Are you looking to build an online marketplace? Creating a multivendor marketplace may seem complicated to you, especially when you’re not techy. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The good news is that WordPress along with its rich library of helpful plugins can help you to build a fully functional online marketplace in minutes.
We are talking about the Dokan Multivendor plugin. It is a fast and powerful WordPress plugin that enables you to build any type of marketplace. Right now, more than 60,000 WordPress sites are using Dokan to run their online businesses.
We’ll share a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to create a marketplace using Dokan in WordPress in today’s write-up.
Before starting, let’s look into some marketplace-related stats. It will answer your question-
Why Should You Create Your Own eCommerce Marketplace?
With the changing dynamics of online shopping, eCommerce entrepreneurs find the concept “multivendor marketplace” profitable for all.
Customers spent more than 3.25 trillion dollars on online marketplaces in 2022. (Source)
Whether you have your own products/services or not, you can set up an eCommerce marketplace and start earning from the commissions and subscriptions.
Take a quick example of Airbnb.
Airbnb is the most popular online marketplace for lodging, primarily homestays, and tourism activities. It helps tourists to find accommodations in over 220 countries and regions around the world.
Without having their own real estate sites or property, Airbnb simply acts as brokers, receiving commissions from each booking. The commission is typically 3% for guests and 6-12% for hosts.
Another big marketplace platform “Amazon’s revenue” for the twelve months ending June 30, 2023, was $538.046B, a 10.73% increase year-over-year. And this is the reason more and more people are willing to try their luck in this industry.
If you’re planning to start your own business, must consider online marketplaces before making any other decision. It would be a profitable business whether you’re selling your own products/services or helping others to sell their products on your platform.
Why Should You Use WordPress to Create Your Multi-vendor Marketplace?
There are many reasons to prefer WordPress as your business platform. Not only is WordPress free; but so are its tools. WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) out there. This platform powers over 43.1% of all websites and accounts for 63.1% of the global CMS market share.
Being a CMS, WordPress will allow you to build your marketplace in minutes. WordPress is also open-source and customizable. Plus, there is a giant community of WordPress professionals out there to help you if you need it.
Things You Need to Kick off
In order to create a multi-vendor marketplace, you’ll need the following:
- Your Domain and Hosting
- WordPress (Free)
- WordPress Plugins (Free)
- WordPress Themes (Free)
1. Domain Name & Hosting
Before creating a marketplace with WordPress, buy a domain name that represents your marketplace’s identity. Choose a domain that’s easy to remember and relevant to your niche. You should buy a domain name after checking whether there is a free Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page available or not to maintain a consistent brand.
Select a reliable hosting provider that meets your website’s requirements in terms of speed, uptime, and scalability. Some popular options include Bluehost, SiteGround, Pressable, HostGator, and DreamHost.
If you are on the lookout for a reliable hosting service, try Managed WooCommerce Hosting which provides special tools to help eCommerce marketplaces succeed, like SSL certificates, free Jetpack Security Daily, and much more.
WordPress has become one of the top choices for entrepreneurs due to its ease of customization, flexibility, rich plugins, and add-ons gallery. It is a very user-friendly platform, even for beginners.
Refer to this guide installing WordPress on your site, if you require any help.
3. WordPress Plugins
Now install your WordPress plugins. You will need to install two plugins to make your WordPress site a multi-vendor store:
First, install WooCommerce (which is completely free). We will be using WooCommerce because it has taken over 93.7% of the total WordPress eCommerce websites compared to other major solutions:
Unfortunately, WooCommerce alone doesn’t let you add multi-seller functionality to your eCommerce store. For this, you’ll need to install Dokan to unlock WooCommerce’s multi-vendor functionality. Below we’ll show you all the steps to install and customize Dokan on your website.
Note: Though Dokan is a marketplace plugin powered by WooCommerce, you don’t have to install the WooCommerce plugin individually. During the installation of Dokan, it will be automatically installed.
4. WooCommerce & Dokan Compatible Themes
With Dokan, you’ll get all the basic marketplace features on your website instantly. But you have to work with your website’s look. Creating an attractive look for your online marketplace is as important as its functionality.
The design of your website is the first interaction point with your users. So, it should be engaging and relevant to your marketplace niche.
Luckily, WordPress offers a rich library of eCommerce themes in different niches. And Dokan is compatible with almost all the themes available in the WordPress repository.
However, we recommend you use the “Dokani theme” for your online marketplace.
You can choose other themes as well by navigating WP-Admin → Appearance → Themes. You can see the preview of any theme before implementing it on your website.
How to Create a Marketplace in WordPress with Dokan
It requires several steps to build a fully functional multivendor marketplace. But you can simplify the process with the right tools and resources.
Where WooCommerce activates all the eCommerce features on your WordPress site, Dokan comes with all the functions to run a multivendor marketplace.
Dokan multivendor lets you build a unified platform so multiple vendors can create their mini-stores and sell their products on your platform. You, in turn, can earn a commission from each sale.
Here are the steps to create an online marketplace in WordPress:
- Install & Activate Dokan Multivendor Marketplace Solution
- Configure the General Setting of Dokan
- Setup An Admin Shop & Upload Your Products
- Allow Vendors to Sign Up on Your Online Marketplace
Step 1: Install and Activate Dokan Multivendor Marketplace Solution
You can install and activate Dokan multivendor like any other WordPress plugin.
Using personal credentials, log in to your WordPress dashboard. Next, go to Plugins→ Add New from the left side menu options.
On the right side of your screen, you’ll see a search box. Here, type the plugin name “Dokan”. Now, install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site.
It’ll turn your website into a marketplace instantly.
Alternatively, you can install Dokan using the downloadable ZIP file. To do this, you have to download the ZIP file from WordPress.Org and then upload it to your website.
For further assistance, you can read the documentation about Dokan Admin Setup Wizard.
You’ve installed Dokan Lite on your website. It is completely Free and gives you enough features to get started.
However, with your growing business, you may need many niche-specific features.
Dokan Pro comes with many exclusive features to take your marketplace to the next level. You’ll find different packages and 35+ premium modules to empower your Dokan Multivendor marketplace.
As an admin, you can earn a handsome amount of revenue from your vendors in Dokan. To learn more about the features of Dokan you can visit this page.
Step 2: Configure the General Setting of Dokan
Dokan supports a simple user interface with powerful features. There is a wide range of customization options too. So you can design your marketplace as per your requirements.
Let’s show you how to configure all the basic settings of Dokan multivendor-
From your WordPress dashboard go to Dokan → Settings.
Below you can find the basic settings page of Dokan. From here you need to:
- Define your store terms and conditions
- Create store category (so that vendors can add different categories for their products )
- Enable payment gateways
- Set withdrawal methods
- Allow vendors to upload new products
- Create new tags
- Set new product status & more
- Assign the necessary pages.
By switching tabs, you can set different rules and conditions to personalize your shop.
Check this guide to get a complete overview of Dokan multivendor plugin settings.
Once, you’ve made all the changes, don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button.
Step 3: Setup Admin Shop & Upload Products on Your Marketplace
[This is not a mandatory step. It is required only if you intend to sell your products on the marketplace]
As an admin, you can earn money in several ways from your online marketplace. Such as:
- Manage your marketplace & earn from the sales commissions, advertisements, etc.
- Sell your own products/services as well as get a commission from other vendors’ sales
To enable yourself to sell products, from the WordPress Dashboard go to Dokan → Vendor
Then, toggle the Status bar associated with your shop. It’ll enable the admin to add and sell products on the marketplace.
Now, you can upload your products by navigating to WordPress Backend → Products → Add New.
Alternatively, you can upload products from the front end. To do so, go to WordPress Dashboard → Visit Vendor Dashboard → Products. Your registered vendors will upload products this way.
As an admin, you have to approve the product from the backend. After your approval, products will be visible on the site.
Now, if you want to customize your individual store design go to Vendor Dashboard → Settings. Here you’ll find options to update your store name, address, banner, logo, opening & closing time, etc.
Suppose you’re creating a marketplace for t-shirts. Your mini store might look like below:
Step 4: Allow Vendors to Sign Up on Your Online Marketplace
Congratulations! You’ve successfully added all the basic marketplace functionalities to your website and created your mini-store.
Now it’s time to open your marketplace for vendors. So third-party business owners can sign up to your marketplace and sell their products.
Go to WP Admin → General → Settings. Enable the option “Anyone can register” and save all the changes. This will open the default registration form for vendors to sign up.
If you want to stand out you can customize the registration form with the necessary fields.
When any new vendor signs up on your site, you have to change their status to enable them to start selling on your marketplace.
Go to Dokan → Vendors and enable the selling status. It allows them to start selling.
After getting approval, vendors can design their own mini-stores with individual URLs.
Also, if you want the vendors to upload their products, change the product status from Dokan → Settings → Selling options.
Vendors can decorate their mini store and upload products from the front in the same way we’ve shown above for an admin.
With Dokan, every vendor will get an individual dashboard. From the dashboard, they can upload, manage, and sell their products hassle-free. It gives them deep insights into your sales instantly.
Bonus Step: Optimize Your Marketplace with Dokan Advanced Features
With Dokan Lite, you’ll get all the basic features and functions to create and run a booming online marketplace. But for some advanced niche-specific features, you may need Dokan Pro.
Using different Dokan modules, you can add a booking system or enable an auction feature to your marketplace.
Dokan supports 35 exclusive modules to take your marketplace to the next level. Here we’ll give you a quick glimpse of some popular modules of Dokan.
- Dokan Product Addon: This module allows vendors to add additional products under the main product. For example, offering a wooden comb with hair oil. You can utilize several marketing techniques like upsells and cross-sells on your marketplace with this module. It can be a great way to increase sales and improve the customer experience.
- Dokan Live Chat: By activating this module, you can let your vendors chat with customers in real-time. So they get the opportunities to create bonds with their potential customers and resolve issues quickly.
- Dokan Vendor Review: With this module, you can allow customers to give reviews to the vendors. It’ll help your marketplace build trust and credibility.
- Dokan Store Support: This module allows vendors to offer customer support from their store pages. It can reduce the workload of the marketplace admin.
- Return and Warranty Request: Enable vendors to offer customers customized return and warranty policies for the products they’ve bought. A smooth return and warranty process is one of the key factors to improve customer satisfaction.
- Dokan Vendor Analytics: Offers vendors detailed reports about their sales, traffic, and customers. Using these insights sellers can improve their marketing strategies and make better business decisions.
- Dokan Seller Badge: This module allows vendors to earn badges for their achievements, such as the number of sales, number of reviews, and positive feedback. This can help to build trust and credibility for vendors, and it can also help customers to identify reputable vendors.
Dokan multivendor offers diverse types of modules to enrich your marketplace facilities and boost its performance.
To expand your marketplace functionalities, check all the premium modules of Dokan here.
Bonus Tips: Track Your WooCommerce Marketplace Conversions
Once your WooCommerce store gets up and running, you may want to know the number of conversions occurring.
You can see these numbers with this great tool: WooCommerce Conversion Tracking.
Creating a multivendor marketplace from scratch requires careful planning, market research, and a strong customer focus.
By following this step-by-step guide, you can build a feature-rich marketplace that attracts customers, differentiates itself from competitors, and grows into a profitable business.
With Dokan Multivendor, it would be super easy to build a marketplace in WordPress. Moreover, you’ll get many helpful resources, video tutorials, and documentation to customize your shop using Dokan.
But remember, running a booming marketplace is an ongoing process. You have to continuously adapt and refine your strategies to stay ahead of your competitors.
So, what are you waiting for?
Start creating your dream marketplace with Dokan & bring your vision to life.