Create your online marketplace with WordPress: good or bad idea?

Article by Mohand Bencherif - 11 Jan 2018 - 4 minute read

Pros and Cons of creating your online marketplace with WordPress. Is WordPress the best solution for your collaborative platform project?

WordPress is recognized as a Swiss knife solution in the field of the web. You can create a website, a blog or even an e-commerce platform with WordPress. It’s interesting that many users create highly stylized blogs with WordPress.

What about marketplaces?

Let’s see whether creating your online marketplace with WordPress is a good or bad idea. There are some major WordPress marketplace plugins that will convert your site into an e-commerce platform. With the help of a little WordPress marketplace plugins, you can create and manage an entire marketplace filled with thousands of products from your laptop or mobile, just like you used to shop. The WordPress plugins for marketplace manage everything on their own after you just tell them what to do.

wordpress pros and cons marketplace

WordPress, a CMS with no limits?

Some studies show that WordPress is used by over 28% of all websites on the Internet in today’s world, and that figure is climbing. The simplicity and speed with which a site can be put online have motivated a large number of site owners to use this solution. WordPress owes much of its mass appeal to its flexibility, which is unrivaled. The easy-to-use back office, as well as the quantity of extensions and themes available, often free, has allowed WordPress to move, in just a few years, from a simple blog system to one of the most famous CMS solutions.
Truly, WordPress can be one of the best marketplace CMS (content management systems) available and offers almost endless capabilities for your corporate website. Whether you sell products or services; operate on a B2B or B2C level; or just offer information – Wordpress can be the best CMS for your online marketplace.

 

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Different companies have even specialized in the development of WordPress modules for marketplace and themes suites, working together, to allow their WordPress sites to go further than the simple blog or site showcase. A good example is WooCommerce which has developed a whole coherent ecosystem of extensions to turn a WordPress site into an e-commerce site.

However, if you look at the 10,000 most visited sites in the world, you will notice that WordPress is very poorly represented. Indeed, with a few exceptions, the sites under WordPress are not intended to accommodate thousands of visitors daily.

At present, no solution equivalent to WooCommerce can transform its site under WordPress marketplace.

We find several reasons for this, such as:

  • Marketplaces involve more complex technical developments than e-commerce sites,
  • The number of people interested in setting up their own marketplace is much lower than the number of people interested in creating an online store,
  • The technical base of WordPress does not allow itself to accommodate such advanced developments. It would, therefore, be necessary to add to the heart of WordPress another PHP framework, such as Symfony, Laravel or CakePHP, to compensate for its shortcomings.

There are, however, a few WordPress modules for marketplace that can be used to manage certain functionalities needed on the marketplace, such as modules to manage the registration and connection of users to a member area or modules to manage ads. But the ability to exchange information between these extensions is limited, if not non-existent, and it is at the same time mandatory to involve a PHP developer to create the link among different features. In this case, we lose the flexibility and the ‘Do It Yourself’ aspects that are of interest to WordPress, while meeting the classic problems and inherent to WordPress, namely compatibility issues, at each update, between external modules, customized modules and the heart of WordPress.

WordPress limits

These reviews of WordPress are not specific to the field of online marketplaces but must be taken into account during the design and development phase of WordPress marketplace.

First of all, it is sometimes very expensive to host a WordPress site that is starting to have traffic. Indeed, the monolithic architecture of WordPress is not made to "scaler", that is to say, accommodate several thousand simultaneous visitors. It is necessary to compensate for the weaknesses of this architecture that approves to a very important server power. This is a necessary condition to ensure good display performance to its visitors. This translates into higher hosting costs than if you had made a tailor-made development.

The other criticism that is often heard really concerns security issues. WordPress being a very common solution, its security holes attract the greed of many pirates. They seek to penetrate the source codes of all sites using WordPress. The task is all the easier for them as their source code is open-source that is public and, as a result, visible to all. It is known to all that finding a loophole on WordPress is potentially having access to millions of online marketplaces or websites very easily.

Even if these flaws always end up being corrected by the development team or the contributors, it is still necessary for the online marketplace owners to update their sites. In practice, very few of them have a strict updating policy because each update may be a new source of dysfunction of their entire site.

On an online marketplace, it is not unusual to manage confidential information about these users, transactions, and payments. As the marketplace is a trusted third party, security is a key element that must be guaranteed to its users.

Despite all these criticisms, we are convinced that WordPress is a CMS that can adapt to several needs and proves it every day.

Many online marketplace beginnings are trying different combinations of extensions to create their MVP (Minimum Viable Product). This is a very relevant approach when it is time to start recruiting these first users. You only need to be aware that this is not an evolutionary solution and that when you go to the next step you will have to find another solution to create your marketplace with WordPress.

Hope the above discussion will give you a comprehensive idea about whether creating your online marketplace with WordPress is a good or bad idea.

Mohand Bencherif
About Mohand Bencherif

Co-founder & CTO at Kreezalid

Web developer and then e-commerce consultant, I started to work with marketplaces actors since 2013. I gladly share my experiments and the good practices that I discover.

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