Here are the top five global marketplaces for selling online:
Ah, the internet. The information superhighway has transformed the modern world, and more importantly, how we do business. Gone are the days when talented, motivated entrepreneurs were limited in their globe-conquering commerce by the reach of their own voices, or the saturation of their existing markets. Now, you can buy (and sell) the best samosas in India directly from Adelaide, or the finest Brazilian açaí berries while sitting on a couch in Boston.
Thanks to the internet, you too can sell your products to a nearly infinite number of potential buyers on global marketplaces. The only question you need to ask yourself is this: with all the choices of online selling platforms available, which one should you choose?
That’s a great question, and it’s one we’re very glad you asked! Join us as we take a look at the best places to sell your products online.
There are several different online marketplaces that offer a litany of advantages and disadvantages, like volume selling, inventory management, importing and exporting privileges, and regional exclusivity.
By choosing not just the best, but the right marketplace for your products, you too can harness the power of the internet and become a true power seller.
Amazon; heard of it? Odds are pretty good that you’re familiar with this online retail giant, the one known for delivering delightful brown packages of joy straight to your doorstep. Amazon is the eighth-largest retailer in the world, and you can put the awesome power of their global reach and infrastructure to work for you.
Amazon offers several different selling programs to would-be power sellers like yourself, each with advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs.
Fulfillment by Amazon
According to Amazon, Fulfillment By Amazon allows you to “store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and we will pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for them.”
Here’s how Fulfillment By Amazon works:
- Register with Amazon. Provide your basic personal information, as well as a credit or debit card, a bank account for receiving payments, and a valid tax ID.
- Choose what products you wish to sell. More on that below.
- Ship your products to Amazon. Amazon’s low, standard shipping rate is all it takes to get your products to an Amazon fulfillment center.
- Amazon stores your products. Amazon catalogs, inventories, and stores your products at a fulfillment center so they are ready to ship immediately when ordered.
- Customers buy your products. Customers shop, purchase, and order your products on Amazon.com (or other e-commerce channels like your own storefront) just like they would any item.
- Amazon picks, packs, and ships your products. Amazon selects your products from inventory, packages them, ships them out to your customers and provides customer support for any items ordered from Amazon.com.
Fulfillment By Amazon is out-of-this-world smart for certain sellers. If you have a great product that just needs to reach a ton more buyers’ eyes, what better way to expand your product’s impact than by making it available on Amazon, where so many millions of the world’s shoppers already are, AND letting them shoulder the burden of storing inventory in their network of worldwide warehouses? Forget keeping all those boxes in your basement/warehouse any more.
What does Fulfillment By Amazon cost? Well, that depends on a few factors. Amazon charges fees based on the category of the product being sold, the weight and dimensions of the product being stored, the time of year, and whether you select the “Professional” program ($39.99 per month) or the “Individual” program ($0.99 per item sold).
A full list of Fulfillment By Amazon’s fees and pricing schedules is available here.
Amazon vendor express
Amazon Vendor Express is a program Amazon offers sellers who are ready to begin moving their products at a larger, more commercial scale. According to Amazon, Vendor Express lets you “sell your products directly to Amazon, and reach millions of customers.”
Amazon Vendor Express works very similarly to a traditional vendor-retailer relationship. You sell your products to Amazon, and Amazon sells your products to customers. If and when your products sell out, Amazon buys more from you, and the cycle continues.
Here’s how Amazon Vendor Express works:
- Register with Amazon. Provide Amazon your personal information, including banking information, UPC or EAN codes for your products, and images to display with your products.
- Send your products to Amazon. Choose the products you want to sell to Amazon. Amazon provides a prepaid shipping label that you will use to send “a few” free units to sell on Amazon.com as a trial.
- Customers buy your products! Customers can buy your products on Amazon.com, and you get the added demand generation boost of classic Amazon perks like free 2-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. You’re big time, now!
- You sell more to Amazon. Once your trial products start selling like hotcakes, Amazon will purchase additional units directly from you. All orders from Amazon will be paid within 60 days from the time Amazon receives the products at their warehouses.
Amazon Vendor Express is a fabulous choice for sellers with some serious volume to sell, and who are ready to expand their selling business at scale. If you have the means – and the desire – to run a commercial-scale selling operation using the world-shrinking power of Amazon, then Amazon Vendor Express might be the one for you..
Selling products on Rakuten
Rakuten is the largest online retailer in Japan, but is available to buyers and sellers all over the world. Rakuten offers sellers several unique features that make it an interesting, compelling choice for selling your products online.
What does it cost to sell on Rakuten?
Rakuten’s pricing structure is fairly straightforward. The site charges sellers a $99 fee per quarter to host their items. Rakuten also charges sellers a commission (essentially what Amazon calls a “variable closing fee”) that ranges from 8-15% depending upon the category of the product, and a $0.99 fee per item sold.
What are the benefits of selling on Rakuten?
Included in that $99 per quarter seller fee, you get access to several helpful tools and perks that make Rakuten an attractive option.
By signing up with Rakuten, sellers get set up with an “R-Mail” account, a basic CRM tool that allows them to send emails to buyers who have previously purchased from them. This allows sellers to compile valuable contact lists, and run e-marketing campaigns.
Rakuten also offers a loyalty program – “Rakuten Super Points” – which buyers can accumulate with their purchases. Generally, buyers get 1% of their purchase price back in the form of Super Points, which can be redeemed like cash on future purchases across the site. Sellers have the option of funding special promotions that offer larger Super Points rewards on their products as a buying incentive.
Sellers on Rakuten also get customizable tools that allow you to personalize and truly “brand” your business in a powerful way. Custom URLs, custom merchant storefronts, and custom product pages are all part of how Rakuten allows sellers to build their own unique customer experiences.
What’s more, OFX is a Rakuten Preferred Partner, providing excellent exchange rates and secure in-country receiving accounts to help Rakuten sellers keep their profits high and their costs low.
When you hear eBay, what do you think? Online auction houses, recluses selling the junk from their attic, and sellers taking whatever feeble money they can get for their products? Well, not any more! That was the old eBay.
The new eBay is a powerful online marketplace serving more than 160 million eager shoppers and boasting powerful selling features and listing options that have moved well beyond the old model of point, click, bid.
What does it cost to sell on eBay?
According to eBay, the first 50 product listings per month per seller do not include an “Insertion Fee,” or a fee for listing. After those 50, eBay charges $0.30 per item sold. On top of that, eBay charges a commission of 10% of the total amount of the sale price that it calls a “Final Value Fee.”
Sellers also have the option of creating an “eBay Store” and opting into a subscription fee, instead. eBay offers three subscription levels: Basic, Premium, and Anchor. Each subscription level includes an increasing amount of free listings per month, beginning with 250 per month (Basic level) and progressing to 10,000 (Anchor level). Similarly, the subscription fee increases with the package, from $24.95 per month (Basic) to $349.95 per month at the (Anchor) level.
What are the benefits of selling on eBay?
Selling on eBay comes with several unique perks. Perhaps the largest and most famous of them all is eBay’s auction-style format, in which potential buyers outbid one another for the chance to take your product home. This format is brilliant if you are selling unique, one-of-a-kind items (say, sports memorabilia or original artwork), but you may want to use an auction format for any hard-to-find items you wish to sell.
When it comes to simplicity, eBay has some lovely perks. eBay provides you with shipping labels that you can print at home, large discounts of up to 25% on your shipping costs, the option to forgo shipping all together and arrange a local pickup with your buyer, and seller protection, which guards you in the event of buyer non-payment.
eBay also offers eBay Valet, a totally unique service that removes even another layer of responsibility from the seller. Simply gather the items you wish to sell, ship them to eBay using the provided pre-paid label, and, well, that’s it! Ebay’s experts price and list the items for you based on their market knowledge, and once they sell, you receive a percentage! How much? It’s a sliding scale, with items under $25 providing a 25% payout, and items over $500 providing an 80% payout.
Etsy is one of the most compelling new online marketplaces for creative types. This veritable conglomeration of online boutiques is a great option for sellers who want to showcase products they’ve made themselves, rather than mass-produced items. Etsy is very affordable for sellers. Etsy sellers create “shops,” their own customizable storefronts, which host all their listings. There is no monthly membership fee to create and maintain these shops.
Once you’ve created your shop, Etsy charges just $0.20 per product listing. These listings expire after four months, so listing a single item for one year costs a total of just $0.60, less than Rakuten or Amazon. Etsy also charges a commission fee of 3.5% of the final selling price of the product, plus shipping.
Etsy also charges a 2.5% “deposit currency conversion” fee for products that you list in a currency other than the one accepted by your registered bank account. That’s why OFX for Online Sellers is such a good thing – we erase the need for Etsy to convert your currency for you by allowing you to receive funds into a local currency account and letting you take advantage of much better rate for repatriating those funds.
What are the benefits of selling on Etsy?
Etsy is the perfect choice for many types of sellers. First, Etsy has built-in functionality that allows items to be custom-ordered. This is ideal for sellers who create bespoke, one-off items for specific clients. This also means that these type of sellers can keep less inventory afoot.
Etsy transactions are also secure, and are processed on an encrypted platform called Direct Checkout. This, along with additional seller protections like fraud and dispute resolution, make Etsy the right choice for all those right brain sellers out there!
Selling products on Groupon
Groupon is more than just a great way to find quirky weekend getaways and all those fun products you never knew you had to have. It’s also a powerful tool for sellers to reach more interested buyers than they ever imagined.
Groupon is a “daily deal” site that allows sellers to advertise their products at steep, steep discounts, usually up to 70% off.
What does it cost to sell on Groupon?
Because the whole buyer appeal of Groupon is its massive discounting model, there is some hack-and-slash math to be done. Groupon does not charge anything whatsoever to list your product, and Groupon only charges a fee if the product sells. So, no buyers? No cost. That’s not bad!
But if your item does sell, how much you make will depend on how much the discount is worth. Groupon takes a 50% cut of all items sold. That is, if your item is originally worth $100, but you sell it on Groupon for $50 at a 50% discount, Groupon takes 50% of the final sale price. In this case, a total worth $25. That means that you, too, take home just $25 for your product that was originally worth $100.
What are the benefits of selling on Groupon?
Groupon is an excellent ‘clearing house’-type resource for sellers. Do you have way too much inventory on hand, or desperately need to sell off what you have for some capital to reinvest, or some profit to take home? Well, like the old adage says, 25% is better than nothing. Groupon is a great way to sell off extra inventory, and discounts are a timeless and effective method.
Also, because Groupon essentially functions as a gift certificate – that is, payment is rendered at the time purchase, not at the time of redemption – 20% of Groupons go unredeemed by the buyer. As the seller, you still get paid, but you never have to provide the service you’re being paid for. That’s a clever way to improve your profit margins.
Groupon also provides its sellers with powerful analytics tools to optimize their sales campaigns based on traffic, and a basic CRM component that allows them to privately respond to customer inquires and comments. Customer service is extraordinarily important to maintaining a good brand reputation, and Groupon provides the ability to nip any potential customer complaints in the bud before they go viral across the internet.
So that’s just five of the most popular and compelling online marketplaces available to sellers today – but plenty to get you started! Just remember, if you’re ready to start selling internationally to boost your profits, don’t get school on the exchange rate. Sign up with OFX to get a foreign currency account to bring home more of your money.
IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.