The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many people into online traders. Indeed, despite the challenges, the internet has become a dependable alternative income source in these times.
You can sell anything in cyberspace if you know where and how to do it. Don’t know where to start? Not to worry. In this blog, we shall tackle the best online selling sites where you can begin making money from your stuff.
What Factors Should I Consider in Finding the Best Online Marketplace for My Business?
Selling online is lucrative, but the nitty-gritty can take the fun out of it. It pays to educate yourself a little before you embark on it so you can decide which platform is best for your merchandise and optimize your overall marketing strategy.
Below are the most important factors when choosing an e-marketplace:
What Do You Intend to Sell?
People have different motivations for vending online. Some may only want to get rid of extra stuff and earn a little money from it. Others may be more serious and consider going full throttle. Their reasons help them decide what kinds of items they’re going to market.
Are you offering pre-owned or brand new items? Are you selling something that you’re making yourself? Or perhaps you’re retailing for domestic or international manufacturers?
Just as people have various reasons for selling, they also have different intentions for buying. Someone somewhere may want the items you have, and the internet allows you to connect with them.
How Much Do You Expect to Sell Daily?
Casual sellers sell fewer than ten items daily. When they’ve sold a bunch of stuff, they may go on a long hiatus before doing it again. Meanwhile, true online merchants fulfill at least ten orders daily—or, if not, make hundreds of dollars a day—and continuously maintain or increase that number over time.
It is important to consider this because online selling platforms have unique requirements and incentives for each seller type. If you know your sales volume beforehand, it will help you avoid unnecessary costs and maximize profits.
What Is Your Desired Conversion Rate?
Simply put, how fast do you want your goods to sell? If you’re a first-time user of competitive websites like Amazon, you should know that its buyers are cautious about purchasing from unrated sellers. Therefore, beginners may have a hard time unloading their products there, especially if those items are not highly in demand or if more established vendors are also offering them.
On the other hand, they may find it easier to get cash from pages like Gazelle and Cash for Gold USA, which buy and resell valuables. If they’re selling furniture during a moving-out season in a university area, they may also have better luck trying the local sites of Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
By comparison, professional merchants know that consistently fast conversion rates will not come to them on a silver platter regardless of the platform they’re using. They are normally willing to pay advertisers and good webpage development teams to boost sales. Sites like eBay and Shopify provide such tools for additional fees.
Who Is Your Target Market?
Different online selling platforms have different markets. Amazon-like websites have a bigger, more eclectic client base, while those like Etsy cater to a smaller, somewhat homogeneous group of people. If you think your product can attract a diverse market, then a more general platform may give it ample exposure. On the other hand, niche websites can do more for you if your merchandise interests specific consumer types.
Are You Willing to Pay Online Seller’s Fees?
Well, there’s that.
Beginners and casual sellers may find sites like Craigslist convenient, as they are merely free posting sites for online classified ads. However, such platforms have their inherent risks, so they are not suitable for full-time e-businesses.
Meanwhile, actual online marketplaces make it a point to profit from your sale. If you’re a low-volume seller, they may sweeten the deal by letting you list your products for free. But once you make a sale, they will take a minor cut from your profit. They do, however, enhance the security of your transactions and personal details, which Craigslist-like sites cannot guarantee.
If you intend to be in it for the long haul, keep in mind that, although paying those small fees can be painful, they do promote and protect your business.
Are You Ready to Fulfill Orders?
Online selling requires a sound plan for delivering your goods to customers.
If you’re using local ad sites, you can meet up with buyers personally for the exchange. You can choose to make it convenient for you by letting them pick the item up from your place.
If you’re not comfortable telling a stranger where you live, you can simply meet at a public place or personally deliver the product to wherever the customer chooses. You can even arrange for online payment and delivery, but that is risky.
Note that websites like Craigslist and Locanto will not be responsible for your safety and payment security, regardless of the fulfillment method you use.
On the other hand, true e-commerce websites like Amazon and Etsy allow sellers to pay for postage online. This is a convenient and efficient fulfillment option, as the carrier can simply pick up the package from the seller’s place and deliver it straight to the customer.
Some e-marketplaces even give postage discounts so merchants can optimize both the delivery method and their earnings. If you want that convenience, just learn how to use online postage software, which is typically beginner-friendly, and you’re all set.
How Ready Are You for Purchase Returns?
In our blog, How Small Businesses Can Minimize Product Returns, we mentioned that all stores have to deal with the risk of purchase returns. However, we also explained that online marketers are more vulnerable than those running brick-and-mortar stores. Therefore, you have to have a solid return policy ready if you’re thinking of spending a long time in commerce.
Note that the biggest online selling sites, e. g. eBay, incentivize having generous return policies, as customers are more likely to purchase from vendors who have them. Additionally, unhappy buyers are more willing to vilify a seller on the web than satisfied ones want to verbalize good feedback.
However, remind yourself that it’s impossible to please all customers and that lax return policies invite abuse. Consistently good customer care, even after a sale, is your best strategy in preventing or dealing with product returns.
Where Do You Plan to Sell or Ship Your Products?
As earlier mentioned, each online marketplace serves different groups. Amazon and eBay have the broadest international networks. Others are more like us at enKo Products, delivering only within the US. Then there are those that sell only to a small locality. Figuring out your market size early on will ensure that fulfillment is convenient and affordable for you.
International deliveries cost much higher. They also require shipping labels of a specific size and with the necessary information printed accurately. You wouldn’t want a displeased customer ruining your reputation from halfway across the world.
Are You Ready to be Rated as a Seller?
In most e-marketplaces, buyers are given a chance to rate sellers, which can make or break an online store. Better to embrace the tradition if you want to be in this trade for a long time. After all, customer care is part of business, whether online or offline.
If you’re an unrated merchant selling on sites like eBay and Amazon, it might take you a while to make your first sale. Of course, to earn good ratings and repeat purchases, you have to take good care of your customers.
What happens if you get slammed with a bad grade?
That you are emotionally unprepared for negative feedback is not nearly as important as what you’re going to do after receiving one. Bad ratings do not necessarily end your career as a seller. However, it would help to act on a customer’s complaint promptly and improve your services afterward. Online marketplaces give you the tools to do so to let you redeem your reputation.
Of course, if you want to avoid getting criticized on the internet, you may just continue using Craigslist or selling to resellers. They do not really provide opportunities for buyers to grade sellers. However, as mentioned previously, sites like Craigslist are risky for full-time e-merchants. On the other hand, resellers are more likely to give you less than your desired merchandise value.
How Good Are You at Developing Product Pages?
Sites like Shopify allow you to personalize your online store. If making art isn’t your cup of tea, but you are still determined to use such a platform, you should be willing to pay someone to spice up your website. Great-looking websites attract customers, so you must invest the time, money or both if you want excellent conversion rates.
So these are the most important considerations before you start selling online. The next question is, which platform will you be most comfortable using?
What Are the Best Online Selling Sites Today?
Below, you’ll see that we have rounded up the most popular online marketplaces that meet various business needs. Check them out so you can find the best ones for you.
Online Marketplaces for Beginners and Casual Vendors
If you’re just looking to make easy cash online, you can start with local listing sites and resellers.
Local listing sites let you post ads for free, which buyers in your neighborhood can check out. As in a local garage sale, customers can personally examine the merchandise before making a purchase.
Listings do not expire, but your ads will be pushed back to older pages that get less marketing exposure if your products do not sell immediately. Additionally, when that happens, you may be forced to lower your price just to sell.
Except for Facebook Marketplace, which has features akin to those of online shopping websites, local listing sites do not provide security for you and your products.
Local listing sites include the following:
Craigslist has been around since 1995 and is the go-to site for many bargain-hunting Americans. It charges no listing fees, but you’re responsible for meeting your buyer for the exchange. Again, you may consider shipping your product but doing so risks loss.
Craigslist does not allow customers to rate sellers and vice versa, so both parties are responsible for their safety and security.
The tradeoff for the site’s convenience is that it is scam-prone. Still, many people check it out for budget items and rare finds.
Most of Locanto’s services are similar to those of Craigslist. However, Locanto has a much better-looking website. This platform is free to use, although it offers paid advertising services so you can boost traffic to your product page. It has similar benefits and risks compared to Craigslist.
Letgo is another free online ad posting site similar to Craigslist and Locanto. However, unlike the other two, the platform somewhat protects your identity while you sell.
When you create an account, you register your phone and email with the site, so you don’t have to divulge them to your buyer. The latter will contact you through the website.
Another improvement is that both the buyer and seller can rate each other, which provides a little added security against fraud.
Facebook Marketplace is tied up to a personal or business social media account. Product listing is free. However, Facebook will charge a flat fee of 40ȼ for items priced below $8.00, and 5% of the selling price for more expensive goods.
The site provides several tools that increase the security of transactions.
- Facebook Marketplace encourages purchasing from local sellers, so customers are likely to buy from someone that they or their friends know.
- Social media accounts let buyers and sellers assess each other’s trustworthiness and communicate in real time about the products being sold.
- The platform allows buyers to rate sellers, which helps enhance customer service.
- Facebook secures your payment details, so transactions are less prone to fraud.
- Fulfillment is easy as you have the option to meet your buyer in person if he is known to you, or ship the product through professional carriers.
If you’re selling on the internet for the first time, Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start. It is like a training ground for more competitive platforms like Amazon. Here, you can get a feel for more serious e-commerce activities and decide if you’d like to do them permanently.
Facebook Marketplace is different from dedicated social media buy-and-sell groups. Account-holders in such communities deal just like Craigslist users do. Therefore, there are no fees to pay, but exchanges are fraught with risk. Such groups, however, paved the way for the establishment of the Facebook Marketplace platform itself.
So these are the most popular online local listing sites today. Next, we’ll discuss websites that directly buy and resell valuables. Beginners may find them even more convenient to sell to as they are sure to purchase new and still-functional secondhand goods. Their main drawback is that they may pay less than the sellers’ desired price.
Cash for Gold USA buys diamond, gold and silver jewelry. The site also accepts scrap gold, broken gold and gold coins. They will appraise your item, and once you accept their offer price, disburse you within 24 hours. The website pays up to thrice the value that its rivals offer, and it has been serving many satisfied customers for three decades.
Cash for Gold USA will pay for carriage of your valuables by FedEx, insuring them for up to $5,000.
WP Diamonds is just like Cash for Gold USA but is focused on trading diamonds. It also has a good reputation because of its fair pricing, determined by an in-house appraiser. The company will give you an offer for your item and, once you accept, it can pay you in as short as 24 hours.
WP Diamonds also purchases designer bags and luxury watches. It will have your items picked up by FedEx, insuring them for up to $200,000 per package.
Fashionphile specializes in buying and selling designer goods. It has been in business since 1999 but gained popularity only recently because of the wider use of social media.
If your item is worth $3,000 or less, the site can buy it right away. However, pricier goods, like Hermes Birkins, are consigned. You may choose cash payment or swap your valuables for credit.
This site buys and resells electronic gadgets. Like the other resellers, Gazelle will have your goods picked up by the courier, and it can pay within one week of receiving your item. If you don’t like its offer price, it will send your gadget back at no extra cost. Gazelle has a good reputation for fair pricing and hassle-free exchange. The site explicitly states that it does not accept goods that are reported stolen or lost.
Glyde is a platform similar to Gazelle, though it specializes in buying and reselling iPhones. It trades both new and slightly used gadgets. Payments can be given in cash or non-expiring trade-in credits.
Decluttr specializes in buying and reselling electronic gadgets, media and video games. It operates like other reselling sites do and is reputed for good pricing. Payment is through direct deposit, PayPal or check.
As its name suggests, Cash 4 Books buys new and old books directly and resells them. Like the others, it takes care of shipping when you sell. They pay within a day of receiving your items through check or PayPal.
So these are some of the websites where beginners and casual sellers can unload their stuff. The next part will feature the online marketplaces that are more suitable for full-time e-marketers.
Online Marketplaces for More Serious Sellers
The online selling sites we will describe next are competitive platforms that beginners may find a little more difficult to use. However, they serve much larger populations than the ones we previously mentioned, so your product still has a decent chance of reaching the right client.
Additionally, despite their fees, these websites let you sell at better prices. They also securely process payments for you.
These e-marketplaces may be grouped into two. The first category includes websites selling general merchandise for a wide-ranging market. The second is composed of niche platforms.
The following are the most popular online general merchandise sites today:
Amazon has almost 200 million customers around the world and is the one with the biggest network of all. You can sell nearly anything on this website, and most items are offered by multiple merchants. Pricing is fixed and is not determined by auction. Payment is made securely online. Fulfillment is done by your preferred carrier, 3PL provider or Amazon itself through Amazon FBA.
If you’re listing fewer than 40 items a month, you are classified as an individual seller and are not required to pay monthly fees. However, the website charges a sales fee for every item sold, and the amount depends on its product category. Merchants intending to sell more than this number are required to pay a monthly “subscription fee” of $39.99 as well as per-item sales fees.
The website has a seller rating system, which may work against newbie vendors at first. Conversion may not be as fast for unrated sellers, as buyers may think of them as risky and unreliable. However, one can build a good reputation by selling high-quality, in-demand items and consistently giving good customer service. Paying extra for advertising also wouldn’t hurt.
This online selling platform boasts of having more than 180 million users globally. It also allows the sale of an extensive array of products. You may choose to auction your merchandise or sell it for a fixed price. Like Amazon, eBay provides secure payment methods, and you can assign the fulfillment to the service provider of your choice.
The website allows you to list your products for free, with a limit of 50 items monthly. Beyond this number, listing costs 30ȼ per item unless you avail of eBay’s subscription plans. Monthly fees are determined based on sales volume. All products sold are subject to variable sales fees.
Like Amazon, eBay also has a seller rating system. However, it is coupled with a tricky buyer feedback scheme, which forbids negative ratings on difficult customers but lets sellers express their complaints about them. eBay also provides advertising tools to let vendors increase exposure to their products.
Shopify is similar to Amazon and eBay in that you can sell anything through it. The major difference is that this platform allows you to customize your online store’s page, which helps promote your brand rather than that of the website. You can hire an in-house expert to design your page or get your own team to do it.
The site offers a 14-day free trial. After that, you may choose to keep your page for a minimum of $9 monthly, which rises with increasing sales volume. Discounted rates are applied if you pay for 6 or 12 months at a time. Additional fees are charged for extra services like abandoned cart recovery, ads, etc.
Shopify has an international reach, though it is much smaller than that of Amazon or eBay.
Bonanza is quite similar to Shopify as it lets merchants sell a wide gamut of items in personalized pages called “Bonanza Booths.” It also offers a 14-day trial, although listing is free afterward as part of the website’s “seller-centric” policy. Sales fees include a flat price of 50ȼ for every item sold, which increases depending on the final selling price. You can pay extra for ads and other marketing tools.
Bonanza has an international network that is smaller than that of Shopify. Shopify has some Asian and African presence, whereas Bonanza currently has none. The latter’s Latin American and European coverage is also limited.
These four are currently the best and most popular online shopping websites in the US and internationally. You can sell nearly every product type on these platforms. However, you should also consider the niche market sites below:
- Artpal (digital and non-digital art)
- Etsy (digital and non-digital art)
- Dreamstime (stock photos and other digital art)
- Shutterstock (stock photos and other digital art)
In summary, we just presented to you e-commerce’s biggest game-changers, as well as some points to consider before selling stuff online.
To first-time vendors, we hope that this blog has demystified some aspects of e-marketing for you.
To professional merchants, we hope that we have broadened your options for selling your merchandise.
The technology evolves with time and changing customer demands, so keeping up-to-date about this subject can help you stay ahead of the competition.
Because enKo Products Supports the American Entrepreneur
enKo Products helps American sellers by supplying sturdy yet inexpensive packaging materials. We offer the following:
- Hand stretch wrap
- Shipping and packaging supplies
- Warehouse labels
- Sheet labels
- Direct thermal labels
- Dymo labels
- Brother labels
Don’t wait! Buy enKo Products now and get your business ahead in no time!