If you're not a developer, but you're good at marketing, then creating a marketplace may be right for you.
A marketplace looks like a normal eCommerce store but there's a single difference: the products aren't your own.
It used to be difficult to create these kinds of marketplaces, but today it's ridiculously easy because of a combination you may not know about – a plugin, a few extensions, and a theme.
- Easy Digital Downloads
- EDD Extension: Commissions
- EDD Extension: Frontend Submissions
- WordPress Theme: Marketify
The Marketplace Bundle
The good news, when it comes to the EDD extensions is that Pippin and the good folks working on EDD have created a Marketplace bundle – giving you the two extensions above, along with several others that will round out some nice functionality.
The reason I say this is a great way to do it is because you can work with a variety of vendors to convince them to sell their products in your store (after all, what's wrong with another channel?) and use Commissions to provide them the right incentives. More channels means more broader market, which leads to greater profits (for everyone involved).
And Frontend Submissions gives product owners control over adding their own products, the copy that shows up on product pages, images, and more. It reduces your need to do a lot to build the store (other than recruiting sellers).
When I said you were good at marketing, I meant you would need to be good at getting the word out (as well as getting more sellers). But notice I didn't say you had to be a great developer. Because this new theme, Marketify, will make your site look beautiful.
- Install EDD & extensions.
- Install Marketify.
- Recruit sellers.
- Launch & Market.
That's the right way to create a marketplace.
Is there a wrong way to sell other people's products?
Yes, my friends. Yes there is.
Now in the WordPress world, you should know that most of the plugins and themes are licensed under GPL. It's a license that allows anyone to freely use, enhance or distribute the code without any requirement of paying for license fees.
If this is the first time you've heard about the GPL, I know how weird it can sound. But the results have proven it to be a model that works well to increase community participation in the development of fantastic software.
But that same freedom to distribute can lead to people taking premium products (like iThemes Builder, Headway Themes, the Genesis Framework, and Gravity Forms) and re-distributing them on their own sites for their own gain.
Now, I know, given the paragraph above – you're going to ask me if it's legal. And the truth is that it is. 100% lega. If the code is licensed under GPL it is free to be distributed.
But if you're going to do that, you can't infringe on their trademarks and copyrights.
And that's where things come falling apart. They highlight the wrong way to do it. Because the only reason people would even spend $5 on these products is if they thought they were the real ones – coded and supported by the real companies that produced them.
So imagine your surprise, were you to buy Gravity Forms for $5 and install it, when you realized you couldn't get any support for it at all. What a waste!
And that's because this marketplace isn't a legit marketplace, it's a fake. As fake as the guys on the street corner in NYC selling fake Guci bags (and yes, there's a “c” missing).
There's never been a better time..
Fortunately, you have at least two legit ways to sell other people's code without infringing on their rights.
The first is to use affiliate links (like those in this article). I only recommend products that
- I own
- I use
- I trust
You can read more about my policy on affiliate recommendations and why, even though I get offers to write reviews for tons of products every day, over 95% never show up on this site.
The second way is to build a marketplace. And as you've seen above, between the Marketplace bundle and Marketify, you could have a marketplace built for less than $200. That's seriously an amazing deal.
By the way, if you do create a new marketplace, come back and tell me about it. I want to know about it.