Selling Online Through Marketplaces: A Guide
If you sell products and own their IP, it’s a common business practice to try to get those products on as many shelves as possible.
While running a successful online store of your own is great, having your products sold in a department store or boutique will just increase your sales, reputation, and visibility. It’s great for business, but it wasn’t always easy.
Today, it is easy. You can sell on the biggest department stores online with just a few clicks, and enjoy sales from their customer base instantly. The department stores in question, of course, aren’t actually department stores. They’re online marketplaces. Amazon, Etsy, and eBay are the three biggest in the western world and are perfect for expanding sales, reputation, and visibility.
Benefits of Diversifying Your Sales Channels
Diversifying sales channels increases the number of customers who can find your products. With the right optimisation, you can then work on improving your listings so that you bring in sales from every channel, rather than just your website.
Yes, there are seller’s fees. These are typically a percentage of each sale you make, though there are some exceptions. You also won’t want to immediately start selling on as many channels as you can, as the importance here is quality.
Top Channels to Sell On
There are many channels you can sell on easily, but to start, you are going to want to focus on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
Amazon is one of the biggest marketplaces in the world. It has seen 2.6 billion visits, sells on average 350 million products a year (with most of those being from vendors and professional sellers), and customers use it twice as often when searching and researching products in comparison to Google.
To succeed on Amazon, you are going to want to commit to regular Amazon product research and Amazon competitor research. We can do this for you so that instead of splitting your attention, you can have two thriving channels working for your business.
Benefits of Selling on Amazon
Amazon enjoys 310 million active users, 90 of which are Prime users. Home and kitchen is the most popular category, selling an average of 64.3 million products a year and the category that 60% of the best sellers on Amazon work within. That being said, tools and home improvement, and clothes and accessories categories also do very well.
There’s also the added benefit that in many cases (9 times out of 10), a customer will search for a product on Amazon for a better price, even if they find your product on your e-commerce site.
The only issue is standing out. That is why using an Amazon competitor research tool is so important. Competitor research should be done to improve the listing and to monitor their activity. If a product they have is out of stock, you can jump on the opportunity and offer a deal on your own product or sponsor the listing to attract your competitors’ customers.
How to sell on Amazon is very simple. If you sell less than 35 items a month, then you can opt for the basic plan that will let you put up a listing for £0.75 each. The professional model does not require you to buy each listing. Instead, you only need to pay £25 a month.
That, of course, is not the only cost. Each category has its own seller fees, known a referral fees. Video games, for example, will have Amazon taking 15% of the price, whereas consumer electronics will take 7% of the cost. The average referral rate is around 15%.
You cannot resell another company’s products on Etsy. It goes against their terms and conditions. That’s why artisans and small businesses may find Etsy to be preferable to Amazon, which focuses more on professionally made products at reseller prices.
Benefits of Selling on Etsy
Etsy is great if you create the products yourself, want to make use of a thriving community and powerful tools, and don’t yet have the budget or means to manage your own website. You should, of course, aim to manage an e-commerce site and an Etsy account to diversify your listings, but many sellers will start on Etsy and move from there.
Etsy’s selling fees are standard. You will pay $0.20 per every listing you put up, and then 5% of the transaction’s cost. The 5% is for the total cost, so the price and postage. In the UK, you may also have to set up VAT, depending on how much you bring in through your business and whether it applies.
eBay is often best for reselling your belongings. Other similar marketplaces are the Facebook Marketplace and other local marketplaces that cater to regular people selling old clothes, furniture, electronics and more.
Benefits of Selling on eBay
If you are just trying to clear out your home, then eBay is the place to go. Etsy does have a section for vintage items as well, so you might find it beneficial to put listings up on both sites (but be careful not to sell a product twice, as they are one of a kind).
Every eBay seller will get the first 1000 listings free. Afterwards, there will be a £0.35 fee for every new listing. There is also a fee at checkout, which sits at 10%. Unlike Amazon and Etsy, however, this is capped at £250, so if you sell something over £2500, then you won’t have to pay more to eBay.
There are different sellers fees depending on which service you use. There is regular bidding, reserve price, buy it now, and more, which will change the seller fees.
Overall, which marketplace you use will depend on your company type. If you are a store that sells other products under one niche, then Amazon is the place for you. If you are a small business that sells artisanal products, then Etsy is the way to go. If you are just trying to sell on your belongings, then Etsy or eBay can be right.
Regardless, you will want to optimise your listings for the best results and the greatest increase in sales.