The eBay alternatives: online markets to watch out for
As the most popular online marketplace on the internet, you'd be forgiven for thinking eBay should be your go-to website for buying and selling. It's a wonderful website, naturally, and millions of products change hands every single day on the platform. However, there are other marketplaces - I know, other marketplaces? - offering buying and selling opportunities for specialist sellers.
No longer are sellers bound to sell their wares on a generalist marketplace like eBay when there are more than a handful of specialist websites - from arts and crafts to fashion - that may prove to be more lucrative for both parties.
Arts and crafts
Badges, bags, dresses, blankets, posters and prints all tend to be more inventive and original when made by creative small businesses instead of straight off the factory line from big corporations. That hand-made, inspired touch can go some way to making your listings a hit, which is why arts and crafts marketplaces like Not On The High Street and Etsy are performing very well in the world of ecommerce.
Not only that, modern consumers are far more aware about 'supporting' creative talent, especially talent from their home nation, instead of lining the pockets of big business. As arts and crafts listed on these websites are made directly by the artists, designers and creators, it's easy for consumers to start shopping with independent sellers.
Best of all, Not On The High Street doesn't require sellers to pay a listing fee for every item up for sale. As a result, more money goes the way of the seller instead of chunks of profit extracted by the website in question. It's an ideal marketplace for arts and crafts enthusiasts that could be more appropriate than generalist marketplaces.
Marketplaces aren't just restricted to arts and crafts. Up-and-coming fashion retailers also need a platform to exhibit their wares and specialist websites like ASOS Marketplace or Stilorama are the perfect websites to do so.
With the ability to shop the world's newest brands, vintage boutiques and one-off individual pieces, ASOS Marketplace is a shopper's dream. Not only that, it is ideal for sellers looking to get their fashion wares recognised on a global platform for little outlay. Listing individual items costs nothing and ASOS will only take five per cent of the sale price, making it an ideal venture for the odd piece of clothing. The prices rise when it comes to setting up a fully-fledged boutique - a recurring £20 a month fee, plus 20 per cent of the sale price - but it could still prove lucrative for medium-sized outlets which are selling a whole catalogue of wares.
While Stilorama might not have the brand pull of ASOS Marketplace, it is still effective for online retailers looking for a powerful online advertising and marketing platform. Best of all, Stilorama does not charge any commission on sales, just a mere product listing fee or store set-up fee (both are monthly).
You might find your stock doesn't fit into a specific niche, thus making eBay an ideal choice. Or is it?
There are many other online marketplaces out there. They may not have the auction system of eBay but the vast amount of alternative options - Amazon and Gumtree to name just two - ensures buyers and sellers have a wide array of options available to them.
Take Amazon Marketplace. New, used, collectable and refurbished items of all varieties can be sold on the platform with 'individual seller' and 'pro seller' options available depending on a user's selling frequency. In Amazon is one of the biggest names in the world of ecommerce, so it makes sense to sell on a platform where the product will be highly visible to huge numbers of consumers.
Gumtree, a classifieds site, could also be an option for one-off items but perhaps not as appropriate for larger-scale selling operations. Regardless of whether or not users want to advertise their wares for free, Gumtree is an ideal platform on which to sell. Expect bartering on the price and delivery fee, though, making it an altogether different beast to eBay's auction or Buy It Now service.
It's fair to say that eBay has a remarkable consistency in the ecommerce sphere, dwarfing some of its rivals. The sheer number of listings posted every single day still makes eBay an extremely viable platform for buyers and sellers, but the amount of revenue it generates from product listings, commission and even cash from delivery fees means it may not always be the best option. For more specialist listings (or even general listings depending on the item), users might be better off looking at alternative platforms.