- Business and Employment
Selling Items Online Without eBay or Amazon
The Four Major Competitors
There are four major competitors to Amazon and eBay, but all of them have both benefits and drawbacks.
If you haven't heard of some of these... well, that's the problem.
The Quest for an Alternative
Amazon and eBay are currently the only options for most people who want to sell goods online. Unfortunately, both Amazon and eBay have been steadily increasing their fees. There are many issues that I've personally found with both platforms. Amazon demands absolute perfection in their sellers or the accounts are automatically frozen; eBay charges fees that can easily exceed 12 percent of your sales price. Despite these problems, there's really very little that anyone can do when seeking an alternative.
Etsy is perhaps the only marketplace alternative that has good traction -- but it has a very unique mission statement. Etsy is only for goods that are handcrafted or antique, and this means that it has very little utility for those that are selling consumer goods, electronics or various sundries. Etsy is, however, the ideal venue for those that make their own goods. It takes a while to gain footing on Etsy, but once a person gains followers they usually make fairly good sales.
- Relatively low fees.
- Good marketplaces.
- Solid traffic.
- Only for specific types of goods.
Which online marketplace do you use?
Bonanza offers a tight listing platform that is very similar to the standard eBay shop. The listing platform is easy to use and, notably, it's completely free to actually list a product. This is the core benefit of Bonanza, as it is eBay's listing fees that are truly damaging to most enterprises. However, Bonanza simply does not have the foot traffic that eBay does. Very few people even know the platform exists, and most sales are entered into through Google Product search rather than through the Bonanza marketplace itself.
- Free listings.
- Low fees, membership options.
- Google Product search listings.
- Low traffic.
- Sales are rare.
eCrater allows you to create a very simple online storefront on which to sell your goods. This storefront is a fully-featured eCommerce site, with one caveat: eCrater doesn't actually advertise these sites for you and virtually no one goes through eCrater. What eCrater does do is, like Bonanza, places your items in Google Product search. Though theoretically these items may be found, it's not very likely. eCrater is essentially a way to create your own personal website; you still need to advertise it on your own. Further, the layouts and designs of the store are amateurish and not altogether attractive.
- Completely free.
- Offers a fully featured storefront.
- Not advertised.
- No one will ever buy anything from you.
iOffer is a unique website that is essentially a haggling platform. Rather than an auction site, users can bid on items that already have a price and the sellers can decide whether they want to accept this. And, of course, items can be purchased on their own. iOffer suffers from the same problems as both eCrater and Bonanza: no one uses it. Only those that are deeply entrenched in online marketing even know iOffer exists, which means it's virtually impossible to reach the consumer audience. It is, however, a decent venue for B2B sales, such as wholesale goods.
- Lower fees than eBay.
- Fairly simple setup.
- Invisible to consumers.
The major problems of alternative e-commerce platforms:
- No traffic among consumers.
- Unattractive layouts.
- Highly specific niche.
Is There an Alternative to Amazon and eBay?
No, not really. In my research I found many excited reviewers -- even some hubbers -- extolling the virtues of all of these sites, but no one could actually point to any significant revenue gain. Indeed, most of the positive reviews for these websites noted that they hadn't made any sales "yet," or that they had made only one or two sales in a month but "expected" that it would get better. In the realm of online commerce, one must be skeptical. Many people get very optimistic due to the possibility of income rather than any truly profitable outcome.
Out of all the marketplaces that I reviewed, Bonanza was the only one that truly showed promise. eCrater is pointless because of the time investment it takes: it's an almost child-like looking platform that requires just as much effort as putting up your own site. If you're going to put hours into advertising a site, you should get your own platform and make it look professional.
Further, iOffer simply doesn't have the foot traffic to be a realistic venue and Etsy is for too specific an audience. That said, even Bonanza isn't really a great solution. Most positive reviews admit that they get barely any sales on the platform.
Try Them Out Yourself
- eCRATER - online marketplace, get a free online store
Buy and sell on eCRATER, an online marketplace and free online store builder
- iOffer: A Place to Buy, Sell & Trade
- Bonanza :: Find everything but the ordinary
The best place to shop when taste matters. More than 20,000 sellers, collaborating to bring you a vibrant collection of fashion, collectibles, décor, and more.
- Etsy - Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies
Buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies on Etsy, the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace. Share stories through millions of items from around the world.