Best Magento Alternatives to Start an Online Marketplace


Table of Contents:

  • What is Magento?
  • A brief history of Magento
  • Magento as an online marketplace Platform
  • What to look for in a Magento eCommerce marketplace alternative?
  • Top 7 Magento multi-vendor Alternatives for Building an Online Marketplace
  • Yo!Kart
  • CS-Cart
  • Yo!Rent
  • X-Cart
  • Growcer
  • Mirakl
  • Shuup
  • Conclusion

What is Magento?

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform written in PHP and developed by Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner while pursuing college at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The two started Magento as a part of a project in Varien Inc. (now Magento) – a company they co-founded.

Brief History:

  1. In 2003-04, Roy Rubin realized that open source products such as osCommerce had a large number of followers but the solution wasn’t sophisticated enough.
  2. So, Roy started spending a few hundred dollars in Google Adwords, in order to get osCommerce clients. Overnight, he received a number of clients.
  3. In 2007, he landed a large contract via Adwords and the funding enabled the development of the Magento framework.
  4. On March 31, 2008 Varien released Magento (then known as Magento community edition) – under an open-source license. The name was derived from the color magenta, featuring on its original logo.
  5. During its initial years, Magento was awarded “Best of Open Source Software Awards” and “SourceForge Community Choice Awards” multiple times, according to Wikipedia.
  6. In 2010, Shopify acquired a 49% stake in the company’s ownership via an investment, and later in June 2011, announced the complete acquisition of Magento.
  7. PayPal was integrated directly into Magento since eBay was the owner of PayPal.
  8. In 2015, when PayPal and eBay split, Magento spun out as an independent firm with a new owner Permira private equity fund.
  9. On April 11, 2016, Magento Commerce (previously termed as Magento Enterprise edition) was released as Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution as well as Software-as-a-service (SaaS). Both are premium versions of Magento with extensive features.
  10. In June 2018, Adobe acquired Magento for $1.68 billion and in 2019 it integrated Magento Commerce Cloud into Adobe Experience Cloud. This integration is meant to help businesses offer a complete user experience from creation to commerce.

Currently, there are over 200,000 websites using Magento, according to BuiltWith. These websites include some of the most elite names such as Ford, Nike, Coca-Cola, Liverpool, and many more.

Magento as an online marketplace Platform?

What is an online marketplace? An online marketplace is a platform where different sellers sell their products online to cater to a variety of buyers, all in one place. The online marketplace owner earns via Advertisement, seller subscription fee, individual transaction fee, and a variety of other revenue streams. Amazon, Etsy, Alibaba, are some of the prime examples of an online marketplace.

While Magento is an extremely popular eCommerce platform, it’s not the most suited solution to create an online marketplace. This is because it isn’t a standalone marketplace platform. To create an online marketplace with Magento, business owners must install third-party plugins such as Apptha Multi-Vendor Extension, WebKul Marketplace Multi-Vendor Module, Magento 2 Advance Testimonials Extension, and more.

There are several limitations to creating an online marketplace with Magento. Let’s discuss a few here:

  • No matter how viable third-party multi vendor plugins may presume, they offer less flexibility, add a dependency to a third-party provider, and are not cost-effective for a scalable business. Moreover, there are other concerns as well like, if the plugin doesn’t receive any update for years it develops vulnerabilities, the possibility of change in ownership to a cybercriminal who pushes malware to a website, the plugin is no longer supported by Magento, and much more.
  • Magento Commerce costs between $22k to $125k while Magento Commerce cloud costs anywhere between $40k to $125k annually. Since most businesses have other resources to manage as well, the cost of operating the Magento marketplace is too high.
  • From building, deploying, and monitoring the online marketplace to integrating new changes while ensuring the integrations keep working properly, you need a team of expert Magento developers with an understanding of the complex infrastructure. This requires dedicated development hours which costs plenty of money.

What to look for in a Magento eCommerce marketplace alternative?

Since Magento isn’t the most ideal solution to build an online marketplace, it is best to look for a sturdier alternative. But how sturdier? Let’s take a peek at a few crucial factors to look for in a Magento eCommerce alternative for an online marketplace.

Standalone multi-vendor solution – A marketplace software that is inherently designed to start an online marketplace is always more flexible, scalable, and robust than any third-party multi-vendor plugin for an eCommerce marketplace.

Lifetime license – While SaaS-based solutions charge a hefty monthly/annual fee to run an online marketplace, license-based solutions generally offer a lifetime license for a one-time fee. These are the kinds of solutions that a business can rely upon.

Customization & Scalability  – A business demand changes with time, so the eCommerce solution on which the marketplace is built must allow complete customization to ensure scalability. SaaS-based alternatives offer limited or no customization.

Top 6 Magento multi-vendor Alternatives for Building an Online Marketplace

1. Yo!Kart

Yo!Kart is a self-hosted multi-vendor software to start an online marketplace. The marketplace software is highly scalable and customizable to cater to your unique business requirements. From a niche marketplace business to a horizontal marketplace like Amazon, Yo!Kart is the ideal solution for your online multi-vendor store operations. Its pricing starts at $999 for the basic Yo!Kart package with all essential eCommerce features/integrations.

How is it better than Magento?

While Magento requires third-party multi-vendor plugins to build an online marketplace, Yo!Kart is inherently a multi-vendor store solution, so there is no dependency on third-party extensions to create an online marketplace. Also, Yo!Kart follows standard MVC (modular view controller) architecture, so a developer with experience in PHP technology and MVC architecture can customize the solution.

How many clients are using Yo!Kart?

Yo!Kart has over 2000 clients in 70+ countries since its inception in 2015. The online marketplace software has grown into an industry leader for businesses looking to start/scale their multi-vendor marketplace. It has a rating of 4.7 on G2.

Other distinctive advantages of using Yo!Kart

Yo!Kart is a standalone self-hosted solution with no recurring charges or transaction fees of any kind. The platform offers 12-months of free technical support and a 1-month of free digital marketing assistance. Also, it comes with native mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms.

Moreover, Yo!Kart also has a powerful B2B marketplace software – Yo!Kart B2B. The software powers many popular B2B marketplaces like UNI Diamonds and Its pricing starts at $1,999/one-time fee.

2. CS-Cart

CS-Cart is another popular standalone multi-vendor platform that offers several essential eCommerce features right out of the box to start an online marketplace. The platform has an app store with ready-made add-ons such as Mailchimp, Facebook Conversion tool, Live currency converter, and more. CS-Cart pricing starts at $1,499 for the base package.

How is it better than Magento?

Like Yo!Kart, CS-Cart is also a standalone marketplace solution to kickstart your eCommerce marketplace. The platform delivers a ready-to-launch marketplace, unlike Magento that requires multi-vendor plugins from third-party developers. The Magento marketplace extension by Webkul, for instance, has a complex source code, upgrade issues, low security, and no free support. CS-Cart, on the other hand, is a lot easier to operate.

How many clients are using CS-Cart?

From marketplace selling household appliances to fashion and jewelry, there are over 1300 marketplaces powered by CS-Cart worldwide. The platform is reliable to start a multi-vendor store but there have been a few complaints as well like bad internal policies, expensive/poor customer support, and more. It has a rating of 4.6 on G2.

Other distinctive advantages of using CS-Cart

CS-Cart has more than 1600 third-party plugins to streamline your marketplace operations. Plus, it offers 365-days technical support although with only the multi-vendor ultimate edition. The solution is fully customizable and mobile-friendly.

3. Yo!Rent

Yo!Rent is a self-hosted eCommerce platform designed to start an online rental store as well as a marketplace. The platform is fully customizable and comes with a rent/sell toggle button to allow renting as well as selling. Yo!Rent is a white-label rental software with an intuitive user interface; 20+ payment gateways; popular pre-integrated APIs such as PayPal, Mailchimp, Google Maps, and more. Its pricing is available on a quotation basis.

How is it better than Magento?

Yo!Rent has standalone in-built features like Request For Quote (RFQ) management, Price Surge module, Product inspection, Tiered pricing module, and more to fuel your rental eCommerce business. There are separate dashboards for the admin and seller to facilitate eCommerce transactions and streamline operations.

How many clients are using Yo!Rent?

Yo!Rent currently powers startups and enterprises in over 40 countries to successfully run their online rental operations. Gearflow, for instance, a popular equipment rental marketplace with a $3 million evaluation, is powered by Yo!Rent. Apart from this, Yo!Rent also powers, Rent To Win, Machinfo, and other niche-specific marketplaces. The platform is ideal for all popular rental niches such as equipment rental, car rental, furniture rental, and more.
Yo!Rent has a rating of 4.5 on G2.

Other distinctive advantages of using Yo!Rent

Yo!Rent offers enhanced user engagement with a splendid front-end design, an inviting product page (with booking calendar, size charts), and advanced customizability to create tailored eCommerce experiences for users. It comes with lifetime ownership, free installation, and no recurring charges. To understand Yo!Rent modules better, you can visit their youtube channel. For instance, here is a video of how the RFQ module works in Yo!Rent-Powered marketplace.

4. X-Cart

X-Cart is a scalable PHP-based eCommerce solution designed to deliver an eCommerce store as well as an online marketplace. The solution offers a vast product catalog, handles extreme traffic flows, provides individual vendor storefronts, and more. From the B2B business model to selling digital goods, X-Cart caters to all marketplace ideas. X-Cart multivendor edition is priced at $1,495 with 1-year upgrades.

How is it better than Magento?

X-Cart is a highly intuitive and user-friendly eCommerce solution as compared to Magento. Also, X-Cart is less resource-consuming and can be easily set up on a shared server whereas Magento can be generally slow on shared server space and requires performance optimization which requires dedicated time and effort.

How many clients are using X-Cart?

While X-Cart currently powers more than 10,000 eCommerce stores, it is unknown how many multi-vendor stores are running on the solution. Flobee, PalmFlexsafety Wear, and 5Strands Affordable Testing are the only three marketplaces listed on the website. X-Cart has a rating of 4.2 on G2.

Other distinctive advantages of using X-Cart

X-Cart multi-vendor solution comes with multiple payment methods, streamlined sales tax automation tools, powerful analytic tools, and more. The solution offers 24/7 technical support but it is fairly expensive.

5. Growcer

Growcer is a hyperlocal eCommerce platform to start an online grocery marketplace. The solution is fully customizable to cater to your individual business requirements. It comes with readymade grocery delivery and buyer mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms. From e-pharmacy to farm products, Growcer is an ideal solution for all such delivery marketplaces. Growcer is priced at an $3,999/lifetime license fee including readymade buyer and delivery mobile apps.

How is it better than Magento?

While the marketplace extensions in Magento can be removed disrupting businesses dependent on them, Growcer delivers a full-fledged platform that isn’t dependent on any extensions or teams. Growcer is designed with all essential eCommerce features like product catalog management, Buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), Pay at Store, and more to streamline the grocery supply chain.

How many clients are using Growcer?

Growcer is trusted by over 200 clients across the globe. The platform uses an in-built Content Management System (CMS) and provides a fully personalized grocery marketplace. It is ideal for businesses of all sizes to start a grocery marketplace. Growcer has a rating of 4.4 on G2.

Other distinctive advantages of using Growcer

Growcer charges a one-time license fee with no recurring charges or transaction fees of any kind. It also comes with free installation and 12-months of free technical support for any bugs/errors found in the system.

6. Mirakl

Mirakl is a France-based enterprise marketplace platform designed to empower both B2B and B2C multi-vendor businesses. It is a SaaS-based eCommerce marketplace solution to deliver businesses a competitive advantage. Mirakl offers easy-to-use tools and solutions to help business owners scale rapidly. Mirakl charges around $493,000 per year, according to a Mirakl specialist.

How is it better than Magento?

Mirakl is an all-in-one marketplace solution that helps business owners devise marketplace operation strategies, automate business operations, and provide tools to support/scale their business. From seller onboarding to seller invoicing & payout, the platform is equipped with specialized features for an online marketplace.

How many clients are using Mirakl?

Currently, Mirakl powers over 300 marketplaces in 40+ countries. The platform is ideal for businesses looking to start their marketplace in retail, manufacturing, distribution, or procurement. Mirakl has a rating of 4.5 on G2.

Other distinctive advantages of using Mirakl

Mirakl enables sellers, distributors, or retailers to connect and sell on marketplaces powered by Mirakl. The platform is easy to configure with pre-built connectors, flexible APIs, and more. Also, it is a highly secure solution to maximize your business opportunities.

7. Shuup

Lastly, Shuup is another open-source multi-vendor platform fully customizable to build an online marketplace. The solution boasts features like data migration, inventory tracking, order management, and more. Shuup comes with an in-built layout editor to easily customize the look and feel of your marketplace. Shuup is available in two unique packages: $299/month for a SaaS-based license and $1,499/month (paid annually) for a self-hosted license.

How is it better than Magento?

Shuup-powered marketplace enables sellers to personalize individual vendor storefronts as per their brand. It also has separate dashboards for the admin/seller to streamline entire marketplace operations. Also, the open-source API provides business owners the freedom to integrate third-party payment processors of their choice.

How many clients are using Shuup?

From B2B workwear marketplace to grocery delivery marketplace, Shuup offers multi-vendor store solutions in various niche industries. According to data by BuiltWith, there are around 90 websites powered by Shuup.

Other distinctive advantages of using Shuup

Shuup is extremely flexible and robust multi-vendor software with built-in PayPal & Stripe payment gateways. The solution delivers an online marketplace with complete CMS and fully responsive design to ensure a consistent user experience (UX).


While Magento remains an extremely popular and reliable eCommerce platform for many years, it isn’t an ideal marketplace solution. The best eCommerce platforms are those that deliver digitization with simplified administration and reduce your time-to-market. Here, in this blog, we have reviewed the best Magento alternatives that a business can rely upon to start its online marketplace. These are turnkey multi-vendor software solutions designed to deliver an eCommerce marketplace swiftly.

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