Shopify for Marketplaces – Weekly Loop #16


Weekly Loop #16

Shopify for Marketplaces


Marketplaces are at the core of what makes the internet so valuable and useful”

Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit and investor in Origin

While perhaps some hyperbole in the statement, it’s true that marketplaces are perfect for the internet given the ability of the internet to connect otherwise small niches, while also deploying a technology platform to foster direct participation by end users. Previously there was no way to create such marketplaces, which suggests we’re still in the early age of marketplace ecommerce.

Large marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy tend to dominate headlines, though anecdotally, it seems niche marketplaces are being more common. Just as Craigslist was once unbundled by a number of marketplace startups, those same marketplaces are being unbundled even further by new niche marketplaces.

One reason for the change is the accessibility of the technology to create marketplaces. What once needed a technical team can now be launched using pre-built third party applications. Both Shopify and Woocomerce, our preferred ecommerce platforms, offer solutions from third-party vendors.

As a number of sellers are looking for help with Shopify for marketplaces, we’ve highlighted the three current apps available on the Shopify app store.

Shopify for Marketplaces – 3 Apps


Multi Vendor Marketplace by Webkul Software Pvt Ltd

  • Number of reviews: 163
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Positive comments from reviews:
    • Best customer support.
    • Easy install.
    • The APP does really everything it says it does.
    • The BEST app in terms of options and functionality.
    • Best features, including splitting payments through Stripe Connect and offering a membership option to having real-time stats for the vendors to access 24/7.
  • Negative comments from reviews
    • Too slow, lots of bugs, no custom domain-based url for seller sign up.
    • Support is not helpful and does not have 24/7 support available.
    • Terrible product upload process.
    • App works most of the time.
    • The app claims to do “seller payments” … that’s really not true. It only lets the seller put in their banking info so you can manually wire them money
  • Price range: $10 to $45 per month
  • Free trial info: 15-day free trial

Multi Seller Marketplace by Softpulse Infotech

  • Number of reviews: 13
  • Rating: 3.2
  • Positive comments from reviews:
    • The app itself is very easy to use and install so no major coding required.
    • Great customer support.
    • Allows for more customization than other apps.
  • Negative comments from reviews
    • Cannot upload products.
    • Tutorials not provided.
    • Lack of customer support.
  • Price range: $39.99/month
  • Free trial info: 30-day free trial

Multi‑vendor Marketplaceby

  • Number of reviews: 5
  • Rating: 3.6
  • Positive comments from reviews:
    • Great app.
    • Great and helpful support.
    • App provides instant access to inventory at all times without suppliers having to do anything.
  • Negative comments from reviews
    • Useless app.
    • Poor support.
    • Doesn’t make sense.
  • Price range: Free plan available; $9/month to $49/month.
  • Free trial info: 14-day free trial


Our Recommendation: Shopify for Marketplaces

As mentioned, we don’t have experience using any of these apps yet and Shopify is certainly not designed to use as marketplace software out of the box. There are other platforms specifically created with marketplaces in mind that may be more suitable. However, there are cases where Shopify may still be the right solution (i.e. if you are already running an existing Shopify site, prefer to have access to their app store, or simply want to rely upon the Shopify backend).

Based on the reviews and information we’ve read, we’re hesitant to give a full-fledged recommendation to any current solution as none has outstanding reviews with full-fledged features. However, if you are set on using Shopify for marketplaces, we’d first suggest trying Multi Vendor Marketplace by Webkul Software.

This should give you a good starting point, and it can always be customized later to meet the specific needs of your marketplace, which is likely to be the case with any out-of-the-box marketplace app or plugin regardless of the quality.

Have experience using Shopify for marketplaces? Let us know which solution you used in the comments.



Recommended Links


Each week, we read and watch articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, books and more related to ecommerce. We share some of our favorites links on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

In our weekly updates, we pare the links down to our favorite seven links from the past week.

Have a suggestion of something to include? Get in touch.


— Mentioned above, news of a new platform to make it easier to launch decentralized marketplaces fits well into the notion that it’s just getting easier to launch marketplaces. 

A new solution for building decentralized marketplaces from the well funded ($38M) Origin just released. Primarily aimed at services.

Origin launches protocol for building cheaper decentralized Ubers & Airbnbs
Josh Constine eCommerce – TechCrunch

““Marketplaces don’t redistribute the profits they make to members. They accrue to founders and venture capitalists” Origin co-founder Matt Lie, who was the third product manager at YouTube. “Building these decentralized marketplaces, we want to make them peer-to-peer, not peer-to-corporate-monopoly-to-peer.” When people transact through Origin, it plans to issue them tokens that will let them participate in the governance of the protocol, and could incentivize them to get on these marketplaces early as well as convince others to use them.”1

—Shopify has released a product aimed a preventing chargebacks for vendors. What a pain it can be fighting those!

“The company’s goal with anti-fraud systems is to protect online sellers against fraudulent chargebacks.”

Shopify rolls out fraud protection to U.S. merchants
Sarah Perez eCommerce – TechCrunch

“Shopify says its experience in processing millions of orders across its platform has allowed it to develop fraud detection technology that has the ability to accurately determine which orders are considered fraudulent. Its algorithms will now analyze incoming orders and decide if an order should be set as “protected.” If a fraudulent chargeback on a protected order then occurs, Shopify says it will automatically reimburse the merchant.
Before, merchants would have to manually review orders for fraud, which could be difficult – especially for smaller sellers who don’t know what to look for.”2

— Here’s an update on how Amazon’s own brands are performing. Unsurprisingly, they are outperforming 3rd parties overall. 

“According to our research the brand’s products are increasingly outperforming competition.”

Benchmarking AmazonBasics
Marketplace Pulse Marketplace Pulse

“Overall most AmazonBasics are hovering at 4.1-4.5 rating out of 5 stars. Few have reached the perfect five-out-of-five. The often mentioned AmazonBasics batteries in AA size have close to 23,000 reviews but a 4.2 rating out of 5. Most complain about the quality, weak performance, and some even received exploding batteries. One customer wrote “I have been using these batteries in my mouse for about two months. Today I heard a loud pop and sizzling. There was clear liquid coming from the batteries. The batteries have expanded and are still sizzling.””3

— VC Fred Wilson believes retail is changing big time, and we’re just in the beginning. It’s something I’ve said previously here and continue to watch closely as well. 

“My guess is that we are in the early innings of a long and painful restructuring of retail, ground floor real estate, and the shopping experience more broadly.”

Retail Space Available
Fred Wilson AVC

“And I think we will be seeing more signs like the one I photographed this morning in the coming years.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity in the midst of this painful process. In fact, it means there is a lot. And those entrepreneurs that seek to help the shopper, the retailer, and the landlord will have the greatest opportunity to reshape this sector and build large and lasting businesses.”4

— Is Amazon Logistics another attempt to outsource work and demand that contractors act as employees yet decline to provide benefits?

“Neither type are Amazon employees, but there are requirements and training to make sure they work to Amazon’s standards.”

Amazon Logistics: Innovation or Exploitation?
Andy Geldman Ecommerce In Depth

“Amazon Logistics isn’t structured like a traditional carrier, and it doesn’t perform like one either. It delivers seven days a week, and orders can be with the buyer the same day that they were placed. Often, packages are left outside homes, and no signature is taken as proof of delivery. That’s a lot of industry norms being broken.
So, what’s the verdict on Amazon Logistics? Does it offer a better, more modern and innovative service? Or is it a cheap, unreliable and exploitative pretender? Should vendors and FBA sellers even care how their products get to consumers, or does that only affect Amazon’s own reputation?”5

 Run ads from directly within Shopify with this new release

Marketing in Shopify: Grow Your Business With Facebook and Google Ads
Daniel Patricio Shopify Blog – Company

“Paid ads offer you exposure similar to a storefront, but with the added benefit of being able to pick and choose exactly who sees them. But running paid ads is getting more complex every day. From pixels to keywords, there’s always something new to learn, and it’s tough to keep up as a small business.
That’s why we’re launching Marketing in Shopify: A new place to help you create, launch, and measure campaigns. We’ve streamlined the process to make running a successful ad campaign easier than ever, and you can start a Google Smart Shopping campaign and Facebook ads in Shopify today.”6

— Email me be a great marketing tool, but it’s still hard to get customers’ attention

“Our research highlighted that nearly half of consumers (45%) are signed up to more than five retailers’ emails and a fifth to more than 10(!)”

5 interesting findings from talking to 1000 consumers about retailers’ marketing messages

“#2: Customers have lots of email subscriptions (but interact with few)
Our research highlighted that nearly half of consumers (45%) are signed up to more than five retailers’ emails and a fifth to more than 10(!), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are engaging with them.
Less than half of customers open more than five. Shoppers are signing up to emails but not opening them, this means that not only are they inundated with emails, you have to pretty special to capture their attention. Are you sending them relevant emails that truly connect on a personal level? Do you know what you customers want to receive from you?”7


Andrew @ EcomLoop
Are you looking to start or grow a standalone ecommerce shop? I help independent businesses achieve success on the Shopify and WooCommerce platforms. As the owner of multiple ecommerce businesses, I've had the opportunity to get experience with nearly every aspect of the ecommerce industry. I started EcomLoop to help other quality independent businesses using my knowledge and experience. To stay on top of new ecommerce developments, I publish The EcomLoop Weekly Loop, a blog and email newsletter with original thoughts and curated links to help independent businesses improve their businesses.