As a retailer, you have several options when it comes to selling online. Amazon, eBay and Etsy have strong reputations and millions of dedicated shoppers, which makes it easier to make money than on your own e-commerce website. However, you’ll need to take the types of items you sell and the amount you want to pay to sell them into consideration when choosing which of these three online marketplaces to use.
You can sell a broad range of products on Amazon, including brand-name products and handmade crafts. You can keep your inventory in your own place of business and ship it to buyers as orders come in, or send it to Amazon and let the company ship orders for you by enrolling in the Fulfillment by Amazon program; FBA works best if you have a high volume of products to sell. Amazon does not let you upload your inventory to the site in bulk, so you need to enter information for each product separately.
Items that sell best on Amazon include:
- Personal care products
- Kitchen utensils
- Books, DVDs and CDs
- Fashion and accessories
Amazon doesn’t charge listing fees unless you’re enrolled in its FBA program, in which case you pay monthly storage and weight handling fees; fees are calculated by the actual number of products you send to Amazon for fulfillment. All sellers pay Amazon a percentage of the price when their products sell.
Amazon also provides a marketplace for artisans to sell their handmade crafts. You must apply for consideration.
EBay provides a versatile marketplace to buy and sell in online auctions; you can also bypass auction selling using the marketplace’s Buy It Now feature. Similar to Amazon, you can sell a wide variety of brand-name items and handmade crafts on the website. EBay works best for people who specialize in selling collectibles, such as precious metal bullion and coins, fine and costume jewellery, books and DVDs, and new and used computing devices. The marketplace provides a robust environment for selling clothes online and attracts shoppers looking for new and vintage fashion and accessories. EBay charges listing fees and selling fees, and you also pay a PayPal processing fee. The company has a very liberal 180-day return policy that might have a negative impact on sales. EBay offers convenient bulk uploading, however, so you can load your entire inventory onto the site from an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file.
Etsy remains a favorite marketplace for artisans. The company lets you sell crafts you make yourself or hire employees or contractors to make for you. The types of products you can sell on Etsy include:
- Handmade crafts of all kinds
- Crafting components
- Vintage items
Etsy charges listing and selling fees. Similar to eBay, you pay a processing fee for sales processed through PayPal. Like Amazon, you need to enter each inventory item onto the website individually, as the company does not allow you to upload your products in bulk.