Ecommerce has been steadily growing year by year; As more consumers start relying on getting their needs met through easier, faster, and more accessible means; More retailers and sellers start moving towards building an online presence whether it's through their own channels or through what we call a Marketplace.
The move comes as no surprise considering that simply listing their products via any of the leading Marketplaces like Amazon, and eBay sellers can increase sales by as much as 1,250%.
But as with every industry that's on the rise, you'll need to navigate your way through the competitive marketplaces. That's not to say that enough space to grow and expand, if anything, now is a better time than ever to start. In fact, e-commerce sales have been predicted to cross $150 billion in 2022. And with the expansion of e-commerce, it's become simpler than ever to start and grow with all the available tools at our hands, from marketplaces that help you reach a wider ready-to-purchase audience, to platforms that allow you to grow and advertise on; building a core customer base.
It's safe to say that you won't have to go through the same hurdles that it took to start a retail business in the past. But you'll need a good strategy and a business model to stand out in all the noise.
Now, let's figure out the Marketplace best fit for you and your business.
We first must understand what a marketplace is in order to identify which one is better for you. As each online marketplace stands out in its way, each having different criteria, products that thrive, fees, and targeted demographics.
But understanding the marketplace is the first step to figuring out where you belong in terms of demographics and product categories, ease of use perhaps. But you'll also need the right strategies for selling on these marketplaces.
We've simplified the process for you by splitting this into different sections that we will be covering:
1. What Is an Online Marketplace?
The simple definition of an online marketplace is an e-commerce site that hosts both sellers and buyers in one place. It's a platform that simplifies the process of connecting the retailer and consumer with transactions managed by the platform itself.
Now, Online marketplaces aren't in any way a new thing with sites like eBay and Craigslist that have been around since 1995. But since then, countless marketplaces have risen to the top like Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, and Etsy. And even social platforms that have opened the gates for their Audiences to sell through them like Meta's Facebook and Instagram.
In fact, we're barely scratching the surface when it comes to online marketplaces. Apart from the biggest global players like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba as aforementioned.
Even regional online marketplaces have their own slice of the market like Walmart, Target Plus, and Newegg in North America.
Allegro, Cdiscount, and Zalando in Europe.
Lazada, Shopee, and Tokopedia in Asia.
The list goes on and on as we're still barely dipping our toes into what's available. With more Global, Regional, and Local options. So remember, there are factors to keep in mind from location, costs, products, and reach. It can become overwhelming when researching the best fit for you. That's why we've narrowed it to a selection of the top eCommerce marketplaces.
But first, let's talk about the benefits of starting to sell online, to begin with.
2. Why should you start selling online?
The growth of eCommerce hasn't only been steady over the years but explosive. With the ever-expanding online presence that top eCommerce marketplaces have. And the ever-increasing number of consumers not only yearly but daily.
But how can the growth and expansion of said marketplaces be of benefit to you as a seller, or a business owner trying to grow their brand?
Well, apart from the ability to reach a wider ready-to-purchase audience. The growth of those marketplaces that allow third-party sellers like yourself means creating a better experience on the user's end; in turn, resulting in an increase in individual sales.
But let's elaborate more on the reasons you should start selling online.
It's easier than ever to start selling.
In one of the many ways, online marketplaces have changed the way retailers and buyers interact. Allowing a third-party seller to skip over tons of hurdles and complications that a person had to go through to just start selling the simplest of items; often having to put down large investments ahead of time just to get started let alone get noticed.
Having to create your own platform, hire large teams to handle different aspects of the business, or spend hours on end learning to do it all by yourself only to end up burning yourself out with the sheer amount of work that needed to be done not only manufacturing the product but marketing, advertising, logistics, customer support. It made it so that a select number of people can start selling.
But since the existence of marketplaces; it's a few clicks away from listing to selling your product. once you've been approved as a seller. And with the constant expansion, these top eCommerce marketplaces continuously improve the experience on their sites constantly adding new features, algorithms, and tools to make it easier on both the seller's and buyer's ends.
So as a seller the only thing you must focus on at the start is making your business stand out.
Set in place tools and programs.
When it comes to the top eCommerce marketplaces, they already have tools established in place to help you thrive. Your success means their success, so they've made it simpler than ever with their selling, marketing, and advertising tools. Not only that but even the logistical side of things with fulfillment programs that will package, label, ship, and deliver to buyers.
Amazon is the Prime example of this with Amazon PPC for advertising, and Amazon FBA for fulfillment.
But with the ease of use these platforms offer, it creates a highly competitive space that you can either thrive within or completely drown in the masses. So, you need to study your industry well and focus on what will make you stand out. Use the advertising tools available to you and don't limit yourself to one space, expand your reach beyond the marketplace. Because although it's a fantastic launch point, you'll need more to keep growing past the competition. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Speaking of crowded spaces...
Reaching bigger demographics and Audiences.
With the rise of eCommerce, it's to be expected that the number of people shopping online would increase worldwide. With that number reaching 2,14 Billion digital consumers as of 2021. In other words, with 7.75 billion people in the world that's 27.7% of the world's population shopping online.
And the number is rapidly growing year by year. The difference between 2020 and 2021 alone is 900 million digital consumers.
The increase comes as no surprise with more people able to connect to the internet and the convenience offered by the top eCommerce marketplaces.
And to use Amazon as an example once again; you have the ability to reach an audience of 200 million shoppers on the platform that has the intent to purchase a product.
The Us alone will reach over 265 million digital buyers in 2022 alone. And with 56% of product searches now beginning (and often ending) on Amazon. This means that some consumers don't even leave these large marketplaces. So there's a massive benefit to being on these platforms and tapping into their audiences.
But there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration just before you jump right in and start selling.
3. Things you should know before you start?
There are factors that you need to consider before starting to sell online whether you're an individual seller, a small start-up, or an established retailer wanting to expand and reach a bigger customer base.
Before doing anything more, we would advise that you examine the site's traffic because one of the biggest advantages of selling on an online marketplace is the built-in consumer base.
Understanding the volume of website traffic is still valuable, especially if you're looking at the less-established, specialized marketplaces, even though the quality of visitors is intrinsically more significant.
For instance, it's ideal to recommend Amazon over the Alibaba group of eCommerce websites if you're targeting a north American demographic. Or to pick eBay over Amazon if you offer you want to have an auction and allow buyers to bid on what you're selling. Or to Use Etsy when selling handmade items, artwork, or more creative products.
That's not to say that you're limited to any or all of these options. but say that if you want better results you need to understand the audience of the platform.
If we used Amazon and eBay again for instance. Both are great options as marketplaces for third-party sellers. but if you want to sell items related to home and outdoor products Amazon performs 30% better when it comes to sales than eBay.
So pick what's right for you.
You must take fees and other marketing expenditures into account when selling on an online marketplace. Find out whether the site just charges on selling commissions or also charges listing fees by first examining the cost structure of the website.
You must also account for any potential supplemental costs, such as inventory costs, shipping costs, marketing costs, and any other expenses that could be related to the usage of supplementary assistance; for instance, FBA sellers on Amazon must pay an additional charge if Amazon meets their shipping needs.
That's where tools like Profit Cyclops come into play. Profit Cyclops displays all fees, including Amazon fees and storage costs, when Amazon doesn't show them. Additionally, it generates a profit calculation that is incredibly clear. It enables you to avoid unnecessary fees and makes your company profitable.
Support can be one of the key things when starting out for most beginners. The need for clarity to navigate through the tools offered by the marketplaces can be crucial at times. Luckily most platforms will provide the needed guidance for the seller to get the most out of their platforms.
So, it's essential to know that the majority of marketplaces provide support to sellers in order to get the most out of their websites, whether this assistance takes the shape of marketing and sales tools or access to a specific advertising console.
Even though this may or may not be relevant to you, we advise you to learn what help is offered and if it is free of charge. You never know; ten years from now, when you decide to modify your company strategy, you may want extra support from your marketplace.
How well-known and popular the marketplace is in your region or in the location where you want to sell is another crucial aspect to take into account. For instance, if you were selling in the US, you wouldn't particularly choose Alibaba, Taobao, or Tmall over Amazon to sell your products online because, compared to other online marketplaces, over 96% of American consumers prefer to purchase through Amazon.
The same applies when wanting to sell to other regions, countries, or even local. Understanding that different platforms thrive through different locations will help you navigate through what's best for you and where your core targeted audience will be.
But with all the benefits of selling through online marketplaces comes the downside of having less flexibility and control compared to selling through your own site for instance.
Each marketplace and platform will have its own terms and rules that you need to go through and understand to make the most of the available resources to you while understanding that there can be limits.
4. The best strategies to help you sell online
Despite the fact that you can try various techniques in each marketplace; testing what sticks and what works for each platform. There are a few strategies that are appropriate to practically most of the eCommerce marketplaces. Especially if you're looking for long-term success.
Optimizing your content.
The number one strategy to take your business to the next level and stand out past most people that starting out Is Content optimization. That plays a key component not only for the consumer to recognize your product but for you to build on your brand awareness.
But what do we mean by optimizing the content?
We're talking about, Product titles, descriptions, categories, images, and even tags. These are factors that drive buyers to eventually complete the sales funnel. In another word, to go past the contemplation phase and make a purchase.
The more work you put into them, the more likely it is that your items will rank higher in search results on the marketplace.
It's one of the first and major steps to building your business organically. So, spend time selecting the ideal product niches, picking the right keywords, writing engaging product descriptions, and image optimization.
There's currently too much competition making it harder for you to rely on organic reach alone. As important as working on getting recognized organically is. You will need that push that advertising gets you if you want to grow your business, especially on the top eCommerce marketplaces.
Sponsored ads constitute the vast bulk of search engine results. They're not just random pop-ups These are the ads that are clicked and result in conversions.
To help get your items in front of the relevant customers and be genuinely successful on marketplaces, you'll need to at least invest in advertising.
Each online marketplace has a unique set of charges, processing fees, and other operating expenses for sellers. This is why, after examining the traffic, the niche, and the seller expenses that you must bear, you must do a comprehensive evaluation of the cost of establishing your business in each of the marketplaces and calculate your profits.
This is one of the ways Profit Cyclops is able to help if the marketplace you opt for is Amazon. You can learn more about how to use the tool to your advantage through this article outlining the profit calculator. You can also watch this Video.
Setting the right price can be challenging in the most competitive marketplaces because different products have a range of prices. If you keep your prices too low, people will assume your products are of cheap quality, and if you keep them too high, you'll lose sales to more affordable competitor products.
It's all about the psychology of the buyer. The way your targeted audience processes the given price depends on several subtle aspects.
So, it's best to test different pricing points. Run one price for some time, then another one for the same amount of time. After determining which price point generates the most sales, keep that pricing for your listing. You can also use A/B testing with different discounts and deals to see how your audience interacts.
Take your time in figuring out what works while remembering that trends change, and people do too.
Online shoppers nowadays not only do they want free and fast shipping. When asked, 96% of customers now expect free shipping, and 26% will abandon their cart if shipping is estimated to take too long.
That's why when taking a marketplace into consideration. Ones that take care of the logistics and fulfilment stand out. And once again as a Prime example we have to mention Amazon FBA. In fact, Amazon has been known to favor your products since it's fulfilled btw. Not only giving you the chance to ship easier and faster but having the label alone "Fulfilled by Amazon," adds more credibility to your listing.
Not to say that you're limited to fulfillment options by your marketplace. There are other methods and shipping options to ensure the fastest and most affordable results. In this case, you might find certain private carriers like UPS and FedEx more fit for you.
5. The Top Ecommerce Marketplaces
These are some of the top eCommerce Marketplaces that we've narrowed down from countless options that each stand out in their own way. These are generally considered Unique in their own way, so picking what's right for you will depend on a few factors that you asses; Like your budget, goals, target audience, location, And personal preferences.
Amazon is one of the most popular online marketplaces, with 5 million sellers and upwards of 200 million unique visitors per year. It works best for moderate to enterprise-level retailers who want to reach Amazon's ever-expanding ready-to-purchase audience and millions of customers and are prepared to manage the platform's high volume of traffic.
Easily the most recognizable eCommerce brand globally. The Platform originally started out as an online bookstore the year it was founded in 1995, it's moved passed that since. first following the footsteps of its fellow marketplace eBay as the brokerage for third-party sellers.
Amazon continued to create a name for itself as the hub of everything, Adding new products and services year by year. It's become a reliable place for consumers to go to when they need something.
When looking for a Marketplace to quickly start selling; Amazon is Undeniable.
How to start selling on Amazon?
So, to start; simply fill out the Seller Central registration form with your name, address, phone number, Tax ID, and other relevant information before selecting the marketplace(s) you wish to sell on. It takes approximately 7 business days for Amazon to approve you, then you're on your way.
And to help you navigate, Here's a guide to making sales on Amazon.
To achieve total automation of the selling process, Amazon allows integration with a variety of plugins and service providers. For instance, to track costs, spending, fees, and profits, you can integrate Profit Cyclops.
If Amazon is the marketplace, you deem fit you may want to take a look at our blog as we cover a variety of topics such as.
And a lot more topics to help you through your journey to make the process easier and help you focus on the brand awareness part of your business.
Marketing Cost: $39/month
Like Amazon, eBay was founded in 1995 as a website that mainly offered secondhand items, but since then, it has grown to become one of the top eCommerce marketplaces worldwide. A place best for new, second-handed and refurbished goods allowing sellers to auction their items and filter the bids.
How to start selling on eBay?
With eBay, you can join the marketplace without submitting any applications. Simply register an account then create your first listing. It's important to note that there are currently more than 180 million monthly active eBay users worldwide, creating a sizable volume of relevant traffic that is eager to buy your products.
eBay certainly stands out with its wide range of products and the conditions that people sell through their marketplace. And even a wider range of pricing from the cheapest of secondhand goods to novelty collectibles, art, and one-of-a-kind cartoon character-shaped crisp.
The eBay Seller Hub will help you run your business as smoothly as ever, even if you're a new seller with no website or setup, which is another fantastic feature of this marketplace. You could print your own shipping labels and place ads on eBay, for instance.
Marketplace cost: $13.50/month.
If you're considering expanding to more of a global audience or you know your way through the Chinese Market, then the Alibaba Group of sites might be the direction you need to head in.
Established in 1999 Alibaba Group is a Chinese multinational corporation with expertise in e-commerce, retail, technology, and the Internet. It is undoubtedly among the top eCommerce marketplaces in the world.
The business operates through a various selections of marketplaces with names that you may already be familiar with like (AliExpress) B2C, (Taobao) C2C, (Tmall) B2c, and (Alibaba.com) B2B. On China's Singles' Day, the greatest online and offline shopping day in the world, Alibaba essentially breaks sales records every year.
The reason Alibaba stands out as a marketplace is not only does give you the chance of reaching a global audience that's ready to buy in bulk if that's what you're after. But it gives sellers the opportunity to connect with manufacturers that are willing to mass-produce and label your products for you. Then you can choose to sell through the other Marketplaces in the Alibaba group or any of the ones on this list.
Speaking of platforms that can take advantage of Alibaba's services.
Shopify is one of the most popular and well-respected eCommerce juggernauts when it comes to creating your own website to sell your goods. Over 50% of Shopify store owners receive recurring business each year, and Shopify has a market share of almost 11% of the whole market.
Shopify is renowned for its user-friendly features for beginners that let sellers modify their storefront so that it seems to be their own website. Additionally, it offers a variety of Shopify plugins that you may utilize to personalize your business.
Marketplace Cost: $29 per month (You may utilize Shopify's 14-day free trial during which time you can sell, ship, and accept payments internationally.)
Facebook (now Meta) established the Facebook Marketplace, which they released in October 2016, to entice users into its communities where they could buy and sell goods. Remarkably, Facebook Marketplace provides assistance to small business owners without charging them a listing fee. Anyone may launch a Facebook Marketplace business without any prior e-commerce experience.
Other than the specific requirements and rules that you must abide by as a seller on Facebook Marketplace, there are no fees to worry about.
Facebook can be a great al encompassing place to get started selling your products. With great ad tools, wide reach, and ease of use, it can be a great place to build your business. Facebook also worked with e-commerce platforms like Shopify. To facilitate online seller visibility on Marketplace.
Marketplace cost: 5% per shipment
Etsy Founded in 2005, Is the ideal marketplace for sellers who offer distinctive products including handmade goods, vintage items, presents, and other oddities that appeal to consumers who are interested in aesthetics. That can be a wide range of categories that include but are not limited to; Clothing, Accessories, Home Decor, Toys, Art, And even digital goods. You're sure to find your demographic of ideal customers who will resonate with your niche with 33 million consumers shopping through Etsy.
Etsy sellers sell products independently of the Etsy brand, unlike sellers on other marketplaces. Customers will therefore be aware that they are purchasing your items and not those offered by Etsy. In fact, Customers will be redirected to your own storefront when they click on the name of your brand within product pages.
Even if you don't have a website of your own, this helps to develop your brand recognition. In order to grow and develop a dedicated customer base over time, Etsy offers you the edge if you're new to this industry and want to spread awareness of your products and brand.
Marketplace cost: $0.20 fee per product + Commissions for every sale.
Walmart is one of the world's largest retailers, and in 2000, it entered the realm of eCommerce with the debut of Walmart.com. eCommerce sales increased by an incredible 43% in 2018, and there has been no going back since.
The Walmart marketplace, like Amazon, is great for both small and enterprise-grade business owners who want to utilize these eCommerce giants' vast traffic and showcase their items in front of the correct audience.
Although there is significant overlap between Amazon and Walmart customers. More than 57% of Amazon customers also shop at Walmart.com. As a result, listing on both marketplaces increases sellers' chances of catching such customers.
How to start selling through Walmart?
There is an application process to become a retailer at Walmart, and if approved, you may display your goods to over 110 million monthly online shoppers.
To get accepted, you must have swift fulfillment capabilities, a diverse range of high-quality items, and competitive pricing. Remember that you may only sell as a drop-ship vendor or a seller. Furthermore, Walmart has its own rules to accommodate drop shippers.
You may take advantage of this marketplace's vast amount of traffic as a seller. Utilizing Walmart's marketplace has additional advantages, such as specialized customer service and safety safeguards regarding shipping and refunding procedures.
Furthermore, the marketplace interfaces with a variety of service providers, allowing you to assure end-to-end automation of your seller needs.
Marketplace cost: There is no monthly cost, however, sellers are subject to a referral fee for their sales.
6. Choosing the right eCommerce platform, Conclusion:
Consider selling on (more) e-commerce platforms to have additional (or backup) sales channels. You can select smaller platforms in addition to larger ones like eBay or Amazon (with unmatched reach but fierce competition). Consider even combining both worlds of building your own store on a platform like Shopify and selling on larger marketplaces.
There are several top-selling websites and worldwide markets to pick from. Consider market fees, regulations, and top categories to find the finest online markets for your business.
You can start a step at a time by picking one marketplace that best suits you. Just remember not to leave all your eggs in one basket. The internet is ever-growing but it's also constantly changing with trends and smaller attention spans with the sheer amount of content and options out there.
And just an additional note. you don't need to do everything on your own. There are plenty of tools out there to make your process far easier helping focus on what matters and saving more time and money in the long run. Whether it's tools that marketplaces offer or third-party tools like Profit Cyclops.