Nowadays, when we hear the word “marketplace,” it’s easy to think of a few big names like Amazon, eBay, and Rakuten. However, marketplaces are all over the web. Uber, Airbnb, DoorDash are also all examples of marketplaces. Even your hometown’s Facebook recipe swap page is one.
Marketplaces are any sites where products/services are provided by third parties. They can be found in all industries, from education to travel and, of course, selling goods and services.
This represents a huge upside for all types of entrepreneurs. Whether you want to take on Amazon or create something unique that’s solely focused on your local community, you can do it with an online marketplace.
Except, there is one problem. Designing and coding marketplaces requires a ton of programming experience and a huge number of other resources.
Fortunately, Sharetribe takes care of it all, helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create peer-to-peer marketplaces quickly and easily. Regardless of your location, niches, or vertical, you can use it for any type of marketplace.
Below we dive into everything you need to know Sharetribe. We’ll discuss its features, pricing, some different ways to use it, and more to help you decide if it’s the right call for you.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it with our Sharetribe review!
What Is Sharetribe?
Sharetribe is a marketplace building platform targeted towards small businesses and entrepreneurs. With it, you can easily create a peer-to-peer marketplace so users can buy, sell, or rent goods, services, and spaces.
What does that mean exactly? Let’s take a look at one of the featured businesses on Share tribe’s platform—Wheel Price. Wheel Price’s founders recognized a gap between the cost of rare automotive parts that would fetch radically different resale prices because they were sold on unspecialized platforms.
Effectively, a vintage rim might sell for between $500 on a generalized platform, like Craigslist, when it could have sold for $1500 in the right place.
So, the founders took this idea and used Sharetribe to create a marketplace that now has 2000+ reputable dealers and sellers of high-quality auto parts.
That’s what you can do with Sharetribe. You can create your own marketplace for whatever your industry, intended user size, and goals. It’s easy-to-use, and regardless of skill level allows you to create a viable and durable marketplace.
Sharetribe also includes international currencies and languages so you can target global users right away. All-in-all, it’s an easy and affordable way to create a marketplace in just a few hours.
- Email marketing
- Customer accounts
- SEO optimization
- Order management
- Multistore management
- Public and private data
- Flexible pricing
- Admin Console
- Calendar Management
- Built-in payment systems
- Custom branding
Getting Started With Sharetribe
Sharetribe offers a 30-day free trial, so you can get starting using it in just a few minutes. After entering your email and setting up a password, you select from one of five marketplace types you’d like and set the name.
Don’t worry; you can change both of these later if you need to. Next hit “Create My Marketplace,” and you’re ready to go!
Right away, Sharetribe walks you through everything you need to do to get started. Once again, you can always change everything later if you want, but this is really helpful for getting the basics of your marketplace down. Be sure to keep an eye on the progress bar to keep track of what you’ve done so far.
Once you get the basics up, you’re ready to start configuring your site. Here you can add your logo, site text, and everything else you need.
Note: During your trial, your site will be listed as “yoursite.sharetribe.com.” Once you upgrade to a Pro plan, however, you’ll be able to use your own domain name.
Sharetribe offers two main versions of its plans—Sharetribe Go and Sharetribe Flex. Essentially, Sharetribe Go is for general users who might not have programming experience. In effect, Sharetribe takes care of everything on the backend for you. Sharetribe Go pricing starts at $79/month with hosting.
With Sharetribe Flex, there are developers’ tools, API, and other things that larger businesses will want as well as build an app, then that’s what you will want. Sharetribe Flex pricing starts at $299/month, not including hosting.
You can check them both out to see which is the right fit for you. However, we’re going to focus on what you can do with Sharetribe Go.
There are four main Sharetribe Go Plans:
- Hobby: 100 users, unlimited traffic, listing, and images, uncapped transactions, 7 days support access, from $79/month
- Pro: 1000 users, custom domain and email, all Sharetribe branding removed, edit footers, all Hobby features, from $119/month
- Growth: 10,000 users, all Pro features, from $159/month
- Scale: 100,00 users, all Growth features, from $239/month
Note: All prices are best on semiannual plans. You can change to a monthly subscription for between $20-60 more each month. Also, prices do not include VAT, so factor that into your budget.
What Can You Do With Sharetribe?
Share Tribes makes it incredibly simple to design a website/marketplace from scratch. Here are the main things you’ll be able to do with it:
1. Create Your Site
Sharetribe makes it easy to create your website/marketplace. Don’t think this is going to be your 100% unique looking website. You’re working within a set Sharetribe template.
Unless you opt for the Sharetribe Flex plan, your site will look similar to this. Although, you will have some customizability, including logs, colors, favicons, as well as the ability to inject HTML script.
For most basic users, this rigid structure is a blessing in disguise. It’s what makes it so quick and easy to get a good-looking site up quickly. There are plenty of Sharetribe users who’ve gotten their website live in just hours. And it’s so easy that you can too.
Of course, you’re not really paying a minimum of $79/month for just a website builder. The whole point of Sharetribe is to make commerce flow.
To do this, you set up your payment systems. You set your currency and minimum transaction size. Sharetribe has global commerce baked-in, allowing you to set effectively any currency.
From here, you can configure either/both PayPal and Stripe to use for processing payments. It’s up to you which you use though many sites choose both to create the most payment flexibility possible for users.
You can track all transactions easily from within your dashboard. Since many marketplaces get more complicated than just buying and selling, Sharetribe offers a variety of different categories to help you quickly find whatever you are looking for, such as canceled, completed, refunded, preauthorized, disputed, and other transaction types.
4. Email Marketing
Sharetribe also includes basic email marketing tools including basic email segmentation. With it, you can send out emails to users without or without listings as well as those who have added their payment details.
This isn’t going to replace a real email marketing solution, such as MailerLite, but it’s a helpful add-on, especially for newer sites on limited budgets.
5. User Invite
Your marketplace is only as strong as the quantity and quality of users you have. Similar to the email marketing tool, you can also easily reach out and invite new users to join your site.
One of the things that sets Sharetribe apart is even they advise and link you to an informative article on how to send out mass invites to increase your engagement rate.
But the built-in tool is a great way to connect to your test audience before you are ready to go 100% live.
Other Useful Features
Sharetribe has additional tools to make managing your marketplace a breeze including:
This makes it easy to track from the dashboard exactly what’s happening on the site, what’s being said on it, and what’s being said about it.
You’ll also see exactly where activity is coming from, in case you need to remove a malicious user or reward those who have been driving a lot of sales. Additionally, you can add users and give them admin or guest status, as well as create custom profiles with images and other personal information.
Who Should Use Sharetribe?
Sharetribe is easy to use, even compared to website builders like Squarespace. It’s a hassle-free way to create a good-looking website. The trade-off, however, is that it isn’t particularly customizable, especially on the lower-priced plans.
For individuals looking to create a true eCommerce store, this may be excessively restrictive while not including enough features. For example, there is no product inventory management solution, and you can only use Square and PayPal for payment.
The key thing to remember is it’s a marketplace platform and not expressly for eCommerce stores. If a marketplace is what you want to create, whether it’s an Amazon wannabe or something unique, it’s hard to beat the value and the minimal startup costs of Sharetribe.
The support team is super helpful, and there are tons of onboarding tools to help you get started. Additionally, it’s updated frequently with new features rolling out often.
Overall, the best way to see if it’s the right fit for you is to give the trial period a shot and see if it works for your specific needs.
Is Sharetribe Worth It?
Again, it depends on what you’re trying to do. If you want a dedicated eCommerce platform, then you should get a full-featured Shopify account for $79/month, which is the same price as Sharetribe.
In terms of its actual competitors in the marketplace building space, Sharetribe is actually on the lower end of pricing. Other top solutions like Near and Higento start at $500 and $200 a month/respectively. With these higher prices, however, you get some of the missing features Sharetribe is missing like catalogs and order updates.
With any marketplace software, the biggest thing you’ll have to ask yourself is whether you can do enough business on it either yourself or through users to justify the monthly cost or not.
Sharetribe has 1000+ success stories from both major brands and small businesses. So if you’re looking for the right combination of affordability and ease-of-use, not to mention minimal startup costs, it’s hard to beat it as long as you can build the traffic you need to sustain the platform over time.
- Can set up a marketplace quickly
- Very easy to use
- Huge amount of onboarding material
- Great CMS for building marketplaces
- No coding skills required
- Simple workflow for essential functions
- Good support team
- Very limited customization
- CMS is really on for marketplaces
- Limited marketing features
- Too expensive for a custom landing page
A Quick Note On Sharetribe Flex
Many of the criticisms you see about Sharetribe are based around the rigidity of the Sharetribe Go plan. Sharetribe addressed these concerns last year with the release of the Sharetribe Flex plan. It allows you backend access, so you get much more customization as well as other advanced functionality.
So, if you’re finding Sharetribe to be too basic for your needs, be sure to check it out.
It depends on what you’re trying to do. If you want a full-featured eCommerce platform, then you should definitely be looking at Shopify or a WordPress + Magento integration. If you’re more interested in dropshipping, you could always check out Funnel Genie.
But if you want to create a marketplace, two options worth checking out are Near Me and Krizalid.
Near Me is pricier. Their starter plan ranges from $500-1000/month. But with it you get:
- 10,000 users
- Custom domain
- Full HTML functionality
Near Me’s main advantage is more flexibility and customization. With it, you can develop robust marketplace solutions really well-suited for larger businesses. The only real downside is pricing, so Near Me may not be worth it if you’re creating a simpler site regardless of the number of users.
For a slightly more affordable alternative to Sharetribe, it’s worth looking into Kreezalid. Although Kreezalid’s plan starts at $89/month ($10 more than Sharetribe) but you get similar Sharetribe features and more including:
- Up to 300 users
- Custom domain
- SSL certificate
The only downside to Krizalid is there’s no step in between this and its next plan, which starts at $389/month, making Sharetribe a better option for sites in 1,000 user range.
Sharetribe: The Bottom Line
If you want a quick, easy, and affordable way to build an online marketplace, you can’t do better than Sharetribe. However, if you want customization and advanced functionality, you might want to look into the Sharetribe Flex plan or other vendors.
- Ease of Use
Looking to create your own peer-to-peer marketplace? If so, you may be considering using Sharetribe. Shertribe is a marketplace building platform whose main target users are entrepreneurs and small businesses. Their aim is to make creating a marketplace easier and quicker, with additional features like email marketing and user invites. Read our review of Sharetribe and see if this platform can work for you.