Going from zero to millions in revenue is the ultimate goal for any e-commerce entrepreneur.
But as the industry continues to grow, driving traffic becomes more expensive and the fight for the top spot on search engines becomes even more challenging. At some point, many e-commerce entrepreneurs may find themselves needing other avenues to generate sales and revenue.
Enter e-commerce marketplaces.
With fast-growing customer lists and rock-solid reputations, e-commerce marketplaces have risen through the ranks to become the top money makers in the online selling space.
Just last year, Amazon raked in a whopping $469.8 billion, a 22% rise from the previous year, and eBay pulled in $2.6 billion in the final quarter alone.
Today, we’ll shine a light on the leading online selling platforms crushing it in 2022. We’ll share some proven tips for how you can set up your store to succeed on any marketplace platform.
The scoop on e-commerce marketplaces
- Why e-commerce marketplaces are goldmines for ambitious brands
- Top e-commerce marketplaces to consider in 2022
- 4 Pro tips to make your marketplace store a smash hit
- Quickfire marketplace platform Q&A
- The masterplan to succeed on e-commerce marketplaces in 2022
Looking to scale your e-commerce business? Find out how flexible e-commerce funding can help.
Why e-commerce marketplaces are goldmines for ambitious brands
You’re already doing a phenomenal job scaling your store, but there’s always another level.
And if you’re feeling fed up with the rigid rules and restrictions of your primary marketplace, or are just looking to expand beyond your owned sales channels — exploring new e-commerce marketplaces is a great way to break into a multichannel or even omnichannel strategy for your growing brand.
But with more and more marketplaces hitting the scene every day, where should you start?
The best e-commerce marketplaces will reinforce your existing sales strategy to help you scale faster and stronger — and that’s not all.
Let’s review some of the benefits of selling on a marketplace so you know exactly what to look for.
Elevate your brand’s perceived value
E-commerce marketplaces have invested a ton of time and money into winning shoppers’ trust.
As a result, many people feel comfortable buying from a store they have never heard of before when purchasing on a marketplace. To give you an idea, 92% of shoppers are more likely to buy products on Amazon than anywhere else.
Make your products more discoverable
E-commerce marketplaces double as high-traffic search engines.
From Amazon to eBay, shoppers flock to e-commerce marketplaces to discover new products and research potential buys. It’s why 66% of internet searches begin on Amazon and 74% turn into sales.
Since buying intent is already established, it’s easier to convert shoppers with an irresistible offer and eye-catching ads.
Drive sales without starting from ground zero
No matter how successful your store is, scaling sales on your own website can be tough, especially if you have a new product.
When you set up shop on a well-known marketplace, you’ll gain instant access to its customer base and accelerate your sales. Combine these perks with the traction you’ve already developed on your existing sales channels and watch your revenue compound.
Diversify your income
It’s great when sales are on the rise, but it’s also never a good idea to have all your revenue eggs in one basket.
Expanding your brand’s horizons by launching on a new marketplace will not only protect your business but also give you more avenues to scale and dominate your niche.
Success on e-commerce marketplaces takes both innovation and preparation. Gear up the right way with fast and flexible e-commerce funding.
Top e-commerce marketplaces to consider in 2022
One great thing about online selling marketplaces is there are a lot of them to choose from.
From household brand behemoths to rising startups, there’s an e-commerce marketplace to help meet your goals. Let’s explore some of the top benefits and drawbacks of a few of the world’s top-performing e-commerce marketplaces.
Amazon – The incumbent e-commerce marketplace
With more than 6 million seller accounts and 5.2 billion in monthly visits, Amazon is a marketplace that needs no introduction.
Its renowned customer support and ultra-fast two-day shipping have earned the hearts and pockets of the masses, setting the stage for ambitious sellers to win big.
✔️What’s great about Amazon
- Take your store worldwide on one platform: Amazon is a global marketplace, broaching 19 countries and counting. Retailers can sell almost anything on Amazon with the right paperwork and approvals, providing the chance to build an international brand. 🌎
- Amazon’s scalability makes it ideal for medium to large stores: From its extensive fulfillment network, Amazon FBA, to an international customer base, Amazon has the plug-and-play infrastructure needed to scale bigger and faster.
- Increase your sales velocity: Amazon’s massive customer base combined with awesome products and customer service leads to what everyone wants — sales, sales, and more sales.
❌ What’s not so great about Amazon
- Storage fees add up fast: You’ll need to cough up for warehouse space which goes up in price during peak seasons. Long-term storage fees can also slash your margins, especially for slow-moving products. Plus, you’ll have to pay a removal fee per product if you want to withdraw items.
- Pay-to-play culture: These days, it’s difficult to rank new products and stores organically. To win on Amazon, you’ll need a budget and strategy for running Amazon ads and driving external traffic.
- Selling costs can be prohibitive: Amazon’s fee structure can make it unprofitable for low-margin products. You’ll pay $39.99 for a professional account, plus a referral fee and Amazon FBA charges.
How can sellers win on Amazon Marketplace?
- Get a handle on your inventory levels to ensure you stay sufficiently stocked throughout the seasons.
- Optimize your product listings to boost your Amazon rankings and help shoppers understand your value.
- Choose high-margin products to accommodate the fees.
- Test different Amazon ad types and external marketing channels to drive consistent traffic.
Walmart Marketplace – A growing marketplace that puts shoppers’ wallets first
Walmart has been on the ecommerce scene since the early noughties. But in 2016, it began accepting third-party sellers on its platform, and took off. Today, Walmart Marketplace has racked up 120 million unique monthly visitors.
Whether you’re hoping to go multichannel or simply want to increase your customer base, Walmart has you covered.
✔️What’s great about Walmart
- No setup or monthly fees: Unlike other platforms, Walmart doesn’t charge monthly subscription fees. Instead, sellers pay commission rates that range from 6% to 15% on sold items. Simple!
- Utilize Walmart’s physical stores: Some people like to pick up orders while running errands and avoiding missing deliveries. Luckily, Walmart gives shoppers the option to manage their returns online or in person at their brick-and-mortar locations.
- Gain access to Walmart’s fulfillment network: Walmart enables you to step up your fulfillment game with their purpose-built shipping and returns network offering 2 or 3-day shipping. Alternatively, you can use your own fulfillment service as long as it’s not from other marketplaces.
- Get your products noticed: Walmart gives sellers the chance to advertise with Sponsored Product Ads to get more eyeballs on your products and boost conversions.
❌ What’s not so great about Walmart
- It can be difficult to get approved: Walmart is known for being quite selective when it comes to the sellers it accepts onto its marketplace. To be eligible for a spot, sellers must meet specific requirements like having a US business address and W8 or W9 forms.
- You need solid customer support: Walmart requires all brands to have a dedicated phone line in English and you’ll be responsible for all parts of the order from shipping to returns — tasks that can be burdensome for a fast-growing store.
- Strict pricing guides: On Walmart, you can’t price as you please, you’ll need to stay within the typical prices for the item on Walmart. Anything too high or too low could have your listing flagged and penalized.
How can sellers win on Walmart Marketplace?
- Optimize your supply chain to create optimal inventory distribution according to sales in different territories.
- Create a portfolio of quality products with competitive prices.
- Automate price adjustments to stay within Walmart’s terms of service.
Not sure whether Walmart is your best move? Check out our guide for Amazon sellers thinking about launching on Walmart Marketplace.
eBay – A classic marketplace for niche sellers
Known as the online spot for everything from household basics to weird and wonderful collectibles, eBay holds a soft spot in many a shopper’s heart.
With a strong global brand and rising revenue, eBay also has the markings of a great place to sell your products, if they’re the right fit.
✔️What’s great about eBay
- Global marketplace with an expansive customer base: eBay’s solid reputation crosses borders allowing it to acquire 159 million active buyers and counting worldwide.
- Straightforward registration: Getting approved and set up on eBay is relatively fuss-free. All you need to do is create an account, make your first product listing, and you’re good to go!
- Drive sales by blending fixed and auction-style listings: eBay allows you to capitalize on buying shopping preferences to drive more sales. You can use auction-style listings, fixed priced, or both.
❌What’s not so great about eBay
- You’ll need to watch the fees: While eBay offers professional sellers 250 zero-insertion fee listings per month, you need to pay for them at $0.35 apiece. eBay also charges a final value fee which is 12% of sales under $2,500 and 2.35% of sales over $2,500 plus $0.30 per order when your item sells. All these charges can add up fast in high-volume stores.
- Not the best for big-ticket items: While you can buy luxury goods on eBay, most people tend to shop on eBay for items with a low-to-medium price tag. If you’re a seller in a luxury niche, you may have difficulty pushing premium prices.
- No fulfillment support: When it comes to serving customers and getting products to their doors, eBay leaves you to it. As your store scales, that lack of fulfillment support could become difficult to manage.
How can sellers win on eBay?
- Use keyword research, SEO, eye-catching photography, and helpful descriptions to drive organic leads and sales.
- Create a schedule for listing products, sticking to products in the low to mid-price range. Use automation tools to keep your listings updated.
- Work with a reliable 3PL that can handle deliveries, returns, and storage.
Etsy – The e-commerce marketplace for homemade brands
Spotting a gap in the market, Etsy swooped in to become the marketplace for homemade goods.
By 2020, Etsy had almost 4.4 million sellers and 39.4 million active Etsy buyers worldwide. The ability to find unique items and shop with growing brands makes the platform an enjoyable experience for shoppers.
✔️ What’s great about Etsy
- Target ultra-niche markets: One of Etsy’s key perks is that it’s a horizontal marketplace, meaning it specializes in products that target a unique customer base (vintage and handmade goods).
- An easy way to get attention for arts, crafts, and home-focused stores: If your store serves the jewelry, home, art, and collectibles niches, you’re in luck. Etsy customers flock to stores serving these niches, making the platform a lucrative spot for arts, crafts, and homeware brands.
- Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses building their tribe: Etsy’s “mom and pop shop” vibe makes it less intimidating for upcoming brands to test the e-commerce waters without a steep learning curve. Sellers can also create and customize their Etsy shop. This bespoke nature offers them more flexibility to drive brand awareness, create a personalized customer experience, and build a loyal customer base.
❌ What’s not so great about Etsy
- You do the heavy lifting: Unlike Amazon and Walmart, Etsy mainly serves as a middleman between its sellers and their buyers. Sellers make, collect, and manage the sales of their products. This means administrative and logistical burdens can be hard to manage as you scale.
- Selling costs can slice into your margins: Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee plus an additional 6.5% transaction fee on each order. Tie in your marketing costs and margins could quickly dwindle.
How can sellers win on Etsy?
- Outsource your admin and fulfillment duties.
- Invest in social media marketing and Etsy advertising to get more sales.
- Build an eye-catching store centered around your store’s personality.
Allegro – The leading European marketplace
Since entering the e-commerce game in 1999, Allegro has transacted its way to become one of the largest marketplaces in Europe and the most popular shopping platform in Poland.
From fashion to electronic goods, Allegro holds a world of treasures waiting to be explored by shoppers.
✔️ What’s great about Allegro
- Massive customer base ideal for scaling in Europe: Allegro boasts almost 21 million customers around Europe. If you want to expand your customer base, you’re in the right place.
- Unique shopping comparison feature: On Allegro, every product has a unique product card created by the seller. This means when a buyer searches for a product, different product cards are displayed and buyers can make comparisons between sellers. This can be a bonus compared to Amazon’s single-product cards.
❌ What’s not so great about Allegro
- It may be a battle for shoppers’ attention: With more than 128,000 sellers and over 200 million offers for buyers to choose from, competition will be stiff for brands hoping to get noticed on the Allegro platform.
- Fees could cut into your profits: Creating an account is free and there are no subscription fees. However, Allegro collects a 5-15% commission on sold products.
How can sellers win on Allegro?
- Invest in a translator to optimize listings into Polish and other European languages.
- Ramp up your pay-per-click, influencer campaigns, and PR to gain more brand attention.
- Expand high-performing products with variations and complementary items to increase average order value.
4 pro tips to make your new marketplace store a success
- Establish clear business goals: Jot down your top five goals for your store. Then use these objectives to assess the features, support, and setup costs against your chosen e-commerce platform(s) to determine fit.
- Invest in training on your new platform: Continue to learn how to effectively market your products, stay within terms of service, and create stand-out product listings.
- Go omnichannel: Integrate your shopping channels and implement personalization to ensure site visitors receive the same experience no matter where they start or end their shopping journey.
- Get e-commerce funding to cover setup costs: Secure flexible e-commerce funding to cover the additional costs you may incur like hiring a customer support rep or ordering bulk inventory in advance.
Ecommerce marketplace platforms: Quickfire Q&A
What does marketplace mean in e-commerce?
A marketplace in the e-commerce world is an online shopping platform on which businesses can promote and sell their goods.
What is the best e-commerce marketplace?
The truth is, the “best” e-commerce marketplace doesn’t exist. The best marketplace for you is the one that matches your brand’s unique goals and needs.
What are the 3 main types of online marketplaces?
Typically the 3 main e-commerce marketplaces you’ll encounter are:
- Business to consumer (B2C)
- Peer-to-peer (consumer-to-consumer)
- Business-to-business (B2B)
What are the 3 largest e-commerce marketplaces in the United States?
The largest e-commerce marketplace platforms in the US are:
Make the most of your next e-commerce marketplace
Expanding your reach on e-commerce marketplaces can be a lucrative business move that can help your brand scale to a whole new level.
But for lasting success on any marketplace, you’ll need to balance your product margins, selling fees, marketing expenses, product quality, inventory purchasing, and more.
Take time to research where and how you plan to set up shop. Choose an e-commerce marketplace that fits your store’s current growth journey and leaves plenty of room for expansion.
Once you can visualize what you want your business to look like and choose a marketplace that fits that vision, you’ll be well on your way to e-commerce success.
At SellersFunding, we are proud to partner with ambitious e-commerce sellers. Find out how we can help your e-commerce brand thrive.