Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 14 2021 14:50:21

Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

By: Ina Steiner

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Online sellers nominated ten marketplaces in this year's Sellers Choice Awards and then rated each, pulling back the curtain to reveal the joys and pitfalls of each venue on which they sold.

The results of the twelfth annual Sellers Choice are now available - you can see the overview here, where we've included links to all ten individual ratings.

This year, eBay placed 1st for the second consecutive year, and it also placed first for profitability. The breadth of inventory allowed and the nearly unmatched ability to draw buyers trumped sellers' concerns over fees and policies.

The following chart is particularly interesting, as it displays the top five marketplaces for all 12 years we've been conducting the survey.


As we note each year, Sellers Choice does not rank the marketplaces in terms of size, sales or traffic - instead, sellers rate the marketplaces based on four criteria: Profitability, Customer Service, Communication and Ease of Use. 

That helps explain why Bonanza, which came last in Profitability, placed second overall, and why Etsy, which came second in Profitability, placed fourth. That's why it's important for readers to dig deep when researching a particular venue. We recommend looking at each chart in the main overview article to see where venues placed in the four criteria, and review the chart that shows how likely respondents were to recommend each marketplaces as a selling venue to a friend or colleague.

On the individual pages for each venue, we provided a summary of feedback sellers left. Taken as a whole, it clearly shows sellers' concerns over the cost of selling online. These include concerns over fees and fee structures, but also concerns over marketplace policies that dictate the costs they may incur when they encounter "bad buyers." 

As a result of the pandemic, there was an increase in sales, some sellers noted, but the biggest impact of the pandemic many sellers described was delivery delays and the resulting costs. Note that the crisis of late deliveries and resulting claims was still playing out as sellers filled out their Sellers Choice ratings.

It was interesting that the only adaptation sellers specifically mentioned a venue making as a result of the pandemic was Ruby Lane. The marketplace for antiques and vintage goods partnered with shows (real-life events) that went virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19. (Ruby Lane placed third for the second consecutive year.)

We were struck by some other things as well. Some eBay sellers are continuing to deal with the transition to Managed Payments and its fee changes and customer service issues. Facebook, while it launched Shops last year, remained in many sellers' eyes more of a "classifieds" platform through its Marketplace and Groups features. Some sellers struggled to be profitable on Amazon, which placed 7th, and there was a perception that Amazon showed favoritism to big sellers.

Sellers took the time to describe their experiences, including the good, the bad and the ugly. We chose the most representative comments and included them on each venue's ratings page. This is the kind of inside information you won't find elsewhere.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 03:59:37 2021

I'm selling 3 times more on Mercari than EB and AMZ.  i think Mercari will move up in rank next year.  Their customer service is not the best because you can't call or online chat.  And it takes about 2 days for someone to reply to email.  Hopefully they fix that, but....I've had NO returns/refunds with Mercari.  I like that they send the postage to your email to print out.  And I like that they let sellers (us) set a floor amount and buyers can't "offer" below that floor amount.  I notice also that Merc is advertising on TV, that means they're doing quite well financially.  Plus there are few if any Chinese sellers on the site.
Posh is a good seller platform also.  Their customer service needs improving, but you won't find a lot of Asian sellers on that site.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 04:00:20 2021

More....I would love to sell on Rubylane, but I can't afford their monthly "store" fees.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 10:08:14 2021

I'm not sure how far ahead ebay was in front of Bonanza, but image how much further ebay would have finished if they had better customer service and communicated better!  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 10:10:24 2021

Never had any luck selling on Bonanza.  I wish they were mentioned more in the forums and on Youtube, but everything seems to be about Posh-Merc-Eb-AMZ.  Nothing about Bonanza.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 10:29:08 2021

I notice Ebid fell from grace big time.  I went to the site because someone onboard mentioned that they were doing well on the site.  I couldn't figure out their fee structure.  There's "Seller" and "Seller+" and I couldn't figure it out at all.  And they're not well known across the internet, so I'm staying away from Ebid.  Still too small.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Feb 15 11:44:01 2021

I can't believe that eCrater is still coming in so low. 2020 was my best year selling online (thanks to the lockdown and the news about Splash Mountain doing away with the Song of the South references) and my one and only selling venue is eCrater. They may not advertise, but obviously people are finding my store.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online   Sellers Choice 2021: The Joys and Pitfalls of Selling Online

by: Vox29 This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Feb 16 14:04:13 2021

I don't see how eBay can place first as a marketplace, when it's obvious eBay is not in favor of sellers. I just left eBay after finding out my listings were constantly being micromanaged in order to "sell my items" by making me lower my prices below cost and reposting "best offers" choices when I specifically unchecked that box. I began to spend more time on eBay than my own site trying to mend the damage, and I had listed on eCrater but I'm beginning to change my mind. Same with Bonanza. Now I'm Etsy but here's the benefit: I can list something and leave it there for 4 months at a time without the interference eBay put on it. At this point eBay is last on my list of best marketplaces.



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