How Listing types work

Listing types determine what kind of listings are created on your marketplace and how customers interact with them.

Sharetribe avatar
Written by Sharetribe
Updated over a week ago

Listing types determine how your customers and providers transact. They direct how customers start a transaction, how providers respond, and the subsequent steps of their transaction, such as messages, disputes, reviews, or reminders.

When creating your Listing type in Console, the Transaction process you select determines how a transaction between a customer and provider can happen. Some Listing types take further settings to further specify the nature of the transaction.

Finally, each Listing type also contains different Default and Optional fields that impact what information providers add when creating a listing and how it is used by customers during search and transactions.

Listing types are assigned to a listing by the provider when they are creating a listing. The assigned Listing type then determines what sections and fields the provider must complete to create their listing.

You may have multiple Listing types in your marketplace, but each listing may only be assigned to a single Listing type.

How different Transaction settings work

Listing types are functionally distinguished from each other by their Transaction settings. Transaction settings include the Transaction process and its related configurations. The default Transaction processes are:

  • Calendar booking

  • Purchase

  • Free messaging

Calendar booking

Calendar booking is suited when your providers are offering a service or item for rental where time availability is important. This Listing type includes a calendar to facilitate bookings and manage inventory effectively.

Providers using this Listing type will add a calendar of availability for their service or rental. Customers use this calendar to book available times.

Use this transaction setting if the offered products or services are time or space dependent. Examples include marketplaces where spaces or things are rented, or marketplace where services are reserved.

Booking unit

When you configure Calendar booking, you select a booking unit. Booking units refer to the amount of time that should be reserved from the calendar from the listing page. The default booking units you can configure are:

  • Per hour

  • Per day

  • Per night

Each Listing type can only have a single booking unit. Therefore, if your marketplace should offer bookings across different time scales, then you should create a Listing type for each booking unit. For example, you would create a Listing type to accommodate listings that should be booked per day and another Listing type for listings that should be booked per hour.

Availability calendar

Listings created with Calendar booking include an availability calendar. Providers fill this calendar when creating a listing. They can set their calendar for up to 365 days in advance. Learn more about how providers add and manage their availability.

Online payment

Customers cannot make a booking without authorizing a charge on their card during checkout. Once a provider accepts the booking request, the card is charged and the rest of the transaction proceeds.

Payment and payouts are handled through Stripe automatically.

It is not possible to use the built-in availability calendar without an online payment. If you do not want online payments in your marketplace, choose Free messaging.


Purchase is suitable for marketplaces where items or goods are for sale. It enables customers to purchase a single unit or multiple units of something, such as a physical product, digital product, or service.

There is a broad range of possible offerings that can be configured with Purchase. Stock type and delivery fields determine how exactly this Listing type works.

Stock type

Stock type establishes the nature of the thing being sold and purchased. It determines what inventory, if any, providers input while creating and managing their listing. It also determines how much of the thing a buyer can purchase: only one or multiples of the item.

Learn more about Stock types and how they work for customers and providers.


Purchase listings can have delivery fields included, or not. Enabling delivery fields is particularly useful idea if the provider will be offering physical items or in-person services.

Delivery: pickup asks the provider to specify a physical address. This address is shared with the customer when they make a purchase.

Delivery:shipping asks the provider to set the shipping price for the initial item and for any additional item being shipped. Customers fill out their shipping details when they make a purchase.

Online payment

Making a purchase requires making an online payment. Customers must fill out their payment details and checkout to start the transaction. Eventually, these funds are transferred to the provider if the fulfilment goes smoothly. Payment and payouts are handled through Stripe automatically.

It is not possible to use Purchase listing type functionalities without online payment.

Free messaging

Free messaging listings only allow messaging between provider and customer. There is no online payment involved during this transaction. The customer’s only action is to be able to send a message to the provider, who can reply back through the platform.

The simplicity of this Listing type makes it applicable to a broad range of use cases. First, any free items or services can be offered this way. Second, when the seller’s country is not supported by Stripe for online payments, Free messaging allows your customers and providers to at least find each other and interact through messages on the platform. Finally, Free messaging is also suitable for more complex transactions like negotiations or requests for proposals, which can only be built into the marketplace using custom code. Without coding, Free messaging listings could be used to approximate the back-and-forth experience during validation of the marketplace business.

No online payment

Free messaging is the only transaction process without online payment. This means that when customers press the call to action button on a listing page, they are directed to message the provider as their next step. After sending a message, the transaction between customer and provider continues, where both sides can message each other as much as they want. No credit card details are ever asked from the customer, since no online payment occurs. Therefore, providers adding Free messaging listings to their marketplace do not need to add their payout details to start receiving transactions.

How transactions work for your users

How marketplaces with multiple Listing types work

Having multiple Listing types means that you have different types of listings on your marketplace. Perhaps your marketplace allows selling products and giving them away. Or, you customers can book hourly experiences alongside nightly stays. Or, your providers should be able to sell and rent their items. Ultimately, you are introducing more options for both providers and buyers.

Operator view multiple listing types

If you only have one Listing type, then it is automatically assigned to the listing. If you have multiple, then the provider must select the Listing type.

Listings can only have one Listing type, so, if a provider would like to offer a listing in multiple different ways, they will create a listing for each offering. For example, if a provider is renting their bike both hourly and daily, then they will create a listing with an hourly Listing type and one with a daily Listing type. Using descriptive Listing type titles will ensure they pick the right one.

Different Listing types may use different custom listing fields and have different default listing fields. When you assign unique listing fields to a Listing type, only the assigned listing fields appear during listing creation when their Listing type is selected.

Custom Listing fields are assigned to Listing types when you are configuring your listing fields. Default listing fields can be customized in the Listing type settings.

If you do have multiple types of transactions on your marketplace, it probably means you have customers with different goals. Some may want to buy a listing, while others are interested in renting. When no search criteria is applied, all open listings are visible to the buyer. Using availability filtering then limits searches only to listings for booking (i.e. that use the "Calendar booking" transaction setting). Buyers filtering by Listing type is not possible yet unless you custom code this feature.

How to change Listing types

If you want to change an existing Listing type, it is better to create a new Listing type rather than change an existing Listing type. Changing the settings of a Listing type blocks providers from making any updates to their using this Listing type.

Also, once a listing is created, you cannot update or change its Listing type. If your provider wants to change how their listing behaves (by using a different Listing type), then they should close or delete the listing and create a new one.

If you change the settings of an existing Listing type, listings using the changed Listing type remain open with the previous settings. To illustrate this: imagine you have a provider who created a listing with a Listing type using the "Free messaging" transaction setting. You change this Listing type setting to "Purchase." The provider's listing will retain the old setting ("Free messaging") and remain open, so any buyer who interacts with the listing will follow the "Free messaging" transaction process.

Did this answer your question?