An online marketplace is an eCommerce destination. It is a location many consumers turn to when they want to make a purchase. There are numerous marketplaces, but not all operate the same or provide the same customer base. If you want to expand your business, it’s important to choose the best online marketplace for your business.
From 2014 to 2021, eCommerce sales have grown incredibly – from 1.32 billion to an expected 2.14 billion by 2021. If your business hasn’t adapted to consumer demand for products online, it’s likely costing you money.
With a number of online marketplace options available, it’s hard to know which is right for your customer base. You should spend time comparing them to see which online marketplace to see which is best for your needs. To help you get started, let’s break down the top platforms.
Most people would say Amazon is the best online marketplace simply because of its share of the industry. It’s well known and, in many ways, helps to create many of the eCommerce trends we see today. Amazon offers a number of key advantages but none is more important than the sheer size of the platform. In 2019, Amazon accounted for 45 percent of eCommerce spending in the U.S. It’s likely to reach at least 47 percent in 2020, especially due to the pandemic consumer’s demand for online shopping.
From a business owner’s standpoint, Amazon has a lot to offer. It’s a well-built platform. It’s easy to navigate and intuitive. You’ll learn the ropes and master it.
As Amazon says, it’s all about the numbers. Amazon costs range widely, and they can be hard to navigate. Some of them include:
The Individual plan will cost you $.99 per unit you sell on the platform. If you upgrade to the Professional plan, you’ll pay $39.99 per month, no matter how many units you sell on the site.
Fulfillment fees relate to the cost to ship your orders directly from Amazon warehouses to your customers. If you want Amazon to do this work for you, you’ll pay based on the size of the item, shipping weight, packaging needs, and other features. Costs rate from $1.97 on up – but they will ship almost anything.
These fees are charged by Amazon for each item you sell on the site. The amount depends on the category of the product. Referrals fees will range between 8 and 15 percent in most cases.
You may have to pay additional fees in some situations such as inventory fees, rental book service fees, refund administration fees, and high-volume listing fees. Additional programs such as the inventory placement service and advertising can increase those fees further.
Amazon Benefits to Sellers
Those fees can make it seem expensive to use Amazon for your online marketplace platform. However, Amazon has a number of key advantages compared to others.
There are a few things to consider as disadvantages of using Amazon:
- Its cost. There are numerous costs involved. The cost structure can be confusing, too.
- Competition. Amazon has 2.5 million current sellers on its site. Then again, you may want to be where your competition is.
- Competing against Amazon. Also, note that Amazon does sell many products itself. That means when you list a product they sell, you’re competing against the big guys.
Fun Facts About Amazon
One of the best fun facts about Amazon is that it started as an online bookstore. You may remember the days of needing a textbook or wanting to find the new release from the New York Times Best Seller List and shopping at Amazon for it. What’s even more interesting is that it all started out of Jeff Bezos’ garage. This empire grew from a one-man business into what it is today.
Conclusion: Why Choose Amazon Over Others?
Amazon is best for new companies and startups. If you want to get started selling products in a new online marketplace, then Amazon makes it easy to get in there, start selling, and to build your brand.
Amazon also offers benefits to buyers, such as Amazon Prime’s free shipping and next-day shipping options. It is the top of the online marketplace list because of how diverse it can be.
One of the best online marketplace options is brand new. It’s called Facebook Shops. It was launched in 2020 as a way to create new tools and to make online shopping across the Facebook app easy to do. This is a mobile-first experience. You create an online store on the site, and it’s linked to both Facebook and Instagram. There are not a lot of statistics on it because of how new this online marketplace is. Yet, it has plenty to offer today’s seller looking to get their foot in the door.
Facebook Shops Costs
Facebook Shops is a bit easier to navigate. The site takes a fee from the payout made to you when you sell a product on the site. This is the selling fee. It’s 5 percent per shipment or maybe a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments that are under $8.
There’s no cost to set up or use Facebook Shops. The selling fee includes taxes, the cost of payment processing, and helps to fund other programs for good buying and selling experiences, according to the company.
Facebook Shops Benefits
There are benefits to using Facebook Shops as your online marketplace platform. Those include:
It has Instagram. A lot of online shopping is about photos. That’s why Instagram is the ideal choice for shopping. It just so happens that Facebook owns Instagram. And that site has over 1 billion monthly active accounts, too.
Tap into new audiences. When you use the Facebook Shops platform, you may be gaining another avenue to find your customers. That means you can use another sales-oriented site, but also catch people when they are just browsing on social media. That could open new target audience opportunities for you.
Keep in mind that Facebook Shops is new and, as of yet, unproven. While you may want to use it for your business, it may not be the best option if you plan to launch on just one site. However, if you want an online marketplace to see how well you can do selling in a social world, this is the one to choose.
Fun Facts – A History on Facebook
When it comes to Facebook facts, you could go back to the start of the platform. Imagine a college dorm, a couple of friends, and nothing to do (apparently) than work on some code. Mark Zuckerberg first developed what he called “Facemash” as a way to pick who was “hotter,” though that idea nearly had him expelled from school. The second version, “Thefacebook” was designed to help Harvard students connect. The rest is history.
Conclusion: Why Use Facebook Shops?
Facebook has a large user base. It is a newer platform that makes it easy for you to navigate your way with far fewer competitors. It also has Instagram access built into it, which makes it easier to find a large audience of potential buyers. Live shopping features are also a key selling point here. Additionally, Facebook Shops promises to add new and compelling tools such as loyalty programs to help bring your customers back.
It’s a good choice for businesses that have a large target consumer base using Facebook. It helps to keep those consumers on the platform they love – and instinctively trust – to shop with you.
Google is well-known as a search platform (and for its connectivity, smart devices, phones, and so on). Some sellers don’t realize the potential it also has in its shopping network. Google Shopping allows advertisers and merchants to showcase their products on the site.
The premise is not much different than using Google to shop for a product or solution. The difference is the search terms lead to actual products consumers can buy right off the platform. Sponsorship is an option, which means it can help to position your product in front of more consumers.
Google Shopping Costs
Google Shopping does not have a minimum cost for product listing ads or Google Shopping ads. You set your costs based on how much you want to spend. Like most paid ads, there’s a competition factor here. You can pay as low as $0.01 per click if you want. There is also no minimum daily budget. That gives users a lot of flexibility.
Google Shopping Benefits
There are a number of benefits to using Google Shopping as a seller. This is a different platform with some significant advantages in several ways.
A “con” to keep in mind with Google Shopping is that results vary. The success you have in this format really depends on who your audience is and what your products are. Are people searching for your product to buy directly in a search engine, or are they going to a store like Amazon to do it?
Google Fun Facts
There are plenty of backstories you could tell here. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, met by accident in 1995 and originally named the search engine BackRub. The two actually pioneered the process of a “web crawler” as we know it today. Did you know that the first Google Doodle was the Burning Man stick figure?
Conclusion: Why Choose Google Shopping Over Others?
There are a lot of reasons to choose Google Shopping, but the best may be that it is ideal for those sellers who have a website with strong organic SEO already. That could give you a solid boost in the Shopping results you get.
Google Shopping continues to grow and improve, as well. As one of the largest companies in the world – parent company Alphabet saw $46.08 billion in revenue in 2020 – it’s definitely got the technology and money behind it to make it a success.
Another of the best online marketplace options is Target+. Never heard of it? Chances are all of the people that head off to shop at Target have, and that matters. Target is always looking for opportunities to connect with suppliers that their customers want to buy from – new and innovative has long been the way Target has stood out in the retail world. This platform aims to do that, as well.
Target+ is the company’s online marketplace for third-party sellers. It launched in early 2019, so it is new to the game by comparison to others. The products listed on this platform also appear on Target.com – which is a nice benefit in itself. Still, this platform is very different from others. That’s because Target hand-picks its sellers and brands. Not just any company can list products on the site.
Target does this to ensure that they are only offering the high-quality products the retailer has become known for, and it helps them avoid risks with fake products.
Once a company is approved to use their Target seller account, you’ll learn more about the specific categories available. All fees are based on the subtype base referral fees. These fees are hard to define since they are often negotiated with the company. Keep in mind that this is an invite-only opportunity. Costs are not as readily available as a result.
This online marketplace platform has some clear benefits if you can get onto it. Here are a few of them.
Limited competition. Target plans to add third-party sellers over time to each category. However, it’s noted it plans to limit how many are placed. That means there are likely fewer competitors for each category. It does not allow multiple sellers to have the same UPC on Target+. That’s a unique feature across these online marketplaces.
Cons are somewhat big when it comes to Target+. The biggest of them is the lack of access. Though Target says it plans to increase their third-party sellers, they are still keeping things small and only working on an invite-only basis. That could mean you don’t get access as easily.
Fun Fact About Target
There are a few key things that stand out about Target+. Did you know that 75 percent of the U.S. population lives within just 10 miles of a Target store? The company had $75.4 billion in total revenue in 2018. Target also owns Shipt.
Conclusion – Why Choose Target+ for Your Platform?
It’s probably best to choose Target+ if your product is already being sold in stores, especially at Target. That’s going to give you the best “in” to the Target+ market. For all others, it may be harder to make this online marketplace work the best.
Walmart’s online marketplace has 35+ categories that they allow third-party sellers to place their products in – from apparel to gourmet food. The online marketplace is vast and universal. People know Walmart and trust it to offer the best pricing. Ecommerce for the company is huge – surging some 74 percent during the pandemic. That makes it a strong competitor for nearly all third-party sellers.
Walmart does not have inventory limits and there are no maintenance fees. Customer payment is seamless. There are a lot of sellers on the site, but despite the competitor volume, there are plenty of reasons to consider this option as a seller.
Walmart Marketplace Costs
Walmart Marketplace’s fee structure is less complex. It does not have an annual seller fee or a product listing fee (like Amazon does). Rather, there is a percentage fee called your referral fee. The percentage charged depends on the category of your product. These range from 8 to 15 percent.
Walmart Marketplace Benefits
Being on the Walmart Marketplace offers a few key benefits that stand out to those looking for the best online marketplace.
The biggest drawback is just that – you need to meet the company’s vetting process. That’s not easy to do.
Walmart Fun Fact
Walmart is huge – its total revenue for 2019 was $524 billion. The company, started by Sam Walton, has been in business since 1962.
Conclusion – Why Walmart Marketplace?
If you can get on this platform, it is an exceptional place to be. This platform is best for those companies that have more established products and brands – to allow Walmart to let you on board. This can help you to gain more exposure overall.
Don’t put your eggs all in one basket, Nuanced Media can help you diversify your eCommerce business beyond your online store or one platform to reach new customers and increase overall profits. Let us help you build your brand strategically on multiple platforms.