WooCommerce is the de facto standard in getting an eCommerce setup quickly with a WordPress environment. Like all eCommerce solutions, it does have it’s own learning curve, and for very specific customizations you will need a developer to assist you with some heavy lifting. That’s why it is always impressive when a plugin comes along that automates so much for very little investment up front. WC Marketplace is a powerhouse plugin for WooCommerce that illustrates this perfectly. First of all, it’s free! Not to mention, what you get with just the basic plugin is impressive: multiple vendor support, customizable payouts to vendors, customizable payout types, vendor logins and vendor specific pages, tax and shipping integration, Paypal payout systems – a very robust ecosystem that can get you up and running very quickly. Its only dependency is WooCommerce!
For those of you who may be wanting to expand your corner of the eCommerce world by supporting new vendors with little hassle, WC Marketplace really shines.
What Can a Marketplace Do?
Giving vendors a chance to use your already established WooCommerce shop sounds great in theory, but without something like WC Marketplace it also carries with it extra baggage: you need to figure out how to import their products into your system, create any branding if it doesn’t already exist, setup all the pricing and sale pricing, tax information, shipping information, and the list doesn’t stop there. You need to promote new shop additions yourself, integrate things with your inventory or accounting software, add new categories for new product types, and so on. It’s exhausting work! But the benefits of additional products may be a much needed boost to your online presence. This is where a marketplace can step in and make things a bit easier.
With a marketplace, you add users to your site that are vendors. They have their own logins to the site, but they have special permissions once they log in. The can upload products, fill out all the meta information, pricing information, shipping information, etc. They will have their own site area to showcase and feature whatever they want from their catalog. All sales of these products go to them, except for a portion of the sale that goes back to you. Your administrative commission is automatically calculated for every sale, and collected for you in the backend. Another option for commission would be vendor-forward commissions, that send all the money to you, and you handle payouts back to your vendors.
WC Marketplace does all of this with ease! And it costs nothing for the basic plugin.
WC Marketplace Features
WC Marketplace gives users the chance to become their own salesperson on your site, but you are in control of this process. You can approve or deny any vendor request as you see fit. Similarly, any approved vendor’s products can also be approved or denied, so nothing appears in your shop without your express permission. Vendors do the rest: they update their vendor site page information themselves, add product images and descriptions themselves, and set all pricing and shipping meta info themselves.
As the shop owner, you are in control of all commission fees that occur, either per product or per vendor. You will set a threshold at which point commissions are disbursed. You can schedule payments immediately, or on a schedule. You can even set a charge for a commission withdrawal.
WC Marketplace also gives you sales reports for both products and vendors. This way you can track performance of a vendor or individual products to determine if they are worth keeping in the catalog. You can even create products for vendors and attach them in the admin area, should you choose. You can setup special environments where multiple vendors are selling the same product. You can use fixed or flexible commission types. The configurability of WC Marketplace is its strongest feature: If you can imagine a vendor/store configuration, you can likely pull it off with this plugin.
Vendors have a great deal of configurability for their shop areas. They can upload their branding, their business description, and even social media links. They can also get reports of product sales data related to their account. They can do all the typical WooCommerce setups like coupons, sales, and shipping methods. They get almost as much control as the site admin does with WooCommerce, except of course, you (the administrator) are always in full control.
One of the reasons I love WC Marketplace so much is because they don’t just stop with this one robust plugin solution, they have addons (not free) that give you a huge range of additional options should you need them. You can charge vendor memberships, give vendors importing and exporting tools, include other payment gateways like Stripe, and give them tools to enable or disable their sales when they need to. It even integrates with some other popular WordPress plugins like WP Job Manager. They offer bundles where you can get some of these at a discount as well.
WC Marketplace is an excellent tool to get started with something like a marketplace. If it makes sense for your business, it is certainly my first choice for a WooCommerce integration solution. It not only offers all those features I identified above, but it also works ‘the WordPress way’ so if you feel comfortable with WordPress, you will not be uncomfortable with this plugin. This is far and away the most robust WooCommerce marketplace integration that I have found for WordPress, so if that is your platform, don’t hesitate to try this out. It can bring you good fortune with your shop, with much less headache.