The Marketplace Website Sharetribe Features: The Complete Guide

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17 June, 2024
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Starting a marketplace business is an exciting venture, and one of the most crucial decisions you'll make is choosing the right features for your marketplace website. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the essential features of a marketplace website, explain why traditional website builders aren't suitable for building marketplaces, and delve into how Sharetribe can help you create a successful platform.

Marketplaces vs. Traditional Websites: What’s the Difference?

A marketplace website is designed to connect buyers and sellers, unlike traditional websites that cater to single vendors or specific services. Marketplaces are multi-vendor platforms where each seller brings their own product or service inventory and handles customer orders. For a marketplace to function smoothly, it needs a range of specific features to support both sellers and buyers, ensuring seamless transactions and interactions.

Essential Features of a Marketplace Website

Building a successful marketplace requires a robust set of features tailored to the unique needs of sellers, buyers, and the marketplace owner. Let's explore the key features you need from day one:

1. Accounts and User Profiles

Each user, whether a buyer or a seller, needs to create an account. This involves signing up, verifying email addresses, setting passwords, and creating profiles with necessary information. For sellers, profiles might include business details, while buyers' profiles could focus on personal preferences and purchase history.

2. Listings

Listings are the core of your marketplace inventory. They display the products or services offered by sellers. Listings should be comprehensive, including titles, descriptions, prices, images, and additional attributes. The more detailed the listings, the higher the chances of converting visitors into buyers. As a marketplace admin, you should also have the ability to monitor, approve, or remove listings as needed.

3. Search and Discovery

Effective search and discovery tools help buyers find what they're looking for quickly. A robust search function allows users to filter results based on keywords, categories, locations, and availability. Discovery features, such as category browsing and personalized recommendations, enhance the user experience by showcasing relevant products or services.

4. Secure Checkout and Online Payments

A secure and straightforward checkout process is vital for any marketplace. It should support various payment methods, ensure compliance with payment regulations, and handle complex transactions like splitting payments between sellers and the marketplace. Secure payment gateways protect users' financial information and build trust in your platform.

5. On-Platform Communication

Communication between buyers and sellers is crucial for addressing queries and providing updates. A messaging tool within the platform facilitates this interaction while preventing off-platform transactions that could lead to revenue loss. Automated notifications for new messages, bookings, and reviews enhance user engagement.

6. Reviews

Reviews build trust and credibility on your marketplace. After completing a transaction, both buyers and sellers should have the opportunity to leave reviews. This two-sided review system helps future users make informed decisions and encourages accountability among participants.

7. Bookings and Availability

For service and rental marketplaces, managing bookings and availability is essential. Sellers need tools to block off unavailable dates and update availability in real-time. Buyers should be able to select dates and book services or rentals seamlessly, ensuring no double bookings or scheduling conflicts.

8. Admin Features

As the marketplace owner, you need comprehensive admin features to manage user accounts, listings, and transactions. This includes verifying, banning, or deleting accounts, monitoring listings, and sending notifications. Admin analytics provide insights into user behavior and platform performance, helping you make informed decisions to improve your marketplace.

9. Marketing

Growing your marketplace requires effective marketing tools. Integration with email marketing, CRM, and analytics tools helps you engage users and track performance. Creating additional content pages, such as blogs or customer stories, can also drive traffic and build your brand's credibility.

10. Reliable, SEO-Optimized Website Structure

A reliable platform is essential for both your business and your sellers. Ensure your marketplace is hosted on a robust platform with 24/7 uptime and scalable infrastructure. Implement strong security measures to protect user data and comply with regulations like GDPR. Optimizing your website for SEO with appropriate titles, metatags, and structured content helps attract organic traffic and improves search engine rankings.

Click Here:- Unveiling Sharetribe Marketplace Development: A Comprehensive Guide

Features for Specific Types of Marketplaces

Different types of marketplaces have unique requirements. Let’s delve into the essential features that product, service, and rental marketplaces need to thrive.

1. Product Marketplaces

Product marketplaces connect sellers of physical goods with buyers. These marketplaces often start with one product category and expand over time. A prime example is Etsy, which began as a platform for amateur furniture makers and now hosts over 60 million products. Here are the key features for product marketplaces:

2. Stock Management

Sellers usually have limited stock. Effective stock management tools ensure that buyers are not disappointed by out-of-stock products. These tools help sellers manage their inventory, preventing overselling and enhancing customer satisfaction.

3. Shipping and Returns

Shipping is often the seller’s responsibility in product marketplaces. Essential features include options for buyers to choose between shipping and pickup, provide delivery addresses, and for sellers to include shipping fees in their pricing. Buyers should receive notifications when their products are shipped and have the ability to track their deliveries. Additionally, marketplaces should allow sellers to set and display their return policies, providing clear instructions for returns and refunds.

4. Shopping Cart

A shopping cart feature is beneficial if customers frequently purchase multiple items in one go. It allows buyers to view all selected items, remove items as needed, and pay in a single transaction. However, a multi-vendor shopping cart is complex and might not be necessary for smaller niche marketplaces.

5. Rental Marketplaces

Rental marketplaces connect buyers with sellers who rent out items. Popular examples include Airbnb for home rentals and DriveLah for car rentals. Here are the critical features for rental marketplaces:

6. Location

Buyers need to see the location of rental items on a map and search listings based on geolocation. Typically, an approximate location is displayed pre-purchase, while the exact address is shared post-purchase.

7. Trust Mechanisms

Trust is crucial in rental marketplaces, where valuable items are rented. Features to build trust include identity verification for buyers and sellers, and reviews for both parties. This reassures sellers that their property will be taken care of and helps build a trustworthy community.

8. Service Marketplaces

Service marketplaces allow buyers to purchase services from a community of sellers, such as hiring a website developer or finding a local electrician. Examples include Fiverr and Upwork. Essential features for service marketplaces include:

9. Location

Service marketplaces should allow users to search for services based on location, especially for local services. For other services, such as freelance work, location-based searches might be less critical but still useful for finding professionals in specific time zones.

Niche-Specific Features

If your marketplace operates in a specific niche, consider developing features tailored to that niche. For instance, a marketplace for hiring business consultants might include features like payments with Purchase Orders (POs) and personalized customer support. Trust mechanisms, such as background checks for babysitters, can also be crucial.

1. Building Your Marketplace with Sharetribe

Once you've decided on the features you need, the next step is building your marketplace. Sharetribe offers several ways to develop your platform, catering to different technical skills, timeframes, and budgets.

2. Custom Coding

Experienced developers can custom code a marketplace from scratch, allowing complete control over features. However, this is time-consuming and expensive, often costing over $50,000.

3. Open-Source Marketplace Software

Open-source solutions provide a foundation for your marketplace, saving time and money. You can customize these solutions to fit your needs, but you’ll be responsible for hosting and maintenance.

4. Generic Website Builders with Plug-ins

Platforms like Shopify and WordPress can be turned into marketplaces using plug-ins. This method is affordable and requires little technical expertise but might not offer the scalability needed for larger marketplaces.

5. Marketplace Software

For most businesses, using marketplace Software as a Service (SaaS) tools like Sharetribe is the best option. Sharetribe provides all the necessary features to get your marketplace up and running quickly without coding. It’s reliable, affordable, and scalable, allowing you to start small and grow your platform over time.

Why Traditional Website Builders Aren’t Suitable for Marketplaces

Traditional website builders are designed for single-vendor websites and lack the complex features needed for a multi-vendor marketplace. These platforms often fail to provide necessary functionalities like secure payment processing, multi-vendor management, and comprehensive admin controls. Attempting to build a marketplace with these tools can lead to incomplete features, poor user experience, and regulatory issues.

Why Choose Sharetribe for Your Marketplace?

Sharetribe is a dedicated marketplace software that offers all the essential features you need to launch and grow your marketplace. With Sharetribe, you get a fully-featured platform that includes user profiles, listings, search and discovery tools, secure payments, on-platform communication, reviews, bookings, admin controls, and marketing integrations. By starting with a Minimum Viable Platform (MVP), you can quickly launch your marketplace with the core features needed to solve user problems and add more advanced functionalities as your business grows.


Creating a successful marketplace website requires careful planning and the right set of features. By understanding the unique needs of a marketplace and leveraging a specialized platform like Sharetribe, you can build a robust and scalable marketplace that connects buyers and sellers effectively. Focus on essential features, optimize for SEO, and ensure a seamless user experience to set your marketplace on the path to success.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of marketplaces can I build with Sharetribe?
haretribe supports various types of marketplaces, including product marketplaces (connecting sellers of physical goods with buyers), service marketplaces (allowing buyers to purchase services from sellers), and rental marketplaces (connecting buyers with sellers who rent out items).
How does Sharetribe handle location-based features for rental marketplaces?
Sharetribe allows rental marketplaces to display item locations on a map, facilitate geolocation-based searches, and share approximate locations pre-purchase while revealing exact addresses post-purchase.
Can I customize the features of my marketplace built on Sharetribe?
Yes, Sharetribe offers customization options for marketplace features. You can tailor the platform to your specific needs, add niche-specific functionalities, and enhance user experience based on your marketplace's requirements.
How can I get started with building my marketplace on Sharetribe?
You can get started by signing up for Sharetribe, selecting a pricing plan that suits your needs, and using the platform's intuitive tools to create and customize your marketplace. Sharetribe also provides resources, tutorials, and support to help you throughout the process.