Compare Sharetribe vs. Shopify

What is the best way to build a marketplace: Shopify's eCommerce solution or Sharetribe's marketplace software? This article helps you compare the ease of use, speed to market, price, features, scalability, and a lot more.

Shopify is essentially not a Sharetribe alternative.

It’s a great solution for creating an online store, but it wasn't originally built for creating two-sided marketplaces with multiple sellers. To build a marketplace with Shopify, you need to use plugins and themes that require installation – and quite often also custom development. Adding unique marketplace elements can be very complicated. Because of this, setting up a marketplace with Shopify can take quite a while, and the approach is not very scalable or easy to maintain.

Shopify is a powerful tool for building a single-vendor eCommerce store. If your business idea needs a multi-vendor solution, Sharetribe is likely to be a better choice.

Sharetribe was built solely for the purpose of creating two-sided marketplaces. Sharetribe Go allows you to set up a fully functional marketplace in minutes. You don't need to install anything or configure plugins and themes: it just works. If you want to scale your marketplace and add completely unique features, workflows, and designs, Sharetribe Flex allows you to do exactly that. It's optimized for great developer experience, making it easy to extend your marketplace and scale it to any size.

The table below helps you compare Shopify with Sharetribe Go and Sharetribe Flex.


Sharetribe Go

Sharetribe Flex

Dedicated marketplace solution?

How to get started?
  • Create a Shopify account
  • (Buy a domain)
  • Host your shop
  • Add Shopify Marketplace App to your shop
  • Install a theme
  • Edit your theme to accommodate marketplace features
  • Sign up to Sharetribe Go
  • (Buy a custom domain)
  • (Set up a Custom Landing Page)
  • Sign up to Sharetribe Flex
  • Develop your marketplace front end on top of APIs & website template
  • Buy a domain
  • Buy hosting for your front end
Built-in marketplace features?

Time to launch

A few weeks to several months*

*depending on how much custom development you need

1 day

1–3 months

  • Shopify plan $29–$299 /mo
  • Shopify Marketplace App $10–$45 /mo
  • Theme $0–$350
  • Hosting costs starting from $25 /mo 
  • Plans starting from $79 /mo
  • (Custom Landing Page $99 /mo)
  • Subscription fee $299 /mo
  • (+ Transaction fee for transaction volume over $30,000)
Free trial

14 days

30 days

Free for the duration of development

Technical skills needed


  • Installing Shopify, the Shopify Marketplace App, and a marketplace theme doesn’t require code
  • Some adjustments to the themes can be made without code
  • It’s likely you’ll need advanced customizations for your marketplace template. That requires development skills (or hiring a Shopify developer)


  • No coding skills needed
  • Easy to customize and setup using Admin panel
  • Hosting, performance, maintenance, backups, and updates included at any scale


  • Some development skills needed to take Flex into use
  • Mid- to high-level skills needed for custom-developing features and integrations
  • Backend hosting, performance, maintenance, backups, and updates included at any scale

Backend hosting included


Backend maintenance included

Performance monitoring


Custom development


Not possible


Main programming language


Custom coding not possible

Use the tech stack of your choice

Supports building a mobile app

  • Shopify support for basic features
  • Shopify Marketplace App support for marketplace functionality
  • Support for the theme if bought separately
  • Sharetribe support
  • Sharetribe support +
  • Flex developer support
Key benefits

+ Lowest cost if you can start with just the basics

+ Advanced features for "online malls" like Amazon

+ Offers multiple payment gateways

+ Shopify developer network if you need to buy custom development

+ eCommerce expertise & reputation

+ Very fast to launch

+ Very easy to use

+ Seamless user experience that keeps improving

+ Effortless to maintain

+ Advanced features for rental marketplaces like Airbnb, service marketplaces like Fiverr, and product marketplaces like Etsy

+ Dedicated support for non-technical founders

+ Fully customizable, yet fast to launch

+ Effortless to maintain

+ Unlimited scalability

+ Enjoyable developer experience

+ Easy to build a mobile app

+ Advanced features for rental, service, and product marketplaces

+ Dedicated support for developers

Key drawbacks

- Not suited for rental or service marketplaces like Airbnb or Fiverr or peer-to-peer product marketplaces like Ebay

- Not the fastest way to launch

- Most customizations require technical skills

- Maintaining can become challenging especially at scale

- Not easily extendable with custom features

- Limited scalability

- Maintenance not included

- Not the smoothest developer experience

- Multiple sources for documentation and support

- Migrating your platform will require building a new one from scratch

- Lowest customizability

- Not possible to build new features

- Limited functionality for "online mall" marketplace types

- Supports fewer payment gateways and business models

- Requires development skills (or hiring a verified Sharetribe Expert)

- Takes more time to launch

- Requires a bigger budget to get started

Always included in both Go & Flex

When you create a marketplace with Sharetribe, here's what you can always count on.

All essential marketplace features


Listings and profiles. Multiple different transaction flows. Search engine. Availability management. Messaging, reviews, email notifications, and a lot more. Because you don’t have to sweat the basics, you can focus on what counts: your brand and your user community.

Secure online payments


Sharetribe’s built-in payment system allows you to process payments between your users, delay payouts, and collect your commission automatically. Without compromising user experience or security compliance.

Powerful admin tools


Have a 360° view of what goes on in your marketplace. User management, content moderation, transaction monitoring, and a lot more – all the tools you need to be in complete control of your platform.

Regular updates & new features


Sharetribe makes your business more powerful every day. In addition to keeping your platform up to speed with the latest security and regulatory advancements, our team adds lots of new functionality to your marketplace every month.

Carefree infrastructure


Wherever your growth takes you, your Sharetribe-powered platform can handle it. You never need to worry about traffic spikes or site performance. Our solutions support your marketplace at any stage of your business lifecycle.

Legal & regulatory compliance


Local payment regulation? Data security protection? Regulatory changes and updates? With Sharetribe, your payment and data processing is always compliant with the latest regulatory standards such as GDPR and PSD2.

Maintenance & backups


Scratch backups off your todo list. Sharetribe keeps your platform and data storage working reliably and securely according to the latest industry best practices. If you ever want to leave, your data is yours to keep.

Expert support 7 days a week


Sharetribe’s support team consists of marketplace business and platform technology experts – all extremely friendly folks to boot. We’ll help you get the most out of our products and share Sharetribe’s decade-long marketplace experience to support your business.

Launch today with no code or build freely on top of marketplace APIs

Starts from $79/mo

Sharetribe Go:
The fastest way to market

  • Set up & launch in one day
  • No coding skills needed
  • Easy to adapt to your marketplace idea
Tablet and smartphone screens showing two Sharetribe Go marketplace home pages.
Laptop and smartphone screens showing Sharetribe Flex web template and code and a marketplace listing page UI.
Starts from $299/mo

Sharetribe Flex:
Custom-building made smarter

  • Design & develop your ideal marketplace
  • Essential features out of the box
  • Unique, headless approach with APIs and templates

Not sure? Compare Go and Flex in more detail or let us help!

Let's build a marketplace!

  • Launch quickly
  • Expand on-demand
  • Support every day
Start building for free