How to Create an Online Marketplace using WordPress

An online marketplace website gives the users a platform for buying and selling items by setting up their mini-stores within the eCommerce website platform.

You can earn money by sharing your online marketplace. Since it involves little overhead costs, it has gained popularity as an online business idea.

This article will direct you on how to create an online marketplace with WordPress without having to spend thousands of dollars.

Pre-requisites for starting an Online Marketplace with WordPress are as follows:

First, make sure that you have opted for the right website platform.

You will find two types of WordPress:

  1. WordPress.com
  2. WordPress.org

One of the above is a limited blog hosting service; the other is self-hosted WordPress. Using WordPress.org will be a better choice because it allows you the freedom and gives you access to all the existing WordPress features and components.

You will be requiring the following components for building an online marketplace website with the self-hosted WordPress.

  • Your domain name.
  • Your Web hosting account
  • The SSL Certificate.
  • WooCommerce.
  • Online marketplace add-on.

Step 1 is first to set up your Ecommerce Platform-

First, you will have to buy a domain name and a web hosting account for your site. Besides needing web hosting, you will require a service that provides specialized WooCommerce hosting since you will be using WooCommerce as your eCommerce platform.

After purchasing the hosting, you can begin to implement this entire guide, stepwise, for starting your online store and achieving a seamless and complete setup.

Now, you will have a WordPress website with WooCommerce installed on it.

WooCommerce, by default, assumes that your website to be a single-vendor website. Hence, other users cannot add their products and services to your site.

Step 2 is to transform your WooCommerce site into an Online Marketplace-

Begin with installing and activating the WC Vendors plugin.

For WooCommerce, WC Vendors is a marketplace solution. It eases the process of creating a marketplace website by making WooCommerce a multi-vendor platform.

Every vendor can sell their products while you can fully control your website being the marketplace owner. You can choose your product types, business model, payment methods, etc.

When you activate it, go to WC Vendors, followed by the Settings page for configuring settings of the marketplace.

You will find the general items first. You must check the ‘Vendor Registration’ box thoroughly for allowing users to sign up as a vendor to your site.

You can choose to review other products on the page. To store your settings, click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Now, click on the ‘Commission’ tab to fix a commission rate for vendors on your website. You have to pay this amount to the vendor for every sale.

Then, click on the ‘Capabilities’ tab to fix sitewide rules that your vendors need to follow.

The basic functionalities consist of allowing vendors to view and edit their products/ orders. The default options work for maximum sites.

Now, move to the ‘Products’ section. Here you can select the types of products vendors can add. For example, you can limit vendors only to add digital downloads and physical products.

You can choose which data Vendors can view and use on their ‘Add Products’ page; Move to the ‘Orders’ section under the ‘Capabilities’ tab for selecting the information regarding orders that the vendors can see.

After you have set up the functionalities and capabilities, you can get on with setting up pages concerning the marketplace on your site.

Go to the ‘Display’ tab within the plugin settings for setting up pages. Go to the Pages option. Click on the “Add New” option for creating a new page every product and adding the short code you will find in the settings of the content area on the page.

After you have created all the pages and added short codes to them, you can select them here.

Below the pages, you will also find the ‘Store Settings’ option on that page itself. Here, you can choose a prefix to implement in your Vendor shop URLs, allowing them to fix custom headers for their store pages, and use HTML in shop description.

Now you need to set up payments for your vendors. Most of the marketplace websites have set a minimum margin for their vendors, paying them on a monthly/ weekly basis.

You should use manual payments to vendors as this gives customers enough time to request refunds or provide feedback regarding the products.

But, if you wish to have a payment withdrawal system for your vendors, then there are several premium add-ons that you can buy. WC Vendors come with add-ons for MangoPay, Stripe, Manual Payouts, and Escrow.

Relying on the payment gateway you opt for, you must set up a payment gateway by typing in your API keys. Remember to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

Now that WC Vendors is ready to let’s set up WooCommerce for a multi-vendor environment.

Step 3 deals with Enabling Account Management in WooCommerce-

Go to the WooCommerce Settings page and select the ‘Accounts’ tab. Now, here, check the boxes adjacent to the customer registration option.

Step 4 involves Setting Up Navigation Menus-

Hence, you have just finished your multi-vendor marketplace setup. Now, your job is to make it easier for your users to locate and navigate their way around your website.

To accomplish this, go to the Appearance tab and click on the Menus page. Here, you will have to add your user account and checkout pages to your navigation menu.

Click on the ‘Save Menu’ button for storing your changes.

You can make a new page in WordPress and add the following shortcode in the post editor if you do not possess a My Account page. .
[woocommerce_my_account]

Step 5 is to Test Your Marketplace Website-

You can now test your online marketplace website. You can go to your website in any new browser window and create a new account by clicking on the link showing My Account on the top of the page.

Here, both vendors and customers have access to log in to their accounts and also make a new account.

After the users have created a new account, you will get an email notification.

You can also get access to view new vendor applications by going to the Users tab and clicking on the All Users page. You find a brand new vendor requests as ‘pending vendor.’ You can approve or deny apps by clicking the link under their username.

Once accepted, these vendors get access to log in to their accounts and put in their products by going to their vendor-dashboard. They can also see their orders and sales reviews.

First, your vendors must set up their shop settings. To do so, you have to click on the “Store Settings” link.

According to the payment methods that you will set up, your vendors will need to give their Stripe or PayPal email address to get their payments. They can also provide their bank account information for processing direct manual-payments.

When any of your vendor puts in a new product, you will receive a notification email; you will be able to spot an icon adjacent to the products menu. Then, you can edit any product, accept it, or remove it.

Your store page will display the products sold sorted by the vendor’s store name.

Step 6 is about Growing your Online Marketplace Website-

Choose a design to suit your marketplace website first. WordPress has a massive volume of free and paid themes, but not each of them is ready for eCommerce.

Now add new features and components to your site. You will want to be tracking those of your products that are driving more traffic and which of your vendors are attracting more users.To achieve this, you have to facilitate customer tracking with WooCommerce on your site.

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