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. It allows you to set up a fully functional, no-code 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 also allows you to do 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.



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
  • Set up your marketplace
  • Buy a custom domain
  • Launch your marketplace
Built-in marketplace features?

Time to launch

A few weeks to several months*

*depending on how much custom development you need

1 day

  • Shopify plan $29–$299 /mo
  • Shopify Marketplace App $10–$45 /mo
  • Theme $0–$350
  • Hosting costs starting from $25 /mo 
  • Build plan $29/month
  • Live plans start at $99/month
Free trial

14 days

14 days for Build plan

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)

Low to medium

  • No coding skills needed
  • Easy to customize and set up in Console
  • Hosting, performance, maintenance, backups, and updates included at any scale
  • Customization and integrations possible with code and self-hosting

Self-hosting your frontend is possible


Performance monitoring


Custom development



Main programming language


  • React, Redux, CSS
  • For self-hosted, 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
  • 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 and developer

+ Unlimited scalability

+ Enjoyable developer experience

+ Easy to build a mobile app

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

- Supports fewer payment gateways and business models out of the box

- Less functionality for online mall-type product platforms out of the box

- Building custom functionality and integrations requires coding skills (or hiring a verified Sharetribe Expert)

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  • Launch quickly, without coding
  • Extend infinitely
  • Scale to any size
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