Letting another website handle your e-commerce features could benefit your organisation.

Online marketplaces are third-party websites that allow you to sell online without investing time and money into creating your own  e-commerce website.

Selling your products on an existing online marketplace may be the most straightforward way to start selling online. It is not uncommon for people to start selling through third-party sites and then establish their own e-commerce website as their operation expands and they want more control and flexibility.

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Why do some people use more complex e-commerce solutions?

Selling through online marketplaces may reduce your margins and can limit the terms on which you transact and build lasting relationships with customers. If you make use of more complex e-commerce solutions, you may avoid these problems.

If you think that you are going to need a broader range of more specific features then you may be better served by creating an online store with e-commerce software or creating your own e-commerce website.

Online marketplaces can be divided into two types:

Online classifieds listing services

Online classifieds listing services are online marketplaces in their simplest form. They provide basic functionality, like the ability to list your items publicly, along with information like an item description, item images and your contact details.

Unlike shopping and auction sites, there is typically no inbuilt payment gateway feature. The way in which money is exchanged is left to the discretion of the parties involved in the deal.

These sites include:

external linkGumtree
external linkTrading Post
external linkSimpleTrade

Online shopping and auction sites

If you want more features, like a payment gateway, inventory management and  analytics, then you might want to set up a store on a shopping and auction site.

Online shopping and auction sites may provide quick and easy ways to get started because they provide you with shopping cart and payment functionality as part of their package.

Making your products and services available through well known online marketplaces can also make your offerings visible to large amounts of traffic from people who are already browsing these websites.

These sites include:

external linkeBay
external linkAmazon
external linkEtsy, a shopping site for handmade and vintage items.