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If you are looking for a new business model, have you ever considered starting a multi-vendor marketplace website?
This is where you would set up the website and outside vendors could sell on your website and then you would receive part of the commission (think Etsy).
This is an attractive business model because you won’t have the hassle of selling and shipping the items yourself but you’ll still have parts of the profit.
The trick often with these types of websites is to offer a common theme so that people will want to go on your website to be able to get a wide selection – and vendors will want to sell on your marketplace because their niche and your niche are the same.
And by having a multivendor website, you might be able to stock a wide variety of products without ever having to even find these products yourself!
So if you pick a good theme you can become quite successful.
Here are a couple success stories to get you motivated:
- 2 Irish teachers who in 3 years created an online resource centre with over 300 participating teachers, 4000+ online learning & teaching materials and 20,000 registered customers.
- A German entrepreneur who grew a marketplace for coral aquarists and farmers into an international business
So now that you’re fully motivated, the question is, how do you get started?
First and foremost, to start your new business, you will need to register your business (check your local rules for that; they vary from state to state) and I recommend getting an LLC because that really protects you – and using Incfile is a really great affordable option for beginners because they make up all the forms for you (that’s what I used for the last business I opened and I have been incredibly pleased).
So now that you are ready to start your multivendor marketplace, you should know the best solution for a great Multi Vendor Marketplace would be Dokan Multivendor (this was used in the previous 2 success stories). Some of the highlights of Dokan Multivendor include:
- Intuitive design & interface that makes it easier for beginners to get started
- Over 200 tutorials that gives you even more assistance in getting started
- An attractive design & storefront
- Vendors get frontend support so they can handle everything: coupons, discounts, withdraws, reviews, earning reports, support, etc.
- SEO optimization for Google and Facebook
- Multiple product types (tangible products, virtual products, downloadables, bookings, etc.)
- Flexible shipping rates
- And more!
Dokan Multivendor Marketplace is something you can use for WordPress websites, so really the first step to getting started is to read up on our guide to getting started on WordPress if you have never used WordPress (and don’t worry; this is a non-technical guide so you won’t need any experience to follow it!).
Next you’ll need a web host, and the perfect web host for you would be Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce, which is really great for beginners because they really help you a lot with the technical stuff – and you can fully integrate Dokan Multivendor with Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce. You’ll also need to get a domain name, too. And you’ll need a good theme like Elessi, which is compatible with Dokan.
Once you have your website up, you’ll need to figure out how much commission you’ll take from vendors. You can look to Etsy as a guide to get started (but remember, you probably won’t want to charge as much as Etsy, especially at the beginning, since they’ll have better name recognition than you). Once you have that in place, you’ll need to connect with vendors. Here are some ways you can find vendors:
- Contact them directly. Find vendors you think would be a good fit and contact them directly, telling them about what you’re setting up and why they would be a great fit for your website.
- Run Google ads, Bing ads, Facebook ads or Linkedin ads so vendors can find you! If you need help getting started with Google ads, consider using this Google Ads Management Service. If you need help getting started with Facebook ads, consider using this Facebook Marketing Made Easy Guide. If you need help getting started with Linkedin ads, click here.
- Build up social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to get the word out. On Facebook, use these methods to get more Facebook likes so that Facebook will show your content more. Build up your Instagram with these Instagram follower tips.
But remember in this process – you got this! You’ve got great ideas and you can definitely carve out a niche for yourself in the online store world with these tips!