To become a top-notch online seller, you need the right platform for your product. We’ve compared the top sites directly so you can set up your online store today.
eBay.com gained popularity because it was one of the early pioneers of online ecommerce – but just because it was around first, does that mean it’s the best? Yes, you can sometimes get a great deal using eBay’s bidding-style purchasing, but what about for sellers?
If you have merchandise to sell online, eBay is certainly not your only option. In recent years, other websites like Amazon.com, Bonanza.com, and Etsy.com have become renowned for sellers as well – depending on what is it you’re trying to sell. If you want to know which site is going to help you make the most money, and give the least back to your host, we’ve got the answers here.
What is covered in this article:
- eBay overview: where buyers can start a bidding war
- Amazon overview: the world’s biggest marketplace
- Bonanza overview: ranked the best for sellers
- Etsy overview: for artisans with specialty items
- Comparison table for sellers’ websites: fees, top-selling items, and more
- How can you qualify to be a seller on a website?
- What additional fees should you be aware of when selling online?
- 5 money-making tips when selling online
If you’re ready to unload your products on the Internet, read on to learn which site you need to sign up as a seller on today. We’re going to start with a brief overview of our top four picks, so you understand how they work for sellers.
eBay overview: where buyers can start a bidding war
Best for: When you want a fair and flexible price for the things you want to sell.
eBay.com gained its popularity as the online auction website where users could place bids on items they saw, and the highest bid would win the item at the end of the auction. This made it a great place for the kind of items that are typically sold at auctions, including antiques, collectibles, even cars! It’s also great for something you need out of your life by a certain date, as you can set a time frame for the auction to make sure your item sells.
For sellers, eBay is a great platform for these kinds of products, or when what you have is simply valuable. Auctions can drive the selling price of your item up, but you have to be willing to be patient and wait for the right buyer. If you have thousands of items of inventory and want to unload them as quickly as possible, eBay probably isn’t the best website for you. Just remember that the eBay fees for sellers, in comparison, tend to be quite high. To learn more, check out this complete list on how much eBay charges to sell items.
Check out this free, complete, online course with step-by-step tutorials for every aspect of becoming a seller on eBay, how to set up your online store, and how to succeed.
Amazon overview: the world’s biggest marketplace
Best for: When you need access to a high volume of potential customers.
Amazon.com is the biggest online retailer in the world – and for good reason. They took a basic principle – that purchasing books direct from manufacturers and cutting out the middle man would cut costs – and turned that into an online empire. As their motto goes, on Amazon, you can find “everything from A-Z” so if you have something to sell, or already have your own retail store set up, Amazon is a logical next step.
eBay vs. Amazon: this has always been the ultimate question, and to determine which is better, you need to understand your target selling audience. If you have items that are unique or hard to come by, eBay is better for you, while high traffic or high-volume sellers will benefit more with Amazon.
If what you’re looking for is a big audience because what you have to sell is generally run-of-the-mill, or you have a lot of it, Amazon is your best bet. It makes millions of sales daily, and has a great program called Amazon Prime where users get free 2-day shipping (among other benefits), which encourages them to continue to use Amazon. Amazon seller fees are also quite reasonable for most items sold on the site.
Bonanza overview: ranked the best for sellers
Best For: When you want to be treated well as a seller, and you have something unique to sell.
Different from Amazon’s niche, Bonanza.com helps you find “everything but the ordinary” on their website, which means as a seller, you need to have something unique or cool if you want to find success on this website. You won’t be able to just sell basic bowls for the kitchen – they’ll need to have a unique pattern; your furniture can’t be run-of-the-mill – it need to have secret storage or an amazing design. If this sounds like what you have, Bonanza is probably the site for you.
Bonanza vs. eBay: it’s not really that much of a contest from a seller’s perspective. Bonanza is known for treating its sellers incredibly well, while eBay is known for the opposite. Bonanza has been recommended over selling on eBay 5 years in a row, and intend on maintaining their commitment to sellers.
Bonanza offers free listings, lower fees, and even have software that can import your listings from eBay, Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify if you’ve already set up a store somewhere else. If you want to take the work out of selling, and get treated well by their customer service for sellers, then Bonanza is the right choice for you.
Etsy overview: for artisans with specialty items
Best For: When what you have to sell is hand-made and special.
Etsy.com is one of the sites like eBay that is known as the place to be for people who make their own items for sale. For years, people have turned the weekend handmade market into an Internet sensation, finding a platform to list handmade items or other unique DIY products. If you consider yourself an artisan, or the majority of what you make is handmade (or helps supply others with the items for DIY), then Etsy is right for you.
Selling on Etsy vs. eBay: which is better? Unique items sell well on both sites, but both sites have a few drawbacks. eBay’s fees tend to be a bit higher – depending on what you are selling, while Etsy requires a significant commitment to personal customer service – something eBay doesn’t encourage.
Don’t get us wrong – if what you have is handmade, this is probably the sellers’ website for you. However, be prepared to do a bit of extra work with customer service, as buyers on Etsy very frequently contact sellers for customizations. We also think the commissions and listing fees on Etsy are a little high – more like the eBay seller fees – but your final sale prices will also probably be higher because they are handmade.
Comparison table for sellers’ websites: fees, top-selling items, and more
|Website||Sellers’ Fees||Top-Selling Items||Length to Set Up + List Items||Sellers’ Opinion|
|eBay||· Insertion: $0.30/item (50 free/month)||Home décor, fitness equipment, branded tech, fashion, jewellery and watches, used books, concert tickets, antiques & collectibles, coins||2 hours||Poor – fees abruptly change and customer service is bad|
|· Final Value: 10% or lower|
|· Listing Upgrades: optional|
|· Extra Category: +$ for motor vehicles, real estate, business items listings|
|Amazon||· Individual: $0.99/item + referral and closing fees||Electronics, books, sporting goods, private label clothing||2 hours||Good – biggest online audience increases chances for sales|
|· Professional: $39.99/month + referral and closing fees|
|Bonanza||· Under $500 sale: 3.5%||Antiques & collectibles, home décor, clothing & accessories, unique items||< 1 hour||Amazing – rated the best online platform for sellers, repeatedly|
|· Over $500 sale: 3.5% + 1.5% of the value over $500|
|· Minimum Commission Fee is $0.50|
|Etsy||Listing: $0.20/item||Natural cosmetics/creams, personalized/engraved items, handmade jewellery||1.5 hours||Fair – fees are higher and customer service demands a lot of attention from sellers|
|Transaction: 5% of the total|
|*Items expire after 4 months and must be renewed at full listing price|
How can you qualify to be a seller on a website?
To become a seller on a website, you need to adhere to their specific qualifications. In many instances, essentially anyone can become
a seller on a website, if they have an inventory of items, and a way of shipping them to customers. Once you register and pay the sellers’ fees, you’re all set.
If you want information on how to become a seller on any of these websites, follow the links below to get to step one:
- Become a seller on eBay
- Become a seller on Amazon
- Become a seller on Bonanza
- Become a seller on Etsy
What additional fees should you be aware of when selling online?
Many websites broadcast that their sellers’ fees are really low, but once you sign up, you realize that you’re paying a fortune because these of the fees included in their fine print. Here’s a rundown on the basic fees charged to sellers, and which websites charge some form of them.
|Advertising||Have your items pushed ahead of others in search results||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Enhancement||Spruce up your listing compared to other basic stores on the site||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Final Value Fee||A percentage of each sale||10%||15%||3.5%||5%|
|PayPal||If your store uses PayPal to process transactions||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Per Listing||The total number of items you can have listed on the site||$0.35||$0.99||n/a||$0.20|
|Per Product||The number of different products you can have listed||No||Yes||No||No|
|Postage/Shipping||Cost of shipping items to your customers||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Subscription||A per month/year fee for the right to sell on the site||$4.95-2999.95/m||$39.99/m||Optional||No|
|Tiered Sale||Different percentages based on either your subscription or the value of the item||Yes||No||No||No|
|Transaction||A percentage of your sale for each transaction||No||No||No||3-4%|
You might want to consider branching out from the big four sellers we mentioned here, especially if what you sell fits in a niche. If so, check out the apps you could start selling on today.
5 money-making tips when selling online
If you’re just starting out as a seller, these tips and resources will help you get a jump start on your competition.
- Prioritize user reviews and feedback– This is an incredibly important part of making continued sales. Always respond to customer questions quickly, and be lenient when buyers have complaints or concerns. Check out this article on why reviews are so essential to ecommerce success. If you’re most concerned about eBay feedback – where your rating is more important than any other site – learn exactly how eBay Feedback and Ratings
- Be willing to negotiate when possible– Sites like Amazon and Bonanza don’t really allow for this, but if you’re listing on eBay or Etsy, you can. Consider these tactics on how negotiating can help you make more sales.
- Know what your items are really worth– Make sure to do market research to understand the real value of what you are selling. Don’t confuse sentimental value with fair market value.
- Put real effort into describing your listing– This includes taking professional pictures, listing product dimensions, and going out of your way to over-explain what it is you are offering. Check out these examples of product descriptions that sell.
- Consider offering discounts or raising your prices– If you’re having difficulty selling an item, or you get a lot of inquiries from buyers about reducing your prices, you might want to consider offering sales or discounts on your items. Learn about how to use discount pricing strategies to make more sales here.
In general, eBay is best when your items are unique or valuable, while Amazon is better when you have a lot of something, or just need a big audience of everyday buyers. If what you have is handmade, best to stick with the artisan market on Etsy, while any other unique products you have will sell best on Bonanza – where they treat sellers best.