Multi-vendor online stores also known as multi-vendor marketplaces are very popular nowadays. The main concept of a multi-vendor store is to allow individuals, re-sellers and/or companies to create their profiles and sell products. Examples of popular market places are Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy, ThemeForest, and eBay etc.
In this article we’ll show you how you can easily create a multi-vendor marketplace using WordPress, WooCommerce and Dokan from scratch.
What is a Marketplace?
A marketplace or online marketplace refers to a platform where buyers and sellers initiate or conduct transactions. The marketplace acts as a digital middleman that connects both buyers and sellers, to make it convenient for them to find each other as compared to before.
Multi-vendor marketplaces made their debut twenty years ago, with most of such platforms focusing mainly on retail and goods.
Remember the following basic question for the development of a marketplace:
- What types of products and/or services?
- What are the transaction currencies?
- Which areas to cover?
- What are the legal regulations?
- What about internationalization?
Multi-vendor store is a standalone eCommerce store that allows you to create an online marketplace. In Multi-Vendor store, independent vendors can sell their products through a single storefront.
An online vendor is the one who sells products on the online marketplace. A Multi-Vendor store can have an unlimited number of vendors.
To become a vendor in a Multi-Vendor store, a candidate fills up an application form, gets the admin’s approval, and starts showcasing the products on a common storefront.
What is WordPress?
We think all of you are familiar with WordPress. It is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. More than 32% of the websites around the world is powered by WordPress and this number is rapidly increasing.
WordPress was first released on 27th May, 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little and was announced as open source in October 2009.
Features of WordPress
- User Management − It has the ability to manage the user information such as changing the role of the users to (subscriber, contributor, author, editor or administrator), create or delete the user, change the password and user information. The main role of user manager is Authentication.
- Media Management − It has the tool for managing the media files and folder, in which you can easily upload, organize and manage the media files on your website.
- Theme System − It allows modifying and changing the site view and functionality.
- Extend with Plugins − Tons of plugins are available which provides custom functions and features according to the users need.
- Search Engine Optimization − It provides several search engine optimization (SEO) tools which can makes on-site SEO simple.
- Multilingual − It allows translating the entire content into the different language preferred by the user.
- Importers − It allows importing data. It imports custom files, comments, reviews, post pages and tags.
What Kinds of Websites Can be Created with WordPress?
WordPress is a versatile tool that you can use to create several different kinds of websites. Actually the possibilities are endless but we have gathered some more common ways of usage to give you a better insight.
Basically, WordPress created as a blogging tool and still one of the most frequent use cases of the platform. You can create a small blog with minimal cost. As your blog gets more and more exposure, you can upgrade to more advanced solutions.
Freelancers, artists, photographers, musicians, writers, and other professionals frequently use WordPress to build their online portfolios. There are several portfolio themes available on WordPress.org and it include all features you may need, such as image galleries, light-boxes, and portfolio grids.
If you have a small business you can also use WordPress for a good solution for your website. Although WordPress is extremely popular with SMEs, it’s also frequently used by large corporations, too.
Since WordPress has a low cost of maintenance and a relatively flat learning curve, it’s not surprising that it’s the popular platform of charities and churches as well.
With WordPress, you can also create an online shop without any programming and technical knowledge. WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress allows you to add crucial features such as shopping carts, an order management system, checkout pages, one-click refunds, and others to your online shop.
An Overview of WooCommerce
There is no doubt that WordPress is the world’s best Content Management System (CMS). With a single plugin WordPress can be an excellent platform on which to build a web store.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that allows WordPress users to build a web store. It is one of the best WordPress eCommerce plugin for building and growing an online business.
WooCommerce is developed by WordPress theme shop WooThemes. They hired Mike Jolley and James Koster to work on a fork of Open source WordPress plugin Jigoshop. Which later re-branded as WooCommerce. Due to its tremendous success and promise WooCommerce was acquired by Automatic, parent organization of WordPress for $30 million.
What Can You Do With Woocommerce?
It became very popular among WordPress users because it requires minimum input to process orders, cart, inventory, taking payments, sort taxes & shipping. One of the major advantage of running an online store using WooCommerce is having a wide variety of useful extensions or plugins at your disposal. Whenever you need an extra functionality just search in the plugin option, you will get the solution.
Create WooCommerce Multi-Vendor Store
Multi-vendor marketplace is a booming industry and there is an easy chance of earning in multiple ways. Plus, you can even create and launch it for free!
You might have thinking how WooCommerce multivendor will be in the business relationship with you. You will grow in the business network and move up in recognition besides the profit. It is also not much more cost effective than running a physical store.
You might think it would be painful job to build an online marketplace all by self. But we are going to introduce you with a free solution, which you could use to build your dream multi-vendor marketplace. Meet, Dokan Multivendor Marketplace!
Multi-Vendor Marketplace/Store Plugin – Dokan
You will find a number of WordPress plugins that will convert your WooCommerce store into a multi-vendor marketplace, but not like a way like Dokan by WeDevs. You can see the demo, how the multi-vendor marketplace will look like.
Dokan: An Entrepreneur-Friendly eCommerce Platform
Dokan solves all sorts of eCommerce-related problems that owners tend to face. WeDevs developed Dokan keeping all these commonly faced problems in mind so that the end-user gets the best experience.
Easy to Start
Whenever you have a business idea, Dokan comes forward to fulfill your dream. Creating and managing a WooCommerce multivendor store has become so easy that most of the market owners operate alone without any help of technical person.
Dokan is free and has rich features. Anyone can use Dokan to create their own eBay and Amazon like WooCommerce multi-vendor store for free and earn through commissions.
Allowing back-end access to admins and only front-end for vendors ensures your store high security. The back-end of any multi-vendor store is not always easy to use for regular people and it also gives access to other settings related to your store.
Dokan developers consider the time for its users always because most entrepreneurs are too busy just to manage their business. Considering this, Dokan’s front-end is designed in such a way that the vendors can easily manage everything. The only time you need to intervene is when issuing refunds a certain products.
Never Stop Earning
Since there is no limit of vendors, you can earn commissions from each sale or selected. Thus you will never face loss with your marketplace. You can also earn more from hot selling products, favorite vendor, offer coupons or launch discount campaigns on special occasions to boost sales.
Reduce Maintenance Cost
Since vendors self-manage, your maintenance costs are very low. Dokan owners usually do not require separate store owners to take care of their marketplace. Since it is an open source, you can hire developer to customize the plugin at a comparatively lower cost. Also, Dokan comes with a free theme that beats many charming paid themes. The extensions for Dokan are fairly priced considering the features they offer.
Features of Dokan
- Marketplace with independent store.
- Multiple Product Types
- WooCommerce Compatible Themes
- Front end Dashboard for Vendors
- Earn from each sale
- Store Insight with reports and statement
- Coupon Management
- Stylish storefronts
- Order Management
- Review Product publishing
- Easy withdraw system
- Vendor profile completeness
- Store page SEO Management
- Complete Store settings control for Vendors
- Vendor payment method setup
- Social profiles integration for Vendors
- Shipping Management for each Store
- Order and earning widget on Vendor Dashboard
- Easy customer refund process
- control selling capability
- Customer service
Create a Multi-Vendor Store Using WooCommerce and Dokan Multi-vendor
Dokan is one of the best and free woocommerce multi-vendor marketplace plugins out there. With Dokan, you will have the best WooCommerce marketplace that does not require you much effort and cost at all!
All you need to build your online multi-vendor marketplace with Dokan is:
- WordPress hosting and a domain name
- WordPress (free)
- WooCommerce Plugin (free) and
- Dokan Multi-vendor Marketplace Plugin (free or pro)
The installation and configuration of WooCommerce and Dokan multi-vendor marketplace take only about 10 minutes.
How To Install WooCommerce
Installing WooCommerce is as simple as installing any other plugin from the WordPress Plugin sore.
From your WordPress dashboard you have to go to Plugins > Add New and then search for WooCommerce.
When you will get the plugin in the list. Simply click the Install Now option.
Once the installation has completed click Activate Plugin.
This will take you to the WooCommerce basic Settings page, which requires one final step before the plugin is completely installed. At the top of the screen there is a large notification asking you to install WooCommerce Pages:
Clicking on the Install button will create all of the necessary pages for your online store. After adding your pages, you’ll be redirected to the WooCommerce welcome screen:
Now, the plugin is fully installed and you should check the WooCommerce System Status to ensure that there are no immediate problems.
You can find the system status under WooCommerce > System Status. If there are any problems then you will get information on how to resolve them.
Now it’s time to begin configuring your web store. In the WooCommerce > Settings menu you will get numerous options. Let’s have a look at the options to configure under each tab.
How To Install Dokan
After installing and configuring WooCommerce, install and activate the Dokan – a multi-vendor marketplace plugin and use the Quick Setup Wizard to set up the basics for the first time, these can be changed later on.
Once done, you will get Dokan on the sidebar of WordPress dashboard. Go to the Dashboard of Dokan and it looks like:
There is no limitation to set the number of vendors in Dokan. To configure the settings go to WP-admin > Settings > General.
To add new users navigate to WP-admin > Users > Add New. As an admin, you can add vendors, customers, subscribers, shop manager etc. See the below image.
Selling Option: Now, you have to configure the selling options, configure them wisely as the commission model can also be controlled from here.
Withdrawal Option: By configuring Withdrawal option you can control when and how the vendors can get the payments.
Page Settings: Now, choose pages how the vendors can access their account.
Appearance: Select how the profile of vendors will look like.
You can change the default themes if you want. Check all other themes from Dokan compatible themes.
Register As a Vendor
Anyone can register on your marketplace in two ways – As a Vendor and/or a customer. Just go to the registration page, fill the registration form and choose, who you want to be.
Make sure that the admin has enabled the registrations by going to the Settings > General and marked where it says, Anyone Can Register. Otherwise, no one will be able to register at your Dokan marketplace.
Once registered, login to the marketplace by going to the login page. The vendor will get a warning message just like the following:
An admin should navigate to the WordPress Dashboard > Users and edit that particular user as per his choice. To enable the selling option, an admin must put tick mark/enable box of Enable Adding Products. Now, the vendor should be able to upload his products to sell.
As a vendor, go to the My Account page, control and monitor your performance from there.
Please not that, the admin set up the correct permalinks. The URL structure should end with a trailing slash like: /%postname%/ otherwise, the left menu on a vendor dashboard might not work properly.
Add a Products: Adding a product for vendors is very easy, just go to the Products tabs from Vendor’s dashboard, and add the product. It will then go for approval by the marketplace admin. To approve a product, an admin needs to go to the WordPress dashboard > Products, edit product and push the publish button.
An admin can also allow vendors to publish a product directly (without his manual verification). To do that, an admin needs to enter into the vendor’s user profile via WordPress dashboard and put tick mark on Publish Product Directly option.
Here is how a product will look like along with the Vendor information.
Register As a Customer
Registrations for customers is the same like the procedure in WooCommerce based store.
Create a Multi-Vendor Store Using WooCommerce and Dokan: Final Thoughts
As discussed before, a multi-vendor marketplace is one of the most popular online market systems in the existing eCommerce industry. It suits on any kind of the market, and by following the above tutorial, you can create an eBay and Amazon-like WooCommerce multi-vendor store which can help you and the vendor with mutual benefits.
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