The rise of online shopping has resulted in the popularity of marketplaces skyrocketing. Retailers are able to benefit from engaged customers, while customers are able to enjoy the convenience of comparing various products and making easy purchases. This article reveals the 10 best marketplaces for UK retailers in 2022, as well as the benefits of selling on an ecommerce marketplace, before answering the most common questions about this popular sales approach.
What is an online marketplace?
Online marketplaces allow retailers and ecommerce businesses to sell their products across multiple channels. Connecting sellers with buyers, marketplaces allow retailers to reach a larger audience by tapping into engaged audiences that are actively looking to make a purchase.
Since the pandemic, more than 40% of all online global spending has taken place on marketplaces, making it a fantastic approach for retailers to sell their products.
Benefits of the best marketplaces for UK retailers
Selling products on ecommerce marketplaces can be incredibly beneficial for retailers of all sizes.
Common benefits include:
- Reaching larger audiences
- Gaining international customers
- Reducing marketing costs
- The ability to make sales 24/7
- Allowing customers to compare prices
10 Best marketplaces for UK retailers
We will now outline 10 of the top online marketplaces for UK retailers. It is worth noting that there are countless other marketplaces available and their suitability depends on individual ecommerce sellers’ requirements and preferences.
With 63% of shoppers beginning their online shopping searches on Amazon, Amazon is a highly lucrative marketplace for retailers, particularly if you know how to optimise product listings.
Pros of Amazon
- Enormous global reach
- Option to outsource fulfilment to Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
- There are more than 100 million Amazon Prime members around the world, spending more than £800 per year on average
- Non-Prime shoppers typically spend between £75-£400 per year on Amazon
- Low marketing costs
- Doesn’t necessarily require stock upfront
Cons of Amazon
- High competition
- Selling fees
- Order management
No monthly fee to sell, however, you pay a fee per item sold, or £25 (excluding VAT) per month.
eBay is one of the most established marketplaces, having been founded in 1995 and continuously evolved to meet demand. Millions of people visit eBay every day to sell products, make purchases, or bid on auctions, creating the opportunity for retailers to capture this audience’s attention.
Pros of eBay
- Large audience
- Wide range of products can be sold on eBay
- Once a sale is made, you can direct customers to your online store, encouraging direct purchases and growing loyalty
Cons of eBay
- No control over enforced rules such as returns policies
- Must adhere to eBay’s guidelines for customer service, refunds etc.
- Seller fees
- Lots of competition in specific niches
eBay fees typically begin when you make a sale, paying 10% of the total sale price.
Pros of Etsy
- Large audience
- Built-in analytics
- Easy to set up and maintain an Etsy store
Cons of Etsy
- Items must be handmade or vintage
- Charges and transaction fees
- Certain niches can be saturated
It costs 16p per Etsy listing, which then lasts for four months or until the product sells. Once it is sold, you pay a 5% transaction fee on the total sale price.
Wayfair is an ecommerce marketplace for homeware and furniture. It is based on the dropshipping model, with Wayfair paying retailers the wholesale cost of their products and setting the retail price for the items on their site.
Pros of Wayfair
- Less competition than some other marketplaces
- Favourable proportion of sellers to buyers
Cons of Wayfair
- Requires dropshipping capabilities
- Relies on you fulfilling orders
- There is an application process
- Only for homeware and furniture sellers
There are no direct setup or selling fees on Wayfair. Instead, Wayfair pays sellers the wholesale cost for products, then sets the total price (including shipping) at an amount that gives them a small profit margin.
OnBuy was created as the UK’s alternative to Amazon. More than 35 million products across a wide range of categories are sold on the platform, with the number of sellers and customers growing quickly.
Pros of OnBuy
- Risk-free selling through PayPal
- Immediate payments are possible
- Suitable for a wide range of retailers
Cons of OnBuy
- Commission and fees can become expensive
OnBuy costs either £19 per month (excluding VAT) for Standard membership, or £39 per month (excluding vat) for Partner membership. Commission rates range from 5% to 9%, plus there is a PayPal fee of 1.9% – 3.4%, and a 20p transaction fee.
Pros of ManoMano
- Sellers can determine their pricing within suitable ranges
- Provides access to new markets
Cons of ManoMano
- Seller is responsible for fulfilment
- Only suitable for specific product types
ManoMano negotiates commissions individually with merchants.
Zalando is Europe’s biggest marketplace for fashion and footwear, with more than 48 million active customers across 23 markets.
Pros of Zalando
- Sellers decide prices
- Enormous global reach
- Increased product visibility
Cons of Zalando
- Commission and fees can become expensive
Zalando fees range from 5% to 25% of the sale price, depending on the category and price of the product.
8. Not On The High Street (NOTHS)
Not On The High Street, or NOTHS, has more than 39 million unique visits every year. It is aimed at those that sell handmade products, with many including gifts, homewares, jewellery, clothing and creative products.
Pros of Not On The High Street
- Large amounts of traffic
- Consumers want to buy bespoke, handmade gifts, meaning there is a captivated audience
- Customer-focused for a great experience
Cons of Not On The High Street
- High commission per sale
- Application form can take time
- There is a chance you won’t be accepted to sell on the site
- Initial joining fee is a significant investment before getting started
Not On The High Street fees
There is a £199 joining fee. For every sale you make, Not On The High Street charges a commission of 25% (excluding VAT).
Folksy is another choice of marketplace for handmade goods, on a smaller scale than Etsy with around 9,000 creators selling products on the platform.
Pros of Folksy
- Easy to create a personalised shop page
- Ability to run different promotions
- Support team available for help
Cons of Folksy
- Smaller customer base than most marketplaces
- Niche audience
Folksy fees involve either paying 15p per item, or subscribing to Folksy Plus for £5 per month.
Fruugo is an extensive marketplace for a wide range of product categories. Available in 23 countries, it is ideal for those looking to sell overseas.
Pros of Fruugo
- Large international reach
- Ability to translate listings into 11 languages
Cons of Fruugo
- Significant fees can prove expensive
Fruugo charges retailers a 15% commission on every sale, plus a 2.35% processing fee.
Top marketplace tips
Market your products effectively
Consumers quickly make their minds up when it comes to whether or not they will place an order. Optimise product descriptions for search, highlight USPs, take professional product images, showcase positive feedback and do everything you can to give prospective buyers confidence in your products and brand.
Integrate with your online store
Many of the best marketplaces for UK retailers can be seamlessly integrated with ecommerce websites, using plug-ins to streamline processes and create a consistent brand image.
Consider listing on multiple marketplaces
If your products are suited to multiple marketplaces, there is no need to limit yourself to just one. To reach the greatest possible audience, it can be beneficial to sell your products on different marketplaces, providing you are able to keep up with the logistics of this without sacrificing customer experience.
Leverage product reviews
Many of the best marketplaces for UK retailers allow customers to leave reviews of products. Ratings and reviews are the second most important factor when consumers make a purchase, so this should be used to your advantage. Showcase customers’ positive experiences and use this as a way to build trust and excitement when customers place an order.
Best marketplace FAQs
What are marketplaces examples?
This guide lists the 10 best marketplaces for UK retailers. While it isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a great place to start your research and understand how to sell on an ecommerce marketplace.
What do marketplaces do?
A marketplace is the hub that connects buyers and sellers. Because of this, a marketplace traditionally gathers large numbers of customers in one place, all of which are expecting to make a purchase. For retailers, this creates the opportunity to sell relevant products to these potential customers.
What are the biggest marketplaces in the world?
This list of the 10 best marketplaces for UK retailers shares some of the biggest marketplaces in the world, including Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
What is the best marketplace website to sell on?
The best marketplace website will be one that meets your individual requirements. For example, some are suited to specific categories of products, while others are best for mass marketing. Take a look at the pros and cons of each listed in this guide to see which might be the best marketplace for your business.
How do I start selling on a marketplace?
Signing up to sell on a marketplace is a relatively straightforward process. Once you have identified the right marketplace to sell on, it is time to create an account as a seller. Some ecommerce marketplaces will require an application to be approved, while others make this process more accessible for everybody. Simply follow the sign-up instructions on your chosen marketplace and then make sure you market your products in the best possible way.
What’s the best global marketplace for retailers to sell in?
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to this question, as the best global marketplace for retailers to sell in will depend on what they want to sell and where they want to sell it. Every platform has its own unique benefits and disadvantages, so it is worth researching every platform to work out the most appropriate.
How can retailers encourage marketplace sellers to implement sustainability actions?
Erika Ottela, co-founder and COO, eBrands explains: “My first piece of advice is not to consider sustainability as a major project. You’ll never get started if you prepare for “a trip to Mount Everest.” Rather, start with small steps but start today. Remove an unnecessary add-on item. Make your package smaller. Minimize returns. Stop air freight. All these steps are simple, but if you do them consistently, you will have an impact.”
What are the best marketplaces in the UK?
This article explores 10 of the best marketplaces in the UK for retailers and shoppers alike. Keep reading to see the pros, cons and fees for each platform.
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.