In 1972, students at Stanford and MIT organized the first ever online marketplace via the ARPANET. Cannabis became the first product ever to be sold via e-commerce. Since then, e-commerce has developed considerably and has even become part of the everyday lives of the biggest skeptics.
With FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) and FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant), even small businesses can sell their products easily and benefit from Amazon's advantages. But Amazon is far from the only online marketplace that's great to sell on. Here's a whole list of online marketplaces you can rely on:
eBay started around the same time as Amazon. Both marketplaces competed with each other for a long time. eBay was the leading online marketplace for many years before Amazon finally became the clear number one. Nevertheless, the company has a global turnover of around USD 10 billion.
The platform follows a well thought-out system, tried and tested over many years, in which sellers can offer their products for sale. The eBay Seller Central makes life much easier for sellers by cataloging known products and thus making product features available without manual input. The seller also has room for maneuver when it comes to sales modalities. For example, a product can be offered at a fixed price or at auction with or without a minimum selling price.
The following fees are currently charged on eBay.de (Link to the fees):
- 10 % Commission for the product sold (private)
- 9% + 0,05 € commission of the total price (commercial)
- Fixed monthly price from € 39.95 / month (commercial)
- Fees for additional options such as minimum price, Gallery Plus etc.
After Amazon, eBay is a good choice due to its high profile and the associated trust that customers place in sellers on this marketplace. Successful sellers also know that, unlike Amazon, eBay does not simply copy successful products from sellers and sell them themselves.
Jack Ma launched his e-commerce platform Alibaba in 1999 from his home in Hangzhou. Back then he taught English, but a few years later he was to become one of the most important businessmen in the world. With his B2B online marketplace Alibiba, he also opened the door to Chinese e-commerce for German companies.
Alibaba is very interesting for beginners. You can start as a seller on Alibaba with up to 50 products without any fees. The Gold membership then offers extended functions. This costs approximately up to €5,000 per year, whereby there are different levels within the Gold membership. Anyone who has successfully tried out the platform for free will have no problem getting over this.
One advantage of this rapidly growing marketplace is Secure Payment, a payment method that, like PayPal, which is banned in China, only releases payments once the goods have been delivered. However, this is optional. Anyone wishing to offer payments via other channels can also do so. Trade Insurance also offers a way to easily recover at least part of the purchase amount if goods are received that do not meet the stated specifications.
Products from the assembly line can be functional and cheap. But who doesn't like a splash of individuality, a touch of variety? Etsy fulfills this need for aesthetic satisfaction, and if you're in this line of work, you need look no further. Etsy connects artists who make handmade artwork directly with customers. So if you want to sell something creative, vintage and artisanal, Etsy is the best marketplace for you.
The costs at Etsy are unfortunately somewhat opaque. A number of fees are charged for an advertisement, each additional unit sold, a percentage of the turnover achieved when using Etsy's payment system and possible currency conversion costs. Nevertheless, the total amount to be paid is limited.
Those who already have a good reputation on Etsy can start a Plus membership, which costs $10 a month but offers better seller tools that can increase sales, making it worth the price.
Sellers do not need their own website before they start selling on Etsy. The marketplace offers each seller their own store. For small businesses and artists, this online marketplace is a great way to build a brand and make sales.
The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is still fairly unknown in Germany. This is also Rakuten's biggest drawback. While the platform itself is promising and seems to work well elsewhere, its reach in Germany is still very limited. Nevertheless, Rakuten Germany currently has around 5500 merchants under contract and the company continues to grow rapidly globally.
However, all of this is less important if you want to sell products online. You have to reckon with the significantly lower reach compared to eBay or even Amazon. On the other hand, Rakuten does not compete with you, as Amazon likes to do by simply producing the most popular products itself.
Another positive aspect is the relatively limited set of rules - as a seller, you have more freedom on Rakuten than on Amazon or eBay. At the same time, Rakuten offers free legal texts for sellers, which make it easier for beginners to protect themselves legally. Problem-free payment processing is also ensured thanks to support for payments with PayPal, credit cards, etc.
Unlike most online marketplaces, Rakuten does not offer a free plan. Sellers must pay a basic fee of €39, as well as a 9% sales fee (reduced to 5% for certain product groups) and a Rakuten Point fee of 1%. There are also variable fees such as the affiliate and cancellation fee.
The Hood.de marketplace is by no means a new phenomenon. Products have been offered here by private and commercial sellers in the style of eBay since 2000. However, the online marketplace is far less well-known than its big role model and is only established in Germany.
Without knowing the exact figures for Hood.de, I assume a significantly lower reach than Amazon or eBay. Even though Hood.de itself claims to achieve top rankings on Google through SEO and thus additional traffic, the reality is different. Most sales will probably come from regular customers on Hood.de.
The advantage of this marketplace is that there is less competition. The smaller the marketplace, the less competition the seller has in his niche. Nevertheless, it should be very difficult to achieve significant sales.
As with Rakuten, sellers have to pay a monthly basic fee. This currently ranges from €25 (Gold Shop) to €39 (Platinum Shop) for monthly payments. In addition, there are fees of up to 8% per sale. This is quite a lot for the relatively small range.
In recent years, the former mail order company has turned strongly and successfully to e-commerce. With Otto Market, Otto now offers companies with German headquarters and warehouses the opportunity to sell on Otto.de. Since this year, the registration of a store with Otto Market is now automated and therefore possible without much effort.
Partners can offer their products directly on Otto.de and thus benefit from the well-known brand with over 7 million active customers. While shipping is left to the seller, the customer pays Otto.de directly. The seller receives their credit on a weekly basis.
Otto is currently keeping a low profile regarding the fees, but mentions a basic fee and an assortment-specific commission. In contrast to less well-known marketplaces such as Hood.de or Rakuten, a basic fee could even be acceptable here.
Following the merger of Real.de and Hitmeister in 2017, this is one of the leading online marketplaces in Germany. Real therefore not only offers the products carried in the stores themselves, but also takes over the retailers' offers on Hitmeister. Retailers who use the Real.de marketplace can therefore benefit from the brand awareness and reach of the Real.
The requirements for selling on Real.de are quite simple. A business within the EU, accessibility for customers and the existence of an EAN for all products offered are the basic conditions that allow you to appear as a retailer on Real.de. As with Otto.de, the seller is responsible for shipping the goods, while Real.de accepts the payment and pays out the sales price minus fees to the seller.
In terms of price, this is a fair offer. Real.de charges a basic fee of €39.95 per month, and for an additional €9.95 you can add a link to your own online store. There is also a commission of between 6.5 and 12.5 %, depending on the product category.
An interesting feature is the automatic lowest price function, which allows retailers to sell their goods at the lowest price. Real.de determines this dynamically, taking into account a price limit set by the seller.
The offer on Metro.de is aimed at private and commercial customers, with a focus on B2B. While Metro itself primarily targets customers from the food service industry, sellers can address all target groups within the marketplace - but this does not mean that all product categories can be sold successfully in practice.
Following the split of the Metro Group into electronics (Media Markt, Saturn) and food (Real, Metro), the Metro stores have concentrated fully on food and products for hotels, restaurants and catering services. The Metro Marketplace is therefore particularly suitable for sellers who want to offer products for these target groups. Some product categories such as books and B-goods are excluded.
As a Metro merchant, however, you should be aware that credit can only be paid out after 25 days. This is a longer period than with some other marketplaces. On the other hand, Metro has reduced its basic fee to €29.99 - this is not payable up to a monthly net turnover of €500. However, a sales commission of 7 to 13 % is always charged.
Bol.com offers sellers the opportunity to sell products to customers from the Netherlands and Belgium. Although this marketplace is not an international factor, its reach in the Netherlands and Belgium is extensive.
To sell there, your company must first of all have a VAT number and be registered with the Belgian or Dutch Chamber of Commerce. You must also comply with Bol.com's requirements, including a 30-day return period, 24-hour customer service response time, etc.
The fee structure is similar to eBay. The seller pays a base price per listed product, as well as a percentage of the sale price. The fixed fee can be up to €3, while the commission is up to 17 %.
This marketplace is the best address for sellers who have set their sights on the Polish market. Almost every Pole knows Allegro and, according to plentymarkets.com, around 81 % of Poles say that Allegro is their first choice for online shopping.
With around 17 million customer visits per month, it is worth setting up a merchant account. If you own a German GmbH or a company in the EEA, you can have your account verified with a bank transfer of €1 after submitting your company details. As an approved seller, you can then offer your products on the marketplace.
As a seller, additional services such as fulfillment, logistics, etc. are available. In addition, products can be equipped with versatile promo options to increase their visibility within Allegro.pl.
Allegro offers three different memberships, ranging from 39 PLN to 3000 PLN. In addition, a percentage of the sales price is charged, which can be up to 16 % depending on the category, although on average it is significantly lower.