What is a "Marketplace"?
What we refer to as a "marketplace" implementation is one similar to sites like Amazon or EBay. Individuals can sign up on the site as a vendor, then submit and manage their own list of products on the site to sell. The end result is that the store will then list all products and accept payments on behalf of the vendor, but in most cases taking some sort of commission, or charging some kind of membership fee.
We get requests like this a lot – people wanting to build a marketplace for other sellers to submit and sell their own products. Unfortunately, each of these requests is completely different from the previous one. Every marketplace customer we've spoken to has requirements that are so vastly different, that building an out-of-the-box solution that meets the needs of the majority of these requests is near impossible.
This is partially why we've built Hotcakes to have a very flexible technical architecture. This architecture allows you as the person building the site to take advantage of our extension points to not only integrate other systems, but also to build add-on apps that compliment what your store is being used for (such as mobile apps).
In order to manage a marketplace, you need a way to allow vendors to create and manage their own products in your store. In order to achieve this, you can build a very simple module that allows a customer to create their product and then it sends to the product catalog with any number of attributes.
You’d still be able to leverage all of Hotcakes’ features, but with the added benefit of building the front-end components for your marketplace sellers in exactly the way that you want, with the business rules that you need. These components don’t have to be limited to saving/managing products, but also reporting and anything else that you need thanks to our server-side and REST API extension points.
As an example, you have several pages and numerous fields on each page when adding a product in Hotcakes. If your sellers only need to worry about 3 fields (e.g., product name, price, and file upload), then those are the only fields you show to them in your custom marketplace integration.