- In this day and age, ecommerce isn’t really an option; it’s required. Consumers expect it and it’s a missed opportunity for sales if business owners opt out.
- That doesn’t mean that you need to make your business’ website into a full fledged ecommerce site; that’s not practical for many sellers.
- There are plenty of websites that specialize in helping sellers market and sell their products, most often for a percentage fee.
Did you know that it’s projected that there will be 300 million online shoppers in the U.S. by 2023? As of today, 69% of all Americans have shopped online and 25% shop online at least once a month. With such a massive online shopping market, it’s important to consider e-commerce when starting a business.
Selling you product online doesn’t have to be overly complicated. This article will help inform you about the top websites to help you make online sales a viable business option—all from the comfort of your home.
Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform offering services for online retailers to market products, engage customers, collect payments, and handle the shipping process. In May 2021, Shopify reported more than 1.7 million businesses in nearly 175 countries.
Cost: $29 monthly for basic plan; additional plans priced at $79 and $299
- Highly flexible and easy to use
- Expert customer service, 24/7
- Customized user experience with 6,000+ apps on the Shopify App Store and 100+ themes to help build your e-commerce store
- Ability to create discount codes, offer gift cards, and link products to different social media platforms
- Free two-week trial
- Monthly subscription cost
- Added fees for some themes and apps; transaction fee selling online unless using Shopify payments
Bonanza boasts 35 million different items with over 50,000 sellers. It’s built for entrepreneurs to take the technical expertise out of selling online.
Cost: Based on Final Offer Value (2.5% of the combined dollar value of what the buyer paid plus the portion of the shipping fee that exceeds $10; additional flat fee of 1.5% on amounts over $500)
- Easy to set up
- $100 Google Ads credit included
- Free two-week trial
- Every listing automatically sent to Google and Bing Shopping
- Easy-to-use import features for eBay, Etsy, and Amazon listings
- Limited reviews on site
- Lack of brand name recognition
- Options for customizing layout can be limiting
Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace, sells over 400 products a minute and is a trusted, well-known website. Originally, an online marketplace for books, it has expanded to include jewelry, toys, food, furniture, apparel, video games, software, electronics and more.
While you’re likely familiar with purchasing on Amazon, you can also get set up as a seller.
Cost: $39.99 monthly fee plus fees for items sold, or an individual seller account if planning to sell less than 40 items a month with no monthly fee and $.99 fee per item plus percentage fees for the category of your product.
- Verified sellers to keep counterfeit products off the marketplace
- Established reputation for delivering items on time
- Exposure to large audience
- Special promotion options and bonuses for startups, female, minority, or veteran-owned businesses
- High competition
- Difficulty to break into the market because of huge number of products
- Fees paid to Amazon may add up
eBay is described as “the original online selling platform,” originating in 1995. It currently has 1.3 billion listings and 182 million users worldwide.
Cost: A non-refundable fee to list an item, an insertion fee if you decide to list in another category, and a final value fee (approximately 10-12% for most categories) of the price of the item sold, plus a percentage of the shipping fee.
- Large customer base (160 million active buyers monthly)
- Auction listing format with potential to generate more revenue
- Easy to set up listings
- 5 different options available for storefronts from starter tier to enterprise accounts
- Seller protection if consumer doesn’t pay for purchased item
- Offers healthcare insurance solutions for yourself/your company
- Steep seller fees
- Additional cost assessed if you don’t meet minimum sales or for high number of returns
- Limited control over listings: restrictions on what’s said about your items and their right to cancel listings
- Strong competition
- Must ship within 24 hours or you will have less visibility on the site
Etsy is considered a lucrative platform for online selling of handmade or vintage items (20+ years old) and craft supplies. With sales of nearly $5 billion yearly, the site gives sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for fees. There are over 2 million sellers with 40 million+ items.
Cost: $.20 listing fee for each item (good for 4 months), then a 5% transaction fee and a 3% plus $.25 processing fee upon sale. If you charge a separate shipping fee, Etsy takes 5%.
- Well-known and highly respected
- Ease in creating a store
- Sellers can add tags to their products to help buyers find them
- Large customer base
- Encourages sales to new stores with Etsy’s algorithms
- Sellers with annual revenue of $10,000+ are required to participate in a product advertising program with a 15% cut of revenue from the total of any orders sold
- Keen competition within categories and similar products
- Limited branding opportunities outside of listing images and banner
- Nearly impossible to do SEO
Chairish is a growing online store primarily for high-quality furniture and home décor.
Cost: Listing items is free, but a percentage is paid as a fee depending on the item sale price (20% for first $2,500, 12% of the next $22,500, 3% of the next $15,000). There is an optional Elite service which costs $149 monthly
- Chairish reviews your items to meet standards and helps make photos and descriptions more professional
- Takes care of shipping logistics if needed
- Buyers and collectors are attracted to their high standards
- Besides the seller fee, a buyer fee of 3% is imposed
- Some difficulty getting through to customer service
Facebook Marketplace was introduced in October of 2016 by Facebook. The goal is bringing people in communities/areas together to discover, buy, and sell items.
- Opportunity to chat with the other party over Facebook messenger and access their Facebook profile
- Easily accessed through Facebook
- Extremely simple to post and renew items for sale
- Doesn’t facilitate payment or shipping
- No comment or review feature
- Limited to items in the targeted community/area
- Buyers are often looking to get a deal, so they may try to negotiate on price
Craigslist was originally started to provide information about local happenings in the San Francisco Bay Area and has morphed into a popular online selling site for individuals and businesses. The site is best suited to selling locally and making deals in person.
- Some sites cover large regions instead of individual metro areas; large cities allow the user to focus on specific areas of the city
- Has a user flagging system to quickly spot illegal and inappropriate postings
- Includes a barter option in its “for sale” section
- Limitless opportunity to post items
- No shipping charges; exchanges are done in person
- Simple to create an account and post listings
- Some reports of online scams
- Must deal with fraud and disputes yourself
- Can be unsafe; best to arrange for exchange in a public location
Nextdoor shares with individual communities and neighbors. There is a free forum to sell online. Users are required to submit their real names and addresses to the website; posts to the website are available only to other Nextdoor members living in the same neighborhood.
Cost: No listing or membership fees
- The sign-up process allows for fewer scams and more privacy
- Ease of posting and selling
- Must meet buyer and make exchange in person
- Limited to specific neighborhoods
There are many online sites where you can sell your products without having to make your business website be able to handle eccomerce. Every platform has particular strengths and drawbacks, and the sites listed above are only a small subset of what’s out there.