Amazon is the largest marketplace with millions of customers all over the world. But a big market does not always equate to the best services. There are many restrictive practices and costs that make it hard for a small business to sell in the store and expect to make big profits. For starters, Amazon is expensive, competitive, and a bit confusing. That could result in low profits if you sell very small items that do not have high margins. You have to first learn to battle SEO to get your product ranking on the first page of the Amazon web result or pay Amazon to get your product featured.
There are compelling reasons to shift from Amazon and try some of its amazon alternatives. The fee schedule has a very heavy impact on the profits plus Amazon has a lot of restrictions on what you can and cannot sell on their marketplace. When you deal with niche-specific products there are times when it is not feasible to use a general marketplace such as Amazon. It is well-known that alternatives to amazon like Etsy are great choices for retailing handmade objects hence would get customers and boost sales compared to competing on Amazon.
As noted, Amazon charges exorbitant fees to offer any service that makes it not worthwhile to do business on its platform. Merchants have to contend with referral fees, subscription fees, high volume fees, and that just scratching the surface of the big money-draining scheme you've got to invest in. Comparing Amazon and websites like Amazon, you can note a very big difference as the smaller platforms are willing to charge lower fees to attract more clients to their stores. New users on sites like Amazon often get a 14-day trial to test the marketplace and get some grounding before they can upgrade to the premium service. You can decide to benchmark various marketplaces and compare them with Amazon.
If you are a retailer and need a marketplace that gives you the freedom to trade and make profits consider the following marketplaces:
eBay is an auction and consumer-to-consumer sales marketing platform. It has been facilitating third-party sales and action in the USA from 1995 from it headquarter in San Jose California. eBay has 23 global sites that receive a joint 197 million visitors monthly and processes two billion transactions, with more than half of it done by 60 million of its 180 million users who live outside the USA. The market pace has direct integration with dropshipping sites like Doba for easy inventory management.
Opening an account on eBay is free and there is no limitation on what you can sell. Amazon, on the other hand, is very keen on what can be sold on its platform and only has 23 of its 40 categories unrestricted and 12 require the person to sell and you can guess what happens with the remaining 5 categories. One of the biggest challenges merchants have to face working on Amazon is that Amazon is both a seller and regulator hence giving undue competition to small merchants who do not have large bills to advertise on Amazon.
One major difference that sets eBay and Amazon apart is the auction feature in eBay that lets customers sell goods in an auction and at an unfixed price. Amazon only lets customers buy goods at a fixed price which may limit the margin as at times bids may go above the expected amount.
The next aspect is the marketplace friendliness to the sellers; eBay seems easier to list, sell and receive payments compared to Amazon. The listing on eBay can take a few minutes. All you've got to choose is the listing format, and once your product is sold, the money is deposited in your PayPal account. Amazon, on the other hand, takes payments for you and holds them for 14 days before sending them to your bank account. The process of listing is lengthy though a bit easy to follow.
The ease of sale of the product usually depends on the nature of the product being sold on both platforms. Amazon sales are generally higher for products that appeal to a mass market such as beauty items, baby products, and trendy fashion while eBay tends to favor unique or unusual items or cheap items that have lower sales margins but may generate high sales volume. Amazon still holds an advantage for Amazon FBA service that helps merchants pack, store, and ship products to the final customer making it easier to concentrate on marketing your products.
eBay is best suited for products that are fast-moving or when you need to sell a rare item that can attract lots of bids. The advantage of actioning makes eBay a place many are willing to sell goods as they can sell goods above the markup price though there is no guarantee that is always the case as someone may buy goods at a lower cost.
How to succeed on eBay
You need to be creative-minded on eBay and continually seek to get products that seem elusive to many. Get unique products and occasionally, when you get cheap products, let them go live on eBay to make quick bucks.
Rakuten has been labeled as Japan’s Amazon selling online goods in multiple countries but having a majority of its customers in Japan. The online store has about 90% of all online subscribers in Japan registered to the site. It has not yet received so much success outside the Asian market but it is still a force to be reckoned with.
Rakuten does not retail products hence it does not give direct competition to the traders making it much more fair compared to Amazon which retails tons of its own brands on its website. There are, however, big brands like Lenovo, Dell, and Dyason that retail on Rakuten. The store is much easier to handle with the option to customize your Rakuten store, a big plus that Amazon and other eCommerce platforms are yet to catch up on.
Amazon uses a closed system where they handle everything when it comes to order fulfillment from warehouse management, customer service packaging, and shipping. Rakuten is more open and only gives businesses the selling platform and a payment gateway but businesses manage their own inventory. This freedom gives the merchants more flexibility to build their own brand, design their store and add content such as blogs on the store. The closed platform makes Rakuten feel more like a shopping mall where loyalty is gunners by offering clients benefits like cash backs and Rakuten super points.
Rakuten scores a bit lower because it only serves in 29 countries including the US and has a plan to expand a bit further. Who knows? It could soon overtake Amazon! Another downside of the marketplace is the higher fee for small retailers as one is required to part with $33 a month and a category fee of 8% to 15% plus an extra fee of $0.99 for any items sold. It still has great seller support as one on Amazon.
Rakuten is a great marketplace with lots of promise for new sellers. It can be a particularly great piece to diversify your market and get a pie of the Asian or Japanese market.
Rakuten may not be particularly as competitive as Amazon but you have to learn how to package your store and rebrand to attract loyalty. There is no limit as to how far you can go to customize your store. Go all the way in and make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Walmart is the largest retailer in the US that runs chains of hypermarkets, grocery stores, and discount department stores. It has almost a monopoly on the physical store commanding equity of 79.6 billion dollars compared to Amazon that only controls 43.55 billion dollars. Having experienced great success offline prompted Walmart to open an online store. The store has had rapid growth and there are reports that Walmart may surpass eBay to the second place in the online retail business to compete with Amazon. Their marketplace is free to sign up for but could take time to get approval as it works on an invite-only basis and allows players who have been successful on other marketplaces to trade on its site.
Walmart and Amazon are the two largest retailer corporations one the largest retailer in the US and the other the largest online retailer. Just like Amazon, Walmart retails well from some of its brands on the market place hence it may lead to more competition for the buy box. Sellers with the least price on Walmart get the best chance to be featured on the Walmart buy box. Walmart does not fulfill the orders and lets the sellers handle the order fulfillment processes.
Walmart is easy to work on as there is no setup fee or maintenance fee. There is however a referral fee that ranges between 8% to 20% that is relatively low compared to Amazon's slew of fees. It is easier to list items that are already listed on Walmart as you use the same listing as a similar item. New items may require a new listing. Quality photographs and a grasp on SEO are emphasized to get the listing onto the search engines.
Walmart has fewer merchants compared to Amazon hence promises to have lower competition. An argument is however made for Amazon that it has a larger customer base. Only time can really tell how far Walmart can really challenge Amazon for the dominance of the online space but as for now, the seeds have already been planted.
Walmart, despite being cheaper on their rates, is more reserved for top companies with a bigger market share rather than small businesses that may not be able to undercut their competition on the buy button. There is little customization and only prices determine success.
Succeeding on Walmart requires one to have a steady supply of goods at competitive prices and to be willing to give extra customer service.
Wish is a popular online store in Europe and the US. The retailer has over 100 million active monthly users in over 120 countries and destinations. Sensor tower claims that the wish app has been the most downloaded shopping app in the last three years. Its heavy presence in Europe and the US increases its overall customer base and the chances of getting a market for your goods. Wish is seller-friendly and does not burden merchants with a lot of fees that make it impossible to trade and make decent profits.
Both Wish and Amazon have built themselves as respectable platforms in the international scene commanding over 300 million visitors to their platforms. Wish is an attractive platform for merchants as it has a low commission and ensures large payouts on goods they sell on the platform. The sales commission is a one-off fee of 15% of every product sold as opposed to Amazon that has a high commission in addition to other charges that keep the cost of listing the item on the marketplace. There is no registration fee, no product listing fee, or even an annual subscription making it one of the cheapest marketplace to sell your goods.
Wish is very flexible in terms of product fulfillment and gives clients three options to ship their products to the final consumer. The merchant can pay Wish a commission to help handle the fulfillment of orders, use a third party to deliver the order, or deliver the product themselves. Wish does not have any of its brands selling on the platform, reducing the competition merchants have to face though there are notable brands retailing their product on the market.
Wish is best suited for general goods with an international market in over 120 countries hence suitable for international businesses who want to trade goods in multiple countries. Dropshippers buying goods from respected platforms like Doba can appreciate the convenience of working with Wish.
Over 60% of Wish's customer base are millennials and generation z; hence you have to struggle to have more products that rhyme with the generation. You have to understand how to market goods and deliver excellent goods.
Wayfair is a niche-oriented online marketplace specializing in home improvement goods and merchandise such as elemental decor, lights, furniture. The marketplace consists of six different websites where you can retail your furniture. Wayfair has earned itself the name as the largest marketplace for home furnishing and decor.
The Marketplace is strictly invested in improving seller experience to ensure products on their marketplace rank higher on the internet. The store uses over half its profits to ensure everyone experiences the best services and buys quality furniture from the marketplace and reduces your advertisement cost and lets you focus on how you can improve and sell more items.
Wayfair makes it easy for its sellers to list products easily with the smart dashboard that has full product publishing that makes it easier to manage inventory. The store supports direct shipping and dropshipping which is a cost-effective and time-saving feature. Merchants on the platform have access to data and analytics related to selling, a market rate that is regularly updated to give them a better overview of the current trends and market outlook. The information helps the seller determine what they should manufacture to get more sales.
While Amazon has websites dedicated to specific countries and markets such as Canada, UK, and the US, Wayfair has several websites dedicated to selling its quality products. It has also segmented itself to a singular market and hence it is much more likely to appeal to only the best in merchandise in the chosen section. Way fair has continually become more popular and is the number one store for decor and home furnishing. Amazon on the other hand sells general goods including furniture hence not able to meet the different user demands of a specific segment.
Wayfair just like Amazon fulfills and ships goods on behalf of the merchants. The platform is great and does not choke the traders with fees. All the fees that are charged by platforms like Amazon are waived with only the shipping fee charged to the sellers. What Wayfair lacks in seller fees compensates with strict requirements to sell on the platform. It is however easier to achieve success on Wayfair.
With that said and done Amazon reveals its total cost in advance and you can use the FBA calculator to evaluate the total cost you have to incur on the Amazon marketplace compared to mere shipping costs.
Wayfair is designed to maximize sales of home and office decor and could suit anyone who is keen to sell furniture, lamps, and other accessories.
Success on Wayfair depends on how stringent one is at meeting the conditions imposed on the marketplace. You need vision and a great inventory of home decor to ensure you keep selling for longer.
Etsy is an eCommerce company that specializes in the trade of unique, handmade, and vintage artifacts and crafts. Vintage items have to be at least 20 years old and include craft supplies and tools, home decor and furniture, clothing bags, and jewelry. It particularly has great value among artists who sell digital download items such as art prints, printable documents, stationery designs, and planners.
Etsy is easy to use with easy-to-sign-on and list goods procedures. You do not have to pay a setup fee to open a store on Etsy rather you get charged per listing. Each listing carries a paltry charge of $0.20 and a five percent transaction fee on the sale of an item. The transaction fee is used in the personalization and gift-wrapping charge for all the goods that are sold.
Sellers in the United States and Canada have an added advantage that the transaction fee cannot be applied on the sales tax, Goods and service tax, and harmonized sales tax. The few additional payments are Etsy payments, Etsy ads shipping fee, and currency conversion charges.
Etsy is convenient as it automatically updates listings every four months at a flat Etsy listing fee. There are monthly statements to help you clear your outstanding fees more promptly.
Etsy is another niche-specific store that won't let you retail just anything you wish to sell while Amazon is an open market that allows one to list products across niches. Most of the products sold in the store are artistic and handmade making it difficult to get products that have been mass-produced hence there is a low chance of big brands outcompeting smaller businesses that retail on the market. Since Etsy is known as a niche-specific marketplace more customers flock to the store and are more likely to get your product compared to general stores.
There are a few fees associated with trading on both Amazon and Etsy but Etsy has a much lower fee compared to Amazon and the fees are a bit fewer. Etsy only charges $0.2 per listing and a 3.5% commission on all sales which is low and fixed compared to Amazon that may require serious calculations to get an accurate figure. While Amazon still enjoys more traffic, Etsy has better merchant support.
Etsy is a marketplace suitable for artists, small creators who make their own items, and anyone who loves fixed costs rather than a whole schedule.
Etsy was designed to be niche specific but there has been a steady growth of some niches like fashion on the platform that can allow those people who cannot create unique artifacts to sell the unique clothes there. They can also source unique goods from Doba to boost their store.
Passfeed is a social shopping app that allows anyone to sell goods and services on the app, helping retailers, hotels and merchants get their goods to the market faster and customers to share the shopping experience. The store is inspired by and has very low transaction costs.
Passfeed and Amazon both use the app and the web to list goods through Passfeed is much cheaper to list and sell products.
Passfeed is suited to people who are new to online marketplaces. It uses the phone to draw more people and get to more customers.
You have to be proactive and willing to share the goods you sell online and do heavy marketing.
NewEgg is the best marketplace for listing tech products. The store has a wide variety of electronics, gaming products, and smart home products. Here are different selling tiers on NewEgg that influence the commission charged on the product. Sellers have numerous platforms to interact with their customers on the platform. Newegg provides order fulfillment services as well as allows for direct shipping to clients around the world. Their fulfillment service is robust, helping sellers reach customers all over the world as well as handle returns.
The marketplace offers custom marketing strategies to help clients get a bigger market online and offline. It is one of those platforms that are inexpensive as it does not have a monthly subscription fee or listing fee. You can even cancel a listing for free making it among the most flexible marketplaces. The marketplace is particularly fair with new sellers as it doesn’t charge sellers who haven’t made any sales. Sellers are charged low commission and give access to a user-friendly portal to manage their sales with multiple payment options.
Newegg only deals with electronics while Amazon deals with all types of goods from physical goods to Amazon Kindle. The limit in what you can sell has a plus side that only those interested in buying electronics will visit your store.
Newegg offers order fulfillment services like Amazon FBA but it does not have exorbitant costs to cripple the business. There are tiered memberships so that merchants of all budgets can trade on the marketplace with a larger premium attracting extra tools. Only commissions are paid by users who do not use premium and the commission ranges from 8% to 15%.
Newegg is suited for merchants who retail tech products and want to maximize and get the best of the tech world.
Succeeding on Newegg requires mastery of SEO, following the Newegg SEO guidelines, and advertising all over to increase leads to your store.
The USA and Europe
It is interesting that there are many Amazon alternatives that different sellers can change depending on the marketplace that offer the best value. The final choice on what to sell depends on the kind of goods you retail, the fees charged in the store, and other extra services. You are free to experiment and have multiple marketplaces before settling for the most convenient.