Do you run a small business or are you planning to start? Have you thought about selling your products on an online marketplace but you are confused as to which one is right for you? Don't worry, you've come to the right place!
Shopping platforms can get your products in front of a whole new audience and attract new customers that you might not reach from selling solely on your online store. However, there are dozens of marketplaces to choose from, how do you know which ones are right for you?
Before you hit the sign-up button, have a read below to ensure you set yourself up for success.
What is an eCommerce Marketplace?
An online marketplace is a shopping platform where customers can browse multiple vendors selling their goods, kind of like your traditional marketplace where you can browse different stalls, but more conveniently in the digital world where you can be curled up on your sofa with a cuppa!
The main difference between selling on a shopping platform against a conventional website is the variety of vendors all in one place. So, as a seller, you will need to be aware of the competitive aspect of the marketplace. This means that you will need to keep a close eye on the competition and make sure that your products and brand stand out from the rest.
However, a huge benefit you gain from selling on an eCommerce marketplace is that there is already a captive audience. Marketplaces are hugely popular, and quite often the first port of call for customers looking for a particular items or gift inspiration. It's unlikely a small business website would attract the same volume of potential buyers.
Most marketplaces typically make money through selling fees or taking a cut of the final sale, so keep this in mind when pricing your products.
Which Marketplace is right for my business?
There are so many marketplaces available, so it can be tricky to decide which one is best suited for your eCommerce business. When you start your research, make sure you ask yourself:
How large is the customer base?
If you want to promote your products on marketplaces, you want to ensure many potential buyers will see them. However, the bigger the audience, the tougher the competition!
Ensure your product can stand out from the crowd, whether it be a customisable item or by offering better shipping options. A picture is worth a thousand words, so ensure your product photos speak for themselves. However, if you fancy yourself as the next Shakespeare, a well-written product description can carry your customers right through to the checkout!
What is the target market?
You should consider the type of marketplaces you want to advertise your products on. Some platforms like Etsy or Not On The High Street focus on handmade, bespoke or craft products, which can be better for artists or creatives. Specialist platforms can help get your items in front of your ideal audience.
General marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, might be harder to penetrate but give you exposure to a broader sector. There is also the option to sell your products worldwide rather than just in the UK.
What are the fees?
Every shopping platform has different methods of charging and collecting fees. Some of the most common include membership costs, product listing fees, and even a commission of the final sale. While this is the unavoidable cost of doing business on these platforms, you want to ensure it's not eating too much into your profits. So, conduct thorough research before setting your price points to make sure it is a viable option for your business.
Is Customer Support helpful?
It is essential to read some reviews on customer support for sellers. Does the platform always favour the buyer, or do they provide adequate protection for both parties? You could test out the live chat function and browse through their FAQs to decide if they have everything you need to grow your business successfully.
What Marketplaces are out there?
You have probably shopped on a variety of online marketplaces, so you will already be familiar with some of their features. Here are some of the most popular ones to explore:
Amazon is one of the world's most popular websites, with an integrated marketplace. As one of the most trusted places on the web, Amazon makes it easy to get started and introduces you to customers that are prepped and ready to spend!
There are a variety of selling plans available to suit all business types.
Typical fees for a small business: £0.75, plus 8%-15% of the value per item.*
A globally recognised eCommerce giant, eBay is home to small businesses in 180 countries. For small businesses looking to make their mark in the online shopping market, eBay is a great first step because it is easy to use and lists a variety of items.
There are two main types of fees when selling as a business on eBay, a listing fee and a final value fee when the item sells. The fee price is dependant on what type of item you are selling. You can also set up a Shop subscription to help you reach new customers and build your brand.
Typical fees for a basic eBay shop:
- The first 250 fixed price listings are free*
- After 250 listings, 10p per listing plus 5%-12.9% of the final sale value*
Integrate your eBay store with us in just a few easy steps to enjoy an easy shipping experience.
If you sell handmade, vintage or craft products, Etsy could be the marketplace for you. It's simple to use and is home to all things niche. However, this may mean that the target audience is smaller.
Typical fees for Etsy:
- £0.15 listing fee*
- 5% transaction fee, 4% £0.20 payment processing fee*
- 15% Offsite Ads Fee (optional for most sellers)*
Nonetheless, you can connect your Etsy store with Interparcel to ensure your deliveries are speedy and affordable so you can benefit from bigger profits!
Similar to Etsy, Not On The High Street is a marketplace for unique or bespoke products, selling to over 39 million visitors each year.
To sell on Not On The High Street, prospective sellers must be UK-based and fill out an online application form. If you are successful, there is a one-off joining fee and commission on all sales. Even though it is more expensive than other platforms, if you sell a bespoke product, it is worth applying to become a partner because NOTHS handpick every one of their businesses and have a vast customer base and marketing reach.
Typical fees for NOTHS:
- One-off joining fee: £199
- 25% commission on all sales
Connecting your NOTHS store to the Interparcel Shipping Manager will allow you to automate your order fulfilment for an efficient delivery experience.
What is the benefit of integrating Interparcel with my eCommerce platform?
The benefits of using our Advanced Shipping Manager are:
- Free account set up
- Parcel Presets to shortcut package detail input
- Access to a range of courier companies, including weekend and timed services
- Full use of our 'Send Again' and 'Return Parcel' actions to streamline sending
- Branded Tracking for a seamless company experience
- Unlimited no-cost label printing options
Many online selling platforms offer in-built shipping solutions but these can cost you much more to use! Instead, integrating your selling platform with a courier comparison website like Interparcel makes processing and shipping orders affordable and straightforward.
Marketplaces are an excellent way to get your product in front of more people and increase your sales revenue, but it's worth doing your research to discover which ones are the best for your small business. Don't feel like you can only sell on just one platform, many successful business are active across multiple marketplaces alongside their own website to increase brand awareness and customer reach. Paired with exceptional delivery solutions from Interparcel, you will be well on your way to a successful future!
If you have any questions about integrating with our Shipping Manager, speak to our friendly parcel experts between 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday, or 9 am - 1 pm on weekends.
*Please note: fees were correct at time of writing, but will vary depending on the size of a business.