Why We Build Marketplaces With ShareTribe

If you want to build a web marketplace, there are a few platforms allowing you to build it much more quickly that if you would do it on your own and from scratch. When clients contact us with their marketplace ideas, we always deliver them using ShareTribe, and in this post we’ll explain you why.


Being developed for over five years now, ShareTribe sports most of the features you might want to have, and they are ready to use right out of the box. The solution:

  • supports all types of marketplaces
  • provides a built-in payment system
  • includes tools for generating, categorizing and filtering content
  • allows custom branding
  • works perfectly on mobile devices
  • the advanced payment system supports 25+ currencies and 190+ countries
  • and so on. You can read about ShareTribe features in more details on the platform’s site, but the idea here is that it has everything our clients usually ask for.

ShareTribe can also be treated as a successful startup: since its foundation in 2011 the company was funded three times with a total sum of $1,2 million.

To monetize itself, ShareTribe is offered in two options:

  • Software as a service.
  • You fill up a form and get your marketplace already installed on ShareTribe’s servers. This is what the official site offers you.

    The pros: you don’t need developers and can set it up on your own relatively easy and quickly.

    The cons: you need to pay $40-$240 per month for using it, and you are also completely constrained in case you need to customize your solution and bring the functionality ShareTribe lacks.

  • The open source version.
  • Available for downloading for free on GitHub.

    We can install ShareTribe on your server, set it up and customize however you want.

    The pros: such approach is completely free, you have endless possibilities in empowering it with additional functionality, and you’ll need to pay developers only once to implement it.

    The cons: building a customized marketplace takes more time, but you know best it is worth it, and requires more initial investments into development.

Bottom line: If your marketplace is going to be your core business, your only choice should be an open source solution that you will own on your server and be able to customize it however you want.

Below we’ll explain top 5 reasons why we use and recommend the ShareTribe open source version to build marketplaces.

1. It’s Ruby on Rails!

ShareTribe is written in Ruby on Rails, the most popular programming framework for rapid and reliable development. We are experts in it, so we not only know how ShareTribe is built but can also spend less time customizing its core code for your needs.

Besides, the Ruby on Rails community has also developed lots of plugins and solutions that can complement your marketplace with any kind of functionality, like a blogging platform or forum functionality.

2. It’s Testable

ShareTribe follows behavior-driven development approach. It means that when we change any code in the platform, we can immediately test it and see if it doesn’t break any functionality.

Moreover, such testing approach is already there: ShareTribe comes with built-in Cucumber and Rspec support. These solutions are excellent tools for running automated acceptance and unit tests respectively. We know that because we also use them in most other our projects as well (so great they are).

3. It’s Developing Fast

ShareTribe gets updated every month to provide latest security measures for your marketplace, support latest versions of tools and technologies it runs on and thus allow developers to implement cutting edge functionality.

The currently available version is 5.6.0. The next one will probably support Google Tag Manager support instead of Google Analytics and Kissmetrics to provide even more flexibility in analyzing your site performance, effectiveness, and other metrics.

4. It’s Promising

The technical roadmap provided by ShareTribe contributors reveals that soon ShareTribe will boast ElasticSearch-based search functionality, which will directly affect many important indicators: for instance, how easily it will be for your visitors to find the products they’re looking for, how quickly your marketplace will find and show relevant items, provide supplementing positions and so on.

The ShareTribe contributors also learn the user feedback and plan to simplify the purchasing processes, increase payment options, and even add an API for mobile devices to help manipulate with your marketplace data more efficiently.

5. It’s Supported!

What we like in open source solutions is communities built around them. Should we have any questions on the architectural or other tech-related details of such platforms, we can always ask its contributors and fellow developers for advice. And ShareTribe is not an exclusion, its community forum is leave and breathing. This fact also confirms that ShareTribe is indeed backed up and going to evolve further in future.


Of course, ShareTribe is not perfect. Since the platform is monolithic, it takes additional time when we need to test it, investigate bugs, even scale it. Fortunately, the solution creators already know that and work on a next major update that will make ShareTribe modular.

But the point is not only in rich functionality it provides but also in the values the creators follow: they do their best to make their product up to date yet offer it as an open source solution and earn money from providing support services. Such approach allows us to be sure that ShareTribe is a reliable, secure and modern tool when it comes to building top-notch marketplaces.

Recommended Articles