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Sellers Choice Awards 2020: Merchants Rate Top Online Marketplaces

EcommerceBytes 2019 Sellers Choice Finalists

Every year, online sellers take a break from listing items and packing orders to participate in the Sellers Choice Awards. First they nominate the top marketplaces on which they sell, then we open up the voting to the top 10 marketplaces so sellers can rate them on a number of criteria.

The results of the 2020 Sellers Choice awards are in, and they paint a picture of the unique challenges sellers face as they navigate various platforms, from classifieds sites to mobile apps, from social networking sites to ecommerce marketplaces.

Readers rated the finalists in four key areas – profitability, customer service, communication and ease of use. Respondents were also asked how likely they were to recommend each marketplace as a selling venue to a friend or colleague.

Sellers also shared their thoughts in the comments section, and as we like to point out, this is inside information you won’t find anyplace else.

This annual process gives both marketplaces and merchants alike an unfiltered glimpse into what each platform is doing right, and what they could be doing better.

The Results
eBay topped the list this year overall followed by Bonanza and Ruby Lane. The rankings take into account four key criteria – profitability, customer service, communication and ease of use.

Coming in fourth place was Mercari, followed by Etsy, Poshmark, Amazon, Craigslist, Facebook, and eCrater.

eBay took the top spot for Profitability again this year, and it earned the distinction of being the most recommended marketplace.

Bonanza took top spots for Customer Service, Communication, and Ease of Use.

It’s interesting to note that Bonanza showed the most improvement (from 6th place in 2019 to 2nd place in 2020), and Etsy showed the biggest drop (from 1st place in 2019 to 5th place in 2020).

Amazon remained at 7th place this year. Among the challenges cited by sellers: it’s highly competitive; it restricts sellers from selling certain brands and categories; and it’s unforgiving of mistakes or claims.

Fees, shipping, and returns came up as major challenges for sellers this year. So did sales tax, which wasn’t a surprise after eBay blamed the negative sales growth its sellers experienced in 2019 on state sales tax laws and admitted it was caught off guard by the number of states enacting marketplace facilitator laws in 2019.

Ruby Lane also found itself scrambling to deal to state requirements, and sellers said its initial implementation of a brand new buyer’s fee to help cover the costs of compliance scared shoppers away until the marketplace reversed its decision and eliminated the fee.

Many sellers objected to the pace of change that certain marketplaces rolled out during the year, particularly eBay and Etsy.

For smaller venues, sellers wanted to see greater functionality to help them sell more efficiently, and sellers also wanted to see some marketplaces advertise more.

Some sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are best for selling locally, presenting a different set of challenges. But as we noted in Facebook’s report, the social networking site is expanding the ways sellers can reach buyers.

Ultimately sellers can put up with a lot if the marketplace on which they sell bring traffic and sales, and the variation in platforms on which sellers choose to sell shows they’re willing to try different approaches to gain exposure online.

You can read more about these issues in the individual findings for each marketplace.

How It Breaks Down – Profitability
We asked sellers, “How would you rate your profitability as a seller on (marketplace name)?” eBay topped the list for Profitability, followed by Mercari, Etsy, Ruby Lane, and Craigslist.

How It Breaks Down – Customer Service
We asked sellers, “How would you rate the customer service (marketplace name) provides to sellers?” Bonanza topped the list for Customer Service, followed by Ruby Lane, eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark.

How It Breaks Down – Communication
We asked sellers, “How would you rate (marketplace name)’s communication with you as a seller?” Bonanza topped the list for Communication, followed by eBay, Ruby Lane, Mercari, and Poshmark.

How It Breaks Down – Ease of Use
We asked sellers, “How would you rate (marketplace name)’s ease of use as a seller?” Bonanza topped the list for Ease of Use, followed by eBay, Mercari, Ruby Lane, and Etsy.

How It Breaks Down – Recommended Selling Venue
We asked sellers, “How likely are you to recommend (marketplace name) as a Selling venue to a friend or colleague? eBay scored highest on Recommended Selling Venue, followed by Bonanza, Mercari, Ruby Lane, and Etsy.

Comments: Insider Information
With thousands of responses, it’s impossible to include every comment each marketplace received, but we include the most representative comments and the ones most interesting or useful to readers. Note that the number of comments left for a marketplace doesn’t necessarily indicate its placement in the rankings

Comments are included on the individual marketplace rating pages.

Individual Online Marketplace Ratings
You can find each marketplace with the results of the Sellers Choice survey on the following pages.

Page 1 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: eBay

Page 2 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Bonanza

Page 3 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Ruby Lane

Page 4 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Mercari

Page 5 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Etsy

Page 6 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Poshmark

Page 7 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Amazon

Page 8 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

Page 9 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Facebook

Page 10 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: eCrater

Leave Your Comments about the Sellers Choice Results
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Leave a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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