In this article, we will learn what a multi-vendor marketplace is. If you don't know anything about starting a business online, i suggest you read our previous articles before reading this.
What is an online marketplace?
For example, a shopping mall or shopping complex, here, there will be many different products from various sellers. You can buy almost anything from there, and the same applies to marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc. In some cases, Marketplaces can be exclusive to particular product categories such as the Gtrendz Online marketplace is exclusive for footwear. Just like developing a single vendor, as we have seen in our previous article, you can create a multi-vendor website or marketplace using the same techniques.
Since a marketplace focuses on a wide range, sellers will expect a premium quality user experience, so it is best to hire a website development company to create your market. You have to develop options that work for you and your sellers on the marketplace. Some software companies are selling the single vendor module as a multi-vendor module with fewer customizations, that will never work when creating a marketplace. So if you find out the development company is using modules developed for a single vendor shopping site, don't do business with them. The single-vendor website and multi-vendor website structure are entirely different from each other. So the best approach is to hire a development team to create your online multi-vendor platform.
Having an own development team makes it easy to make changes to your website or alter any process according to customer needs. This way, you own the software source code of your marketplace website. If your business does not go well, you can sell your source code for a great value. This a benefit as a protection for your investment because if something does not work the way you planned, you can always a piece of the software or entire source code. These are the first and essential things you should keep in mind before you start.
This multi-vendor e-com classifies into two categories, for the first one, let's take a look at Decathlon. Decathlon is present all over India with multiple branches. They have outlets almost in every state. They created an e-com marketplace with a different structure, allowing one to add every outlet in different cities as individual vendors to the site. For example, if a customer places an order from Coimbatore, the product is sold from Coimbatore outlet, and their inventory is updated. So by doing that we cut costs on courier charges and provide faster delivery.
Now the second one, let's take a look at GTrendz Online. GTrendz Online does not have outlets all over India, but it does have multiple sellers from all over India selling various brands. Also, this marketplace focuses mainly on footwear products only. Another type of marketplace, as seen above, which sells all kinds of products like Amazon and Flipkart.
Dashboards or Control Panel
When you are a single-vendor website, you have only one dashboard that controls everything that goes on the shopping website. But in multi-vendor e-commerce, you will need more control panels, such as seller panel, admin panel, and employee login panel. You manage all operations in the admin panel. And it not just ends there, your development team will have to make three different versions of your website, seller panel, employee login, and admin panel. Those three versions are production, demo, and development. It increases your development costs because of server costs.
When you create a marketplace, a website is not just enough. You have to create a mobile application like amazon, Flipkart, and GTrendz Online. Having a mobile app to access your marketplace is a must because that's how all e-com marketplaces are accessed today. Only the customer website needs a mobile app, and it's unnecessary to create apps for admin and employee dashboards because the control panel has a lot of information, and that is easy to consume all on a mobile screen. But you should create an app for the seller panel, and it's beneficial for small businesses who don't have computers. Also, apps your development team have to create for both android and iOS platforms. You will need a testing team to test your website, apps, and the dashboards to make sure all the functionalities are working as expected.
In a single-vendor, you will need only 50K INR to create a stable shopping website. But in a multi-vendor e-com or marketplace, you will need a minimum of 20 Lakh INR investment.
Without this kind of money, you will never create a working structure. The development cost of your software alone will take up to 15 Lakhs INR.
Single-vendor does not require a lot of work so that you will be able to manage the site with one or two persons. But in a multi-vendor, you will need at least 15 people to survive—teams such as the development team, testing team, support team, order-management team, and shipping team. Without these teams, it is impossible to run a marketplace successfully.
Because of the enormous costs, no small businesses will be interested in the involvement of multi-vendor. If your business is in the transition from a medium scale to large, creating a multi-vendor platform would be the right choice.
Many people step into the multi-vendor business with an investment of just 2 Lakh INR, but only after a time they realize it is not enough. Because that platform won't be scalable and no possibility of integrating new features on the website. It would become complete of their investment.
It would be best if you learned about the latest software that developers use to create platforms like these. For example, at this time, some of the popular and latest are Angular, React, nodejs, etc.
If you build the site using platforms like Shopify, it only takes months to finish your website. But if you are creating a marketplace, the development time takes at least a year and a half. Our platform took a year and a half to complete because we built our marketplace with excellent stability, user experience, and a lot of time on testing and fixing bugs. There will be no profits during this time, so you will need a separate money income or investment to keep things above the water. It would help if you had a high tolerance for creating a marketplace.
The market keeps changing every day, so you should hire someone to do a market study every day to survive between competitions. It's always good to include customer feedbacks in your market study and ask what kind of features they expect in the future, how is the service, etc. These are things that help you to run e-commerce successfully.
In Gtrendz Online, we provide some value-added services such as Flash Deals and sales, things like these are not possible if you buy an existing module and customize it that fails.
So we have seen elaborately about the crucial things in this topic. In our upcoming articles, we will learn briefly about the subtopics such as payment gateway, shipping providers, etc. Thank you for reading, Stay tuned for more business lessons.