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Choosing your marketplace: established platforms vs an alternative marketplace

Posted On 21st April 2016

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Whether you’re a small local business or a national brand, if you’ve got goods to sell, the best place to take them is online – it’s a no-brainer. But with the number of online marketplaces available ever increasing, it can be tricky knowing which one is the best option. From Amazon to ASOS or Etsy to eBay, the platform you choose will depend on your specific business needs, target market and budget. Many businesses will want to sell across multiple platforms to maximise exposure. To help you weigh up your options, we’ve put together a handy guide outlining the pros and cons of some of the main channels.

eBay

As a household name with millions of customers (there are currently 149 million active buyers), eBay is a great place for businesses to sell products. As eBay is a well-established platform, though, you’ll probably be competing for sales with some experienced sellers (depending on the types of goods you’re selling). Besides the benefits of mass scale and an international community, eBay allows sellers to build up a customer following and create a branded presence within the site.

Its customer feedback feature will benefit sellers who accurately list their products and go on to ship their sold items promptly; a useful ‘social-proof’ element that can help to instil confidence in potential buyers. However, some sellers may see this as a disadvantage as buyers can, of course, leave negative reviews if they’re unsatisfied with the goods or service. Make sure your service is top notch, and you could be on to a winner. Remember that when selling on eBay, you will need to pay a fee to list the item, and a commission on its final sale price.

If you’re using SenditNow.com to deliver your eBay items, just register your details and connect your eBay account and our system will automatically pull in the buyer’s address details for you.

Amazon

Like eBay, Amazon has a huge customer base (of around 244 million active members) and is one of the biggest authorities in the online selling space. Just its credibility is enough to make it a top choice for businesses expanding into online retail. Amazon also offers support to retailers in a number of ways, including inventory tracking, tax collection and making it easier to send internationally, so you can go into your sales with less stress.

On the flip side, the fees can be higher than other marketplaces, and there is less opportunity for those looking to build their brand as everything is branded by Amazon. This means that while customers will buy from you, they’ll stay loyal to Amazon and may not remember your company name beyond their purchase.

Etsy

Offering retailers specialising in handmade goods the chance to expand their customer base, Etsy is great for businesses looking to reach a targeted audience of craft and vintage lovers. The platform has a strong reputation among this audience and offers a more personalised feel than the likes of eBay and Amazon, allowing vendors to become associated with the brand and boost their loyalty.

However, this only really applies to retailers in this field, and brands don’t have full control over the personalisation of their online marketplace. Not to mention the fact that you’re in direct competition with other companies specialising in the same or similar products as you.

Smaller, growing marketplaces

If you’re comfortable with taking a chance on lesser-known marketplaces that are gaining traction, then platforms such as ASOS Marketplace (specifically for clothing brands) or ebid.net could be ideal.

As ASOS Marketplace is an extension of one of the most popular fashion sites, businesses can improve their customer loyalty by association. There are also various selling options available to brands – from basic, if you only want to sell one or two items, to boutique, if you’re hoping to set up an actual online store.

Choosing a marketplace - what now?

We hope that this article has been a useful introduction to the world of selling goods online. Be sure to visit the SenditNow.com blog again soon for more articles aimed at helping small businesses and marketplace sellers.