Building a Marketplace in Drupal: What Modules Should You Use? 

Are you planning to set up a robust marketplace in Drupal? One with multi-seller functionality integrated, maybe? A marketplace that leverages a highly scalable distribution model, accessible from various corners of the globe?

Then you legitimately ask yourself:

“What modules should I use?”

And answering your question gets even more challenging as you add more and more complex features to your “wishlist”:

  • to support payment splitting
  • to withhold millions of page views
  • to support multi-shipping
  • to handle a heavy network of merchant stores

Now, I've done my research and shortlisted the available Drupal modules for building a feature-rich integrated e-commerce platform down to 5.


1. Drupal Commerce: The Go-To Solution for any Marketplace in Drupal

When you say “e-commerce” and “Drupal”, what you say actually is Drupal Commerce:

A flexible, easy to use and highly extensible solution that enables you to integrate e-commerce functionality into your Drupal marketplace. 

It ships with a whole cluster of Drupal modules, each one serving a specific e-commerce feature that you might want to add to your e-store. In short: convenience and unmatched flexibility.

Now, speaking of the latter, this is one of those Drupal modules that might be loved by some, while hated by others at the same time:

  • site builders will seize the chance to tap into all that flexibility that it “spoils” them with: anything about the Drupal 8 online store's front-end and back-end can get tweaked
  • Drupal site owners might feel a bit overwhelmed by this “paradox of choice”; they might prefer the convenience of a one-size-fits-all e-commerce solution, one that should fit their own feature needs and specific processes, too, if possible

Other key reasons why Drupal Commerce is essential for your own Drupal marketplace (besides flexibility):

  • it's easy to use
  • it's content-driven: it seamlessly integrates your products with content, enabling you to deliver rich e-commerce user experiences and to boost your online store's SEO ranking  
  • it's extensible: maybe for now you just need to set up a basic shopping portal, but you might want to “tune it up” in the future; with Drupal Commerce you get to upgrade your current set of features, to integrate your store with new robust third-party systems and to inject new functionalities

In other words: Drupal Commerce's a set of commerce-oriented modules that you get out of the box and that you can mix and match to fit your own e-commerce scenario.


2. Product Builder for Drupal Commerce

Word of caution: this module's not covered by Drupal's security policy.

Let's say it's an online pizza shop that you're building and you want to integrate a functionality that would enable customers to... put together their own pizzas. In short: to customize the product that you're selling there...

In this case, you'll need a pizza customization form and a pizza builder preview, as well.

And this is where this module steps in: it provides you with the interface and the extended structure you'll need to incorporate this kind of functionality into your e-commerce store.


3. Commerce Multicurrency

Need to set up a multi-currency system for your marketplace? 

Drupal Commerce already ships with such functionality. Yet, what this Drupal module does is... enhance it.

And I'm talking here about:

  • providing hooks that enable you to easily integrate custom currency exchange rate sources into your online store
  • synchronizing the displayed currency exchange rates with the Europan Central Bank's ones
  • providing a UI where customers get informed about the rates that get synchronized and those that get manually updated


4. Commerce Multi Stock

Word of caution: this an experimental module.

What if you need to set up a powerful multi-stock system when building your marketplace in Drupal? One that could easily withstand intensive traffic from and to a whole network of warehouses/storage locations?

In this case, Commerce Multi Stock provides the development sandbox you need to... build your own robust stock module to meet the above-mentioned requirement.


5. Commerce Kickstart   

OK, it's true: this is not a Drupal module, but a Drupal distribution.

Nevertheless, it might be just the type of “tool” you're looking for to streamline your marketplace development workflow with:

It ships as a “package” including Drupal core, commerce modules and themes.

You get everything you need for your e-commerce platform, bundled up in one distribution that you just need to... install.

A great e-commerce solution for Drupal if:

  • you don't want to get tangled up in customization 
  • time is not on your side and you need to build your marketplace in Drupal in no time


The END!

Needless to add now that, in addition to these 5 Drupal modules, there's always room in your essential toolkit for your own custom commerce-oriented modules. 

Are there any store-specific functionalities that you need to add, like multi-shipping or payment splitting? Dare to build your own modules that should suit your particular needs.

Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay