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Online marketplaces offer a number of advantages for small retailers, including the ability to reach new and diverse customer bases, but not all marketplaces are created equal. Some have proven invaluable resources for sellers, while others levy numerous fees without delivering a sufficient number of customers. Whether your wares are vintage clothing or handcrafted doghouses, it’s important to put time and effort into selecting the best places to sell your products over the web.
Learn more about the 10 popular online marketplaces listed below and determine which, if any, is ideal for your business’ unique needs.
Amazon is a titan of online retail, and likely one of the first places that comes to mind when you consider selling products over the internet. Along with a wide reach for finding potential customers, Amazon offers an easy-to-use selling platform for numerous product categories, including beauty, books and home improvement, just to name a few.
Further, unless a seller opts to have their items stored with Amazon, the seller won’t have to pay a fee until their items sell. Once the item is purchased, Amazon Payments will collect either the applicable referral fee percentage of the per-item minimum referral fee, depending on which is higher. Retailers selling niche, hobby or refurbished goods tend to do best on this platform, as they don’t compete with Amazon’s own sales offerings.
Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the most familiar and long-standing online marketplaces. While almost any item can be listed on eBay’s pages, sellers offering rare or branded items—including vintage goods and collectibles—tend to do best with the service. The fee for selling on eBay is 10% of the total sale value, up to a maximum charge of $750. If you plan to list more than 50 items per month, you should note that insertion fees of $0.30 per item may apply.
Additionally, selling on eBay is ideal for merchants with a large number of international customers. With the Global Shipping Program, sellers can send their goods to the eBay warehouse in Kentucky. Upon sale, the company will then fill out the necessary customs forms and send the goods on to their destinations.
Ideal for creative-minded merchants seeking widespread exposure, Etsy features 12.3 million products and hosts 875,00 merchants at any given time. One of the benefits of this marketplace is that sellers can take advantage of an array of checkout systems including mobile options. The fee for sales is typically 3.5% of the selling price and does not include shipping or taxes. Additionally, Etsy charges $0.20 per item listed.
In spite of its reach, the marketplace does have its drawbacks. While Etsy allows sellers to create their own storefronts, design options for configuring a unique storefront tend to be limited.
Shopify lets users create online stores and sell a wide array of goods in multiple categories. One of the main benefits of Shopify is that sellers can design their own professional-quality storefronts using more than 100 template options. As a result, they can save on development costs without sacrificing website quality. Additionally, Shopify features a built-in analytics suite, allowing sellers to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses.
Shopify sellers can choose from multiple monthly plans ranging from $9 to $179 a month. As an added bonus, certain plans allow merchants to market their goods across multiple channels, including Facebook and MailChimp, and offer easy integration with Quickbooks and other accounting tools.
Business owners can use Bigcommerce to design, host and run their online stores. One of the benefits of selling on Bigcommerce is that the site offers extensive marketing support including social media integration, coupon codes and an abandoned cart saver. Additionally, the marketplace provides secure hosted e-commerce tools and shopping carts so your customers can feel comfortable purchasing online.
Despite the many benefits, Bigcommerce is not without a few drawbacks. Between monthly fees, transaction costs and credit card charges, the price of selling on this platform can add up. Additionally, critics say that Bigcommerce lacks some of the app options of other marketplaces.
With 25,000 registered businesses, Bonanza is one of the best choices for retailers in the fashion industry. With this eBay-like marketplace, sellers create online booths for their items, which are listed at fixed rates. While there are no listing fees, the company does collect a 3.5% closing fee on sales under $500. For higher-value transactions, Bonanza charges a flat fee of $17.50 plus 1.5% of the sale amount over $500.
One of the drawbacks of using Bonanza is that it lacks the name recognition of other marketplaces. Even so, the platform’s Managed Merchant program can be a boon to busy retailers. By choosing this option, sellers can turn over tasks like creating listings and adding metadata to the marketplace, which can free up time for running other parts of the business.
If you sell antiques and vintage goods, you may want to consider utilizing the GoAntiques online marketplace. Promising no commissions or listing fees, GoAntiques instead charges a flat fee with basic membership starting at $24.99 a month. Additionally, easy-to-use tools allow retailers to edit multiple listings and view stats on their sales. As a downside, the GoAntiques web interface is not as sophisticated as some of its online marketplace competitors, a fact that could turn away potential customers.
CafePress allows retailers to design and sell merchandise in a variety of categories. Once a customer purchases your design, CafePress will produce it using print-on-demand technology and handle all payment transactions, as well as deliveries and returns. Because the marketplace is handling the nitty-gritty details, merchants can focus on creating innovative designs.
CafePress charges no set-up fees and offers commissions on all sales. Sellers can choose to have 10% deducted from their monthly royalty checks or pay a pre-set fee each month. Because the company manufacturers all the products, merchants who do their own manufacturing may see low profit margins and may need to pursue additional methods of selling goods.
9. 11 Main
11 Main is different from the other marketplaces on this list in that retailers need to be invited to participate. Because of this, it features a carefully cultivated selection of shops and boutiques. This makes the platform’s selection of quality fashion, jewelry, craft goods and entertainment items a favorite among online shoppers.
After being approved to sell on 11 Main, merchants can create content and list items at $0.05 per month per product. The marketplace retains 3.5% of the value of sales up to a maximum of $50 per sale.
Hosting thousands of shoppers on an hourly basis, Zibbet is a well-known source of handmade products and art. Unlike many online marketplaces, Zibbet offers a free plan, which allows merchants to list and sell up to 10 items a month without paying transaction fees. On the free plan, sellers can include up to one image with each item. If you wish to sell more than 10 items, you will need to choose one of the paid plans, which start at $4 per month.
Thanks to the internet, the lack of a brick-and-mortar location is no longer a barrier to business success. On the contrary, enterprising retailers can take advantage of numerous online marketplaces to sell their wares. By choosing the right market for your products, and avoiding those with hefty fees or contracts, you can grow your small business successfully in the coming years.