With the internet, it’s so much easier for entrepreneurs to sell their products. Places like Amazon and Etsy offer near-limitless access to potential markets, both in North America and across the globe. The need to open a brick-and-mortar shop is not necessarily an essential part of selling your products anymore.
Starting a new venture is exciting and with over half of the global population now actively online, your customer base is virtually limitless. Whether you’re a creative soul wanting to sell handmade candles or quirky fingerless mittens, or are contemplating a wholesale distribution of graphic print t-shirts, there’s a market for your product. But which one is the right online platform for you?
Do your research before starting an online business
Maybe you’re already started your online business, or maybe you just have an idea and are doing some preliminary research. Starting an online business can be exciting, but also daunting. You are your own boss and you call the shots. But the fact that there are so many online marketplaces can be a bit confusing.
This is why it’s important to do your research first. We can’t say enough about the importance of thoroughly researching your online business, understand your niche market. You probably already have a sense of what that is (quirky fingerless mittens, anyone?), but also conduct market research. How popular are fingerless mittens? What product category would these fit into? Are they a passing fad or are they a staple that’s here to stay?
Market research can also help determine demand. If there isn’t a huge demand for your products, you may have a hard time finding a customer base. Determining demand helps with sales forecasts, which helps you budget.
Analyzing your competition is also a big part of doing your research. If the competition is stiff, that can drive the prices down, which might make it harder for you to turn a profit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t capture your share of the market. Maybe you need to offer something unique about your product that isn’t available in the current market. There might be a lot of equally quirky fingerless mitten sellers online, but are they made with organic and ethically sourced materials like yours?
Competitor research involves four basic steps, called a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis measures the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your business.
What is an online marketplace?
If you’re just starting out, you may wonder what an online marketplace is. Basically, an online marketplace is an ecommerce website that offers a variety of products from different retailers. These retailers can be a sole proprietor selling handmade products, or they can be larger distributors.
The online marketplace business is vast. There are over 100 online marketplaces worldwide, meaning your customers might be anywhere. That can be both beneficial and daunting. Again, it’s important to do your research. Browse some online marketplaces to find out which is the best for your product. (We’ve done the legwork for you and listed 11 of the most popular ones below!)
3 reasons to sell on an online marketplace
Despite how overwhelming the online marketplace business may seem, there are some significant benefits to selling your wares online.
1. Up and running in no time
Basically, an online marketplace means you don’t have to wait for a store opening to start selling your products. Most online marketplaces let you start selling with a click of a mouse.
If selling online is new to you, these online marketplaces can really help build your brand. Most online marketplaces require approval to start selling, but once you have that approval, you can sell as a third-party seller or add your online shop directly on their website, such as Etsy.
2. Programs are already established
Most of the biggest online marketplaces already have established selling programs. This means most of the legwork is already done for you as far as navigating the online marketplace platform. Many sites have a plethora of tools to help you to get your products listed, including shipping options with shipping rates already included. How’s that for easy?
3. Established customer base
Probably the most important and beneficial part of an online marketplace is there’s a pre-established customer base. You don’t need to go hunting. Places like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy already have millions of active users. In fact, most online retailers don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, and 56% of all product searches are now conducted (and often end) on Amazon.
Top 11 online marketplaces
Now that you’ve got a general idea of what online marketplaces are and how they work, let’s look at 11 of the top sites where you can sell your products.
Amazon is ubiquitous among the online marketplace retailers and leverages the largest customer base, with