Sellers Choice 2015: Merchants Rate Top Online Marketplaces
By Ina & David Steiner
Each year, online sellers have the opportunity to rate the marketplaces on which they sell, and over 12,000 sellers participated in the 2015 Sellers Choice Awards. In the initial nomination process, EcommerceBytes readers chose 12 finalists. They then rated the marketplaces 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 supplied comments about the marketplaces, revealing details about the rewards and challenges of selling on each marketplace - the kind of inside information you won't find anyplace else.
Etsy placed first overall in this year's Sellers Choice, and was rated the highest for Customer Service and Ease of Use. It was also rated highest for most likely to recommend as a selling venue to a friend or colleague.
It's worth noting that Etsy is the first online marketplace to earn the top spot twice since the Sellers Choice awards debuted in 2010 (it also came in first place in 2013).
Amazon placed second after coming in fourth place last year. And Bonanza placed third overall, a perennial favorite among readers taking the survey. Bonanza was also rated the highest of all marketplaces for Communication.
Ruby Lane placed fourth, and eBay placed fifth. eBay was also rated the highest of all marketplaces for Profitability.
New to Sellers Choice this year is Alibaba's 11 Main marketplace, which launched in 2014. Less than a year old, it placed eighth overall.
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 Etsy, Amazon, and Ruby Lane.
How It Breaks Down - Customer Service
We asked sellers, "How would you rate the customer service (marketplace name) provides to sellers?" Etsy topped the list for Customer Service, followed by Amazon, Ruby Lane and Bonanza.
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 again this year, followed by Amazon, Ruby Lane, and Etsy.
How It Breaks Down - Ease of Use
We asked sellers, "How would you rate (marketplace name)'s ease of use as a seller?" Etsy topped the list for Ease of Use again this year, followed by Amazon, Bonanza, and Craigslist.
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? Etsy scored highest on Recommended Selling Venue, followed by Bonanza, Amazon and Ruby Lane.
This Year's Results: Traffic, Traffic, Traffic
A common thread when reviewing comments left by sellers who rated the 12 marketplaces for this year's Sellers Choice Awards was the challenge of getting traffic to their listings. When Google Shopping went from a free source of traffic to a pay-to-play model in 2012, things changed - small niche sites had a much more difficult time climbing to the top of the ratings.
In fact, since the change, the same 5 marketplaces vie for the top 5 spots in Sellers Choice.
In 2014, eBay (#5) suffered major challenges, but it still managed to come in first for Profitability. Amazon (#2) gets enormous traffic, but the competitive pressure on price pushed it to third place for Profitability.
Etsy came in first place this year, but restricts sellers to handmade goods and vintage items. At the end of 2013 it made the controversial decision to broaden what it accepts in the handmade category. If it goes public this quarter, as is rumored, it will be interesting to see if that has any effect - negative or positive - on next year's ratings.
eBay had a tough year in 2014, and its CEO said things are going to get worse before they get better. That makes Sellers Choice even more relevant as sellers consider expanding to other channels (for those who haven't already).
We have more thoughts about the 2015 Sellers Choice Awards on the EcommerceBytes Blog, and please leave your own comments about this year's ratings.
Comments: Insider Information
Each year, sellers share comments about the marketplaces that provide a picture of what it's like to sell on these online marketplaces. 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.
As we note each year, it's important to keep in mind that these are not one-size-fits-all comments. It's likely that a seller of handmade goods will have a different experience than that of a seller of vintage goods on the same marketplace.
Respondents took the time to share their thoughts about the venues on which they have had experience selling, and those comments are extremely helpful not only to other sellers, but to the marketplaces themselves. Representative 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: Etsy
Page 2 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Amazon
Page 3 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Bonanza
Page 4 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Ruby Lane
Page 5 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: eBay
Page 6 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist
Page 7 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: eBid
Page 8 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: 11Main.com
Page 9 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Pinterest
Page 10 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: eCrater
Page 11 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Zibbet
Page 12 Sellers Choice Marketplace Ratings: Facebook
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 survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.
About the author:
Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.
You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
All other use is prohibited.