Last updated on October 12th, 2023
Written by Mohamed Aden
With the ever-evolving landscape of ecommerce, selecting where to establish your online store is perhaps the most crucial decision for a guaranteed lucrative venture. There are plenty of ecommerce marketplaces to choose from, but only the most strategic decisions can help you achieve success.
Which platforms can propel online sellers forward? Let’s discover the five best online marketplaces and explore what each offers for online entrepreneurs and business owners like yourself.
Before heading to our list, it’s best to lay out the fundamentals by defining an ecommerce marketplace. How can it help digital entrepreneurs establish their business in the ecommerce world?
An ecommerce marketplace is an online platform where various sellers can list their products for sale. It creates a space where buyers can conveniently browse and purchase items from different vendors in one place. An ecommerce platform significantly streamlines the digital purchasing process, making online shopping a breeze.
Online marketplaces began popping up during the rise of the internet and the proliferation of the technology we know today. As the digital age rolled into a new era of commerce, these platforms bridged the gap between sellers and buyers worldwide.
Selling on online marketplaces became more popular as the years flew by, skyrocketing even more when the pandemic struck in 2020. Today, more than 150 ecommerce platforms dot the internet, readily available to online entrepreneurs and customers worldwide.
You can classify online marketplaces into three primary categories:
You might confuse an online marketplace with an ecommerce store. After all, they both fall under the online shopping umbrella, so they must be extremely similar, right? Unfortunately, online marketplaces and ecommerce stores are vastly different, serving different functions and operating in distinct ways.
|Online Marketplace||Ecommerce Store|
For one, an online marketplace’s scope is significantly larger than an ecommerce store. The former hosts multiple sellers and their respective products, while the latter only houses a singular online vendor and their goods.
Customers of online marketplaces have plenty of choices, considering the number of sellers and goods on the site. Meanwhile, ecommerce stores only have a limited number of products to offer.
Ecommerce store owners can arrange and design their sites based on their preferences. However, online marketplace sellers can only customize their store within their chosen platform's guidelines and requirements.
After learning the basics of ecommerce platforms, it’s time to introduce the sites that currently spearhead the ecommerce industry. Learn each of their unique advantages and opportunities. Here are five global ecommerce marketplaces to sell in.
Amazon boasts an average of more than 4 billion monthly visits and a robust community of nearly 2 million active sellers, making it the industry's leading online marketplace. Through the Amazon marketplace, sellers can sell their goods along with Amazon's own inventory.
As a seller, you can benefit from Amazon's vast customer base and the trust it has built over the years. Its hybrid marketplace model promises a boost in visibility and ecommerce sales for sellers like you.
Amazon’s customer-centric approach enhances customer satisfaction by providing services like efficient fulfillment options and responsive customer support for a seamless customer experience. You can use these services to improve your ratings and sales opportunities.
Most importantly, Amazon provides various tools and services to help you manage your online business efficiently, from comprehensive analytics to advertising solutions, allowing you to thrive in the Amazon ecosystem.
With close to 2 billion monthly visitors as of April this year and over 9 billion USD in total revenue in 2022, eBay's popular C2C online marketplace closely follows Amazon's lead. eBay functions as an auction house that sells merchandise from other third-party retailers, where buyers can choose from a wide range of products and bid for their desired items.
While it may not offer the same control level as Amazon, eBay still provides a reliable platform with flexible selling options. Its auction-style system can allow you to generate higher sales for your products. Moreover, eBay reportedly has lower marketplace fees than its competitors, possibly increasing your ROI.
Like Amazon, the platform also provides various tools to help sellers. Seller analytics, marketing options, and a seller hub can easily address buyer concerns and promptly fulfill order actions.
Most importantly, eBay sets strict seller protection regulations to protect sellers like you against fraudulent buyers and other transaction issues.
As one of the biggest retail chains in the United States, Walmart Inc. recognized the rise of ecommerce and didn’t think twice about creating its own digital marketplace to keep up with the times. Hence, the Walmart marketplace was made.
Like Amazon, the Walmart marketplace allows third-party merchants to sell their products alongside Walmart's inventory.
The platform offers increased brand visibility and product discoverability with its enormous customer base. Additionally, because Walmart is already an established and highly trusted brand, selling on this marketplace can lend credibility to your goods and brand.
You can also take advantage of the platform's fulfillment services, such as the Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), for efficient and fast order fulfillment. However, like always, aligning your products with Walmart's guidelines and adhering to their policies is essential.
If you’re looking for a platform more focused on B2B transactions, China’s leading ecommerce marketplace might just be the right choice for your business. Alibaba primarily caters to businesses and wholesale buyers, suitable for manufacturers aiming for a wider reach and long-term B2B relationships.
Because of its unique system, Alibaba offers a platform where third-party sellers can get product-sourcing services and procure a vast range of products and other merchandise in bulk.
You may be wary of using the sourcing platform because of its surrounding issues, like counterfeit branded items and the prevalence of fraudulent sellers. Fortunately, Alibaba consistently works against counterfeiting in its platform by verifying its sellers.
Finally, if your brand and products are more craft-focused and unique, you could start your ecommerce business in niche online marketplaces like Etsy. Etsy is a niche ecommerce platform for handmade items.
If you're a creative entrepreneur or own a small business offering unique products, Etsy may be an ideal platform for you and your brand. With a dedicated community of buyers and sellers worldwide, you can showcase your products to a highly targeted audience and build a thriving business.
Etsy also offers a close-knit and supportive seller community, where vendors can ask about their concerns and fellow sellers can help them and share advice on the matter.
Source: Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels.com
Aspiring online sellers can start their ecommerce journey by building their business in the marketplaces listed above, depending on their target market and business needs.
However, if you’re a more established online entrepreneur, you may have to look out for other emerging online sales channels for sustainable business growth.
One example is the Facebook marketplace, a growing platform where users can buy and sell products within their local communities. This platform is well-suited for small businesses and individual sellers, enabling them to reach a large audience without investing in a separate e-commerce platform.
Another is Instagram Shopping. This feature lets businesses showcase their products directly on their Instagram profiles, turning the social media platform into a fully-fledged shopping experience. With shoppable posts, users can easily browse and purchase products without leaving the app.
Integrating both Facebook marketplace and Instagram Shopping into your digital marketing strategy can help you reach a wider audience and drive more sales.
Here are some tips you can practice to ensure a successful and lucrative ecommerce venture.
Plenty of opportunities for success are available in the ecommerce industry. With the list of online marketplaces we’ve provided and tips we’ve shared, any aspiring online seller and entrepreneur can achieve prominence in the ecommerce world in no time.
Looking for experts who can aid you in your Amazon selling journey? Try Seller Interactive!
We offer full account management services for Amazon seller accounts to help sellers easily navigate the Amazon ecosystem. Contact our professionals today and start your ecommerce journey on the right foot with Seller Interactive!
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