Shopify does not offer a direct solution to build a multi-seller marketplace. You will need an additional plugin at additional cost to run your own marketplace using Shopify. If you are looking for a well rounded, hassle-free multi vendor marketplace solution, you should try Dokan. The flexible eCommerce platform of Dokan offers a comprehensive multi-vendor marketplace solution for business of any size.
In this article we’ll discuss how to create Shopify like marketplace using Dokan.
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.
What is Multi-Vendor Store
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.
You can get started multi-vendor marketplace for free & ready using Open Source WordPress platform. You can build a multi-vendor marketplace with only two WordPress plugins.
- WooCommerce (Free)
- Dokan Multivendor (Free/Pro)
Then add a domain name and web hosting of your choice. This will cost around $30 per year for a single domain, hosting and SSL. Very few expense to get it done.
Why use WordPress For a Marketplace?
WordPress is world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS) and it is capable for eCommerce platform also. Most importantly, the platform is totally free. More than 33% of the world’s web is powered by WordPress. WooCommerce is the most commonly used plugin for eCommerce, it creates shopify like single stores. But now Dokan comes in.
Dokan Multivendor is a WordPress plugin that uses WooCommerce to create a marketplace just like Shopify, Amazon or eBay.
How to Get the Free Version of Dokan?
Dokan Multivendor offers a free version to download and use. The free version comes with core and essential functionalities that are required to build multi-vendor marketplace. On the other hand, the pro version offers more enriched and professional features that can manage a huge marketplace.
More than 3,100 online businesses are running using Dokan on WordPress and how much profit they are making from their business, is unbelievable!
Essential Features of Multi-vendor Marketplace
Following are the necessary features to create your multi-vendor marketplace
1. Social Login allows the vendors as well as customers to login or signup with their social media accounts. Instead of filling personal detail in sign up form.
2. Bulk Product Upload provides the vendor a facility to import and export the products in mass and can update the product information in bulk.
3. Invoice and Report generation feature gives the vendor to generate the invoices for the orders placed for their products
4. Flexible Commission between Owner & Seller. Owner will set the commission for individual vendors. It facilitates the admin to set various conditional rates for every purchase of his vendors’ products.
5. Vendor’s Review & Rating allows the customer to rate and send their reviews for the concerned vendor.
6. Reliable Payment Gateways allow the customers to pay through different payment method.
7. Multishipping Methods gives the vendor to offer various shipping methods for customers.
8. SEO Analysis is used to analyze the traffic and accordingly increase your site ranking in search engines.
9. Vast Support solves queries and problems and provides 24X7 support to customers.
10. Customer Mobile Login gives the opportunity to the customers to login with his mobile number only.
Here is What Shopify Offers for the Vendors
From the basic package, you get the following features of an eCommerce store,
- Own Online Store (a sub-domain)
- Storefront with customize-able store appearance
- Product Management
- Order Management
- Payment System
- Discount / Coupon Management
- Customer List
- File Storage
- Customer Support
- Manual Order
Pricing: The Big Factor
If you consider the starter or the Shopify basic package, it costs around $29 per month. This means you will have to pay around $348 a year just to run your store with these features.
Compared with Dokan, you are getting it free (free version) and Dokan PRO only costs $149, which is half of Shopify and you can use this forever! However, to get the latest updates and customer support, you have to renew your license every year.
Let’s Go Inside
Shopify gives you a sub-domain and hosting for your store. You can easily create your store without buying any domain name and web-hosting. As a bonus, you will get a free SSL with your store.
On the other hand, with Dokan, you have to buy your own web hosting. It will cost you around $2.95/month, which is not so huge expense. But you get to manage everything by yourself and all your store data remains in your own care. If you think about privacy, safety and security, it’s all intact!
How Shopify Dashboard Looks Like
After creating your own store, you will get a dashboard from where you can manage your own store. The dashboard of Shopify store looks like:
Creating Products with Shopify
Shopify allows you to create as many products as you want. You can add important information about the product including title, price, description, images, inventory, shipping, variations and also SEO.
How a Shopify Stores Looks Like
It’s just like any other online eCommerce store, but you can customize the appearance with Shopify themes (which will cost).
Why Dokan for Building a Marketplace
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.
How to create your own Shopify Like Store
First, Install WordPress
Here are some methods on how to install WordPress.
Method #1: Choose a host that comes with WordPress pre-installed
The easiest way to install WordPress is to just pick a host that does it free or automatically for you. Nowadays, many WordPress-specific hosts will let you choose to have pre-installed WordPress.
Here are a few recommended hosts that offer pre-install WordPress for you:
- Bluehost – affordable and comes with pre-installed WordPress.
- SiteGround – has tons of WordPress service marketplace-specific features that make your life easier.
Method #2: How to install WordPress via cPanel and auto-installers
cPanel is the dashboard that most web hosts providers give their customers. When you sign up for hosting, your host should give you with login details for cPanel.
In your cPanel interface, your host should give you an auto-installer. Auto-installers basically automate the full WordPress install process. So instead of doing everything manually, you just input some basic information, click a button, and the auto-installer installs WordPress for you.
Method #3: How to install WordPress manually
Download the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org.
Then unzip the zip file and upload it to the
public_html (or similar) directory of your website. If you’re not sure how to log in to FTP, ask your hosting provider for your FTP account information.
The rest will be done by your web hosting provider.
After installing WordPress on your site, you have to install the world of eCommerce. WooCommerce is the plugin that can turn your WordPress website into an eCommerce solution.
For further installation process, Read this article.
Install & Activate Dokan Multivendor Marketplace
At first, go to WP-Dashboard > Plugins > Add New and type “Dokan” in the search box. You will find Dokan Multivendor Marketplace, click on the Install Now button and after complete installation then activate it.
Configure the Basic Settings of Dokan
After installing and activating Dokan, you will be redirected to easy step by step setup wizard and it will help you to configure the required basic settings. Watch the following video to see how it works.
So, you have configured Dokan and enabled vendor selling options that means you have created your own marketplace. Now, vendors can build and set up their own stores just like Shopify. This enables them to add different types of products and start selling. From each of their sales, you can earn a percentage or commissions.
How the Dokan dashboard and the store page looks like-
The Dokan Vendor store looks like:
Features of Dokan Multi-vendor Free
Using the free version of Dokan Multi-vendor, you get the following features. This will help you to get a brief idea about Dokan and how it can help you to create your own Shopify like store. If you are serious about a marketplace, you can create a much more enriched marketplace with the paid version of Dokan.
- Individual and customizable stores for individual vendor
- Better front-end dashboard for vendors
- Detailed order management with reports
- A free marketplace theme
- Unlimited product creation and management
- Vendor order management directly from front-end
- Easily manageable coupons
- Detailed customer list with email facility
- Store support feature for each vendor
- Website and blog management using WordPress
Features of Dokan Pro Version
As you can compare, you are getting almost every basic feature and function that Shopify provides for free using Dokan Multivendor. The Dokan Pro version has more features that can help you to run a huge marketplace. When you are allowing a lot of people to create their own Shopify store, you will need many unique features including –
- Advanced shipping & Tax options
- Variable products
- Bookable products
- Professional earning reports and statements
- Different payment gateways
- More than one commission system
- Order email notifications
- Vendor announcement system
- Store SEO
- Store support
- Back-ordering and many more
With the above mentioned price of Shopify, it allows only two admin account, whereas you are getting an unlimited number of admins or staffs with Dokan Multivendor plugin.
You have to pay extra for each transaction if you are using extra payment gateways in Shopify. But you can use more than 100 payment gateways and you don’t have to pay anything extra in Dokan.
Earning From Each Sale
Using Dokan Multivendor, you can create a shared multi-vendor marketplace with other people. Most importantly, all of you will get individual stores from where you will be able to operate your own store sales.
You can also earn from the sales of your vendor. Each sale they process earns you a percentage or commission and this is one of the most notable features of a marketplace.
Feel the Freedom & Be a Part of Something Bigger
There is an endless opportunity of eCommerce and you have to grab the best one that suits you. WordPress gives you the freedom of taking this big opportunities.
While you are using Shopify, you are limited to a simple sub-domain and cannot customize your own website on a large scale.
Meanwhile, Dokan along with WordPress gives you the ability to customize your store independently the way you like!
Dokan Pro version costs you $149 per year. You can create your own advanced Shopify like store by spending only $230 if you add a domain and hosting cost. On the other hand, the basic Shopify costs you around $348. Please note, you are getting only basic features with this handsome amount. It can be mentioned that you are also getting free support and updates for one year.
We can conclude this article and come to a decision that Dokan is better than Shopify.