Choosing the Best Multi-Vendor Plugin

Written by Milica Kostic on 21 Mar 2020
5,653 Views • WordPress

WordPress started out as a blogging platform. But, today, you can use it to build any website you can imagine. You can use it to create resume sites, forums, social networks, and much more.

WordPress is also popular for eCommerce websites. In fact, Wordpress statistics reveal that 28% of all eCommerce activity goes through WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin. People all around the world use WordPress to sell products.

In this article we will discuss multi-vendor plugins and the e-marketplace.

If you’re not familiar with this term, we’ll take a moment to explain it. An e-marketplace, or online marketplace or multi-vendor online shop, is an eCommerce website where third-party users can sign up and sell their own products.

Think of Amazon or eBay. Multiple sellers can place products for sale.

The benefit for the sellers is that they can reach a wide audience without investing in their own e-store. The advantage for the buyers is that they get access to a wider variety of products in one place. Who wouldn’t want to take part in that?

As an owner of an e-marketplace, you act as a mediator between the sellers and the buyers. For that, you collect a commission.

As you can guess, you can build an e-marketplace with WordPress. And if you’re familiar with WordPress, you probably already know there’s a plugin for that.

Multi-vendor plugins make it easy to create and manage your own e-marketplace.

The problem is that these plugins can be pricey. You want to choose a good one from the get-go, or you might lose time and money.

That’s why we’ve prepared this article where we compare popular multi-vendor plugins and help you choose the best one for your e-marketplace.

We’ll compare four plugins: Dokan, WC Marketplace, WC Vendors, and WCFM Marketplace. We’ll mention the features of each plugin and also some drawbacks. We’ll also talk about price and give you a final verdict based on everything.

If you’re interested in opening an e-marketplace, keep reading.

Just remember that these plugins turn a WooCommerce store into an e-marketplace. You need to install WooCommerce before installing any of these plugins if you want them to work.

Dokan

We’ll cover Dokan first. It is probably the most popular multi-vendor plugin out there. It is a powerful tool with plenty of features, and it maintains excellent customer satisfaction.

The main benefit of Dokan is that nearly every function of WooCommerce is at the front end. Sellers can use the dashboard to manage their products and edit their e-marketplace profile. This makes it much easier for non-experienced vendors to manage their profiles and thus attract more sellers.

You can collect the commission in a variety of ways—percentage commission per sale, fixed fees, subscriptions, varying commissions for different vendors, etc. 

There are advanced options for product management like setting discounts, product variations, limiting the number of identical products per order, managing orders, creating coupons, etc. 

These are just some options Dokan offers. All in all, if you compare different multi-vendor plugins, Dokan is by far the most comprehensive one. It is a tried-and-tested plugin that consistently delivers good results.

One con of Dokan is that the price is relatively steep. There is a free version, but some rather essential features are locked behind the starter package that costs $149/year. Depending on the e-marketplace you want to run, or whether you want multiple marketplaces, you might even have to pay $499/year or $999/year. 

Another thing to note is that the refund for Dokan is conditional. You can’t get your money back if you don’t like the software. You only get a refund if you run into a technical issue that the support team can’t resolve.

That being said, if you want to run a top-notch e-marketplace, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with Dokan. If you can afford it, Dokan is definitely a good choice.

WC Marketplace

WC Marketplace is a tad younger than Dokan but no less important. It has some impressive features and is very much loved by its users.

A big selling point of WC Marketplace is that its core functionality comes for free. There is no premium version. You get all the essential features for free.

There are a plethora of options for managing vendors, setting the type and amount of commission, automatic payment to vendors, setting up reviews, letting vendors customize their stores, and so on. There are truly too many features to name them all here. If you’re interested, here’s a full list of WC Marketplace features.

You even get fast forum support for free. WC Marketplace creators reply to all queries within 12 hours on workdays.

However, while WC Marketplace offers many features that other plugins lock behind premium versions, not everything is free. Paid add-ons give you extra features if you need them.

Some paid features are: advanced front-end management, SEO and analytics, vendor vacation, etc. Keep in mind that while these are optional, you’ll probably need at least a couple for your e-marketplace.

The price of add-ons ranges from $20 to $125, or you can get an all-in-one bundle for $320. Even with paid add-ons, it’s cheaper than the other solutions.

Another pro is that WC Marketplace offers a 30-day no-questions-asked refund. If you find that the features are not working for you, you can get a full refund.

Feel free to test the plugin out. You have 30 days to change your mind.

Now for the cons. There have been complaints that the plugin can be buggy and that it does not offer some features that come with solutions like Dokan. Still, as the plugin is doing relatively well, it is only a matter of time before all the features get added.

These cons don’t make it impossible to create a quality e-marketplace with WC Marketplace. On the contrary, creating one is easy and intuitive. However, while affordable, WC Marketplace lacks some functionality of its more expensive competitors.

WC Vendors Marketplace

WC Vendors Marketplace, previously known as just WC Vendors, is another solution that brings the functionality of WooCommerce to the frontend. It’s easy to use by both the site admin and the sellers. It is also among the most popular multi-vendor plugins and is often compared to Dokan.

It has a free version like the other plugins here. The free features include the frontend dashboard, store catalogs for sellers and the main catalog for the entire website, an easy setup wizard, etc. The free functions are sufficient if you want a bare minimum for a functional e-marketplace.

There is, of course, a pro version. One thing to note is that the pro version is much more affordable than Dokan’s. You can get the full functionality for $199/year, $349/two years, or $599/lifetime. It is definitely cheaper than paying $499 or $999/year for the full functionality of Dokan.

With the pro version, you get order and coupon management, premium support, advanced shipment tracking, and many more options essential for a quality e-marketplace.

When compared to Dokan, WC Vendors has fewer features, and the interface is slightly clunky.

Still, the creators of this plugin work hard to add any needed features. They have recently added some big ones like store SEO and vendor announcements. Yet, WC Vendors is still lagging behind Dokan in this respect.

One huge drawback of WC Vendors is that it’s nearly impossible to get a refund. You can only get a refund within the first seven days of your purchase if you have not downloaded the software. Once you buy and download WC Vendors, you do not get a refund under any circumstances.

Even if you find a bug, there is a glitch in the software, or you come across any other technical issues, you will not get your money back. This is inconvenient and should be kept in mind before paying for the plugin.

Don’t get us wrong, WC Vendors is a quality e-marketplace builder, you most likely won’t need a refund, and the free version gives you a good idea of what you’re getting into. Still, you should know that getting your money back is not an option.

WCFM Marketplace

WCFM Marketplace is a bit of a newcomer to the e-marketplace world, so it’s difficult to make any definite forecasts about its success. The idea behind it is to combine all the best features of other multi-vendor plugins.

As a result, it has an impressive array of features. Also, it has received some fantastic feedback so far and is delivering excellent results, especially for a plugin that’s not even one year old.

There is a free version, but you’ll want to use the paid one. It offers the features we’ve talked about in other plugins and more. With this plugin, you get seven different commission models, shipping management and tracking, coupon management, various withdrawal options for sellers, store SEO, product management, simple support ticket system, Google Maps integration, and dozens of other basic and advanced options.

Everything is rather simple and intuitive. If you run into any problems, the support team typically replies within six hours.

You can truly use this plugin to create a top-of-the-line e-marketplace with ease. Even though the plugin is young, some experts already swear by it.

Possibly the best feature is the pricing model. The prices for the “Ultimate” version license start at $49/year which lets you use it on two websites. You can also get a lifetime license for $199 for two sites or $299 for unlimited sites. This is insanely affordable when you compare it to the other multi-vendor plugins.

If you’re on a budget, WCFM Marketplace is among the most affordable plugins you can find.

It is new, so it’s difficult to predict the future of the plugin, but the WC Lovers team has been making all the right moves so far. It’s possible that this plugin will push out the competition in the years to come.

Final Verdict

In the end, all four of the plugins we’ve talked about are quality tools and can create excellent multi-vendor stores. Choosing the right plugin is only a matter of your goals as an e-marketplace owner and your resources.

If you want guaranteed excellent results and will spare no expense to get them, go with Dokan. Your e-marketplace will look professional and will have all the functions of a high-end multi-vendor site. The high prices are practically the only con of Dokan, but all the functionality you get makes it worth it.

If you’re on a budget and are willing to sacrifice utility for a lower price, WC Marketplace is the plugin for you. It is much more affordable than Dokan while simultaneously offering numerous options and relatively fast support. If you are sure the lack of certain functions won’t impede the success of your marketplace, go with this plugin.

WC Vendors Marketplace is something of a compromise between the previous two. If you want consistently good results, but are not willing to pay the steep prices of Dokan, this is the best option. You get practically all the important features at a more reasonable pricing model and probably won’t lose out on any functionality. Just remember that there’s no going back as there is no refund option.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try alternative options, choose WCFM Marketplace. It is by far the most affordable of the bunch, and it offers insane functionality. It is a relatively new plugin, and it’s still hard to determine where it is going. Still, there are reasonable chances that WCFM Marketplace will end up at the top of the multi-vendor plugin market.

Each plugin is great and gives excellent results. It’s up to you to decide which one is the right fit for your e-marketplace business.

We’ve given you all the info you need to make an informed decision. It’s now up to you to build your website and take your e-marketplace to the top.

 
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