I'm advising a small business that has a non-Shopify e-commerce site. The business ("merchant") sells produce from third-party producers. These producers cannot self-register for the site and their products on loaded by the merchant on their behalf (to maintain brand, etc). Fulfilment is done by the producers, who can therefore log in to see & update orders, etc. When payment is taken, Stripe Connect is used to take a share and then pay the remainder to the producer.
So in some regards the business is a marketplace; but in others, it's no different to having multiple staff accounts with permissions locked down to restricted roles across certain product collections.
I had recommended they take a look at Shopify, but have seen rule 8 under 'Prohibited app types':
Apps that host marketplaces on Shopify - Apps that connect merchants to marketplaces can't host those marketplaces on Shopify. Apps also can't let merchants turn their stores into marketplaces.
My question is around the Shopify definition of marketplace - does it hinge on open registration, producers managing their listings, splitting the payment (rather than taking it then paying the supplier separately), or something else?
If I were to build a Shopify app that allowed producers invited by the merchant to log in, see orders for 'their' products, update order status, modify product listings, etc - at what point would that be termed a marketplace in the eyes of Shopify?
How does this apply to dropshipping apps, where the merchant is selecting from a list of products available on eg AliPay but then leaving fulfilment to the producer?
My intent isn't to try to bypass the rule, just to understand whether Shopify is a contender for this business.
Thanks for your time!