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This blog is a one stop shop of e-commerce site comparisons. We have researched the current most popular digital marketplaces so that you can compare and pick which you want to look deeper into.
Amazon - Amazon Attracts half of all web customers all over the world. Millennials (people born between 1981 – 1996) tend to be the most likely customer age range, if your target audience fall within this age range it may be a good option for you. Honestly, Amazon is just one of the most popular sites so guarantees high traffic BUT that does mean a lot of competition.
Etsy - A study by Fortune.com found that 86% of Etsy shoppers were women between 18-35. This website is the best for bespoke, handmade, weddings, bridal, vintage, wood/metal work and crafts. Etsy tends to pull a millennial audience that are specifically looking to shop from small businesses on principle, particularly after 2020. This online marketplace is popular but due to its ethics may be the best choice for you if you are looking for support towards your small business.
Not on the Highstreet - Not on the Highstreet are the number one marketplace for handmade, exceeding Etsy and Amazon. However, they are much more selective on who can sell on their website. You need to be approved by somewhat of a judging panel before they will deign to let you sell on their site. This makes it far more likely for your products to be noticed as there are fewer sellers.
Once you are part of their gang though, you will be given a plethora of support with product development and pricing. They will also help with marketing, promotion costs, and provide their own customer management system. You are responsible for sorting out the VAT and insurance. Also, web customers expect a certain level of high quality from anyone selling on this website. You are paid within 15-21 days of an item’s purchase, minus the commission and any currency conversion fees accrued.
ShopWired (the UK version of SquareSpace) - This is basically a website creator that gives lots of opportunities to partner with other sales channels. It is a UK based eCommerce site with 29% faster download speeds than SquareSpace using the same frameworks as Amazon, B2B options, store analytics, 9.8/10 on Trust Pilot, free templates and military grade security. ShopWired provides enterprise solutions to some of the largest brands in the UK including EDF Energy and Wowcher.
ShopWired are partnered with a load of the most trusted payment options including pay later options like Klarna. Convenience a happy customer does make.
It is down to you to market your products to get noticed above all the vast competition. ShopWired does provide lots of SEO and marketing tools to help you with this. You can set up sales channels on Facebook and Instagram, enhance your presence on Google & Google Shopping, and even integrate your ShopWired account with eBay for automatic inventory level syncing and order management; this should help with gaining more traffic.
Shopify - Shopify is very similar to ShopWired and Squarespace. It is a globally used ecommerce platform and is slightly cheaper with better customisation options.
Custom pricing, high volume sales, high traffic, scalable, unlimited bandwidth, and no cap on turnover. VAT is covered in the plan price.
eBay - eBay is not as popular as Amazon and so there is less competition for your products/services to be noticed. You are also able to brand yourself better on eBay than you are on Amazon and show off who you are rather than just being another item on eBay’s website.
eBay also gives less restrictions on selling, allows you to promote your products and brand your own way without having to have their approval first, and you can sell products in all different states of repair much more easily. Also, you get paid instantly. There is no 14 day wait before your funds are sent through to you.
However, always be careful with auction listings to set reserve pricings and buy it now options so not to lose out on profits. Moreover, seller fees and VAT are very real and need to be accounted for.
*Referral fee * 6-20%. The percentage is dependent on your product category and selling price. Most categories will pay a 15% referral fee.
Individual Seller Account Fee No monthly fee and £0.75 listing fee per item sold. Anything under 35 sales per month.
*Pro Merchant Account * £25 monthly fee and no listing fee. You can sell an unlimited amount of products with this account.
Variable closing fee £0.50 for media categories only (books, DVD, music, software and computers, video games/ consoles, video). This is added on top of the referral fee.
Transaction Fee Etsy take 5% of the sale price plus delivery.
Payments Etsy uses their own Etsy Payment method, this includes many payment options such as card payments, Klarna, PayPal and Apple Pay.
Etsy Payment processing fees apply: Domestic orders: £0.25 +3% International orders: £0.25 +4% Be careful with fees being accrued when changing / converting currency on your listings.
*Listing * The listing charge on Etsy is £0.16 per item.
Not on the Highstreet -
Joining Fee The joining fee for Not on the Highstreet is £199, and they take 25% commission on each sale.
If you have terminated your membership or haven’t got your shop ready within 6 months of being accepted, then a re-activation fee may be applied if you wish to re-join.
Listing Fees There are no listing fees. Just the one-off joining fee and commission. Be mindful of exchange rates when you are selling outside of the UK as this may also include a processing fee by Not on the Highstreet.
Refund Fees The Refund Fee is currently 2.5% of the total amount refunded, but this may be changed from time to time so make sure you stay up to date with the terms and conditions.
ShopWired (the UK version of SquareSpace) -
Account Fees ShopWired is free for the first 14 days which gives you the chance to experience the platform and decide if it will work for your shop.
This online marketing platform has quite a complicated range of prices and packages which we have tried to list for you below: Enterprise - £149.95 / month | 20% savings available if paying yearly | 30% savings available if paying two-yearly Premium - £119.95 / month | £96.04 / month (save 20% buying yearly) | £83.97 / month (save 30% buying two-yearly) Advanced - £59.95 / month | £47.96 / month (save 20% buying yearly) | £41.97 / month (save 30% buying two-yearly) - no connect app fees – has advanced analytics - Max Turnover £200,000 per year Professional - £29.95 / month | £23.96 / month (save 20% buying yearly) | £20.97 / month (save 30% buying two-yearly) - connect apps an extra £5 per month – no advanced analytics - for businesses of Max Turnover £75,000 per year.
Pricing Plans for the Enterprise Package Excel - £149.95 / month Elite - £249.95 / month Platinum - £499.95 / month
Transaction Fees 3% is charged on some packages but generally there are no transaction fees.
App Charges £40 per month
Basic Shopify Plan £22 / month + 2% transaction fees
Shopify Plan £60 / month + 1% transaction fees
Advanced Shopify Plan £227 / month + 0.5% transaction fees
Lite Plan £7 / month + 2% transaction fees
Shopify POS Retail Pricing £38 extra with any existing Shopify plan
UPDATE 1st JUNE 2021: eBay have implemented a new system that means you will no longer be paid through PayPal. This means you no longer have to pay the PayPal fees; however, other fees have risen instead.
Shop Subscription Packages all excluding VAT No shop (pay as you sell) Basic - £25/month Featured - £69/month Anchor - £399/ month- can also get free eBay Concierge which is extra support for UK sellers only
Listing Fees Free fixed price listings up to a particular amount. Basic - 250 Featured - 1500 Anchor - unlimited Free 7-day auction listings up to a certain amount. Basic – 50 Featured – 300 Anchor – 500 Not free Additional fixed price / auction listing price per item. No shop– 30p fixed/30p auction. Basic– 10p fixed/15p auction. Featured– 5p fixed/15p auction. Anchor– free fixed/15p auction.
There are optional upgrades and advertising fees for your listings, you can see the up-to-date prices on the eBay website if this is something that you want to invest in once you have built up your online shop.
When selling on eBay be sure to look into their ‘final value fees’ as these are applied when an item is sold.
Final Value Fees (UPDATED 1st JUNE 2021):
For a general sale, the final value fee is now 12.8% including delivery, plus 30p per order. This new system includes any cash in hand sales, which was previously avoided by some sellers who had been able to bypass the need for PayPal before. The new higher fee will be charged either way now. Payments coming back into the sellers’ bank account will now take two days to process unlike the instantaneous payment that PayPal could offer. The biggest advantage of the new system is for buyers who will now be able to use more payment methods such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.
The price can still vary on the category of the item you sell. Also, many categories have maximum spend limits or decreased fee percentages for shop subscribers. Please check out Amazon’s Final Value Fee Percentage breakdown for more information on the rules and restrictions around these fees.
The new changes will be done by email invite. If you do not switch to the new system after receiving your invite, eBay can restrict you from adding, ending, or editing your listings.
In some categories, if a seller's performance is below standard then a 4% points fee incurs on top of the final value fee. For example, a 9.9% +30p final value fee would increase to 13.9% +30p. This happens particularly if customers mark you down as ‘items not as described’ too often. These are evaluated on the 20th of every month.
With selling online it’s important to remember that you will be paying shipping/postage fees! It is up to you whether you add on a shipping fee to your sale or include it in the products price so that you can advertise “free postage”. Make sure to look in to the options and decide what is best for you.
Over all, you have a huge variety of platforms where you can set up shop instantly! Good luck with your online marketplace endeavours. Let us know which platform you pick and why, we hope to hear of your success over social media.
There are many options for you to investigate if none of these sound like the best place for you, we have listed other online marketplace options below for you to investigate!
P.s. We would recommend that what ever online marketplace that you choose you make sure to read all the terms and conditions before hand so that you are prepared and keep yourself safe.