E-Commerce sites have become extremely popular nowadays, thanks to the many features and ease of use they provide customers.
With just a few clicks, customers can buy things online, delivered to their doorstep, making the process highly convenient
Given the popularity and flexibility of online shopping, eCommerce sales are expected to hit $5.542 trillion in 2022 1 while growing 50% in the next four years to reach $7.4 trillion in 2025 2 .
With more customers turning to digital channels for their shopping needs, eCommerce websites need to invest in the right content management systems (CMS) and platforms to help them take on the competition and stay efficient. Drupal is offer a stable bridge between Content and Commerce
To gain the benefits of a full-fledged eCommerce site, platforms like Drupal provide a free, open-source content management system and a set of features that allow website owners to build and scale their eCommerce operations quickly.
A great example of Drupal commerce in action can be seen in a case study 3 of an Israeli textile company that wanted to increase outreach, establish market dominance, and provide online point-of-sale features across every city in the country.
The flexible and out-of-the-box frontend features of Drupal commerce provided the support and platform they needed. They could replicate it across several customisations and customer requirements.
While Drupal may be the ideal next step, choosing the right multi-vendor eCommerce platform can be challenging for most businesses, and there’s a lot one needs to consider when charting this course.
So, to help you set sail in the world of eCommerce and build a sustainable multi-vendor marketplace like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Flipkart, here’s how you can choose an ideal, free and open-source multi-vendor eCommerce platform.
What is a Multi-Vendor eCommerce Platform?
A multi-vendor eCommerce platform is a ready-to-use solution for creating online marketplaces where many merchants may list and sell their items.
This platform provides all the fundamental eCommerce functions, including the necessary connectors to optimize and manage marketplace operations. Thus, multiple vendors can be onboarded on the platform.
At the same time, consumers gain access to a vast catalog of products and sellers in a single marketplace, making it the ideal go-to option for any of their requirements.
Using multi-vendor eCommerce platforms saves business owners significant web development time and provides best-in-class features with minimal to no coding. Thus, businesses can spend resources on branding and marketing the online marketplace.
Multi-vendor eCommerce platforms might be SaaS, hosted, or self-hosted.
Important Features of Multi-Vendor eCommerce Sites
When choosing a multi-vendor eCommerce platform, selecting the right capabilities and features will help ensure that your overall website is future-proofed and ready to take on existing and future demands.
Here are some of the key features you need to look out for:
1. Ease of Use
Is the platform intuitive and easy to understand? Does it enable the user to find the information they need easily? Is it easy to design, navigate and customize the platform based on specific requirements?
2. Maintenance and Security Features
Security is critical in today’s world. Many hackers are constantly trying to break into databases and steal sensitive data. As a result, companies spend a lot of money protecting themselves from these attacks.
Thus, when choosing an eCommerce platform, you should consider the security and maintenance aspects that will enable you to get the best-in-class technology and safety.
3. Customer Support
Customer service is something that many companies overlook until they have problems. Consider the average standby time, time to resolution, and other factors when determining the right platform for use.
4. Cost of Adoption
If you plan to use a SaaS-based solution, these might include fees and other costs you must factor in when choosing the platform.
Open-source platforms, too, may have certain premium features and additional costs that you should factor in when deciding on the right platform.
5. Store Management Features
Not every online store can support 24×7 services. With multiple vendors, the platform allows the vendor to choose the hours when they will be available for the customers.
Store management features enable the vendors to set their hours and manage inventories, shipping charges, timelines, and other areas that give customers a realistic view of the services provided.
6. Reporting and Analytics
In a world of hyper-personalization, data is critical not just for your platform but also for vendors. Having detailed analytics and data regarding sales and businesses ensures that your vendors gain a better perspective about what is selling and areas that need improvement.
It is also crucial since you can design and upgrade your platform by leveraging data-centric information.
7. Advanced Search Features
Having a vast catalog of products can confuse customers. Advanced search features that allow them to filter by date, keywords, categories, or others ensure that the buying process is much simpler and faster.
8. Multiple Payment Gateways
Today, customers use various options and channels when making payments. Cash on delivery (COD) and online payment options form the basis of any good eCommerce platform.
However, your platform must also support other payment methods, like card payments, online banking, etc. In addition, it is a good practice to include easy monthly installments (EMI) or buy now, pay later (BNPL) options that ensure customers get the flexibility to pay as they can.
9. Multilingual Options
Most multi-vendor eCommerce platforms cater not just to one particular geography or target audience but to a multitude of them.
For customers to feel comfortable with your platform, it is essential to provide them with the option to choose their preferred language for search and communication.
A multilingual setup will ensure that customers get all the information they need in their native language and make them feel valued.
Why Choose Drupal to Build Your Multi-Vendor eCommerce Website?
Drupal Commerce is a powerful open-source CMS that enables online businesses to sell products and services over the web. You can quickly build a fully functional eCommerce website using Drupal Commerce without hiring expensive developers.
In addition, Drupal Commerce provides features that allow you to create a robust eCommerce site with many different types of inventory, payment gateways, shipping options, tax calculations, product variations, etc., with little effort.
A quick comparison of Drupal with other multi-vendor eCommerce platforms is as follows:
|Platform||Enterprise Ready||Beginner Friendliness||Multivendor Capability||eCommerce Capabilities||Multilingual Support||Costs|
|WordPress||Yes, Many media organizations and small and medium-sized organizations use WordPress||Yes, Created to build personal blogs, not very complex.||Supported with plugin||With WooCommerce Extension||70+ Languages||Free and Open Source Software, no license cost; Many paid plugins and themes.|
|Drupal||Yes, Fortune 500 Companies, Governments and Large corporations use it.||Medium, There is a learning curve||Supported with Drupal Commerce||With Drupal Commerce Extension||100+ Languages||Free and Open Source Software, no license cost, the framework and the module ecosystem allow complex infrastructure for large organizations|
|Joomla||Medium Complex||No||Not really suitable for E-Commerce||Only with extension||76+ Languages||Advanced plugins can be expensive|
|PrestaShop||Easy||Yes||With Extension||Built for eCommerce||65+ Languages||The basic version is free; advanced features are paid|
|Magento||Moderate||No||Supported||Built for eCommerce||50+ Languages||Only paid versions with multiple plans for vendors|
Further, here’s why Drupal is the ideal option to build your multi-vendor eCommerce platform:
- It is free and open-source; you do not have to pay charges to use it, and its robust community continuously updates its resources.
- It supports multiple payment options like Stripe, PayPal, WorldPay, Sagely, etc.
- Users can easily define their shipping terms and rates.
- It is payment card industry (PCI) compliant and highly secure to protect customers’ private details, card information, and other personal information.
- It is built on a modular framework, making it simple and easy to use. Plus, all the modules are completely free.
- Drupal models are tailored to boost SEO; these include the meta tag module, SEO checklist module, XML sitemap model, etc.
- It has a thriving and well-engaged community, making it easy to get quick resolutions to any issues you may run into.
The Final Word
Choosing a multi-vendor eCommerce platform can be challenging and is one of the most critical decisions for any business owner.
Many small business owners and eCommerce brands may find Drupal complex or too advanced for their specific business needs. However, the benefits of Drupal’s platform, such as the extensive flexibility and customization options, enable you to get the best of a CMS combined with eCommerce features.
As a result, you can achieve what you want with your eCommerce platform and ensure that it is scalable per your business requirements.
If you are still confused about finding the right content management system or multi-vendor eCommerce platform, consulting with industry experts can help you decide on one tailored to your specific business, product, and customer requirements.
Zyxware enables brands to define and execute the next steps in their digital transformation journey and understand the proper framework and platforms to help them customize their website.
In addition, you can achieve a lot more using our industry insights along with Drupal’s unparalleled functionalities that could be the game changer for your eCommerce website.