In 2017, B2C e-commerce hit $2.3 trillion in sales worldwide. This number is expected to be around 15% higher at the end of 2018, while the experts predict it will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. This shows one thing – online marketplaces are the place to be if you’re trying to succeed as a seller in 2020.
What’s an Online Marketplace?
Here’s how Forbes defines online marketplaces:
“An online marketplace is a website or app that facilitates shopping from many different sources. The operator of the marketplace does not own any inventory, their business is to present other people’s inventory to a user and facilitate a transaction.”
Of course, there are different types of online marketplaces. Some specialize in just one niche, while others sell everything to everybody. Airbnb, for example, is an online marketplace as well, but Airbnb’s business model is based on renting accommodation rather than selling products.
Now that you know what a marketplace is, the question that arises is why you need to be using one.
Why You Should Be Using Online Marketplaces to Sell Your Products
Using the already established online marketplaces (such as Amazon or eBay, for example) is the simplest and cheapest (at least in the beginning) solution for anyone looking to sell their products online.
A larger audience, simple set-up, and relatively low investment are some of the main reasons why. Another important reason is that by selling on these online marketplaces, you can rely on those companies’ policies and customer service.
There are downsides to using established online marketplaces too, but these are negligible compared to the upsides (at least if you’re just starting out as a seller in the online world). Low flexibility when it comes to your product pages’ personalization and, of course, the fees you have to pay for using their platform first come to mind.
Be that as it may, if you’re just starting out with online sales, we recommend you at least practice for a while as a 3rd-party seller on some of the already established online marketplaces. Once you decide you’re ready to start your own online store, we’ve got you covered! We’ve created a detailed guide on how to start an online store (aimed primarily for those of you on a tight budget).
But for now on, we’re going to guide you through the world of online marketplaces and recommend 8 of the best platforms to sell your products in 2020 (and the years to come, probably). Most of these recommendations are general-type marketplaces where you can sell (almost) “everything to everybody”.
So, let’s start.
Top 8 Online Marketplaces to Sell Your Products
Amazon is probably the biggest e-commerce company in the world with separate retail websites for 16 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, China, Japan, Australia, India, Singapore, Mexico, and Turkey.
Being one of the most popular online marketplaces people use to sell their products and services, we have prepared several topic-specific guides for selling on Amazon. First of all, here’s our guide to marketing your product on Amazon.
If you’re looking to dip into the online business of dropshipping, here are some of the things you need to know before you start with Amazon dropshipping. Of course, it’s equally important to pick the right product to offer. Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered as well – here’s a detailed overview of the best-selling items on Amazon you can drop ship in 2018.
Another great way to take advantage of this huge online marketplace is Merch by Amazon. What is it? Merch by Amazon is a program that enables you to earn money from your artwork and designs. You upload the artwork, along with some basic details and Amazon does the rest for you (including the product page creation, production handling, shipping, and customer service), while you just sit back and get a royalty on every product sold.
What’s the catch? Well, you need a special invitation to join. And here’s how you can get it.
Amazon also has a separate marketplace for businesses, called Amazon Business.
Amazon Online Marketplace Overview
- Active users: 310 million active users and 90 million Prime members
- Seller fees: 6-20% (15% on average) of an item’s value
- Membership fee: If you want to sell using the professional account, you need to pay $39.99/month, while selling as an individual will cost you $0.99 per item (no additional monthly fees)
- Monthly page views: 2.6 billion
eBay is an American global e-commerce corporation that has 24 country-specific websites strengthening its presence in the following countries: the United States, Canada, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Since its creation in 1995, eBay has gone a long way from selling collectible PEZ dispensers to becoming one of the most popular online marketplaces in the early 2000s and still one of the best platforms to sell your products over the Internet.
eBay Online Marketplace Overview
- Active users: 175 million
- Seller fees: When you sell an item through an auction or fixed price sale, eBay takes a Final Value fee which is 10-12% on average.
- Membership fee: None
- Monthly page views: 1.2 Billion
Etsy is one of the most popular global online marketplaces for unique, handcrafted, artsy, or vintage products. It focuses on helping creative people, artists, and craftsmen sell their products online by making it easy and relatively cheap to do so. Some of the top-selling product categories on Etsy include jewelry, clothing, art, photography, toys and games, home and living, and more.
Etsy Online Marketplace Overview
- Active users: 1.93 million active sellers in 2017, 33.4 million active buyers in 2017
- Seller fees: Etsy charges a listing fee of $0.20 and a transaction fee of 5% of the price of an item (plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping)
- Membership fee: None. $10/month for Etsy Plus
If you’re an artist looking to sell your artwork online, we have prepared a detailed 6-step strategy on how to sell art online.
Similarly to Etsy, Zibbet is an online marketplace for independent artists, craftsmen, and vintage aficionados. It’s somewhat less popular than Etsy, but still, there are around 56,000 sellers on the platform, offering mostly handcrafted products.
Contrary to Etsy, with Zibbet there are no transaction and listing fees. Instead, you’re paying for a membership plan, priced in a $5 – $20/month range. There’s also a Free Plan, but it’s limited to up to 10 products (and you’re limited on some of the features).
In the previous years, this platform was exclusively available to US-based sellers but Walmart has started expanding its online marketplace to sellers from other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. It began accepting online 3rd-party sellers in 2016.
Wallmart Online Marketplace Overview
- Active users: 363 million
- Seller fees: 8-15% commission, free to list items
- Membership fee: None
- Monthly page views: 344 million
In 2016, Walmart acquired Jet, one of younger online marketplaces out there, for around $3 billion in cash. Nevertheless, Jet operates as a separate website and receives millions of daily visitors.
One of its most interesting features is the Jet Rules Engine, which enables sellers to optimize their profitability by adjusting their commissions so as to control their competitiveness and margins.
Bonanza is a very “seller-friendly” marketplace that sells in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, India, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.
In an independent survey by ECommerceBytes, more than 12,000 sellers answered the question “How likely are you to recommend (marketplace name) as a Selling venue to a friend or colleague?” with Bonanza. It scored ahead of Ruby Lane, Etsy, Craigslist, and Amazon.
Bonanza Online Marketplace Overview
- Active users: 2.2 million
- Seller fees: No listing fee, 3.5% post sale commission
- Membership fee: No monthly fees
- Monthly page views: 7.2 million
Alibaba is the largest e-commerce platform in China and its online marketplaces could be a great way for online sellers to enter the huge Chinese market.
It owns the online retail service called AliExpress. The main difference between Alibaba and Aliexpress is that Alibaba is more business-to-business (B2B) oriented, while AliExpress is primarily business-to-consumer (B2C) oriented.
Alibaba Online Marketplace Overview
- Active users: 488 million active buyers
- Seller fees: 5-8%
- Membership fee: Free Basic membership. Gold Supplier membership at $2,999/year
- Monthly page views: 126.7 million
We’ve just presented you with (what in our humble view are) the top 8 online marketplaces to sell your products in 2020 (and many years to come). You just have to pick the one that suits your specific needs the most and start selling online.