How to Build a Marketplace Website Like Amazon

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If you are inspired by Amazon, and plan to build a similar multi-vendor marketplace platform, our article covers the core aspects of creating such a website.

Today, we know Amazon as one of the Big Four tech companies along with Google, Apple, and Facebook. How did Amazon achieve such tremendous success? This is an exciting question for both owners of e-commerce platforms and entrepreneurs who are only going to launch a marketplace website.

In this article, we want to talk about the core aspects of building a website like Amazon.

Choose the Right Monetization Model

1. Selling Fees

Making the largest part of Amazon’s revenue, vendors are the key partners of the platform. The amount charged varies depending on a plan. This type of income includes the following varieties of fees:

  • Per-item fees are paid for each item sold. The rate is $0.99 for an individual plan.
  • Referral fees are charged from vendors for a product sold. This type of fee varies by category.
  • Shipping fees are collected by the platform depending on the category of an item. Amazon applies shipping rates on media products sold by vendors with the professional plan and to all goods sold by individual sellers.
  • Closing fees are charged for each media item sold, i.e. books, software, DVDs, computer games, etc.

2. High-Volume Listing Fees

Suppliers with more than 100,000 items published on the platform, pay $0.005 every month for each product.

3. Advertising

The retailer has a strong advertising policy. It helps vendors increase their revenue by placing ads of their stores and goods on the platform.

4. Subscription Fees

Amazon Prime subscription, which costs $119 per year, comes with a lot of benefits. For example, buyers get free 2-days shipping for most of the goods available on the website, unlimited streaming of movies, and special offers. Besides, the e-commerce platform offers students special discounts for becoming Amazon Prime members.

5. Amazon Kindle

Kindle eBooks bring Amazon profit in two ways. First, shoppers buying their products and content, including Audible. Also, they can purchase Amazon Prime.

How does it work? The company offers a free 30-days Amazon Prime trial. So, Kindle owners get used to the service and end up buying it.

6. Amazon Web Services

At the moment, Amazon web services as the source of primary income make the company one of the leaders in the cloud market. Statista shows that in the 2nd quarter of 2019, AWS generated a profit income of almost $8.4 billion.

Define the Best Technology Stack

There are several reasons why technical tools are crucial for your project. First, the chosen technology stack will have an impact on the platform’s performance, web page response time, and website stability. In the long run, it will define whether visitors will stay on your website or leave it.

Secondly, the total price of the completed project will depend on the technologies applied. Every tool has its own degree of complexity, which may influence the final development rates.

The client-side or front-end technologies:

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) tell a browser how to display content on a web page.

JavaScript (JS) enables customers to interact with your e-commerce platform. In our web development practice, we use the most advanced technologies like React.js.

The server-side or back-end technologies:

A programming language and framework. They build the basic logic of your marketplace. Our team works with Ruby and Ruby on Rails respectively because they allow building scalable, fast-loading, and secure solutions. Also, we apply automation frameworks such as RSpec and Capybara for testing.

A database stores all the data regarding your marketplace website. We choose PostgreSQL (SQL data storage), Redis, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as they help us develop reliable platforms.

A server works with requests that come from customers’ devices. When developing an online marketplace, we use Nginx and Puma because of their perfect combination with Ruby on Rails.

We believe that the above tech stack will help you build a fast-loading, user-friendly, reliable, and secure website like Amazon.

Choose Core Features for Your Platform

Amazon is a giant platform with diverse options, but there is no need to implement all of them right from the very beginning. Let’s take a look at features your alternative to this e-commerce leader should have:


All the information both about suppliers and buyers is displayed there.  On the vendor panel, we can see such data as shipping and payment methods, product listings, etc. Buyers’ accounts mostly contain personal information, history of previous orders, and wishlist.

The Administrator Panel

This feature provides administrators with analytical information regarding their business activity: the most-visited products, session duration, the number of views by date, total sales’ amount, etc.

Advanced Search

This is a key feature that helps buyers find what they are looking for in no time.

The Product Page

It provides consumers with detailed information about available products. High-quality photos and videos and full descriptions of goods and services make your marketplace more reliable.

The Shopping Cart

Shopping cart is where buyers save products they are going to purchase. There they can change the number of products, delete unnecessary items, view payment options, and shipping prices.

Payment Methods

Offer customers multiple payment gateways to simplify the purchasing process for them. Consumers feel more comfortable when they can choose the preferred payment option.

Ratings and Reviews

With this feature, your online marketplace becomes trustworthy since buyers can see ratings of each product or vendor. Thus, it is getting easier for them to make the right purchase decisions.


This functionality lets customers save for later the desired products. When shoppers share their wishlist with their friends and family, marketplace owners get traffic to their e-commerce platforms. Thus, vendors gain extra possibilities to drive engagement to the website.


They serve as a great tool for boosting user experience. These messages enable both parties to reach certain web pages in no time. It works the following way: users get a notification, click on it, and immediately shift to a certain page.


With this feature, consumers can choose the preferred delivery option.

Summing Up

Amazon came a long way from a narrow book-selling platform to the diverse and profitable marketplace that belongs to Big Four tech companies. In case you are interested in other aspects of building a similar platform, read the full version of the article: How to Build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace Website Like Amazon.