"Hey Martin, we can get a cheap multi vendor module for a measly $100, why go with MultiMerch? You're expensive!"
I get these questions every now and then and I understand it – picking the right marketplace solution IS HARD.
Today, I will answer the question "Why MultiMerch?" by bragging about ourselves a little – honestly and overtly, in a no-bullshit way.
Here's why going with MultiMerch for your marketplace business is a good idea:
First, I want to directly address the cost objection with a question of my own.
Which of the following scenarios of building an online marketplace sounds better?
- You spend $99 on a cheap multi vendor module that you throw on top of a free WordPress, OpenCart, Magento, you-name-it system
- You now need a developer to iron out the inevitable glitches and build the missing features (possibly while dealing with lackluster customer support).
- A month+ of hard work later, you've spent ~$8,000 (say ~160 hours at $50/hour, your average development rate).
- If it works out, you're now launching your next Amazon killer powered by a flimsy piece of software that you somehow have to keep secure, maintained and updated.
- You spend ~$1,500 to purchase a decent marketplace solution (MultiMerch is less than that) that includes most of what you need out of the box.
- The whole setup takes you an hour from start to finish and your license includes lifetime support and regular updates.
- Your marketplace is now powered by software that's built by an expert team dedicated to marketplace commerce.
Is scrimping on software that your business will rely on the most worth it?
Now, pricing aside, here's why I think you'll find MultiMerch a great team to work with for your marketplace project...
1. We know exactly what your marketplace needs – and double down on it
Back in the early days of MultiMerch, we tried a number of different approaches to building a marketplace solution.
First, around 2013, we listened to our users and built every feature they thought they needed. Turns out, they didn't really need most of them – and I didn't know better. This made MultiMerch a cluttered mess that was a pain to use and maintain. Ultimately, we nuked ~80% of the newly added features – and no one noticed.
Later, around 2015, we stripped MultiMerch core of all but the very basic features and offered the rest as paid addons. Guess what? Again, a terrible idea. Paid addons only work in very specific cases and ours wasn't one of them – it made MultiMerch less useful, more difficult to work with and generally lead to poor user experience.
Focusing on the most important marketplace features and executing them as well as possible.
Today, we're committed to making MultiMerch a truly all-in-one marketplace solution that provides most of what your marketplace needs out of the box.
So, you won't see me bragging about hundreds of MultiMerch features and showing off huge feature comparison tables. But you can be sure whatever goes into our software is built with you, the marketplace owner, in mind.
As an added benefit, you'll keep most of your time and budget to grow your marketplace business instead of wasting it on buying, installing and integrating paid addons.
How do we decide what goes into our software?
2. We design our software to be easy to use and save you time
I hate software that's difficult to use.
As the founder of MultiMerch, I'm literally juggling a million things running the business. I know we're in the same boat with you, the marketplace owner.
The more time we waste using crappy software, the less we have left for what's really important, whether business-related or personal.
What I'm saying is, we don't just build multi vendor software here at MultiMerch – we want to offer a solution that makes your life as a marketplace owner easier, not harder.
This means carefully planning what goes into MultiMerch and how exactly it should work by studying usability research data, working together with our clients and regularly talking entrepreneurs and developers.
If a feature makes things too complicated or isn't crucial for your regular marketplace, we don't build it and leave it to third party developers. So, you won't find thousands of customization options and settings in MultiMerch, but you'll find just enough to build a successful online marketplace.
Developing software isn't hard, developing GOOD software that's GREAT to use is hard.
And this is where our team comes in:
3. We're a small, personable, marketplace-focused team
Don't you love working with those big all-over-the-place software companies that promise they can do everything?
I mean the ones that also require you to fill out exhaustively long support forms before they can help you, then get back to you days later with a worthless response.
Yep, those that work on a thousand products and services at once and your opinion doesn't really matter.
If you've done your marketplace software research, I'm sure you've noticed this – most of it is built by software agencies that offer all kinds of software development services. So, marketplaces are just a tiny fraction of their business (and you'll be getting a tiny fraction of their attention).
I know because we used to be like that. Guess what? When you're doing everything, you're not doing anything really well.
Today, MultiMerch is your friendly neighborhood marketplace team:
- we love marketplaces and marketplace commerce (I even created my free Marketplace Cheat Sheet for marketplace entrepreneurs)
- we focus exclusively on building marketplace software
- you can talk directly to me at any time and I'll listen (hit me up via our live chat, give me a call or drop by our Slack community)
This lets us work directly with marketplace owners, listen to their (your) feedback and make sure we're building exactly what marketplaces need.
Now, although we're a small team, we're really proud of our code quality and technical support:
4. We're proud of our code quality and technical support
I was a developer before I started MultiMerch so I know the difference quality code and technical support can make.
You can waste weeks of time digging through buckets of code spaghetti trying to figure out why it won't work and how to make it work.
You can waste weeks of time being bounced between clueless support representatives to get even the simplest issues solved.
Well, we don't do it here.
For one, I bring only the best developers on board to build our software and I want it to be as developer-friendly as possible. We still have a lot of leftover code from the past (not going to deny it), but we're actively rewriting it so I'm sure you'll like our 8.x codebase.
We're also preparing to launch MultiMerch Standalone with a complete API of our own that's built and documented from ground up.
And you've probably figured we don't use support tickets. You can always reach out to one of us (usually me) directly and have your question answered instantly.
Speaking about updates...
5. You're getting regular software updates for life – and no hidden costs
Keeping software up to date and maintained is often more difficult than setting it up in the first place.
Sometimes, the process of installing updates is just too convoluted for a regular user. In other cases, companies will restrict access to updates unless you pay to renew your license. Yet in other cases, developers will simply refuse to release regular software updates at all.
I know it firsthand, by the way. In the past, we required annual license renewals and MultiMerch was difficult to update. This has lead to us losing clients rather than getting business.
So, now we offer two things to make your life as a marketplace owner easier.
First, MultiMerch is yours for a lifetime (of your project, obviously). No renewal or upgrade fees and no paid addons – so you can plan your business expenses upfront. You're purchasing the whole platform outright and we'll always be there for you and your marketplace business.
Second, I'm really proud of our development process and our upgrade system. We release about one update per month and all of our updates are backward-compatible and really easy to install. For example, if you had purchased MultiMerch 8.0 back in 2017, you would still be able to upgrade to the latest MultiMerch 8.24 (released a few weeks ago) and instantly receive two years worth of updates.
We're still somewhat limited by OpenCart as to what we can and can't do, but we'll be rolling out an even better upgrade system as part of MultiMerch Standalone.
And if you need more than what MultiMerch offers out of the box...
6. We're creating an ecosystem of partner companies
Just like bad software is a waste of time and money, so are bad developers.
Ever hired a developer and invested in a project only to realize they have no idea what they're doing and you're suddenly left with a wasted budget and software that doesn't work?
I know, finding great developers is hard. And finding great developers who specialize in marketplaces is harder.
We don't do custom services (see part 3), but I know how important developers are to any marketplace project. To make life easier for you, we've partnered with great software companies like Roobykon and NIX who will help you get your project off the ground, in time and under budget.
All of our partners are hand-picked by me to ensure the quality of their services.
Better yet, I'm in talks with a number of marketing and service companies to be able to bring not just technical, but whatever services you need to build, launch and grow your marketplace.
Which brings us to...
7. Ultimately, MultiMerch is more than marketplace software
You need more than software to run a marketplace business.
Back in the early days, MultiMerch was just a regular multi vendor extension for OpenCart, one of the number of software products I created myself.
As MultiMerch evolved, my understanding of the marketplace ecommerce industry, its needs, demands and intricacies grew with it.
After having worked with OpenCart and being part of the community for years, I realized OpenCart is not evolving with the rest of the ecommerce world. As MultiMerch began outgrowing OpenCart, we've started building MultiMerch Standalone to meet the growing demands of marketplace businesses.
I also learned a lot about not just software, but everything that goes into a successful marketplace business – from doing market research to figuring out operations and marketplace business models to marketing and a lot more.
Today, MultiMerch is not just marketplace software – it's a tight-knit community for entrepreneurs all over the world to talk marketplaces, share their experience and help each other out.
You don't have to be using our software to be part of MultiMerch – but if you do use our software, hopefully everything I outlined above will convince you're in good hands.
And to be honest to the end...
8. Is MultiMerch a good match for you?
As good as we try to make MultiMerch, it's not a perfect solution for every project, and I admit it.
Here are a few cases when you'll probably want to look for a MultiMerch alternative:
If you're building a services marketplace (like Upwork) or a booking platform (like Eventrbite), you'll need a tailored solution – we focus on product marketplaces and they're quite different.
If you're already using a different ecommerce system (Magento, WordPress, etc.) and don't plan to switch – MultiMerch is only available as an OpenCart extension and as a Standalone version.
If you're on a zero budget, you'll want an free open source alternative to MultiMerch (although I'll say it, I think building a successful two-sided marketplace on a zero budget isn't feasible)
If you have basic requirements, no technical skills and no team, you might want to look into SaaS marketplace alternatives to MultiMerch – they usually offer less features, but also require almost no technical knowledge.
If you're looking for something MultiMerch can't do out of the box, but there's a solution that does it – definitely give it a try first.
But really, just reach out and let's talk about your next marketplace project, we'll figure it out.
Enough bragging for today.
The next steps?
I suggest the following (in whatever order you like):
- Read some of my popular blog posts about MultiMerch and online marketplaces
- Download my free "Building an online marketplace" cheat sheet
- Join our Slack community for marketplace owners
- Subscribe to my marketplace newsletter
- Try our marketplace solution demos and sign up for a personal demo call with me
- Grab a MultiMerch license and...
...let's build you a marketplace business!