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Today, booking a ride with Uber or using Airbnb and Couchsurfing instead of traditional hotels is common. Developers build an application and distribute it for free. A lot more examples like these show the power of sharing economy – a platform for exchange and sale of goods and services. This economy has given rise to new opportunities not just for technical people, but also for experts in various fields like cooking and music.

Entrepreneurs are now creating their own marketplace to offer something viable, valuable and enduring while establishing themselves as experts in the niche. If you are inspired by these marketplaces and want to build one, but don’t know where to start, this post is for you.

There are various platforms which help you create a marketplace quickly and affordably. Here, I talk about one of the most popular and advanced web marketplace platforms – Sharetribe. My in-depth review will help you learn about its features and benefits to decide if it can really help you.


Disclaimer: this post includes affiliate links. If you decide to choose a product I recommend, I might get a small commission, which is crucial to keep this blog up and running.

Sharetribe Review – Updated 2019

What is Sharetribe?

An amazing marketplace platform developed by Antti Virolainen and Juho Makkonen, Sharetribe was initially targeted at helping students find tutor, sell used textbooks and other tasks.

However, it grew to become a fully-featured platform to help entrepreneurs create web marketplaces without any complication. It offers easy to use tools which businesses can use even without any knowledge of technical stuff. Sharetribe solution comes with:

  • Support for different types of marketplaces
  • Built-in payment system
  • Tools for content generation, categorization and filtration
  • Custom branding capability
  • Support for mobile devices
  • Advanced payment system with support for more than 190 countries and 25 currencies

With a lot of other features, Sharetribe offers everything a business would want to create something great and appealing.

Features

The most attractive feature of Sharetribe is its easy-to-use platform. The user-friendly interface allows even non-techy entrepreneurs to easily understand how it works. It also offers an educational academy that helps you learn everything about running a marketplace on the platform. You can use the training and articles to improve your knowledge.

Sharetribe includes tools to help you market your business online. This saves you from spending a lot of time getting the basics right. You can quickly have a rating system, messaging system, authentication, search filters, geolocation and user profiles.

It includes an integrated payment system which helps businesses accept and process orders.

Sharetribe also focuses on a mobile-first approach and works seamlessly on mobile devices to allow customers to purchase from their small-screen devices with ease.

Sharetribe makes it possible to start a business idea without having to spend much money. It also saves you from the stress of finding developers to get your business started. It is actually recommended for people with no coding knowledge.

Benefits of Sharetribe (tech side)

Programming framework (Ruby on Rails)

Written in the most popular programming framework for reliable, quick development, Sharetribe can be customized easily to suit business requirements. Entrepreneurs can use the plugins and tools developed by Ruby on Rails community to add functionality to the marketplace like forums.

Stable Environment

Following a behavior-driven development method, Sharetribe tests all the code changes immediately to see that it doesn’t affect existing functionality.

Continious Development

Sharetribe is updated on a monthly basis to provide the latest security measures for marketplaces and to support the latest versions of technologies, allowing developers to benefit from cutting-edge functionality.

Contributors use user feedback to learn and plan the advancements accordingly. They work continuously to simplify purchase processes, add more payment methods and even for mobile use to help make your marketplace more accessible.

Support

Open source solutions with strong communities are really amazing. If anybody has any concerns about the architecture or technical aspects of the platform, it is always possible to get support from contributors and developers.

Sharetribe has an active community forum which suggests that it will continue being supported in future as well.

Pros

  • Sharetribe is really easy to get started with. You can literally launch your marketplace overnight.
  • You don’t need any coding skills and support from a developer. With Sharetribe you can launch a marketplace completely on your own, even if you have no idea about the technical side of building websites.
  • Using Sharetribe is much cheaper than building a marketplace from scratch, on your own. You’ll have to pay a monthly fee for the use of Sharetribe platform, but in the end it will be just a tiny fraction of what you’d pay to a developer to create the same.
  • Open source version allows building a marketplace without risk and complication.
  • Sharetribe has fantastic features, developed specifically for the needs of marketplaces. The company has been on the market for 8 years, they have a great experience and understanding of the needs of their customers. Moreover, they are continuously working on the development of new features and improvement of the existing offer.
  • Sharetribe offers outstanding quality and robustness. They deliver what they promise and deliver with good quality.
  • Their customer support is excellent and the tools and training are really helpful.

Cons

Sharetribe is built to support various types of marketplaces and can include features that you don’t find useful. This means you can end up paying for functions that you don’t use. This can even add a little complexity in website handling.

There are no proper free plans if you don’t know how to code, so if you are serious about building a business, you’ll have to pay a lot right away (it might soon pay off, however). And if you are a developer yourself and know what you are doing, you might be better off building a platform from scratch yourself, the way you see it.

Pricing

Sharetribe offers two versions – free and paid. You can use the open-source version of the software by downloading on Github. It can be installed on your server, set up and customized the way you want. It is completely free and gives you endless possibilities to add functionality. You will still need to pay the developers to implement it or do it yourself.

The paid version is distributed as Software as a Service and you can install your marketplace on the Sharetribe servers with just a form fill-up. With this version, you can set up your marketplace on your own quickly and easily. It has a fixed price depending on the package you choose – Starter, Pro, Growth or Scale costing $39, $119, $159 and $239 respectively. A business can choose to have 300 to 100,000 members on the website and has complete freedom to choose the package that works the best.

Final Thoughts

If your marketplace is the core of your business, an open source solution like Sharetribe running on your server is a great option. Not only does it offer a number of useful tools but it also has developers who guarantee a bug-free platform.

This helps start-ups and small businesses turn their ideas into reality without any coding knowledge or experience. Different pricing tiers make sure it accommodates businesses of various types and sizes.

If you are still not sure if starting a marketplace is the right business for you, check out my brand new course on Udemy: What Online Business to Start in 2019 (and How). By clicking this link, you will access a special limited offer from me, which will cost you close to nothing given the amount of knowledge and experience locked in in this course.

Sharetribe Review - Best Platforms for Marketplaces
4.8Overall Score