Developer Diaries: Webkul
June 11, 2018
Interested in turning your Magento store into a multi-vendor marketplace like Amazon? We interviewed Vipin Sahu, Director of eCommerce at Webkul to learn more about the company’s popular multi-vendor marketplace extension.
Magento: Tell us about your marketplace extension?
Vipin: We have built one of the most popular multi-vendor marketplace extensions for Magento merchants, the Multi-vendor marketplace. With this extension, a merchant can add products from other suppliers to increase their store’s product breadth and assortment which in turn helps attract new customers. You can also earn commissions on products sold from your store while leaving the inventory and fulfillment responsibility to the vendor. Developing a marketplace on your own with all the bells and whistles is difficult. There is no single extension that does it all. This is why we designed ours to be completely modular. You can add and purchase various add-ons to the base marketplace extension over time as your needs grow. Key features of the marketplace extension include:
Multi-vendor registration and product management
Split payment support for vendors
Mobile application for multi-vendor marketplace (vendor and customer management)
Vendor Shipping Management
Support for all major shipping methods (FedEx, DHL, USPS, UPS ,Aramex, etc.)
Vendor return and refund management
B2B feature support including vendor quote management and RFQ
Vendor Commission Management
Sales tools like vendor auctions, deals, and membership
Vendor rental and booking management
Vendor coupon and reward system
Vendor multi-channel integration with eBay, Amazon, Etsy.
Marketplace seller central
Vendor logistics management
Vendor POS and more
Magento: How did you first come up with the idea for this extension?
Vipin: We first started working with the Magento platform in 2009 and started building apps for the Magento Marketplace (Magento Connect) in 2010. We learned that as eCommerce businesses evolve, many need additional commerce tools like multi-vendor marketplace and POS multi-channel integration to generate more traffic and increase profit margins. We offer a base multi-vendor extension, along with multiple add-ons that provide new functionality such as product bulk upload, RFQ, chat, and product size charts. This modular extension design has been popular with merchants who wish to add features as they mature over time.
Magento: Tell us about your market impact?
Vipin: We are one of the largest providers of marketplace extension software for the Magento platform. In fact, we have sold more than 10,000 copies of our software through Magento Marketplace and our own direct store. Nokia and National Aviation Services are just a few of the merchants using our multi-vendor marketplace extension.
Magento: What advice do you have for others who want to innovate in commerce?
Vipin: My advice is that instead of simply copying ideas from other extension providers, try to solve real customer problems. Customer feedback is really important for App developers who are building tools for humans. Commerce is moving very fast and there are new opportunities to develop unique and scalable solutions for merchants thanks to Magento specialty tools like GraphQL, RabbitMQ, Headless system, and PWA.
Magento: What is the greatest challenge in commerce you hope to solve?
Vipin: We have solved the multi-vendor marketplace need. There are many small merchants around the world who have benefitted from our extension and add-ons because they can add new functionality themselves, without relying on a technical person. We are building more utility-based tools like native mobile apps, POS, and multi-channel integration. We’re also working very hard to innovate on AI, chatbots, machine learning, commerce + IOT, microservices, search intelligence, and video streaming.
Magento: What are the main benefits of promoting your extensions on Magento Marketplace?
Vipin: There are many benefits. We love the Magento Community. The Magento Marketplace is not only a great way to reach potential customers, it’s a great learning environment. We have learned so much by distributing our extension, including how to write better code and software. For example, we learned to use Varnish to improve performance and scalability as website traffic grows. We’ve found that the Marketplace team listens well and works quickly to address feedback.