Multi-vendor online stores also known as multi-vendor marketplaces are becoming popular nowadays. The idea behind a multi-vendor store is to allow individuals, resellers, and/or companies to create their profiles and sell products. The big giants are Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy, ThemeForest, and eBay, etc.
Today, I will guide how you can easily create a WordPress marketplace from scratch. Before moving ahead, here are the few prerequisites:
Since you are going to create a marketplace for a large audience, you would require an optimized and secure WordPress hosting like Cloudways. A managed cloud hosting platform for speedy WordPress sites and an optimized WooCommerce hosting solution. Since we will be using a multi-vendor plugin (Dokan) by WeDevs. There is also a guide on WeDevs to speed up a multi-vendor store.
The most powerful Content Management System (CMS) in the market that powers more than a quarter of the websites available. The best part is that anyone can use it as one wants, from simple blogging to an entire eCommerce and multi-vendor marketplace. You just have to choose the plugins that best fit your needs.
A WordPress plugin that converts WordPress-based sites into an online eCommerce store. WooCommerce is considered the best free eCommerce plugin. Since a multi-vendor marketplace is an eCommerce store, we would require WooCommerce.
4. Multi-Vendor Plugin (Dokan)
You will find a number of WordPress plugins that will convert your WooCommerce-based store into a multi-vendor marketplace, but in this guide, we will be using Dokan by WeDevs. Here is the demo, how the marketplace will look like.
Features of Dokan
There are multiple reasons to choose Dokan for this guide, a few of them are:
Unlike Dokan competitors, it’s free to start. The starter plan covers almost all of the basics that make up a WooCommerce multi-vendor store.
Most of the available alternatives to Dokan might not be as compatible with the WooCommerce compatible themes. But, Dokan claims to be compatible with all.
The best part is that it’s easy to use the multi-vendor plugin for admins and vendors. All the features are pretty straightforward.
Without any further ado, let’s start creating a WooCommerce multi-vendor marketplace.
P.S: I will be using Cloudways as a hosting provider.
Login to your WordPress dashboard, install and set up WooCommerce. I assume you have already done that. Now, install and activate the Dokan – a multi-vendor marketplace plugin, use the Quick Setup Wizard to set up the basics for the first time, these can be changed later on.
Once done, you will see Dokan on the sidebar of the WordPress dashboard. Go to the Dashboard of Dokan, this is how it looks like:
To customize the marketplace, navigate to the Settings tab.
General settings for the entire multi-vendor marketplace.
A place to configure the selling options, choose them wisely as the commission model can also be controlled from here.
Control when and how the vendors can get the payments.
Choose how the vendors can access their accounts.
Choose how the vendors’ profiles will look like.
Register As a Vendor
One can register in two ways – As a Vendor and/or a customer. Navigate to the registration page, fill the registration form and choose, who you want to be.
Note: Make sure, 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 WooCommerce marketplace.
Once registered, log in to the marketplace by navigating to the login page. The vendor will get a warning message that:
Dokan: “Error! Your account is not enabled for selling, please contact the admin”.
It is because the admin of the marketplace didn’t allow the vendor to sell products. An admin should go to the WordPress Dashboard → Users and edit that particular user as per his choice. To enable the selling option, an admin must mark/enable where it says Enable Adding Products. Now, the vendor should be able to upload his products to sell.
As a vendor, navigate to the My Account page, control and monitor your performance from there.
P.S: Make sure the admin sets up the correct permalinks. The URL structure should end with a trailing slash like this: /%postname%/ otherwise, the left menu on a vendor dashboard might not work properly.
Adding a product for vendors is easy, just navigate to the Products tabs from Vendor’s dashboard, and add the product. It will then go for approval by the admin. To approve a product, an admin needs to navigate to the WordPress dashboard → Products, edit that product and push the publish button.
An admin can allow vendors to publish a product directly (without manual verification). To do that, an admin needs to get into the vendor’s user profile via WordPress dashboard and mark where it says Publish Product Directly.
Here is how a product will look like along with the Vendor info.
Register as a Customer
Registrations for customers are the same as they usually do for any WooCommerce based store.
As discussed before, a multi-vendor marketplace is one of the most popular market systems in the existing industry. It suits any kind of market, and by following the above guide, you can create an Amazon-like WooCommerce multi-vendor store that can help you and the vendor with mutual benefits. If you have any questions about the multi-vendor marketplace and/or related to its setup. Feel free to ask in the comments section below.