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Another Niche Marketplace that Hopes to Fill a Need

Sweetwater Gear Exchange
Sweetwater Gear Exchange Another Niche Marketplace that Hopes to Fill a Need

Musicians and audiophiles have a new marketplace to buy and sell gear. Sweetwater, which was founded in 1979 and sells music instruments and audio gear, and announced its new Gear Exchange on Thursday.

And – if a seller chooses a Sweetwater gift card as the form of payment on the Gear Exchange – they’ll pay no fees through October 31, 2022.

Over the years, entrepreneurs have had a better chance of success competing with eBay and Amazon through niche marketplaces – for example, Etsy (handmade), StockX (sneakers), and Reverb (music, now owned by Etsy). Instead of trying to be everything for everyone, a niche marketplace can customize the experience for their shopper base.

Sweetwater said sellers can create their own customized storefront on the Gear Exchange, including setting a store address, outlining policies for returns, and adding a bio to let people learn more about them. “Sellers can create listings that include photos of the instruments and gear they no longer need or want,” it explained.

Sweetwater further explained:

“To maintain safety, Gear Exchange has implemented tight fraud prevention measures including requiring photos of the exact item listed. There will be badges available on the storefront pages showcasing how long Gear Exchange sellers have been verified Sweetwater customers. Additionally, there will be a full team of administrators monitoring the marketplace for any potential security risks.

“Shipping labels for sellers can be purchased directly through The Gear Exchange, utilizing Sweetwater’s great rates. The cost of the labels can be subtracted from the payout so sellers don’t have to pay shipping bills until they get paid.”

Gear Exchange transactions have a 2.5% processing fee and a 5% seller fee through PayPal Hyperwallet.

Sweetwater Gear Exchange may not become the Etsy of handmade or the StockX of music, but it could turn out to be part of a trend and one of a million cuts inflicted on more established marketplaces.

You can find the Gear Exchange on the Sweetwater.com website, and you can find the terms and conditions here (read carefully before plunging in).

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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/.