Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Feb 2 2013 22:21:43

Fourth Annual Sellers Choice: Online Marketplaces Exposed

By: Ina Steiner

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How did the 16 online marketplace you nominated rank overall in this year's Sellers Choice Awards? The results of the fourth annual Sellers Choice are now available in the February 3rd issue of EcommerceBytes Update email newsletter.

Over 11,500 online sellers rated the 16 marketplaces on which they had experience selling. You can see an overview of this year's Sellers Choice Awards on this page. The following chart is particularly interesting, as it displays the top five marketplaces for all four 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. Sellers also indicate how likely they are to recommend each marketplaces as a selling venue to a friend or colleague.

Top seller concerns included high fees and low traffic - and changes to Google Shopping last year impacted the traffic to at least some sellers' marketplace listings, according to comments. And it's the comments (the good, the bad and the ugly) that can provide the most interesting information about each marketplace. Some concerns carry over from year to year - marketplaces, are you listening to your customers?

It doesn't matter the order in which you read the results - you may start with the top 2 or 3 marketplaces on which you sell to see how they rated and peruse the comments, and then move to the overview report (Sellers Choice 2013: Merchants Rate Top Online Marketplaces), which contains charts that show which marketplace did best in each area and how they compare with each other. Or you can start with the overview report and then visit each marketplace report in the order in which they ranked.

Whatever your approach, I hope you enjoy perusing the results of this year's Sellers Choice Awards, and will return here to leave your comments. Thanks to all of you who participated in the nomination process and final voting!




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: TheUglySweaterShop
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Sun Feb 3 01:31:02 2013

I think it is ridiculous to rank venues that specialize in different things against each other.  I would not even be allowed to sell my products on half those venues.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Feb 3 08:53:43 2013

Like Uglysweatershop, I would not be able to sell my category on more than half the sites.

If I count where my sales come from, I'd have to rate eBay number one. Begrudgingly, because at times listing there leaves you feeling vulnerable to anonymous figures with a symbolic  knife at your back.

The two  other venues on this list that  I have used are fairly easy to list on, have nice features, one has pretty nice photo displays, etc.... but how much is that worth if there are NO sales?  

From Buyer Basset perspective:   I went through a period when I searched other sites on this list first. Most often my experience was that there were NO results. So, back to eBay & Amazon. Even eBay seems to have less come up in search these days, compared to the past. Amazon search is just plain confusing to Buyer Basset. I buy from them, but usually via Google.

More and more individual sites are coming online with good Google presence that sell new items at good prices.  I can tell they use eBay and Amazon to lead people to their site.  But your best deal is to buy directly from the site.  

Final note: Steiners, thanks for your hard work on this annual event! The seller comments are a good cross-section of other's experiences on these sites.  

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 3 10:39:23 2013

Hi, I believe this gives a accurate view of what sellers think. Ebay and Amazon who would be the largest were beat out by smaller companies. Etsy listened to what its sellers needed and made a considerable effort to give what the sellers needed and balanced that with the buyers needs also. Unlike ebay who could care less about small sellers and is empowering buyers to file fraudulent claims on every page including their help pages.  Sellers are eBay's customers and they are being treated like scum. Ebay floundered because all JD cares about are the large companies and the advertising dollars they are raking in for clicks on ads on the pages that small sellers have paid for. Here's to you ETSY for your number 1 ranking! Thank you for treating your sellers with respect.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Feb 3 11:35:58 2013

Very glad to see ecrater moving on up!

I sell on ecrater so I was very interested in seeing the comments that people made, especially the negative ones. Many are exactly like the comments we longer term ecrater sellers hear on the forums. Sellers come hoping to escape ebay and it's policies and then get mad that this FREE site doesn't have all the bells and whistles that ebay did. They want instant answers unlike the personal ones that take a bit longer to get out. Some set up their stores without reading any of the rules, etc. It is no wonder some of them have problems. Some throw up listing that basically look like a computer threw up as they have stupid titles, descriptions that leave you scratching your head wondering what they are talking about as you try to make heads or tails of bad spelling, grammar and lack of information and of course poor pictures. Then 2 days after opening their 'store' they are wondering why they haven't had any buyers. If they only took the time to understand ecrater and take their time and then promote their stores, they would have much better success.

I do realize that many have trouble with the shipping set-up. I don’t simply due to my type of products, but I know since many do, this is a problem that needs fixed somehow.

As for traffic, it IS possible to sell on ecrater. We have had 3664 orders since opening up there about 5 years ago. But then I promote our store, I work hard to be sure it has what a buyer needs to make a decision, etc. Many other sellers are getting traffic also although I think we have all felt the changes, and not for the good, that has happened after each major change that Google itself has rolled out. Every spring when they make changes in their search, I see my sales drop. Not because of anything ecrater has done or could change, but directly because of Google trying to change from the search engine they were.

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Feb 3 18:26:09 2013

Another great survey as usual thanks Ina and David.

Unfortunatly I missed voting this year as I did not see it. Oh well.

I wonder how voters gauged their profitability ?

I mean on that basis ecrater should be the most profitable as it has no fees at all.

But if you only sold 1 item in a year on ecrater then is that profitable or is selling 1,000 items on say ebay with high fees more profitable.

And how do users estimate their traffic ?


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This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Sun Feb 3 18:29:20 2013

Congratulations to Ruby Lane, Etsy and Amazon 2013.

And a special Congrats goes out to Addoway for being on the list with only less than 3 years new and earned their spot for growth.

Spot on!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Feb 4 00:29:05 2013

Like Moonwishes, I'm a big eCrater supporter. I was amazed by all the comments that people weren't getting sales there, as my sales are better on eCrater than what I was getting the last year I sold on eBay. I work hard on my listings, with plenty of photos and as much detail as possible. And including Google Attributes keeps my items high in Google organic searches.  

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by: Buttons This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 4 08:37:51 2013

Etsy for customer service? Non-existent! try getting them on the phone or to respond to an e-mail...does not happen.

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Thu Feb 7 01:25:51 2013

I am as sick as the next person of eBay's narcissistic business model. Aside from all of the well known and much repeated comments about the disrespect we all receive from a company that we are paying good money to do business with like eBay, I beleive there are many factors that influence the amount of sales on that site.

One is whether or not the items you sell are mainly of male or female interest and whether or not you list as an auction or buy-it-now.

My first point is that men are more competitive. Men like to win. When I list items men want, I list in auction style and I sell more. When I sell china I do better with only BIN and no auction, though women generally are not as competive they are more careful about the end price along with shipping. Women are used to having to justify their spending and have some internal rational for how it all adds up. Men buy what they want and if they can win it away from someone else, all the better.

I think we will move away from catch all merchandise sites and do better by putting emphasis on different areas of interest including generally male or female wants and needs, hobbies, and collectible items.

We are seeing different venues splitting off into more specialized inventories. Sites like Ruby Lane have had it right all along. The more we concentrate like items the more interested buyers will congregate there.

Etsy is a chic place, obviously. The e-commerce websites that cater to women and put emphasis on aesthetics, social networking, and co-operation will continue to rise to the top because women want this. Even though men still make more money, women still spend most of it.

Amazon is expensive to sell on and has little to no social aspect in buying or selling. Less nonsense if you ask me, but it offers little to the small seller. Some of the biggest selling items on Amazon are diapers and baby wipes and most of the FBA items are way over priced. You can buy them cheaper by driving to Walmart. I see this whole cash cow crashing for many FBA sellers when more people start checking the expiration dates on the products and the prices down the road.  Amazon continues to sell more of it's own items as it lets corporate businesses push the little person out the door.

Since I sell a variety of items my plan is to find the sites that attract the buyers I need for particular items. The character of Google searches has changed noticably and the average person can see that. Until Google figures out that it is losing my ad dollars by catering only to big business and buyers go to other search engines looking for a ''purer'' search, I will need to be grouped with other like sellers to draw the traffic necessary to make any money.

My own website would need a fulltime SEO person to make it right now and I can't afford that.

Thanks Ina and Dave for a great website, your keen insights, and the opportunity to be heard with no manipulation, filters, or fear of reprisal.

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by: Pat Gray This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Feb 8 05:53:21 2013

Thank you for turning me on to Bonanza - SOOOOO much easier to work with than eBay from a seller's point of view.... Set an account up for a friend in less than an hour. The interface is easy to use and the help is easy to follow. (PS I can see why Etsy is number one - I've done very well there, the support from the staff and other users is superb and the interface is great too!)

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by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 13 11:52:04 2013

I see many props for Bonanza, but does anybody actually sell a good amount of items there?

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by: mak This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 17 19:54:44 2013

I have had huge issues on Etsy, Rubylane and Ebay with Seller honesty.  

It seems that if anybody wants to unload some broken chipped porcelain objects, they just sell it online and claim it must have happened in shipping.  

I can see it once or twice, but 20% of the time the items are chipped or broken.  

Has anyone integrity these days?

MAK



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