The Best Ecommerce Marketplaces for Online Sellers in 2021

The Best Ecommerce Marketplaces for Online Sellers in 2021

Here’s some news—shopping has really changed since Covid-19 came around!

(Thanks, Captain Obvious!)

Even before the pandemic moved ALL shopping online, no savvy consumer would just roll up to Best Buy and purchase a new TV without first checking online for a lower price. 

These days, many shoppers are researching as many as 10 different options before making their final selection. 

And as a seller, you want to show up in as many of those places as possible, while keeping your bottom line healthy.

But no one can be everywhere, so we rounded up 8 of the best online marketplaces for ecommerce businesses, with pros and cons for each. Starting with… guess. 🙂

1. Amazon

Have you heard of

Now the largest ecommerce marketplace in many countries worldwide, Amazon boasts over 2.5 million sellers on the marketplace with SMBs located in the US selling more than 4000 items per minute (Amazon, 2019).

Amazon is best for medium to large sellers that can handle large amounts of traffic. You can choose to ship and warehouse your products through the Fulfilled By Amazon program, but this eats into your profits significantly more than handling your own fulfillment.

Pros - All Amazon listings look the same—so consumers are looking at the goods and their prices, not the seller. Even if you’re not selling on Amazon, you can still use their affiliate program. Built-in advertising. 

Cons - Saturated / difficult to break into unless you have a unique and sought-after product. Advertising can get expensive. The marketplace cost and transaction fees can be expensive for small sellers or stores with less traffic

2. Walmart

Walmart’s online marketplace has been quietly and steadily growing for the past several years, and its program for sellers is similar to Amazon’s marketplace.

Like Amazon, it’s best for medium to large sellers with efficient distribution programs already in place. You’ll need to apply to be listed as a seller on the marketplace, but it’s a relatively simple process—and once you’re approved, you’ll have access to more than 110 million shoppers.

Pros - Access to large number of shoppers. Website has a good reputation and like Amazon, shoppers are just looking at price. You can sign up as a dropshipper or a seller.

Cons - You need to have fast fulfillment already in place. Can be hard to break in as a new seller. Walmart’s brand may tarnish your reputation if your customers prioritize buying from small businesses. There is a referral fee charged on sales.

3. eBay

eBay was arguably one of the first eCommerce marketplaces to launch on the internet, back in the olden days of dancing bananas and Ask Jeeves and dancing bananas.

In the 90s, it was used as an auction-style marketplace that only sold second-hand goods. But now, eBay sells almost everything, connecting buyers and sellers from all around the world.

eBay is relatively simple to sign up for and can be used by just about anyone with access to the internet and a post office. You can sell new or used goods, and sellers have the option of listing a “buy now” price for immediate sale, or listing them for auction where they could potentially earn even more.

Pros - No application required. Easy for first-time sellers who may not have a website. Run promotions and print shipping labels directly from the platform.

Cons - Various fees to use the platform: fee when the item sells, monthly plan, listing fees. You need a good “seller reputation” to sell higher priced items. Inventory management can be a pain if you also have another store online

4. Etsy

Etsy was designed for artisans, artists, and in general, store owners with unique products that are either handmade or fall under a certain theme like, vintage clothing.

It’s great for small to medium sized sellers, especially creatives.

All sellers on Etsy have the option of customizing their “storefront” or creating a small brand for themselves that fits the aesthetic of the products they sell. Your shoppers know that they are buying products specifically from your store, as opposed to other platforms (where you just buy something “from Amazon.”)

Pros - Create your own storefront and brand identity. No need to create a separate website. 33 million shoppers looking for specific types of products: vintage, jewelry, collectibles, handmade goods etc. Built-in store analytics.

Cons - Listing fee even if the item doesn’t sell (Etsy can raise its fees at any time). Transaction and processing fees on each sale. Limited in terms of the types of items you can sell (handmade or vintage). Potentially saturated marketplace.

5. Jet

Jet is relatively new compared to the other marketplaces on this list—but the platform was recently acquired by Walmart in 2015, so they must be doing something right.

There are approximately 400K users on Jet with only about 2400 sellers, so while the marketplace is still small, it could be a cash cow if you have the right product for the audience (millennials living in cities).

Pros - More exposure than the other huge marketplaces. Good repeat buyer rate of 23% (higher than Amazon and eBay). Active consumer base, if your product is right for the market

Cons - Slow growth because there isn’t much traffic on Jet… yet. Walmart integrated Jet’s team into Walmart (not the other way around) so they are investing more in than into Jet. Pay a commission on products sold through the marketplace

6. Newegg

If you’re looking to sell your tech products through a marketplace site other than your own eCommerce platform, Newegg could be for you. Newegg is also a great seasonal marketplace, when tech products are likely to boom in sales.

To help sellers gain more traffic to their products, Newegg offers marketing and merchandising through banner ads, features, and email marketing through their newsletter.

Pros - Over 20 million shoppers annually. Offers fulfillment “Shipped by Newegg” to help with inventory, packing and shipping. The audience is educated and know what they want.

Cons - Tech products only (so it’s not a one stop shop like Amazon or Walmart). Commissions based on product categories. Must pass a customer service screening test. Customers only purchase brand name products through Newegg—they don’t sell unbranded electronics.

7. Rakuten

Rakuten is a global marketplace and one of the largest eCommerce sites in the world, with a huge audience. This is another platform that is a good fit for medium to large sellers, especially if you want to expand past North America or build an international business.

You receive a custom storefront that you can brand as your own, while setting up your own terms and conditions, policies, and incentives to buyers.

Pros - Incentives to buy on Rakuten and save money. Great points-based loyalty program to incentivize buyers. No need to set up your own incentive program. Reach a new market that you potentially didn’t have access to previously.

Cons - Must be approved to become a seller. High cost per month ($39) plus transaction fee per item sold. High shipping costs. Strong, well-established competitors on the marketplace.

8. CrateJoy

CrateJoy is an interesting option available where sellers can create their own subscription boxes.

Without having to package or facilitate the logistics of your own subscription box products, CrateJoy has opened up a whole new marketplace for those looking to sell their products as bundles.

You can use this service if you already have subscription boxes—or if you don’t have them but would like to offer them, CrateJoy will handle some of the logistics for you.

Pros - Subscription, fulfillment, management, shipping, tax, logistics included. Access to new customers through another channel of sales. 3 million page view and 30K transactions per month. Built-in marketing options for sellers

Cons - High cost per month and transaction fees, Potential communication issues going through CrateJoy to speak with customers. Design limitations. Flooded market and the reputation of some bad sellers on CrateJoy negatively impact others.

Have you used any of the marketplaces on this list (besides Amazon)? What’s your experience been? Did we leave any out? Let us know in the comments!