A Short Guide to Major Online Marketplaces (Pt. 3)

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Marketplaces 3

Image credit: Luca Gargano

Click here for Part 1 of this series about Amazon, eBay and Etsy

Click here for Part 2 of this series about Rakuten, Sears and Newegg

In most of the online marketplaces, you can sell your goods either by a fixed price or by arranging an auction. And that’s pretty much it – of course, some limits on what you can sell apply (did you know selling enriched uranium, souls and ghosts and dirty used clothes is forbidden on eBay?), but these two models rule all of e-commerce. However, there’s a handful of much more interesting marketplaces on the internet that, although they use the same pricing models, have a higher purpose than only being a place that brings a buyer and seller together. In this part of the series, we will review three of the most exciting and different marketplaces you can find on the web.

Bonanza – the Social Marketplace

Bonanza is a marketplace built for those who don’t know exactly what they want to buy, but are open to discoveries and the social side of shopping. Buyers and sellers can chat real-time on this site, and everyone can create collections of items of a certain theme, opening new ways both to market your goods and provide great customer service.

Pros:

  1. Unique audience. If you’re selling stylish goods that are different from anything else you can find on the internet, then there’s a very high chance the Bonanza’s audience will be interested.
  2. Easy to use. You can easily import all your merchandise from eBay or Etsy, so if you’re already selling on those marketplaces, starting up here will be a hassle-free experience.
  3. Competitive fees. Bonanza offers some of the lowest fees for using their platform to sell your items on the internet, so it’s a good place if you’re just starting up and are not sure about the costs you can handle.

Cons:

  1. Less traffic. As Bonanza is quite a new marketplace, it still doesn’t have a wide circle of buyers. Lower amount of people who see your products usually means lower sales.
  2. Limited range of merchandise. While the items that can be sold on Bonanza range from perfume and shoes to helmets and bikes, all of the merchandise here is unique, so it’s not a good place if you’re selling identical items in large quantities or reselling.
  3. Competitive atmosphere. It’s not easy to stand out on Bonanza – there are lots of very talented people selling their goods there. But if you manage to do that, some sales are guaranteed.

CafePress – a Great Addition to Your Business

While CafePress isn’t your usual online marketplace as you can’t sell your own items here, it makes a wonderful addition to any website with some creative content, letting you design and sell your own t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, books, etc.. It can be also be used as an extra sales channel if you’re in the fashion business – the possibilities are actually endless, you just need to think of a way how this customized merchandise can help your business.

Pros:

  1. No unsold inventory. All products on CafePress are made to order, meaning you won’t have to worry about any merchandise you weren’t able to sell.
  2. Reliable service. The marketplace handles all your sales from order to shipping, so you can sit back and watch the profits grow – if you offer some exceptional designs, of course.
  3. Additional platform for sales. You can integrate the CafePress products you design into your website, but the items still show up in the searches on the marketplace itself, providing you with two sales channels.

Cons:

  1. You can’t sell your own goods. You can customize the products CafePress has to offer, but selling your own merchandise, even if it’s t-shirts or posters, is impossible here.
  2. Less control over customer service. As mentioned above, CafePress handles all your sales, so everything doesn’t depend on you here. If you’re used to providing top-notch customer service, it might cause some problems… not necessarily, of course.
  3. Low profit margins. The marketplace retains most of the profits for the items you sell, so you probably won’t earn a fortune selling only on this website – but it’s a very good addition to your business nevertheless.

Roozt – Promoting Giving Back

This marketplace is free to use for any brands that do something to give back to the world with every purchase. For example, there’s a wooden clock seller that plants a tree for every item purchased or a t-shirt seller that supports education and reforestation in the world. If you own such a business, you can easily find some buyers that will support your cause in this marketplace.

Pros:

  1. Social responsibility. Even if you don’t make considerable profits in this marketplace, it’s a great way to show that you care about your surroundings. Needless to say, this might bring some extra sales.
  2. Supportive buyers. If you stand for a cause that helps to make the world a better place, you’ll certainly find some people interested in your goods here. It’s not the most popular website on the internet, but it’s quite well known among those who don’t consider the price to be the most important motivation to buy.
  3. Higher prices. The social responsibility side of this marketplace lets you offer prices that are a little higher than would be reasonable in other marketplaces. You still have to fulfill whatever you promise for your cause, though.

Cons:

  1. Inferior traffic. Although the audience is interested in helping to give back to the world, there are not enough of them to have a considerable impact on the profits of all the businesses that sell here.
  2. Hard to get in. If you want to sell on Roozt, your brand has to satisfy a handful of strict requirements, including being humanitarian, eco-friendly, ethical and beneficial to the community.
  3. No international shipping. As Roozt takes care of shipping of goods, you won’t be able to sell to customers outside of US, narrowing the circle of customers even more.

As it is evident from these three marketplaces, selling online doesn’t end with creating a membership on eBay. There are numerous interesting and fun ways to offer your merchandise to potential customers – you just need to find an online marketplace that is the right fit for your business.

Click here for Part 1 of this series about Amazon, eBay and Etsy

Click here for Part 2 of this series about Rakuten, Sears and Newegg