There is always a cost to starting a business.
The reason why online businesses, or eCommerce, are more in vogue than brick-and-mortar stores is that the cost is lower, but not really low.
So, even when you are looking to launch a store or a marketplace or just add sales capabilities to your website – you need to consider the cost seriously. This is our exploration into several popular solutions to create a marketplace in a comparative approach to cost and functionality.
I hope this article saves you time, helps you crunch the numbers, and relieves you of headaches!
WordPress is the easiest and most convenient platform to launch anything, especially eCommerce.
Even if you don’t know anything about website management or programming, picking up WordPress deployment is really simple and quickly learnable.
This platform powers more than 43% of the world’s internet, which is a valid reason to opt in just for compatibility. Also, it is highly probable that you already have your site on it. Plus, it has WooCommerce!
WooCommerce is a free plugin to enable you to sell but not just sell, it also brings a lot of advanced features to control your stores’ behavior as well.
Did you notice the word free? Since we are talking about costs, it is important for us and just there we have saved some.
You will be intrigued to find out more about the free plugins that can make your business happen and grow in this article. That’s the magic of WordPress—a lot of things here come for free!
But if you had gone for a SAAS platform like Shopify or Bigcommerce, you have to pay a huge amount to them every month just to keep it alive. Whereas, there is no activation cost with WordPress. You only need to get hosting and there are plenty of economic options to choose from.
WordPress Hosting Comparison Including Domain
We need to get first things first. We definitely need a good hosting server and quite some storage to handle all the data deliver it fast to the visitors. You do not want the customer to wait for an hourglass at the payment page.
Worse, if it takes too long for the product catalog to load, your customer might lose interest. Not only that but having a slow site will also make it harder for you and the vendors to manage their stores.
Good hosting with that kind of speed and powerful server usually costs around 99$ to 200$. But there are many cheaper options.
Usually, you can go for the big names like Bluehost (35.4$ per year), Siteground (48$), Amazon hosting (42$), GoDaddy (72$), Namecheap (45$), CloudWays (approx. 120$), Pressable (25$ per month), etc.
Domains usually cost 9$ almost everywhere and some hosting providers will give it to you for free. Your domain cost will actually vary according to the domain name you want.
Popular WordPress Marketplace plugins
Now, this is the most important decision to make. You are going to put an engine inside that ready chassis, so you should choose wisely. We have rounded up the most happening and powerful plugins to simulate the launching of a marketplace as we make the cost counter rolling.
- Dokan Multivendor (Free/ Pro 149$)
- WC Vendors (Free/ Pro 199$)
- MultiVendorX (Free/Bundle wise pricing)
- WP eCommerce (Free)
- Product Vendors (79$)
- YITH WooCommerce Multi Vendor (Free/ Pro 99.99$)
Prices mentioned above are for the single-site basic license only, check their official site for more pricing options.
Too many choices, right? Take this comparison article. You will surely get your answer which one is more suited for you!
Is All that Free Stuff Really Worth It?
Yay! Free plugins! I told you there are a lot of things you can do for free in Wordpress. But your intuition may kick in and tell you “free things are not supposed to be good always!”.
Your intuition is right, not all of the free solutions here are good enough, only a few are. According to our comparative analysis, Dokan has the best free plugin which even beats some of the pro solutions in the list above. WC Vendor is the second and WC Marketplace is around 3rd position right now.
With 70,000+ active installations, Dokan is the best multi-vendor marketplace builder solution in the WordPress ecosystem with a Free and 4 Pro packages.
If you are confident about purchasing a pro license of a plugin but doubtful about the first two, then this article will clear your confusion. We have found a detailed comparison of Dokan and WC Marketplace on their site.
Related Article: Dokan vs WC Vendor: Which one you should buy?
Getting a Theme
There are many theme markets out there. All of these plugins are mostly compatible with WooThemes.
Also, you can surf ThemeForest and other vendors to choose from a huge collection of themes. Most of these themes are available between 39$ to 59$.
I should praise and mention highly that Dokan comes with a free theme which is in every way one of the best I have seen.
Considering Cost of Essential Modules or Extensions
Most of the plugins mentioned above provide small to large extensions or add-on plugins which extend the feature-wise capabilities of your marketplace.
Dokan and WC marketplace are by far ahead in this game.
But the plugins which are free without any pro version are more to charge for their extensions, but the plugins which have pro versions cost less at extensions.
The Pro versions of these plugins are usually designed to inherit many industries leading features from the start – hence their pricing justification for the core and extensions stand.
Judging by your demands, you can think of a one time 100$-300$ expense to own the extensions for a lifetime. You will spend mostly on payment gateways, trust me!
Dokan has PayPal, Stripe and more than 100+ other WooCommerce supported gateway available built in, lucky that!
Customization Cost of WordPress Business Site
Now, to make everything neat, add or remove some minor changes and to get everything working in unison – you will need to hire a WordPress developer.
Now, this price can vary a lot, depending on how expert your developer is.
The WordPress community is quite vast in numbers and also ranged in skills. So, you will be able to get what you need done within an assumed 200-300$ budget.
Although, top plugins like Dokan and some of the others provide 24/7 supports. If you have experience with WordPress or some technical background, you can build and customize your marketplace on your own. And save this customization cost.
The Hidden Cost
It is more like an investment, you will have to run campaigns, promotions and do a lot of marketing to get the vendors and customers into the market.
You will control the cost there, so it depends on you. Also, you will need a small team of staff to take care of customer support and a small office to work from. Since everything is digitally maintained here, your office will just be a front establishment.
So, Did You Get Your Answer?
Before wrapping it up, let us add those numbers, to get a marketplace fully running, you will need about a budget of 500$-860$ on the high end and about nothing at the low end.
If you consider the thousands of dollars of profit you will be rolling in, this will be negligible cost. Isn’t it? So, Goodluck!