By Jessica Bruc
Since the inception of e-commerce, we have seen a number of online businesses coming to reality. From inventory-based business to the e-commerce marketplace platform and then dropshipping, the e-commerce scene has come very far today. The trends changed over time, and we saw numerous other adaptations of the business companies, giving birth to some entirely new models.
One such expansion is into the peer-to-peer marketplace model (P2P). This market was valued at over $15 billion in 2013 itself. Back then, they predicted it to cross the $355 billion mark by 2024. Looking at the current state of the segment, we can say that they were not wrong. Airbnb, the most prominent example of a P2P rental marketplace platform is worth over $38 billion. If we consider the market share of global and some regional businesses like eBay, Uber, Blablacar, BoatSetter etc., the P2P economy is on a boom for sure.
We can’t deny the fact that P2P eCommerce is a trending business idea today. Although the oldest example is eBay, we have seen companies like Uber and Airbnb re-inventing this model for rentals, rather than just buying and selling.
Do you want to start a similar peer-to-peer marketplace? Do you think it costs a fortune to build a peer-to-peer marketplace platform? Do you wonder how to start an online marketplace business and develop habits of profitable business in this model? Worry not, as this article will introduce you to four powerful open-source marketplace software that can simplify the process tremendously. You will see that starting a peer-to-peer marketplace for buying, selling, or renting is not as complex or expensive as it may seem.
What is an open-source marketplace software?
Are you familiar with a multi-vendor marketplace like WordPress, Magento, PrestaShop, OpenCart, or Shopify? These are ready-made and open-source software solutions you can use to build websites in a few hours without having to code the basic functionalities from scratch and your e-commerce site can be easily optimized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Except for Shopify, which is a SaaS e-commerce marketplace, all others are open-source e-commerce marketplace. They provide open-source access, which you can use to customize your online store as per prescribed frameworks.
Similarly, there are also open-source and ready-made software solutions that build P2P marketplaces. These enterprise solutions come built-in with all fundamental functionalities to run a P2P marketplace, manage revenue channels, carry online transactions, and much more. Since they offer open-source access in different variants, you can also customize them.
Here are four different types of rental ecommerce marketplace software so that you can use any of them as per your unique business ideas and requirements.
Best open source marketplace solutions
1. GenBnB -Airbnb for x Script for Rental Marketplace Software
GenBnb is an Airbnb for X script built on the peer-to-peer rental marketplace model. This marketplace solution can build a P2P rental marketplace and accommodate all sorts of products or services you want to rent from your open-source platform. It supports unique features and user interfaces for Admin, Renter, and customers. Be it boat rentals, vacation rentals, bicycle rentals, car rentals, storage space rentals, this script has in-built features to build your full-fledged platform in a few hours without having to code everything.
The script is suitable for individuals who are starting a new small business or already have one, and developers who want to build any kind of P2P rental marketplace business. The inbuilt commission management system and revenue channels make it easy to keep track of the earnings and manage payouts to the renting partners without any error. Similar to Airbnb, the script supports Commission from partners as well as Transaction Fees from customers.
- Technology Stack: Based on PHP with Database MySQL
- Types of solution available: Admin Panel, Responsive Website, Mobile apps for iOS and Android
- Type of open-source access: Open-source code access and IP rights after a one-time payment
- Updates and Upgrades: Free updates and upgrades for one year
- Tech support: Free one-year technical support
2. Sharetribe -Product and Service Selling Multi-Vendor Marketplace Software
Sharetribe is a combined brand name for a multi-vendor marketplace that offers multiple customized solutions. They offer solutions in both open-source and managed versions. They have classified the managed version into various packages, which offer respective features based on the pricing structure you select. The source code is available under the MIT license on GitHub. The script is capable of building both the P2P marketplace for selling like online store eBay and P2P rental marketplace like Airbnb. It supports multi-languages, multi-currency, and commission management.
The managed versions of this multi-vendor marketplace are available with limited customizability, but it is enough to customize your UI and build a trending mobile app on top of it using APIs. It is suitable for beginners who don’t want to manage the technicalities but need a multi-vendor marketplace platform to make money. However, if you want better control and can spend some time and money on customization, the open-source version would be a better choice. You can make your own decisions and hire your developers to do the customizations. However, technical support is limited to open-source versions.
- Technology Stack: Based on Ruby on Rails stack with MySQL and database technology
- Types of solution available: Admin Panel and Responsive Website
- Type of open-source access: Limited source code access and APIs
- Updates and Upgrades: Regular patches and upgrades
- Tech support: Documentation and community support for open-source versions
3. Cocorico- Service Marketplace Software
If you don’t want to sell, and just seek a website builder to create a C2C marketplace like Airbnb, BlaBlacar for rentals, Cocolabs’ Cocorico would be a perfect open-source solution. It’s a standalone eCommerce platform with its library, allowing independent developers to build custom modules easily. The features of this open-source platform let you build your service-based marketplace without having to pay a recurring fee to the SaaS vendors. Features like functional calendar, yield management rules, third-party payment gateways, cancellation management, and commission management make it a good fit.
It is suitable for small businesses and developers who want to build a service-based marketplace and have full control over Admin as well as the front end of the platform. They also have different types of templates for different service genres like Freelancing, Doctors, Cooking classes, etc. You can get the source code of the base script on GitHub.
- Technology Stack: Based on the PHP Symfony framework
- Types of solution available: Admin Panel and Website front-end
- Type of open-source access: Full source-code access of the base script
- Updates and Upgrades: Regular security patches and base upgrades
- Tech support: Comprehensive documentation and a big community of developers
4. RentPark -Parking Space Rental Marketplace Software
RentPark is one of the customized P2P rental-marketplace open-source software solutions from RentCubo, which specializes in rental marketplace solutions. Their RentPark script works on Airbnb’s business model and supports a peer-to-peer revenue management system. You can call it Airbnb for renting out parking spaces. Besides, the customizations allow Renters and Admin to manage individual parking slots, which is easier with a network of a website and mobile apps. The real-time navigation system makes finding an available parking space easier.
It is suitable for specific entrepreneurs who are looking to start a parking space business in their locality. This is a good business idea, considering the lack of public parking spaces in big cities. Letting people with extra parking spaces make some money per month could be a profitable undertaking. The script has in-built features and it’s completely open-source, as you can customize your platform the way you want. Both back-end and front-end are customizable.
- Technology Stack: Front is based on Bootstrap and React.js, while back-end works on Laravel
- Types of solution available: Admin Panel, Website, and mobile apps
- Type of open-source access: Full source-code access
- Updates and Upgrades: Security patches and feature upgrades
- Tech support: Documentation, free support under warranty, and premium customization service
You must understand that no solutions on the internet are fully open-source or free of cost. One or the other way, you need to spend money to make the best out of them. If you are a developer, you may save some cost on customization. However, if you can’t code, you can ask the vendors themselves to customize as per your requirements. Most of the time, you would need the customizations in the front-end alone to make your UI look unique. Sometimes, you may want to customize the back-end to add new features that would, of course, demand more money.
Nevertheless, using these solutions will always be an economical alternative to developing the same thing from scratch. Even if you want to go for the SaaS alternatives, you would be paying recurring charges, which would eventually surpass the upfront cost. So think wisely if you can spare some upfront investment (open-source), or smaller recurring payments (SaaS) are fine with you.
Jessica Bruc is a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry. You can follow her on Twitter.