On Ecommerce Platforms, we've gone through several ways to make an online marketplace like that of Etsy, ThemeForest, Sharedesk or even something for services like finding contractors or photographers.
Some of them work well, but it always seems like something's missing. Sometimes you find that the marketplace template isn't that flexible. Other times the platform doesn't allow for services, bartering, or free plans to try the platform out. That has all changed to a large extent with Arcadier.
This online marketplace builder has not only created plans for all sizes of companies, but one of them is absolutely free.
In addition, my tests show that it's one of the simplest ways to build a marketplace without worrying about hosting, complicated dashboards, or any missing features.
With Arcadier, you can build a marketplace for some of the following purposes:
- Pet walking
- Space rental
- Tailor service
- Retail goods
- Canoe rental, and
- Many more
In short, the platform offers four types of marketplace interfaces: One for retail, one for space, one for rental and another for services.
The types of products and services you sell or rent are completely up to you.
What Does Arcadier Have to Offer?
As we'll talk about further down in the article, Arcadier does have a free plan. Therefore, you don't have to sign up for a free trial period. It's open for testing and seeing how you like the interface. After that, you can decide whether or not you'd like to upgrade.
Once you land on the dashboard you'll notice how clean and modern it appears. It walks you through the primary steps for onboarding, including setting up your payment processing, categories, and sellers.
On the left-hand menu, you'll see all sorts of easy-to-navigate options for Settings, Languages, User Management, Custom fields, and Content Management.
Both dashboard interfaces for service and retail marketplaces are pretty similar, but there are some differences. Below, I'll outline my own experience browsing around the two dashboards, along with the special features that come along with the platform.
Making a Retail Marketplace
The retail marketplace looks similar to modern marketplaces you would find online. You get to customize a large featured background image, along with the text that introduces users to the website. There's a beautiful search function for customers to type in keywords for products and categories.
You can also see the quick access to the shopping cart and the language selector tool, both of which are built in the second you turn on Arcadier.
As I scroll down on this demo marketplace, we can see galleries for collections and popular buys. All of the media is customizable, but Arcadier organizes the galleries for you.
To add a category, you go to the backend of your website. The sellers are mainly going to be the ones adding products, so you're not going to see that in the Admin portal.
But it is worth mentioning that both the admins and the sellers receive their own portals. As you might assume, the Seller Portal has features for building a store, uploading products, and managing sales.
One of the first interesting tools I noticed was a simple module for inviting sellers to your marketplace. This way, you can think up a canned response, personalize it, then send it out directly from Arcadier–no need to go into your own email.
The product pages are slightly different when comparing services and products, but let's take a look at a product page for a pair of cufflinks. It allows you to include imagery, pricing, a title, quantities, an Add to Cart button, a description, and an area for customer reviews. If you're at all familiar with marketplaces, you know how crucial the customer review section is.
Multiple Payment Gateways
By default, Stripe and Omise are included with Arcadier. All you have to do is link your account. If none of these work in your country, you do have the option to add a completely different payment gateway as long as you disable the default ones.
There are some features exclusive to only the retail marketplace, so you won't get these if you're selling services:
- Multiple item checkouts – A customer comes to your marketplace and adds items from multiple vendors to the cart. The payment eventually gets broken up between vendors, so as not to disrupt the buyer and so that all merchants get their money.
- Item variants – Whether it's size, color, or model, sellers have full control over their product variants.
- Bulk shipping – Large quantities are supported.
Making a Services Marketplace
A service or rental marketplace means that the layout will have to look different than retail. The default design has a spot for customers to search for services and specify when they would like to get those services. There's even a nice filtering tool.
After the search, a full map comes up with possible services nearby. This taps into location tools on phones and other devices. And the visual results show up on the left-hand side. For instance, the screenshot below is for finding wedding photographers in the US.
Much of the backend for services is the same as retail marketplaces. However, some only come with the services marketplace:
- Set duration – The user can stop by and say how long they would like to receive a service.
- Add-on services – When selling services the merchants may want to offer add-on services or extras. Similar to a product variant, you can add this to the product page.
- Calendar scheduler – This ties into the duration setter, providing an easier way for users to see what's available during the month.
Other Awesome Arcadier Features for Both Service and Product Marketplaces
When playing around with Arcadier, I realized how jam-packed it is with useful features. You may not use all of them, but they're there for you to pick and choose:
- Social login
- Powerful search bar
- Private marketplace
- Ratings and reviews
- Customizable Home Page Panels
- A special negotiating tool for users to request a price
- Multiple languages
- SEO support
- Sell on your own marketplace
- Live chat for sellers
- Custom Codes Editor
How Much Are the Pricing Plans?
- Freemium – $0
- Starter – $39
- Basic – $79
- Growth – $199
- Scale – $399
Arcadier Review: Who is it Best For?
Arcadier is for webmasters who want to create marketplaces for rental, services or products. Digital support isn't there, but it has everything you need for physical products, rental, and services.
The free plan works for those on a budget, but even after that, you can expand to unlimited users for only $39 per month.
Arcadier also provides an open API sandbox for those seeking a custom build.
Overall, Arcadier has most requirements needed for marketplace website owners, so it's definitely worth a try.