Knowledge News

Marketplaces in our pockets

Online marketplaces are the virtual counterparts of physical retail marketplaces, wholesale markets, or shopping malls. They are platforms of the digital age where sellers can meet buyers and a range of products are sold to a variety of customers from a variety of suppliers. Amazon, eBay, Alibaba – the biggest webshops in the world are all marketplaces.

Mobile availability is crucial for marketplaces. For all the obvious reasons, customers have a natural urge to interact with them more often and more intensively and the mobile devices are always at hand.  Of course, building and maintaining native mobile apps is quite costly, it requires tons of redundant resources, and not every company can afford it.

PWAs as game-changers for online marketplaces

  • PWAs are well suited for marketplaces in many ways
  • They are simpler and easier to build than mobile apps
  • The same build works on all mobile devices and web
  • They could be saved to the home screen and deliver an app-like experience
  • They are safe and fast

Still, building a PWA from scratch could be a huge undertaking, moreover, there should be a backend behind the scenes that hosts the business logic for the regular webshop features as well as vendor configuration, dropshipping, payouts, integration to external systems, vendor engagement tools and so on.

PWAs frontend and headless backend

To have a PWA marketplace, it is clear we need two things: a marketplace backend and a marketplace frontend. A headless backend or at least a backend with headless features on the customer-facing side, and a PWA frontend that can communicate with the backend via its headless API.

While the backend and the frontend of traditional webshops are interlaced and inseparable, the beauty of the PWAs and headless commerce is that the frontend and the backend are loosely coupled by nature. This separation implies that any PWA can be built around a full-fledged headless marketplace backend, potentially, a generic PWA can be interfaced to any headless marketplace solution.

PWAs and the microservice architecture

PWAs are especially conducive to a microservice architecture as they can easily communicate with multiple services either directly or via a middleware.

One of the simplest cases is a PWA webshop with a dedicated API backend for the blog content in addition to the API backend handling the e-commerce features.

Microservices are cool and extremely flexible, but they can be difficult to orchestrate to a reliable system. What if, let us say a startup wants to go to market quickly and cost-effectively with a marketplace backend that handles all vendor and customer flows together with a PWA frontend to provide maximum UX, performance, and App-like functionality?

Affordable PWA marketplaces

There are two major approaches for a low-cost PWA marketplace development, one of them is to find existing building blocks, a headless marketplace platform with a flexible agnostic PWA platform and integrate them with building any missing features on either end. The easiest part generally is building, customizing as well as integrating the frontend to a robust and reliable backend. There are some great PWA frameworks out there, some of them even with existing webshop integrations.

The other approach is to find some sort of turnkey accelerator solution that includes both the PWA marketplace frontend and the headless marketplace backend with all the major integrations in place.

The ITG commerce PWA Marketplace Accelerator Package

What Magento 2 Provides

  • A full, feature-rich e-commerce platform
  • Headless backend via REST and GraphQL API
  • Page Builder and content staging (Commerce version only)
  • Multi-site, multi-language, multi-currency
  • Hundreds of extension via the Magento Marketplace

What Magento PWA Studio Provides

  • Official React-based PWA frontend to Magento
  • CMS, Catalog, layered Navigation, Search, Cart, Checkout, Dashboard
  • Different product types
  • Page Builder support for Magento Commerce

What uMarketplace Provides

  • Vendor portal – with customized Luma frontend
  • Vendor product & order management
  • Dropshipping workflow
  • Purchase orders
  • Multiple shipping options per vendor
  • RMA and returns
  • Payouts and tiered commissions
  • Vendor analytics
  • Headless API

What our PWA Accelerator Package Provides

  • Performance improvements via our PWA Performance Package
  • Extended GraphQL support
  • Support for configurable bundles
  • PWA Brand pages and search by brand
  • PWA Brand catalog
  • Customer dashboard with marketplace features
  • Product comparison
  • Wish lists
  • Custom checkout
  • Split cart by vendors
  • Paypal Commerce Platform integration

Digital marketplaces come in many flavors, and varieties They could be B2B, B2C, P2P by the business model, unmanaged, lightly managed, or fully managed by the management approach, and vertical or horizontal by their product range focus. We are quite confident that with Magento’s flexibility, Unirgy uMarketplace, and the ITG PWA Marketplace Accelerator Package we can build a premium PWA marketplace, generating more mobile and desktop visitors, better UX as well as customer engagement, and eventually higher conversion rates.

Contact us if you are interested in our Magento PWA Marketplace Accelerator Package or in building a custom PWA marketplace.