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Dazzled by the number of online marketplaces available right now?
So are we.
Whatever your style, need, or hobby, there’s a marketplace out there that will sell you the products you want.
Online shopping is bigger than ever before, so partnering with online marketplaces could be a smart business move.
But which one is right for your business? And should you just launch your own store?
We’ll guide you through 8 options to help you find the best platform to sell online.
Table of Contents
Let’s start big.
Amazon leads the way for online marketplaces – it is the biggest one in the world. With a mammoth market share, it’s easy for anyone to sign up and sell.
Amazon started out as a humble bookseller. It has since transformed into a giant, multi-category eCommerce marketplace with products for nearly every need.
Depending on where you sell, you can pick from several categories, each with varying guidelines for third-party sellers. The top performers are:
There’s way more than one marketplace on Amazon.
If you want to widen your reach, this is one of the best online selling platforms. Amazon is a truly global brand and it hosts marketplaces for retailers all over the world.
You could start selling in:
Amazon has a pretty solid setup when it comes to onboarding new online sellers.
With revenue stretching into billions of dollars, this is a marketplace that makes it easy and appealing for small businesses to join and sell.
Amazon might be the marketplace for you, if you like:
Every marketplace has its downsides and Amazon is no exception.
Billions of dollars in revenue don’t come without an aggressive business model. You might find that Amazon is too big-time for your brand.
Think about whether you could deal with:
Amazon has a couple of options for third-party sellers.
If you want to sell fewer than 40 products a month, you’ll pay a nominal fee per item sold. If you’re going full-steam into Amazon selling, you’ll need the Professional membership which costs $39.99 a month.
With either option, there are some additional seller fees to be expected. Being a pro comes with some inevitable perks, though.
Want to strike out as an independent seller?
Etsy has a very different business model to Amazon, and it’s a big success. Last year, this craft-focused marketplace had over 2.5 million active users selling on the site.
Etsy prides itself on being a creative marketplace. With unique and vintage items up for grabs, it’s a great store for gifting or special purchases.
This is one of the best online marketplaces for sellers with artsy hobbies or talents. Among the several product categories on offer, there’s:
You can find Etsy almost anywhere in the world.
Sellers and buyers alike can set up shop from a vast number of locations. Etsy is a global marketplace so you could be sending your crafts wherever your buyers are.
Some of the top locations are:
Much like Amazon, Etsy has a dedicated space for sellers to set up with confidence.
There’s a lot that could tempt you to start making money on Etsy. If you’re looking for marketplaces where community is a big focus, look no further.
Some of the benefits of Etsy include:
If you’re ready to monetize your jewelry making hobby, you might want to get started on Etsy right away.
Check out the cons first, though.
Like all marketplaces, being a third-party seller doesn’t always go without a hitch:
Unlike some bigger marketplaces, Etsy makes its fees very clear.
There are listing fees and transaction fees. You’ll be charged $0.20 per product listed, plus 5% commission for every item sold.
Etsy also offers a pay-monthly subscription option, with perks like customizable storefronts. Or you can join for free instead.
This is a marketplace with staying power.
Founded way back in 1995, and with 182 million users last year, this is one of the most successful online marketplaces in the world.
Known for being an auction site, later adding a ‘buy it now’ feature for those of us who aren’t into bidding wars, eBay is a popular marketplace for used goods.
But a lot has happened in 25 years and it’s now possible to start a business selling new products on eBay. People love to purchase:
Having achieved global domination like Amazon, eBay is a household name.
If you’re keen to sell on this platform, check out the user demographics. Like many online marketplaces, eBay appeals to some age groups more than others.
The top eBay sellers are located in:
A well-established marketplace like eBay comes with loads of perks.
Turning over billions of dollars in revenue, this is still a red hot platform for businesses looking to grow.
Check out some of the reasons why eBay is still one of the top online marketplaces:
It’s inevitable – of course there are some cons to selling on eBay.
You could find a winning formula and make this marketplace your own, but be aware that making a profit on eBay is hard work.
Here are some factors you might not love:
Aside from the aforementioned transaction fee, eBay has a long list of seller fees, depending on who you are and how often you sell.
Subscribers can pay from between $8 per month as a ‘starter’ up to $350 per month as an ‘anchor’. You can also pay varying listing fees if you want to implement upgrades.
Looking for marketplaces with a focus on fashion?
Zalando started life in Berlin as a shoe retailer. Now selling thousands of products to 17 countries, it has become one of the top online marketplaces in Europe.
Zalando is all about apparel. There are nearly 2,000 brands on offer in this marketplace, with shoppers able to find both low- and high-end options.
Having turned over €6.5 billion in revenue since it launched, Zalando’s range is huge in scale and popularity. It offers:
Zalando reported that 31 million customers ordered on its website last year.
Although it isn’t on the same scale as some truly global online marketplaces, this is still a hugely exciting place to sell if you’re based in Europe.
Within its 17 country radius, Zalando thrives in:
As a relatively contained marketplace, Zalando offers some nice perks for its sellers.
If you’re already a dedicated seller of apparel or fashion accessories, this could be a really viable option for scaling your business.
You might like Zalando if you want a marketplace that is:
You may have already found a couple of cons.
Zalando is a little more limited than other marketplaces, both in terms of reach and ease of use. Although its selective nature is great for limiting competition, it might already exclude you.
This marketplace won’t work out if:
There are no fees for product listings and no commission rates if you sell products on Zalando.
While this is great news for your sales, this marketplace has very stringent signup criteria, so look before you leap.
This seller-centric marketplace is definitely no Amazon.
Bonanza has made sellers its focus since it was founded back in 2007. It’s one of the more friendly marketplaces you’ll find online.
Bonanza has the same vast product range as other marketplaces. There are electronics, video games, and pet supplies among its 22 million products.
But this site is more known for its quirky handmade products. With a tagline ‘everything but the ordinary’, Bonanza works hard to look like a homespun marketplace. You could sell:
You’ll be reaching a much smaller audience on Bonanza than marketplaces like eBay or Etsy.
The site boasts around 5 million visitors per month. It’s hardly insignificant, but compared to some platforms it’s small-fry.
It’s possible to get international customers, though. Bonanza is popular in:
Long-term Bonanza sellers often refer to the site as a less-stressful version of eBay.
There are some obvious advantages to selling on a smaller, more quirky marketplace. You have a better chance of standing out, for starters.
The pros of using Bonanza include:
You already know your audience will be smaller on Bonanza compared to other marketplaces.
There are some other gripes you should get familiar with before you sign up. As a more community-focused platform, Bonanza users don’t hold back with critiquing the site.
Among the cons, you might notice that:
You won’t have to pay to list your products on Bonanza, although they do charge value fees on sales plus rates for advertising.
Users can also sign up to different subscription models, as with marketplaces like Etsy. Paying from $25 to $170 per month will open you up to a range of extras.
Not into arts and crafts?
Newegg.com is one of the top online marketplaces for tech-savvy shoppers. With over 40 million members joining since 2001, the retailer has a platform dedicated to third-party sellers.
Newegg is a computer and electronics supplies store at heart.
This is a marketplace for pros. Shoppers can pick up component parts and download software, although Newegg is still expanding its range.
From their ever-growing table of contents, you’ll now find:
Newegg hit $1 billion in annual sales by 2004, and started expanding globally soon after.
As a seller, your business will be exposed to up to 20 countries on this marketplace. That global reach could help you diversify your range.
Newegg is available as a marketplace in:
It all sounds great, right?
And it definitely is, if you’re up for setting up your marketplace storefront quickly and easily.
Newegg keeps a close eye on competitor marketplaces to ensure its offering a superior service for its sellers. You’ll like it if you’re after:
Although you can now stock apparel on Newegg, you’re still selling to customers who really know their stuff.
This marketplace is just as competitive as others, and if you’re only interested in turning a quick profit, it might not be the place for you.
Consider whether you can deal with:
You know that you’ll be paying sales commission per product, but what else is there?
As with other marketplaces, different subscription levels starting from $0 up to $100 per month will give you different opportunities.
Marketplaces don’t have to have a ‘z’ in their names to be successful, but it seems to help.
Zazzle has an estimated revenue of $75 million, and with its unique value proposition, it could be a great marketplace for your business.
Zazzle is an online marketplace for designers, retailers, and shoppers who like to use their imagination.
With print-on-demand technology and a forever growing list of product categories, this eCommerce site puts personalization at the forefront.
Products that you can customize include:
Zazzle has over 30 million visitors to its website every month, so you’re guaranteed some international customers.
Headquartered in California, the marketplace has shoppers in:
If you’re a maker who’s keen to amp up their skills and boost their audience, this is a great marketplace setup.
Zazzle has a dedicated site for its makers, giving you a full table of contents on how to set up and capitalize on the perks this online marketplace has to offer, like:
Zazzle doesn’t come without its downsides, though.
With a print-on-demand service that encompasses any number of weird and wacky products, you’ll need to be aware of what doesn’t work on this online marketplace.
Sellers note the biggest negatives as being:
If you’re signed up as a ‘maker’, Zazzle demands a 30% commission fee from your sales. This is similar to other art marketplaces both online and offline.
There are also shipping fees that makers have to cover, so make sure you’re clear on what this marketplace expects of you before you start selling.
We’ll admit it.
We think you could be just as successful than marketplace sellers – if not, more successful – if you start selling on your own website.
You choose. With your own online store, you are very much your own boss.
This is the easiest way to showcase your brand, your products, and your service proposition. Give customers a nice backstory, and you’re ready to go.
Here are some ideas, if you’re stuck:
The extent of your website’s global reach is in your hands – or the hands of an SEO pro, if you choose to hire one.
We’d recommend putting some research into your target market before you dive into the world of online retail. You could find where and how you need to appeal by:
Swapping online marketplaces for your own website might sound scary.
But it has never been easier to find a domain and build a store for your own products. You’ll be joining retailers of all shapes and sizes, and this is a great option if you can’t pick a marketplace to suit your needs.
Here are some pros to building an online store instead of joining an online marketplace:
We’ll remain balanced and run you through some potential cons.
There are definite factors to consider before going right into building your own online store. It might not work out for you, especially if:
That depends on where you build your site.
We can vouch for Zyro, where setting up an online store will cost as little as $8.99 a month. Monthly hosting costs are $29.99, on average.
You’ll need to build your inventory as you would if you were selling on an online marketplace. There won’t be any seller fees for product listings or sales – you decide where your profits go.
You don’t have to. The beauty of owning your own online store is that you can take it anywhere.
If you set your business up with its own website, you can choose to partner up with online marketplaces, too.
Most reputable marketplaces won’t demand exclusivity of your business. Unless you specialize in a product category like painting or sculpture, it’s likely you can cross-sell your products.
With an online store, you can also maximize your sales by integrating with social media. Retailers both big and small take advantage of multiple platforms, so don’t miss out.