eBay, Amazon or Etsy, what Marketplace is Best?
Have you been thinking long and hard about starting a business by selling online via a market place?
Not really sure where to start?
Here’s a quick post that explains why and how an online marketplace works and which would be best for the business you wish to start.
As with every post we make, we have a suggested product relating to the post made! A must have for anyone selling products online is a reliable and good label printer! Rollo is the best on the market.
What is an online marketplace?
A marketplace is a place that offers a space for multiple sellers/vendors to sell their products. You may browse the internet and find stores here and there, that are dedicate to a specific niche or brand, but these are not marketplaces. The benefits of a marketplace is there are no set categories, brand or niche’s needed, they give you the ability to sell almost anything you can think of, to an audience that’s already in place via the marketplace. Customers that know they want a specific product, but don’t really know about the brand would tend to lean towards purchasing products from a marketplace.
A few examples of current marketplaces online, are:
Even recently, the likes of Instagram have decided to jump into the marketplace by creating a shop feature that allows people to sell their products.
Benefits of Selling via an Online Marketplace
Not so surprisingly, there are a lot of benefits to sell via an online marketplace. It’s probably one of the better ways to sell items/products online due to the already built audience around said marketplace.
- As a small retailer or a newcomer to the scene of sales, selling via an online marketplace is more than likely the better model for your business. If you have plans to start your own e-commerce website, I hope you have the time and knowledge in order to maintain, operate and build an audience for said website. Setting up a store on a marketplace is a lot quicker and a lot of the mundane tasks are done for you.
- I have already mentioned this a couple of times above, but a HUGE benefit of selling via an online marketplace would be that there is already a dedicate audience. You will not need to go out of your way to SEO, advertise or grow your website.
- If using Amazon FBA, it allows you to send in products to store in THEIR warehouse for very small fee’s. This allows you to save money on storing products you’re wanting to sell by making use of their already made system. The order process such as fulfilling is all done on their end, all you need to do is label everything up, place it in a large box with multiple other items and send it their way, everything else is done by Amazon.
Selling on a marketplace may not be for everyone, sometimes it can be extremely hard and a lot of brands are diluted. Before choosing which marketplace you wish to sell on, I suggest reading on as each marketplace has their pros and cons.
It’s no secret that Amazon is one of the biggest marketplaces out there. It’s probably the most well known and has the biggest customer base and audience, because of this, competition is extremely high. This doesn’t mean selling on Amazon is a bad idea, it’s fairly easy to step in and start selling without issues, it’s all about researching the product you’re selling and making sure you have big enough margins to not lose money.
Customer Base: Amazon has almost double the amount of monthly visitors over eBay who are also considered a giant in the online marketplace world. This means that there will be more attention, visibility and chances of making a successful sale.
Trust: Let’s face the facts here. Amazon is a name that EVERYONE knows, worldwide. When ever someone thinks “I need to buy one of them!”, the first place they visit is Amazon. People know that when they’re wanting to order something, and get their product to their house as quick as possible, Amazon is the place to go.
Recommendations: Products over time will organically show up under recommended purchased when someone is browsing through the marketplace. If someone is looking at a product similar to yours, you can almost bet your product is showing up under recommended or buy this as well! All you need to do is ensure your products have the correct tags for them to show up.
Fulfillment by Amazon: Now this is probably the biggest pro of them all, on any marketplace. The system Amazon have set up for sellers via FBA is out of this world and I’m heavily surprised no one else has this in place at the moment. Amazon FBA is a system in which a seller is able to send multiple products in a single box to a warehouse owned by Amazon for a very minimal fee. Once you have sent this box to Amazon, everything else is automated, all you need to do is check the prices match up to what they call the “buy box” and leave it alone. Amazon store it, pack it and ship it all for you. It saves you on paying fees for leasing out a storage container/warehouse for your products and time for having to pack up every single order 1 by 1 and sending them out.
Fees: I found it hard to place fees under the cons section as it really isn’t that much of a deal breaker if you look into it properly. Amazon fees are pretty high and you get charged on EVERY product you send in to them or sell and ship out yourself. You need to take into account that with these fees, you’re covering the fact that your product is out there and organically being found by hundreds of thousands of people without having to pay to advertise it. On top of this, with FBA, the fee also covers the packing, shipping and storing of the item. People tend to get a little worried with these fees, but in the long run it’s worth it.
Competition from Amazon: The issue with Amazon is that it can be highly likely that they are also selling the same product as you. When this happens, they gain the full view of the product on the marketplace and it’s extremely hard to take over this without dropping your product price A LOT. However, Amazon do sell out of their products at times which hands what they call the “buy box” back to you and other sellers.
Poor visibility: When you’re selling a product that multiple other people are selling, you’re having to compete for the buy box, this means fighting your way to the main seller of a product where someone just hits “buy now” and it’ll be yours. A lot of people don’t like having to compete/share the sales and drop the prices every time someone matches the same price, just so they can be that main seller. It’s extremely annoying and can cut in to profits over time.
Again, another HUGE company and marketplace for the online world. Another name that’s on the end of your tongue every time you’re looking to buy or sell something. They’ve been in operation for over two decades now and have traffic that runs into the billions of users. In my opinion, eBay is the place to go if you’re looking to sell used/second hand items. Amazon would be the place to go if you’re wanting to sell something new.
Easy to use: eBay is probably one of the easiest interfaces and sites to use compared to other online marketplaces. It’s what you could call a plug-and-play marketplace. Setting up an account and listing your first product can be done in a very minimal amount of time.
Paypal Integration: Paypal is probably something everyone in the online world knows. It’s a great payment platform that’s easy to use. The fact eBay have this integrated into their marketplace, allows for an extremely easy process when selling and buying products. Everything is in real-time and has seller protection.
Global Reach: As mentioned above, eBay is another name in the online world that almost everyone knows of, much like Amazon. The portfolio of customers eBay has to offer is HUGE, allowing you to easily sell a product in a small amount of time.
Fees: Again, I find it hard to place this under the cons section, as the fees cover the fact you’re not needing to pay to advertise your product, or build your websites reach. The fees vary and at times can be pretty high, cutting in to your profits. It’s always important to look into how the fee system works on any marketplace before deciding to list and sell your products.
Payment Issues: This along with the next con is probably up there with the worst. eBay has a system in place where people are able to win a bid/buy an item which would take your product listing down as sold, even before the payment has been made. You may think you’ve made a sale, but in reality you haven’t made any money and can’t even ship the item out, as you’re waiting on the buyer to make the payment. There’s been plenty of times where you’re stuck with a “sold” item but haven’t received a payment for a week or two.
Trust: eBay haven’t always had the best trust to their name and have had plenty of bad media over the years. The issue with eBay is that it’s not heavily monitored. Anyone can sign up and sell something, causing a lot of issues in the long run with it’s huge customer base. There have been times where fake products have been sold, boxes with nothing inside have been sold or even items that get sold but never shipped. It’s really caused an issue with trust.
Etsy is a little different to the other marketplaces. People usually head to Etsy when they’re looking to buy or sell hand made/home made items. Etsy is known for it’s extremely unique and artsy products. Etsy may not have the biggest customer base like Amazon and eBay, but when people are looking for unique and hand made items, they head straight to Etsy.
Buyer Base: People who come to Etsy know what to expect. As a result, you don’t have to make the effort to stand out in a sea of products. If your products are largely targeted toward Women, then Etsy is definitely a key marketplace to list on.
Cheaper: Etsy’s listing and selling fees are comparable to eBay. However, if you don’t need warehousing to be taken care of by Amazon, Etsy is definitely cheaper than FBA. Depending on your profit margins ( which can range from 30%-50% in the case of handmade goods), Etsy may work out cheaper for you than FBA.
Competition: There are many sellers selling similar products like yours. Some instances of shops looking like identical twins have also been reported, making a buyer’s decision harder.
Customization: On Etsy, every shop looks like the one next to it. Standing out and building a brand can be extremely hard when selling on Etsy.
Should I sell on every online marketplace?
It honestly depends on what your business model is and what you are selling. I usually stick to just eBay and Amazon as I don’t really have the creative mindset to make cute products to list on Etsy. Like mentioned above, I tend to list new and unopened items on Amazon and used/second hand items on eBay. I would for sure recommend expanding your inventory to increase your profit margins by using multiple different marketplaces.