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The 14 Best Retail Marketplaces to Boost Your E-Commerce Sales

Eleanor Hecks • June 12, 2024

 

 

Whether you are just opening your online store or have been selling digitally for a while, you might wonder whether you should shift your operations to a retail marketplace platform. The answer depends on the size of your operation, your budget and how many staff you employ.

Advantages of Selling on a Retail Marketplace

Setting up an e-commerce store on a third-party platform versus selling exclusively on a private website offers some clear advantages to small businesses.

1. Trust Elements

Sites like Amazon, Macy’s or eBay are household names. Most people have heard of these companies and possibly used them before. Consumers may be familiar with their return policies and customer protections. They’re more likely to trust buying from a platform with a guarantee than an individual they’ve never heard of.

If the site lets people post unbiased reviews from verified buyers, people will be more likely to believe your high ratings and take a chance on purchasing from you.

2. Larger Targeted Audience

Retail e-commerce sales will surpass $6.3 trillion in 2024, with online marketplaces receiving the largest share of purchases. Those just starting a business may need help marketing products or driving traffic to a website. Putting your store on a platform gives you access to the millions of visitors already flocking to the site daily. 

3. Lower Overhead

Starting on a platform negates the need for customer service reps and people to process returns and refunds. Many of the marketplaces automatically handle these issues for a fee. 

For example, if you start a store on Amazon.com, you can send inventory to Amazon and let them handle all aspects of fulfillment, eliminating the need for a warehouse to store products. 

Plus, with an estimated 5%-10% labor gap , many business owners are currently short-staffed and don’t have adequate time for handling repetitive customer service processes. It makes sense to farm out repetitive tasks, allowing you to function with fewer employees and less storage space.

4. Marketing and SEO Support

Small business owners sometimes need assistance figuring out marketing strategies. It’s easy to throw a lot of money at ads and see zero results. With marketplaces, you can advertise directly to your core audience and see real time results.

5. Low Startup Costs

If you’re on a tight budget, you can start your store on a marketplace site for very little money and make a profit quickly. As your business grows, you can add a dedicated website to expand traffic and sales. 

Since many digital retailers start on a shoestring, reselling sites are quite attractive for those who want to begin making a profit quickly without much overhead. 

The 14 Best Retail Marketplaces for Your E-Commerce Sales

Which platform is best for your business depends on what you’re selling and your target market. Here are the top contenders that work for most retail companies:

  • Walmart.com: US users are familiar with this big box retailer . When they need an obscure item, they’re likely to visit the online marketplace. 
  • Amazon.com: Arguably the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon is a go-to for most online shoppers. If you word your descriptions right and focus on good keywords and accurate information, you will likely pop up in searches by people wanting what you sell.
  • eBay: eBay has around 132 million active buyers . However, there are some limitations on what you can sell on eBay, so read their terms carefully.
  • Target: People turn to Target when they need specialty clothing, home goods and school supplies. The marketplace is one option to sell such products. 
  • Lowe’s: Although selling on the marketplace is a bit different, you can sell relevant products on the home improvement site. You’ll have to fill out a vendor application and wait for approval.
  • Macy’s: Macy’s curates the items on its marketplace to match its high-end brand appearance. If approved, you’ll gain access to around 42.7 million active shoppers, making six million daily visits to the site. 

Although the marketplaces above are an excellent starting point, dozens of other platforms may more closely match your ideal audience. A few other options to investigate include: 

  • Mercari
  • Poshmark
  • Etsy 
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Depop
  • Whatnot
  • Best Buy
  • Nextdoor

The better known the platform, the more traffic you might receive. However, when starting, it’s okay to go small and inexpensive and grow as your business generates more revenue.

Choose More Than One

Many successful online sellers choose more than one platform to sell their products. You can have a website and a presence on Target, Amazon.com and eBay. Familiarize yourself with one retail marketplace and then expand into more to gain the most traffic and traction possible.

Want to learn more?

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Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on customer experience. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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