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Can Sharetribe scale to my needs?
Can Sharetribe scale to my needs?

Finding out how scalability and customizability works with Sharetribe developer platform.

Juho Makkonen avatar
Written by Juho Makkonen
Updated over a week ago

Scaling is an important question when thinking about the long-term future of your marketplace. You'll want a platform that not only has the features that you need but also smoothly grows with you as your platform becomes more popular and successful. Sharetribe offers the infrastructure, performance, and tools to create your custom marketplace fast and scale it as far as you can, even when moving past the no-code features.

Technical scalability

Sharetribe is built to scale with your marketplace's growing technical demands. As you build, launch, and grow your marketplace, your technical needs will evolve: You will need to store more and more data, make sure that data is always secure and available, and continue to build out your platform's user experience. Sharetribe's software architecture and back-end services are built to help you meet these challenges.

Front end flexibility

The power of the Sharetribe developer platform comes from the combination of a flexible front end powered by a pre-built back end, implemented as a headless software solution. You can read more about these technical concepts in this article.

With a marketplace customized with code, you own and host the front-end code of the marketplace. This gives you significant control over how your marketplace looks and works while taking advantage of Sharetribe-provided no-code functionalities and services. This is a key component of how Sharetribe can be made to scale: because you can change the code directly, you can always develop customizations necessary for your marketplace.

The number of options is vast. Need more advanced shipping options for your international sneaker marketplace? Find a third-party solution that suits your needs, and integrate it into your marketplace! Need file-sharing services for your vendors who are selling digital art? Sure thing! Want to give an easy way for your marketplace users to communicate with you via a chat widget? You bet it's possible. One marketplace running on Sharetribe even integrated a tool to unlock cars remotely. You can read more about Flex integration tools, along with some examples, in our technical documentation over here.

The front end of your marketplace is powered by the back end, which is operated by the Sharetribe team. We keep your marketplace secure and available at any scale.

Back-end security and performance

Sharetribe's primary service is to create, store, secure, and make available at scale your Sharetribe marketplace data. Sharetribe back ends run on server infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), so your data is stored in high-grade security data centers. Within Sharetribe, access to the data is limited to only systems or personnel that need to access it for their work and with the least privileges principle. This means that access to data is denied by default and given only to those for whom it is required. If you want to learn more about our data security infrastructure and practices, please get in touch with us for our Data Security Overview.

Regarding performance, it is important that your marketplace is reliably available whenever your users want to use it. We have backup systems and internal processes to ensure that Flex stays online no matter the situation, which has resulted in a historical uptime of 99.99+%. You can always track and subscribe to Flex uptime updates via a publicly available page.

However, uptime is only one aspect of performance: you want to be sure that the marketplace performs well even under load. The Sharetribe back end doesn't struggle even with a significant surge of users or listings. We have marketplaces that have grown to tens and even a few with a couple hundreds of thousands of users and work well under load without issue.

Business scalability

When choosing a marketplace platform, technical performance is not the only aspect of scaling you need to consider; you should also think about how the solution can accommodate the evolving needs of your users. It is always disruptive to move to a new platform if you already have an established online marketplace somewhere, so it is best to choose a solution you will be happy with in the long run. Some things you should think about are future software updates, the support you can get when you run into different questions, and data/code ownership.

Building with Sharetribe

What makes the Sharetribe developer platform powerful is that it gives you the freedom to customize the front end according to your preferences while at the same time including all the basic functionality of an online marketplace out of the box. Furthermore, you can keep some no-code features working with your custom code marketplace thanks to Sharetribe's unique architecture.

You get access to the Sharetribe Web Template, an open-sourced front-end template that helps you reduce how much development you need to launch. You and your team can skip the time-consuming process of creating basic marketplace functionality like user account management, review creation, login process, etc., and focus on what makes your marketplace special. In other words, you'll be saving both time and money, and you'll be able to start scaling faster since a significant part of the work has already been done by our team.

Furthermore, you're not locked into any single developer. If you're a small business owner with a limited budget, you may prefer to hire an agency or a freelancer to build your marketplace, at least its first version. However, when businesses grow, they may want to consider hiring their own developer. With Sharetribe, you can do just that. We don't lock you in with any developer, so you can choose the one you like most. You are also free to move to another developer agency with all your custom-built code if you prefer.

Several marketplace customers have hired a software agency to help them launch, then hired their own in-house development team as they grew further. Doing so can be especially useful if you, at some point, need some specific development skills that your current developer may not have, such as specific skills for building a native mobile app. The software architecture behind the Sharetribe developer platform supports expanding the platform in multiple directions, also after you've launched it.

All in all, we've worked hard to make sure that Sharetribe helps you be successful from the building stage without code to operating at scale with code. You can certainly use the no-code features, but Sharetribe is built to be fast and affordable to start with, a custom-coded platform while ensuring that the tech will not stand in your way in the future as you scale. We don't lock your data or the developers you can use, allowing you to remain very flexible within the Sharetribe framework. And in the unlikely event that you decide to move away to a different solution, you're free to do that as well. But we will, of course, keep working hard to avoid that by making our platform as good as possible.

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