Exploring new e-commerce marketplaces is a great way to break into an omnichannel strategy. The right e-commerce website can elevate your brand’s perceived value and make your products more discoverable, often doubling as high-traffic search engines.
Plus, it’s 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 help protect your business, it will also give you more avenues to scale your sales and dominate your niche.
But with so many e-commerce sites to choose from, how do you know which global marketplaces are really worth your time?
As a marketplace seller, the answer to that is always going to depend on your unique goals and business model — but here are some of the best e-commerce marketplaces to get you started.
The Best E-Commerce Marketplaces for Sellers
- Mercado Libre
About the 7 Best E-commerce Marketplaces
From household names like Amazon and Walmart to rising stars like Temu and Rakuten, there’s an e-commerce marketplace to help you meet a wide range of e-commerce goals.
Let’s explore some of the top benefits and drawbacks of some of the world’s best online marketplaces.
With 9.7 million sellers and over 310 million active customer accounts globally, Amazon is a marketplace that needs no introduction.
Its unmatched product selection and free same- and next-day delivery have earned the loyalty of the masses, setting the stage for ambitious sellers to win big.
➕ What’s Great About Amazon
- Scale worldwide from one platform: With customers in 180 countries and counting, Amazon is an ideal place to build an international brand.
- Ideal for medium to large stores: From its user-friendly customizable storefronts to its extensive fulfillment network, Amazon has the plug-and-play infrastructure needed to get started quickly and scale bigger and faster.
- Increase your sales velocity: Amazon’s massive customer base combined with endless product selection, lightning-fast delivery, and stellar customer service leads to what everyone wants — more sales.
➖ What’s Not So Great About Amazon
- Fees add up fast: There is a growing list of Amazon fees for things like storage, aged inventory surcharges, high-volume listings, removal and disposal fees, and more. Securing a healthy ROI on Amazon can become more challenging as fees increase.
- Pay-to-play culture: Given the stiff competition, it can be difficult to rank new products organically. To win on Amazon, you’ll need a budget and strategy for running Amazon ads and driving external traffic.
- Rules are always changing: To keep your listings active and avoid having funds withheld, you’ll have to stay on top of Amazon’s policy updates.
- Harsh penalties for inventory misfires: Going out of stock on Amazon can be devastating to your success on the platform, especially if it happens during peak sales season. Amazon has also begun penalizing excess inventory through increased storage fees.
With over a billion visitors per month, eBay holds the title of the world’s second-largest marketplace after Amazon.
With its reputation for selling everything from household basics to weird and wonderful collectibles, eBay can be a profitable platform for sellers in certain niches.
➕ What’s Great About eBay
- Expansive customer base: Though its numbers have declined slightly in recent years, eBay still has a customer base of over 130 million active buyers worldwide.
- Straightforward registration: Getting approved and set up on eBay is relatively fuss-free. All you need to do is create an account and create your first product listing.
- Drive sales by blending listings: eBay allows you to capitalize on buyer 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 each. eBay also charges a “final value fee”— typically a percentage of total sales. For high-volume sellers, these charges can add up fast.
- Not the best for big-ticket items: 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 from your online store straight to their doors, eBay leaves you to it. As you scale, that lack of fulfillment support could become difficult to manage.
3. Walmart Marketplace
As early as 2009, Walmart.com began accepting third-party sellers on its marketplace platform. Today, Walmart Marketplace has racked up 120 million unique monthly visitors.
➕ What’s Great About Walmart
- No setup or monthly fees: Unlike other platforms, Walmart doesn’t charge monthly subscription fees. Instead, sellers pay referral fees from 6% to 20% on sold items.
- Utilize Walmart’s physical stores: Walmart’s massive brick-and-mortar presence means third-party sellers can offer their customers Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS), and curbside pickup options, as well as free in-store returns at thousands of locations.
- More visibility, competition: With recent changes to its search algorithm and fewer sellers to compete with, it can be easier to get noticed on Walmart.
➖ What’s Not So Great About Walmart
- It can be difficult to get approved: Walmart is known for being selective about accepting sellers onto its marketplace. To be eligible, sellers must meet specific requirements like having a Business Tax ID and “a history of marketplace or e-commerce success.”
- Strict pricing guides: On Walmart, you’ll need to stay within the typical price range for the item. Anything too high or too low could result in a flagged or penalized listing.
- Product restrictions: Walmart’s restrictions are known to be more stringent concerning prohibited products than those of other marketplaces.
Etsy has enjoyed a longstanding reputation as the online retail destination for the cottage industry. Its DIY vibe gives it a “cool factor” ideal for brands who fit its artsy, boho aesthetic.
Yet despite its “homemade” origins, Etsy currently boasts 5.9 million active buyers and 89.9 million active sellers. With its latest move to capture the wedding registry market, it could see even more growth.
➕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. Etsy could be a lucrative place to sell if your product categories include jewelry, home, art, and collectibles.
- Ideal for building your tribe: Etsy’s “mom and pop shop” vibe makes it less intimidating for upcoming brands to test the e-commerce waters. Sellers can create and customize their own Etsy shop, offering them more flexibility to drive brand awareness, deliver a personalized experience, and build a loyal following.
➖ What’s Not So Great About Etsy
- You do the heavy lifting: Unlike Amazon and Walmart, Etsy sellers make, collect, and manage the sales of their products. Administrative and logistical burdens can be hard to manage as you scale your e-commerce business.
- Selling costs can cut into your margins: Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee plus an additional 6.5% transaction fee on each order.
- D-I-Why?: When customers think of Etsy, they picture beads and glue guns, not luxury. If you’re trying to position yourself as a rapidly growing, high-quality brand, Etsy’s homemade reputation could be a hindrance by association.
As of mid-2023, Chinese fast-fashion retailer Shein has opened its platform to third-party sellers in the US and Brazil. The company has plans for expansion into a much larger, more varied, Amazon-style marketplace.
With a reported $23 billion in revenue in 2022 and targeting 40% growth in 2023, Shein could be poised to claim an even larger share of the US e-commerce market in the coming years.
➕ What’s Great About Shein
- Lower seller fees: Though marketplace fees can change at any time, sellers in China report that Shein charges no seller fees for the first three months on the platform, then a 10% per-item fee after that.
- Appeal to the price-conscious consumer: With inflation and ongoing economic uncertainty, consumers are increasingly more price-sensitive than brand-loyal. If Shein continues to position itself as a lower-cost alternative to other online marketplaces, it could see exponential growth.
- Visibility and multichannel presence: Shein gained an enormous US following through its presence on social media. The company has recently been offering in-store pop-ups with third-party partners — two marketing channels that could be powerful for your brand.
➖ What’s Not So Great About Shein
- Slowing growth: Despite its rosy projections for the future, Shein’s valuation recently shrunk by 36%, down from $100 billion in 2022 to $64 billion in 2023. Opening up its doors to third-party sellers may be less of an optimistic push toward growth and more of an effort to ward off losses.
- Ethical can of worms: From false statements on its website to selling swastika necklaces and marketing Muslim prayer rugs as carpets, Shein’s reputation is a mess when it comes to human rights, environmental, and other ethical issues.
- Possible future legal issues: The US government has expressed concerns about the company’s possible use of forced labor. If it faces enough legal scrutiny to be banned or restricted in the US, you could risk losing the funds you’ve invested into selling on the platform.
Boston-based, Chinese-owned Temu has quickly topped the Google Play and Apple App Store download charts. The ultra-low-price marketplace sells primarily unbranded goods, manufactured in China for US and Canadian customers.
Temu is owned by PDD Holdings, which also owns the successful team-purchasing platform Pinduoduo. In May 2023, Temu’s US sales exceeded Shein’s by 20%.
➕ What’s Great About Temu
- Easy signup process: The process to become a seller on Temu is straightforward, by most accounts. You fill out an online form and wait about three days for your information to be verified.
- Low fees: There are no fees to join as a seller, and commission is low — possibly as low as 2-5% commission on most items.
- Large and growing customer base: For much of 2023, Temu has been the most downloaded app in the US, even climbing ahead of TikTok. With so many rushing to try out the platform, selling on Temu could increase your brand’s exposure.
➖ What’s Not So Great About Temu
- Data security and malware concerns: Researchers analyzing one version of the Pinduoduo Android app discovered code meant for “privilege escalation” — malware that tries to access and track data from other apps on a user’s phone. While there’s no evidence of malware on the Temu app, data security could be a future issue to watch.
- Low, low prices: The big draw is extremely low prices. There have been reports of Temu demanding sellers lower their prices. If the seller refuses, they could be delisted from the platform.
- Brand reputation: Like Shein, parent company PDD has been subject to investigations over working conditions. Temu users have also complained of unexpected charges and mistakes with their orders.
7. Mercado Libre
With a self-reported 65 million buyers and 12 million sellers on average per month, as well as 35% year-over-year growth in the first quarter of 2023, Mercado Libre is the largest e-commerce marketplace in Latin America.
Mercado Libre’s global selling platform allows US and international merchants to sell to customers in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.
➕ What’s Great About Mercado Libre
- Free fulfillment service: Yes, you read that right. Mercado Envíos Full, the company’s Amazon FBA-esque fulfillment service, handles most shipping logistics for free, including returns — though there are some charges for extras like long-term storage and inventory removal.
- Free, easy listings and no membership fees: Once accepted to the platform, sellers don’t pay listing fees or membership fees. Sellers with a good Seller Reputation score also earn special discounts and do better in rankings. Sellers can upload multiple product listings at once via spreadsheet or Mercado Libre’s API.
- Simplified cross-border solutions: The platform offers free translation services for English-speaking sellers to communicate with Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking buyers. Payouts are made in USD, so sellers don’t need to worry about fluctuating exchange rates or currency conversions.
- Growing LatAm markets: With LatAm’s share of the e-commerce market still young and trending consistently upward, you can get in early on selling to this largely untapped market.
➖ What’s Not So Great About Mercado Libre
- Selling fees are high and complicated: While there is no cost to list your products, Mercado Libre takes a large commission compared to other online marketplaces. Its fee structure is also incredibly complex. Fees range from 12.5% to a whopping 22.5% depending on the product, category, and country.
- Rules, rules, rules: Some countries on the Mercado Libre platform have strict import requirements, and it could be tricky or impossible to get certain products approved in some countries.
- Minimum listing prices: The platform also has minimum listing prices for products, meaning you may not be able to discount as much as you’d like. Sellers are also required to offer interest-free installment plans (similar to Buy-Now-Pay-Later) to all customers.
Take On the World with SellersFi
In the world of e-commerce, change is the only constant. And you can’t afford to get left behind.
At SellersFi, our complete suite of financial solutions has you covered no matter where or how you decide to scale. If you need capital to expand confidently into new markets, we’re here to help.