Popular online platforms to help you sell products to customers around the world.
Whether you’re a sole trader or a big business, online marketplaces can help you connect with customers all over the US and the world. But with so many different platforms available, how do you decide which marketplace is best to help you sell your stuff?
From global giants where you can list just about anything to marketplaces that specialize in one-of-a-kind handcrafted items, let’s take a look at 10 popular online marketplaces for US sellers.
This global giant lets you access a potential customer base in the hundreds of millions, with separate retail websites in 15 countries around the world including the US. Products on Amazon are sold in more than 30 categories, and the company also offers its Fulfillment by Amazon service which takes care of customer service and shipping for you.
What’s the downside? The competition on Amazon is brutal, so you’ll need to find a way to make your products stand out from the crowd. Fees also apply, so factor these into your calculations when working out your price points. For more information on how to manage international payments as an Amazon Seller, check out our handy guide.
With 168 million active buyers around the globe, eBay is one of the largest and most diverse marketplaces in the world. Founded in 1995, this online marketplace is perhaps best known as an auction site, but its “Buy It Now” option allows you to sell items straight away at fixed prices. eBay boasts 26 international sites and allows you to sell everything from books and electronics to furniture, jewelery and essential oils.
Just like Amazon, eBay’s massive size means there’s always a risk of getting lost in the crowd. And while you get 40 free listings per month, additional listings attract an insertion fee and you’ll also need to pay a percentage fee on the value of each sale.
Unlike the broad-based appeal of Amazon and eBay, Etsy offers something a little different. This unique site is for creative sellers who want to list handmade, vintage and craft items. If you want to sell one-of-a-kind products that buyers won’t find anywhere else, Etsy is the site for you. The platform is accessed by 30 million shoppers globally and allows individual sellers to compete against one another rather than battling it out with the big brands.
However, a $0.20 fee applies to each listing regardless of whether the product sells, while a fee of 3.5% of the item total (excluding shipping and taxes) applies to sales. And with 1.9 million active sellers, competition can be fierce.
Zazzle is an online marketplace that allows designers and artists to create or customize a huge range of ready-made products and then sell them. Products can be sold across a wide range of categories, including Weddings, Cards and Invitations, Clothing and Accessories, Home and Pets, Art and Baby and Kids, and you have the freedom to set your own margins and determine what you will earn from each sale.
However, you’ll need to wrap your head around Zazzle’s design tools to create the products you want, and the amount of product options available can sometimes be overwhelming for buyers.
Bonanza regularly attracts comparisons to eBay and Amazon, and while it can’t match the huge numbers of those two sites, it still has an impressive following. This fast-growing marketplace allows more than 50,000 sellers to target buyers in 199 countries. Bonanza now has sites in the UK, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico and Spain, and it doesn’t charge any listing fees or monthly store fees. Maybe that’s why a survey of more than 50,000 online sellers in 2016 saw Bonanza named the “Most Recommended Marketplace.”
A 3.5% base fee applies to sales, and opting into Bonanza’s Advertising Program means an additional commission, but fees are quite reasonable when compared to the competition. However, Bonanza simply can’t provide the same reach or brand recognition that the bigger sites can.
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and allows you to sell to more than 100 million customers around the world. Its strong global presence provides international reach for sellers, with the option to list products across 13 categories, and there’s also plenty of freedom to customize your online store to suit your preferences.
However, you’ll need to pay a monthly membership fee to sell on Rakuten, while per-item fees and sales commissions also apply.
Asia’s leading online marketplace lets you sell across more than 40 different categories and access customers in a massive 190 countries. It’s quick and easy to set up an account and start reaching out to a global audience. There’s also an online learning center as well as training events to help you get more out of your account.
While there’s a free account option to help you trial the features on offer, you’ll need to pay an annual membership fee to make the most of what Alibaba has to offer.
Founded in 1998, online auction website eBid allows you to access buyers in more than 100 countries. Products are listed in more than 30 categories and there are no listing fees, while the fees charged per sale are also relatively low. With seller sites in 23 countries around the world, eBid offers its own payment service (PPPay) for payments in euros and pounds sterling, but PayPal and Skrill are also available.
On the downside, eBid simply doesn’t attract the same volume of traffic as some other online marketplaces.
This tech-centric online marketplace boasts more than 30 million customers and the option to sell your products in over 50 countries. Products are sold in 11 categories and Newegg is renowned as an excellent option for anyone looking to buy computer components. It’s also easy for sellers to create detailed and informative product pages to attract more buyers.
However, the strong focus on computers and electronics means Newegg won’t be the best choice for many sellers.
With more than 1 million customers in 32 countries, Fruugo is another online marketplace that offers global reach. It’s simple to sign up for an account and start selling products in 21 currencies and across multiple languages, with handy translation tools included to help make your quest for global domination a little easier. There are also no joining or set-up fees to worry about since you’re only charged when you make a sale.
However, there are other marketplaces with greater reach than Fruugo, and a 15% transaction fee plus 2.35% funds processing fee apply.
How to choose a marketplace
Where you decide to sell things online is entirely up to you. While the huge reach and broad appeal of sites like Amazon and eBay make them the obvious choice for many people, the nature of your business and the customers you want to access may see you look elsewhere.
Wherever you choose to sell your stuff online, make sure you’re fully aware of the fees that apply before signing up. Joining fees, ongoing fees, listing fees and per-item sales fees can all have a significant impact on your bottom line, so make sure you calculate their impact before you start selling online.
How to manage international payments
Once you’ve picked a marketplace in which to make your sales, the next consideration for many people is how to manage payments to and from international customers.
Fortunately, with more and more people buying and selling goods overseas, a variety of new solutions for managing these types of payments have come to the fore.
You’re no longer reliant on your bank account to make and receive overseas payments, subject to the transaction fees and less-than-favorable exchange rates they may apply to your transactions. You can now choose to open accounts that have been purpose-built for frequent overseas transacting.
A relatively new type of account is the borderless or online sellers account provided by online money transfer companies OFX, TransferWise and WorldFirst. These accounts allow you hold money in multiple currencies and convert it into USD when the exchange rate suits you. You’re also provided with local bank account details to use in overseas markets, making it easier to receive funds from international customers. Better exchange rates and fewer transaction fees mean more dollars in your bank account at the end of the day, so these accounts are well worth considering.