Last Updated on November 28, 2022 by Chimezie Chidi
Best Online Marketplaces for sellers for 2023
Recently I discovered that most people only know about e-commerce stores like Amazon and eBay.
So I built a list of the best online marketplaces for sellers, including their features, benefits, and drawbacks.
E-Commerce is now an accepted trend.
Over $2.3 trillion in sales globally comes from the e-commerce industry, yearly.
By 2025, those figures may surpass $4.5 trillion.
So the big question is, wouldn’t you love to have a piece of the pie?
I bet you do!
And you need not build a website to sell all kinds of products around the world. There are lots of online marketplaces out there to choose. There are over 49 global marketplaces with an unlimited list of region-specific online markets for you.
Many of these online markets are easy to use.
You must research and pick the right online marketplace for your product.
But first, how do you define an online marketplace?.
What is an Online Marketplace?
In the simplest definition, an Online Marketplace is an application or platform that connects sellers to buyers.
According to Forbes, operators usually run this and may not own any inventory but present the inventories of others to customers and facilitate the resulting transaction.
Online market places have been around for many years dating as far back as 1995. Some pioneers were eBay, Angie’s List, and Craigslist.
Online marketplaces work in this way:
- Shoppers view and purchase products from multiple sellers through an e-commerce operator
- The e-commerce operator places orders to the seller who has the product and then, sends products to the shopper
Although Amazon is a famous example of an online marketplace, there are different online marketplaces including;
- Ad-based/Pay for Placement Online Marketplaces
In this kind of e-commerce outfits, you will pay for listings or ad spaces for your business. Sometimes, you may pay a premium to appear at the top of search results for more exposure within a time frame. Good examples of these marketplaces include Houzz, Craigslist, Indeed and Yelp
- Transactional Online Marketplaces
These can be a product or service-based marketplaces. Here, market operators make money when a transaction occurs. Therefore, suppliers only pay when they make money. Examples of these marketplaces include Uber, TaskRabbit, etc.
- Lead Generation
Here, consumers will have to answer a little information about the service they need. Suppliers will receive this information and send quotes to those consumers and ultimately get the project. There are millions of lead generation marketplaces. Most loan marketplaces and contracting outfits, run this kind of system.
- Vertical Marketplaces
This online marketplace focuses on different products from one small niche. Some of them includes SpareFoot (home storage), Taxify (Transportation), Homeaway (vacation rentals), Uber (transportation), Airbnb (vacation rentals) etc.
- Horizontal online marketplaces
These are the most popular marketplaces in the world. When most people think about an online marketplace, these options come to their mind. Horizontal markets cover as much product or service as possible. Amazon is the widest. Other examples include Home Advisor, Craiglist, eBay, Dote, etc.
When should you sell with an Online Marketplace?
Selling with an online marketplace is more convenient. You need not develop or manage a website. In a few minutes, you can put up a storefront and get better discovery. Besides, it will challenge you to put out higher quality and unique products. Although the prices for your goods will be lower, the sales volume is usually worth it, if you get your marketing right. Some marketplaces like Amazon also offer shipping services which will sweeten the deal for you.
Drawbacks of using online marketplaces
Some businesses can’t afford to use online marketplaces. Others can use both for better competitive positions. For instance, if you sell books, signing up on Amazon, and running your online store is excellent. However, there are other reasons you may not use an online marketplace. A huge drawback is the lower profit margin and the cutthroat competition. Besides, the buyers today can buy from someone else in the future. Other cons of using an online marketplace include:
- Lesser brand visibility
- No communication between you and the consumer
- Have to wait for weeks to get your money
- No customer analysis
- It’s so focused on the seller that single faulty feedback can ruin efforts
- No customer loyalty.
Many online marketplaces can be excellent for your products. But it’s essential to refine your list so you can use a marketplace that will offer more chances to control pricing and reach the right demographics. For instance, eBay can be perfect for some niches, but the auction tendencies can ruin the money-making opportunities. It can become the story of a seller who sold his new Jane Austen for less than a tenner.
Before you select the online marketplace that suits your business, I have created a list of the best online marketplaces, their features, pros and cons to help you figure out what would work best for you.
Best Online Marketplaces
Amazon is arguably the most prominent online marketplace in the world. They have multiple retail websites for over 16 different countries and geographic regions. There’s almost no product you won’t find on the platform. Sellers will receive web-based tools to upload their product descriptions and create an Amazon webstore.
Amazon allows you to sell your products to them or on their platform. Selling to them, also known as Amazon Vendor central, is strictly by invite. Depending on your model, Amazon also provides FBA. With the FBA, Amazon handles warehousing, packing, and shipping. They will also process your customer returns and service, all of which will come at an extra fee.
For some products, this method means you spend less on shipping and warehousing, especially when your customers are thousands of miles from your location. FBA may also increase your visibility. To sell individually, you will pay $0.99 per item while a professional account costs $39.99 per month.
- They over 2.6 billion page views every month which increases chances of sales
- Your seller fees range from 7 to 20 percent of the item’s value
- Higher product visibility
- The fulfillment service (Amazon FBA) takes the stress off your shoulders. You can focus on your products, and it’s marketing.
- There are lots of tools for designing your amazon webstore
- The platform is big, credible and convenient
- Not enough to boost your brand visibility
- You are not only competing against other sellers but Amazon which decreases the prices of your products dynamically
- It’s hard to gain customer loyalty and repeat customers.
eBay is also a global online marketplace. They have been around since the 90s and have over 24 country-specific websites. They have over 175 million active users and 1.2 billion pageviews.
They are great Amazon competitors, but not all products are best sold on eBay, don’t forget to research! eBay works like the flea market or auction house. So sales might be between the sellers and third-parties. You can sell used, new and unique, vintage, rare (antique) products on the platform.
Contrary to widespread expectations, eBay has more new products on sale than used ones. If you are a small or medium-sized business, eBay might be useful for you since there’s less competition. eBay also provides avenues to answer your customer’s questions. With eBay, you will cover your shipping, transportation and warehousing needs.
Bear in mind that you can also use Amazon FBA whether you run your online store or sell on eBay. Your seller fees cost 10-12% of your final value fee. By final value fee, we mean the price you charge per item that includes shipping and handling.
- You can sell used, unique, and brand new items on the platform.
- The auction feature allows you to list all kinds of stuff for millions of people who may want it.
- You don’t pay any monthly fees
- Seller fees range from 10 to 12 percent on average
- eBay offers a lot of free features to sell quickly, list and brand your eBay webstore.
- You will receive payments through PayPal which is credible
- Pay attention to eBay’s seller fees; it can add up quickly
- Like Amazon, eBay also focuses on the buyer than the seller
- There compulsory 180-day return policy can hurt your business
Etsy is a global e-commerce store for unique, vintage, artsy, and handcrafted products. If you are an artist, craftsmen or just plain creative, there’s a buyer here for you.
Some of their top-selling products include home accessories, toys, games, art, photography, clothing, jewelry, and many more.
Over 1.93 million sellers use eBay. Setting up your Etsy webstore is easy and fast. But you will pay a listing fee of $0.20 and a transaction fee of 5% per the value of your item.
Your transaction fee will include a charge for shipping and wrapping. If you want to boost your visibility further, you can pay $10 for Etsy plus.
- There are over 35 million active buyers on Etsy which is enormous for your creative business
- There are powerful analytical tools to understand the customers that visit your store.
- eBay provides a set-up manual, so you can quickly build and optimize your eBay webstore
- Very easy to update your inventory
- There are communication channels for reaching out to the customer
- Although all handmade items are welcome, some products might not be feasible because of the transaction fees
- You will be charged an additional $0.25 for Etsy payments whether you use Etsy or Paypal
- There’s a massive competition with over 2 million sellers on the platform.
- You can only sell handmade items on Etsy.
- Limited brand recognition
- You may prize your products too cheap to make sales
- Some “purported handmade products” might not be what they claim
Walmart is pretty exclusive to US-based sellers, but they are gradually opening the doors to sellers from Canada, UK, and China.
If you are an international seller with a US mailing address, W9 tax form, can ship to private US locations and accept international returns, you might stand a chance. But, you must wait for an invite to join as an international seller.
Walmart has over 440 million page views every month, so there will be sales for you. If your brand is also huge, you might get an invite. Signing up as a seller is very easy. You can list items for free and build your store without paying any monthly fees. But your seller fees may range from 8 to 15% commission.
- You won’t pay monthly or set up fees.
- The competition is lower since Walmart is picky about sellers
- Walmart also has an affiliate program which boosts your sales potentials
- Transactions are so easy. Your sellers can use PayPal, Amex Pay, Payoneer, Chase Pay, Checkout and lots more
- Walmart has an incredible mobile app
- You will compete with other sellers which may lower your profits
- You will handle your customer service, warehousing, returns, and exchanges
- Walmart denies sellers from using the Amazon FBA
- Walmart lists products on the first-come basis and not SEO or promotions
- There are too many pricing rules that might hurt your income
Rakuten is the third-largest e-commerce marketplace in the world. They are the biggest in Japan and has operations across Western Europe, France, the US, and Asia.
You can sell all kinds of products on the platform, but top-selling categories include food, electronics, clothing, and health supplements. There are over 105.9 million active members from 29 countries.
You can quickly build your store and optimize with SEO, just like Amazon. But, you must have a license to sell your products in Japan to get started. But you must pay an individual listing fee (99 cents per listing), monthly account fee ($39 per month) and variable category commission fee.
If your business is outside the US, you must have a US bank, credit card accounts, and customer service phone number. You also need the W9 or W8 form and a customer service email address which must be answered during U.S business hours.
- 15.6 million buyers visit the network every year
- They also have employees across 70 countries to help you set up and manage your store
- Avenues to automatically cancel orders if your product has gone out of stock
- As expected, there’s a lot of competition, but it is lower than eBay or Amazon
- There’s no personal connection between you and the customer
- Your fees might add up quickly
- There’s only exposure for your products and not your business
This is arguably the only marketplace considered as “seller-friendly.” Although not as big as the top e-commerce platforms, it is fast growing. Over 56,000 and 2.2 million active entrepreneurs currently use the platform.
The platform is open to people from India, France, UK, Canada, US, Germany, Mexico, and Spain. You can quickly build your personalized store for no transaction and listing fees.
You can sell used, new, and unique items at the price of your choice. There will be no auctions on your products. You only pay a measly 3.5% seller fee per sale. Currently, the platform is seeing over 7.2 million page views, so there’s a considerable chance for your business.
If you also want to boost your visibility and enjoy Google shopping ads, you can use their premium membership plans. Membership plans include Free($0), Gold ($25/ month), Platinum($55/ month) and Titan ($167/month)
- You won’t pay for listing or account fees
- You have more chances of boosting your profit margins
- They accept multiple payment options, including Amazon and PayPal payments.
- Buyers must give you up to 10 positive feedbacks before you can use direct checkout options
- Shipping might be expensive
- There are limited options for customizing particular listings
Zibbet works like Etsy; you can join the platform if you sell vintage, artistic, or handcrafted items. However, the platform is relatively new, with only 56,000 sellers on the platform. You can quickly set up your browsable product listings with a free plan, which allows a maximum of ten products.
But you can pay for a membership plan which costs between $5 to 20% per month.
There are no transactions or listing fees, and your paid plan allows you to add unlimited products. If you are tired of Etsy, you can transfer products or integrate with that existing Etsy store quickly.
In recent months, Zibbet unrolled a new update that allows you to improve your brand visibility. You can now own a standalone Zibbet shop alongside the marketplace shop.
- You can run both Etsy and Zibbet stores seamlessly
- There are no fees for selling when on a free account
- Can boost your brand visibility and reputation
- You can now make digital downloads like Etsy.
- You can’t vary products even if you are using the paid plan
- The free features are too limited.
Alibaba is fast becoming a preferred online marketplace all over the world. They are based in China and provides an excellent medium for sellers to enter the Chinese market. However, Alibaba is business-to-business oriented, although you can also use their business-to-consumer platform, AliExpress.
Over 488 million active buyers visit the platform every year. Alibaba has over 126.7 million page views every month. The platform claims to have over 80 percent of China’s online sales.
You can quickly set up and manage your store for free and add up to 50 products. But paid plans include Basic, Standard, Premium, and Gold Supplier. The Gold supplier membership is only open to certified companies.
There are no structured fees only fee limitations, so your account fee can run from $200 to $5,000 per year. Commissions and Service fees range from 1 to 5%, but Alibaba will take an additional 1% payment charge and 2 to 5% commissions on the sale. Alibaba is also unique since you can quickly set up a store without having the actual inventory; all products are made on request.
- You are in charge of communicating with buyers
- Instant access to global customers
- You don’t need inventory to build your store; all products will be created after customers contact you
- Alibaba doesn’t charge transaction or sellers fees.
- With a paid plan, you can have better product showcases.
- There are lots of complaints about the platform
- Customers are wary since sellers with 5-star reviews have been known to sell faulty products
- Pricing plans are also very complicated
- If you are a small retailer, selling on Alibaba might be a nightmare
Allegro is currently the 5th biggest in Europe and the largest in Poland. It was founded in Poland and had over 14 million visitors from that location. Over 98% of its customers are repeat buyers, so there’s a massive chance for you there.
It is interesting to note that Amazon and eBay do not have retail websites for those locations. eBay tried it in 2005 and failed miserably since Allegro had already taken over the Poland market.
As a seller, you can quickly create your store but bear in mind that your listings must be converted to Polish which may add to your expenses. You also need a Polish website to trade on the platform. Top product categories include garden, fashion, and electronics.
You don’t have to be a big brand to sell on Allegro. Allegro also has over 219 million page views. Your seller fees range from 2 to 10%
- As a seller, you will receive tutorials and customer support
- There will be a dedicated account manager attached to you
- You don’t need a local Poland bank account
- Whether you are a UK or Poland seller, your application is the same
- All kinds of products can be sold on Allegro
- You will deal with shipping costs and logistics
- You must translate all information since you are dealing with the local community
- All payments are made in the Polish Zloty (PLN) through PayU
If you are aiming for Latin America, then Mercado Livre is your best bet. Mercado is a fast performing e-commerce site in the region. You can sell to people from LATAM region including Chile, Argentina, Mexico or Brazil even if you are based in the US or China.
If you can’t handle your shipping and logistics, Mercado Libre has a local fulfillment service for you. Signing up is pretty easy, and you won’t need a translator to work on your Mercado webstore.
They provide an automatic translation tool to take care of your product descriptions, titles, and customer communication. There are no listing fees, but you pay a flat commission rate of 17.5 % for selling in Mexico and 16% for Argentina, Columbia, and Chile
- You can sell products on Mercado Libre across 150 plus product categories
- The automatic translation tool is free and easy to use
- You can quickly build your reputation
- Buyers and sellers can place feedbacks about each other
- Although the automated translator tool is useful, they warn that translations may not be perfect, so you need to translate for the different regions
Online Marketplaces are easy to use. They provide greater visibility for your product. Many of these marketplaces will also offer promotional tools and SEO tools to optimize and boost your product awareness on their platforms.
They are comfortable and convenient. But, not all online marketplaces are excellent for your business. Use the list of online marketplaces in this article as a stepping stone to picking the right market for your business. With a unique strategy and action plan, you can begin making money within weeks.