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Online marketplaces: which one is best to sell on?

Online marketplaces: which one is best to sell on?

George - 9 Sep 2022 17:00:00

The ecommerce landscape is ever changing and you may be researching ways that you can increase your reach, or perhaps you may be wanting to test the waters with a new business idea or a product range. 


Selling on marketplaces provides you with opportunities to sell more, diversify your sales and adapt to the ebbs and flows of the ecommerce market.


With the average shopper making a beeline to buy on a marketplace over a standalone ecommerce website, you should be considering which marketplace will help you to get your products seen by a wider audience. Afterall, sellers who offer their products on more than one marketplace will be generating double the revenue over merchants selling on a single sales channel, such as on a standalone ecommerce website.


So, which marketplaces should you be selling on?


What is an online marketplace?


Firstly, what is an online marketplace? An online marketplace is a type of ecommerce site where multiple merchants can sell their products or services under one ‘roof’, and where customers can come to buy from multiple sellers, allowing much more choice than shopping on individual online stores. An online marketplace is much like a real life department store which offers retail concessions within the store. The most recognisable example of an online marketplace is of course Amazon.


Why you should be selling on marketplaces.


Quick to start selling


Particularly if you're new to selling, online marketplaces can be a quick way to start your ecommerce journey. You will save time and effort by not having to market your products or spend more money to drive traffic to your website in order to make sales.


Large and instant customer base


A real draw for merchants selling on marketplaces is the instant and wide customer base. You won’t need to spend hugely on marketing or worry about your search engine ranking, as your customers are already ready and waiting for you. An added benefit is that your customer loyalty will be increased as people who shop on marketplaces will often return again and again, due to the convenience and familiarity of the marketplace. This is also more likely with subscription based services such as Amazon Prime, where customers benefit from perks and discounts.


Lots of tools to choose from to list, sell and dispatch easily


There are a range of multichannel listing tools available to help you get selling on marketplaces even quicker, and some can even provide you with access to storage and order fulfilment opportunities, freeing you up to work on the more important aspects of your ecommerce business, and allowing you to scale your business with ease. 


Reduction of costs


Marketplaces are there to make things easier for you as a merchant, and easier for the customer. All you have to do is load your products, decide on pricing, and deal with the orders. The only outgoing cost is the fee that the marketplace will charge you for sales or listings. Fee’s can differ depending on the marketplace and could be a percentage of your sales or a one off payment to list your items.


Disadvantages of selling on marketplaces.


Increase in competition


By offering products alongside similar ones, there is a risk of pricing wars amongst competitors. It may be difficult to sell for handsome profits.


Limited by the rules of the marketplace


You will have to adhere to marketplace rules such as image quality requirements, product type restrictions, product description limitations and you will need to purchase a unique product code (UPC) to list on Amazon.

You can also run the risk of being banned from selling on Amazon if you continually flout the rules. For example, you cannot sell counterfeit goods or prohibited items, you must not continually ship your products late or cancel orders repeatedly. You cannot direct buyers away from Amazon to other sites, or have too many accounts. For this reason, merchants can find marketplace rules quite limiting.


Limited customer relationship


The very nature of online marketplaces will mean that you are less likely to come into direct contact with your customer and you will have less opportunity to build relationships through marketing or brand recognition. It will also be much harder to build your brand around the needs of your customer. Additionally, there will be no opportunities to learn more about customers shopping habits making remarketing difficult, as there will be no data or information available, to strengthen your remarketing or indeed offer perks or subscriptions for example.


Essential tips for successful selling on marketplaces.


Research your products


Research where the products you want to sell are being sold, are they more popular and available on one marketplace place over another? For example handmade notebooks would be better placed on Etsy and retro clothing would be great for eBay. 


Research marketplace fees


Is there a fee for listing or do you pay a percentage of the sales price? Compare each marketplace and work out which one is likely to be the most profitable for you. Think about how much you will likely sell as some marketplaces will offer discounts on the quantity of items sold.

If you have a large stock of items to sell, you may want to offer them on multiple marketplaces. If you have an ecommerce website, it is often a good idea to make available your most popular items to purchase from you directly to maximise your profits. You can use your marketplace listings to engage shoppers and drive traffic to your website.


Optimise your listings


You don’t want customers to just see your product listings, you want them to buy from your product listings. With this in mind, it is important to get your listing just right. Create a strong product listing by choosing your images and content wisely to create the best shopping experience and encourage more sales. By understanding the algorithms, you can make sure you know what to do to win PPC campaigns and appear at the top of listings or win the Amazon buy box.




You don’t have to stick to the same pricing structure that you have available on your website. To remain competitive it is best to adjust your pricing in line with your competitors. Pricing optimisation software can help with setting your pricing to the changing demands and latest buying trends.


Shipping options


To appeal to today’s marketplace shoppers, you can offer free and fast shipping to make that sale. Many shoppers will abandon a shopping cart if shipping is too slow, so having access to quick but cost effective storage and shipping is essential. Some sellers choose FBA from Amazon, others rely on a third party fulfilment service such as Huboo. Some even use a mix or choose to use a private carrier to ensure the fastest and most efficient form of delivering goods to their customers. It really depends on the type of product you are selling and the quantities of sales that you are expecting to ship.


Be ready to scale your business


Once you have had success selling on your chosen marketplace, you will most likely want to expand into selling on multiple marketplaces. This doesn't have to be a complicated or time consuming process. By using software such as Sellr, you can list on multiple marketplaces from one platform. Enabling you to keep track of sales, product descriptions and stock levels from one place. A simple and effective way to sell on multiple marketplaces, allowing you more time to develop your business.


3 online marketplaces to try first.

  1. Amazon

  2. eBay

  3. Etsy


  1. Amazon

As documented here by Statista, Amazon, closely followed by eBay, dominates the UK online marketplace scene. With over 400 million visits a month, it is not hard to see why Amazon should be high on your list to explore first.


The benefits of selling on Amazon marketplace are profound. Amazon offers an enormous customer base, and with regular shoppers visiting Amazon marketplace regularly, your products and brand will get some serious exposure. 


Many people prefer shopping on marketplaces due to the variety of products available, and the marketplace environment will draw many more new customers looking for your products, as well as encouraging repeat purchases due to the seamless and familiar checkout process.


  1. eBay

Offering both new and used items, eBay has a lot to offer a variety of merchants. Offering both an auction format and buy now options, and 297 million views a month in the Uk alone, your products will be searched for and seen.


  1. Etsy

Geared around handmade and bespoke items and with a UK audience of 36 million views a month, Etsy is the perfect marketplace for craft, gifts and arts products. Like Amazon and eBay, Etsy also has global reach but offers a more personal feel to its items available, compared to Amazon and eBay. This is a great option if you are making items to sell, or if your audience is more likely to want to buy bespoke items which are unavailable in mainstream stores.


Why you should be selling on marketplaces.


Whether you already have an ecommerce website and want to expand to other marketplaces, or are just starting out and looking into your options for selling online, you will want to explore marketplaces for sure.

  • They are quick to setup - you don’t have the trouble of creating a website, and then having to market it. They can even process and fulfill your orders for you, saving you time and money. 

  • You will have instant access to millions of customers and won’t need to market your website in order to gain traffic.

  • Your store will instantly offer a level of trust, due to being present on a familiar marketplace.

  • You have the option to expand your reach globally.

  • If you already sell on your website, a marketplace can help you to gain new audiences easily.

  • If you want to test a new product or price, or perhaps you have a surplus item to sell, you can list it on a marketplace instead of your online store.


In conclusion, the best way to choose a marketplace for your brand is the one that best suits your genre of products. Do your research and choose the marketplace that has similar products available, and also the one which has the most suitable payment plan available for your business needs.


There are so many excellent reasons to consider listing your items on a marketplace. It can be much less complex than starting an online store, and there are more resources readily available to help you maximise your sales and make marketing easier. With multichannel listing tools like Sellr available your job is even easier, leaving you with more time to run your business with minimal effort and maximum gains.

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