Social Marketplace: Build an Online Multi-Vendor Marketplace using BuddyPress & WC Vendors
Today we are looking at a WordPress theme named Social Marketplace, which has been built by BuddyBoss and is designed to work in conjunction with the BuddyPress social network plugin and WC Vendors marketplace plugin to allow you to create a full marketplace for digital or physical goods.
We have looked at building marketplaces with WordPress before, but the benefit of this theme is that you can also utilize all the features of BuddyPress to create a community also and give your members the ability to create their own online stores. You have full control over things like commission rates, vendor applications and each vendor gets a dashboard to manage their accounts.
In this post we will be taking a look at how to install and configure Social Marketplace, check the following links for the full details and a theme demo.
- Allow members to set up their own shop, with WC Vendors Integration – Your members will love the ability to set up and configure their own store. They can customize their shop and brand it their way. With customizable cover photo, store logo, social media links and description, the amount of control and easy configuration will blow their mind.
- Vendo Applications – You probably don’t want every member to start selling products without your approval. With the customizable sign up form, you can allow members to send an application for your approval. They can enter general store information, payment information and Social Media links, for your review.
- Vendor Dashboard – The dashboard allows your vendors to see how they’re doing and to track and measure the performance of their shop. Your vendors can view recent orders, recent products, numbers of orders, total products sold, commission owed, commission paid, with cool graphs. They can also control that data they view, based on a specific period of time.
- Product Management – Once their application has been accepted, your vendors can add and configure their own products through a customizable product form. They can set pricing, description, product photos, stock quantity and much more. With this total control, you can be assured that your vendors will not send you an email every time they need to make a change. You can of course customize the form from the WordPress admin section.
- Order Tracking – Allow your vendors to track their orders, print shipping labels, and export orders to a CSV file, which can easily be imported into Excel and Google Spreadsheets. This feature is key for store management.
- Coupon Management – Vendors can also create their own coupons for their own shops. They can configure all coupons aspects, including coupon value, validity, limits and restrictions.
- Automated Commissions – Vendor commissions are automatically taken care of. Vendors will set up their payment information by adding their PayPal account. Payments are automatically distributed on each sale. You can setup a percentage or fixed commission rate, and an optional transaction fee. You can also easily track commissions and view payment status. With the new Stripe integration plugin, you can even charge and distribute commissions via Stripe.
- Purchase History and Order Tracking, for Customers – Allow customers to track their orders and view their purchase history. This will greatly reduce support requests and give customers full visibility over their transactions.
- eBay Style Vendor Feedback – Customers can easily provide feedback on their purchases, via the Feedback page, a la eBay. They give a rating as well as a comment on each product they have purchased.
- Easily search for products site-wide, with advanced filters – A great products page is a key element of an e-commerce site. Provide your current and potential customers with a great shopping experience. Advanced filtering and categories will allow them to quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Favorite Products and Stores – The favorites feature allows customers to add products and stores to their favorites list. They can easily go back to their favorite stores and products at a later time.
- Search and Browse through Stores – Searching for a specific shop? The shops page displays all the shops available in the marketplace. The search feature will allow you to quickly find the shop you’re looking for.
- Ask a Question – It’s quite common for buyers to have questions about a product. The “Ask a question” feature allows them to do just that! We’ve linked the “Ask a question” button with the BuddyPress messaging component, allowing potential buyers to initiate a conversation with a store owner. No need to answer questions on behalf of the store owners, questions will go straight to them.
- Search and Find Shop Owners – Looking for a specific shop owner? The sellers page displays all the vendors available in the marketplace. The search feature will allow you to quickly find the seller you’re looking for.
- Visual Composer Integration – We’ve integrated with Visual Composer to allow you to create your own custom pages. We’ve also included nearly a dozen custom elements to help you quickly set up your pages.
- Easily Customizable – Our team has spent hundreds of hours designing a theme that is both simple and intuitive, yet looks very modern and is highly customizable. Social Marketplace’s design will work well with both simple and heavy customizations, making it suitable for almost any marketplace site. With extensive theme and E-commerce functionality options you will have no trouble setting up your ideal MarketPlace website.
- Multilingual Support – MarketPlace comes with language files, so you can easily translate it into your language. We support customers from all around the world.
- Social Login Integration – Make it easy for people to join your network. MarketPlace integrates fully with the most popular, free social login plugin on the market “WordPress Social Login”, giving you the ability to integrate with 26+ sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google.
- Extend your customization abilities with a Powerful Admin Panel – Manage layout, font, colors, logos, cover photos, and more… Easily add custom code, optimize scripts, and import/export your options. You should never have to configure your theme more than once!
Before you being setting up the One Social theme, you will need to make sure you have some plugins installed first, as follows:
- BuddyPress – For the Social Networking components
- WooCommerce – For the eCommerce Functionality
- WC Vendors – Paid or free version, handles the marketplace functionality
- BuddyBoss Marketplace – included with the theme, ties everything together.
- Visual Composer – included, this allows you to edit pages visually.
Once all the plugins are installed and activated, you should visit the “BuddyBoss” > “Marketplace” link in your admin menu, and define two pages – Stores and Sellers, you will need to create new pages for these if they do not exist.
To get your homepage setup, there are a couple of things you need to do – first set the homepage to static under “Settings” > “Reading” and choose the home and blog pages here.
You can now visit the page you chose for Home and make any changes using the Visual Composer, you can drag and drop elements, change text, add new elements and so on.
If you click the “Frontend Editor” button, the page will load up and you can make changes easier using the live view.
The other part of the homepage is the slider, you can add slides for this by visiting the “One Social Theme” link which loads up the theme options panel. You can add an image for each slide, a title, some text, button and link.
Your slides will then be displayed on your site like so:
While you are in the theme options panel, from here you can customize many aspects of the theme – you can upload custom logos & choose between 2 different header styles:
The Layout section allows you to choose some options like disabling the WordPress admin bar for users, activating infinite scroll and choosing views for mobiles and desktops.
The theme includes great Typography options, from here you can customize all the fonts used throughout your site, Google fonts are included so you have a big choice in font options.
The Styling section is where you can setup the colors used in the site, there are two presets at the top to choose from which will provide a defined color scheme, you also have the option here to go through and change each color setting manually using a color picker.
If you wish, you can also use the WordPress Customizer to edit your theme colors and you can then view the result live. Visit “Appearance” > “Customizer” to do so and choose the “Styling” link.
You have sections where you can customize the user registration / login pages and also the actual WordPress login page.
The Plugins tab lists a lot of compatible plugins you can use with this theme, some are free and some are paid options from BuddyBoss.
There is also a helpful Support tab, which has video walkthroughs on how to setup your theme, links to a FAQ, support forum and so on.
Once the theme is setup to your liking, you will also need to configure the WC Vendors plugin. Located under the “WooCommerce” menu, from here you can choose a default commission rate for vendors and choose how to let people apply to become a vendor.
You can also define the pages to be used by the plugin for the Vendor Dashboard, Shop Settings, Orders page and your Vendor Terms and Conditions page.
You should also define the payments for your Vendors, it uses PayPal adaptive payments to process their earnings and you can choose a payment schedule and email notifications on sales.
Pricing & Support
Pricing for this theme and the Marketplace theme starts at $179 for a one site license with updates and support for one year. 5 Sites license costs $229 and a 20 site license costs $279.
Social Marketplace is a very detailed and advanced WordPress theme / plugin solution, I believe that it offers the most functionality of all the marketplace themes currently available. Combining it with BuddyPress allows you to offer so many more features for building a community and also allows you to take advantage of all the plugins which are designed for BuddyPress so you could add forums, moderation and many more.
The theme looks great, you should really check out the theme demo here to get a feel for it in action, the Vendor dashboard is exceptionally well designed and displays the users sales, comissions and other info with great looking graphs and charts.
Compatibility with the Visual Composer plugin is a great feature which will allow you to edit the included pages easily without having to touch HTML and CSS code and will also allow you to build any custom page layouts that your site requires.
Pricing-wise, this is not a cheap theme but the sheer amount of functionality included makes this a worth-while purchase – this is a serious solution for building large and complex marketplace websites which will allow your members to sell their products with you taking a cut of each sale. The fact that the theme works with so many additional plugins is also great, meaning you should be able to build just about any extra feature required by this type of site.