposition of the marketplace provider should correspond to your vision of the future platform.
Having created a shortlist of the platforms whose offer matches your needs, it’s time to consider their pricing policy. Depending on your budget and their available subscription plans, you should choose the most appropriate option that matches your requirements and money.
One more thing to remember – none of the platforms will offer you the possibility of building the exact marketplace of your dreams. There will be restrictions imposed by the subscription plan and the capabilities of your platform itself.
If this does not prevent your platform from working in the way it should, everything seems to be OK. If you have encountered difficulties with workflow and understanding that they are caused by the native peculiarities of the platform – it’s time to change the subscription plan, choose another service, or transfer your business to your own servers.
Our Expertise in Online Marketplace Development
SalesFolk is a marketplace for copywriters that specializes in email templates for sales purposes. Our client came to us with an MVP. However, it still needed some upgrades with new features for both client and writer.
To make the marketplace application more convenient, we implemented:
- Registration fee feature
- Finding a suitable candidate tool
- Proofreading feature
- Personal information block
We have improved the initial MVP and created a dashboard panel for different user roles. During the development process, we developed the platform in accordance with client requirements.
Cleaning Marketplace is an online marketplace that connects customers with professional cleaners from their local area and allows booking cleaning services for their houses and apartments.
Our client’s goal was to digitalize their offline business by creating a B2C & B2B online cleaning platform.
Sloboda Studio created a platform according to the client’s requirements. The final marketplace included such features as:
- Search & Booking
- Price formation
- Payment system integration
- Matching customers with cleaners algorithm
- Booking Cancellation
- Admin Panel
- SEO optimization
- Admin dashboard
Moreover, after the launch of Cleaning Marketplace, our client attracted an investment group and currently, we are working both on the new features and support.
Let’s review the marketplace development platform opportunities that we have considered:
- Custom development allows adding any features and functionality you need. You can also have a scalable product and maintain high code quality on your online marketplace.
- Out-of-the-box solutions cost less and help to launch your project faster. For example, you can use platforms such as Arcadier, Marketplacer, Near Me, or Sharetribe.
However, both methods are suitable for marketplace platform development: it only depends on your business needs. While out-of-the-box solutions are great for basic marketplaces, custom development will help with more sophisticated e-commerce projects.
If you decide to choose a custom marketplace platform development, we are always here to help you. Feel free to book a free consultation!