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How to Choose the Next Best eCommerce Marketplace

Figuring out the best eCommerce platform to sell with is no easy feat. And choosing which online sales strategy to use is even harder.

We're here to help with that.

Let's take a closer look at eCommerce auctions, fixed-price platforms, and hybrid eCommerce marketplaces to give you a better sense of which eCommerce marketplace will help you scale your online business.


Auction eCommerce Marketplace

Auctions are enormously popular. They have a long history of success, but since entering the online business marketplace, they’re gaining even more traction among retailers and customers.


Because online auctions gamify the shopping experience and make shoppers feel as if they snagged a real bargain.

In fact, Tophatter discovered that 18.8 percent of women and 9 percent of men would choose a bargain over an intimate moment with their partners.

eCommerce auctions are the best way to go if you can offer the lowest price and are able to rotate and promote a wide array of products. That way, you'll ensure that your products gain visibility among customers. It can really change the game if you're looking to scale your online business.


Things to consider about eCommerce auctions:

  • Pro: They will have a set minimum bid and tend to attract buyers who enjoy playing the game. These are great for rare items or high-volume inventory.
  • Pro: They're ideal if you're selling something that is in demand, such as something trending, an antique, or a collectible.
  • Pro: Sellers can skip the dollar investment on ad spend.
  • Pro: Sellers can skip the time investment on SEO.
  • Pro: Typically move volume fast.
  • Pro: Customers are less interested in delivery times because they want to win the bidding war.
  • Pro: They move returned, seasonal, and overstocked inventory.
  • Pro: They use auction data to help you gain price point insights and product trends.
  • Keep in Mind: Volume is difficult to predict.
  • Keep in Mind: The final sale price isn't fixed.
  • Keep in Mind: Depending on the marketplace, you may pay for product features and a listing fee, but most marketplaces will take a final nominal percentage of each sale.


Fixed-Price eCommerce Marketplace

eCommerce auctions allow you to liquidate volume and attract customers with a bidding game. But a fixed-price eCommerce marketplace gives customers the opportunity to choose their favorite products, sellers, and prices, which allows them to place an order on their terms.

If you want to transition your online business into a fixed-price channel, here are a few things to consider:

  • Pro: There's no bidding and the buyer can make the purchase immediately.
  • Pro: Margins are easier to predict because prices are set.
  • Pro: Listings will not disappear or have a set start/end time.
  • Pro: You build brand loyalty with return customers because they shop with you instead of looking for the best deals.
  • Keep in Mind: You will need to spend time optimizing the listing for search engines with SEO and hashtags if necessary.
  • Keep in Mind: Even though you attract those who want to make a purchase rather than watch the item, there’s also no built-in urgency like auctions.
  • Keep in Mind: You may need to budget ad spend for your listings, depending on the platform.
  • Keep in Mind: Customers will want fast delivery and more options, like colors and sizes.


Hybrid eCommerce Marketplace

Finding a site that only allows auction-style listings is rare. The best eCommerce platforms are hybrids, offering both auction and fixed-price listings. 

What do hybrid eCommerce marketplaces look like? Take a look at the different pricing options that might be available on a hybrid eCommerce marketplace:

  • Make an offer gives the buyer the option to offer a lower price than the fixed price that is listed. If you have inventory that needs to move, this can be an excellent back-up option.

Buy now means the auction item may go to the highest bidder, but can also be immediately purchased for a higher price. This option means you can attract both bidders and fixed price shoppers, increasing the likelihood that your item will sell.


Final Thoughts: The Best eCommerce Platform to Sell Online

Research favors the hybrid eCommerce marketplace because of its flexibility. It's also much easier to get products seen by more buyers.

Fixed-price eCommerce platforms are the next most popular online marketplaces because they serve the traditional online shopper and give sellers more consistency and better margins. 

However, if you have the right products or want to push volume, eCommerce auctions will be the best eCommerce platform to scale your online business and move your inventory.


Michelle Lievense is a long-time business and marketing consultant who enjoys helping businesses and brands, particularly through her writing as well as crafting and implementing successful business strategies. When she isn't tapping on her keyboard, she's hiking the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her dog, snuggling next to her cat with a favorite book, volunteering, skiing, or scuba diving.

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