Once you have created your brand with your website, the logical next step is to post products on one or more online marketplaces. This will bring exposure to your products, hopefully get you some sales, and depending on the rules of the marketplace, drive sellers back to your site. There are many different selling formats to choose from, and there are several different fee structures as well.
The Marketplacester directory is a free resource to help you find the online marketplaces that best suit your needs based on your products, and on the costs involved. There are many that are completely free to use, some that are free to post listings but have a selling commission, some that have both listing and selling fees, and some are subscription based. They vary in size and traffic, so it is helpful to check the Google and Alexa rankings that Marketplacester provides. Some offer a variety of seller tools and resources, others are very simple. And some are for specific product categories, such as Etsy, which is for handmade goods only.
For the best results, it is a good idea to try listing some products on one or more of the heavily trafficked sites, like eBay or Amazon, but also give some of the smaller ones a shot too. Unless you choose a site with a monthly subscription, you are not obligated to any certain time frame, other than the length of the postings you currently have on that site (for auctions and classifieds).
There are many inexpensive online courses and books dedicated to helping sellers be successful on various marketplaces, created and written by top sellers on those sites. They offer great insight on things like which products to sell, how to write the most effective titles and descriptions, which selling format works best, and everything in between to give you a strategic advantage over the competition.
Here are a few great marketplace seller strategy guides:
- Sky High Auctions – Ebay Strategy Guide and Tools
- Starting an eBay Business for Dummies
- eBay PowerSeller Secrets: Insider Tips from eBay’s Most Successful Sellers
- How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products
- Amazon Income: How Anyone of Any Age, Location, and/or Background Can Build a Highly Profitable Online Business With Amazon
Types of Marketplaces
Auction sites became popular with the birth of eBay many years ago, and still remain a powerful force in the ecommerce world. Auctions follow a bidding model in a variety of formats. Typically you will list an item for sale and specify a starting price or a reserve price (the minimum value that you will allow it to sell for). They are time-based listings that will expire, and if there is a winning bidder you will have made a sale of that product.
These marketplaces provide you with a complete virtual storefront for selling your products. You will typically configure your seller account and list your products, and they are shown with all other products from all sellers on the marketplace. A user will typically purchase the item on the marketplace site, and you receive the order to fulfill. In most cases the transaction is handled by the marketplace and you receive the funds from the marketplace directly. These marketplaces can be a great way to extend your full product line and business into an entire marketplace at once and they handle the marketing and traffic generation for you.
Comparison Shopping sites allow you to specify the products you sell and at what price, and provide shoppers with an easy to use way to compare pricing across merchants.Your listing will show on the site for any products that you sell, and the site will typically send the buyer directly to your site to learn more or to purchase. While some of the cost models vary, these types of marketplaces typically charge you per visitor they send to your site (pay per click).
Classified listings sites, such as Craigslist, are typically single item listings for a product or service for sale. They are typically time based but do not expire automatically when you have a buyer. Buyers are directed to whatever information you provide in your listing descriptions, and can be a great way to send new buyer traffic to your site for free or at a low cost.
Coupon and Deal Sites
There is an increasing trend in marketplaces that bring special deals, promotions, and coupons to bargain shoppers looking for specific items or promotions on products to buy. These marketplaces will allow you to list a special promotion or coupon code for a discount on a purchase from your store. They will typically require you to have either your own website or physical store where the promotion can be redeemed for a purchase by a buyer.
Cost Model Types
Marketplaces have a variety of cost models based on their business model and structure. These available cost models include:
There are no charges to sell on this marketplace. Some marketplaces have a free option with a paid premium upgrade.
It is free to list your product for sale on this marketplace. In some cases, there is a sales commission fee linked to the listing if you sell the product, or in others there is no commission and it is a completely free marketplace.
There is a fee required to list your item for sale on the marketplace. This can be a flat fee, or tiered based on your item price.
Pay Per Click
You will pay a set fee for each click that your product listing on this marketplace generates.
Upon a successful sale the marketplace will take a commission amount or percentage for generating the sale for you.
There is a subscription fee for selling on this marketplace and listing your products to its users.
To learn more about the online marketplaces where you can sell your products, a great place to start is the free directory of every online marketplace found here: Online Marketplace Directory