Online marketplaces, a channel of international commerce, were already booming before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’ve only grown at a faster pace since. Research shows that 62.5% of the world’s online spending last year was through international marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
If you’re looking to sell products internationally online, you’re at a historical peak of opportunity. From personal care products to industrial supplies to furniture, there’s a marketplace and an audience for virtually anything you’re interested in selling.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best international marketplaces to sell your products, as well as some insights into how you can make the most impact for your efforts.
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What makes a good international marketplace?
When it comes to choosing the right international marketplace, you have a lot of options. So how do you narrow them down and ensure that you’re making the right choice?
While there are many things to consider, the top four come down to affordability, audience, promotional features, and international selling capabilities. Let’s look more closely at each.
Pay close attention to the fees associated with every international marketplace you shop at. You may need to pay a monthly subscription fee, in addition to transaction fees, every time you make a sale. Make sure the fees are sustainable for you, especially if you’re just starting out and strapped for cash.
If you’re looking at a massive marketplace like Amazon, you’ll find virtually any audience. But that comes with the price of stiff competition. You may be able to find success on a smaller-scale platform if you’re selling products that fit into a more specific niche and customer base.
Global ecommerce marketplaces are booming—which means you’ll likely face stiff competition. Does the marketplace have features to set you up for success against everyone else? Look for native programs that can help boost your visibility, get better placement, and build social proof and reputation in the eyes of shoppers.
You might even find native advertising, like Amazon offers to sellers.
International selling capabilities
When selling internationally, you might be surprised by how complex it can be to keep up with location-based policies and laws. Make sure you look for marketplaces that have features for international shipping and carriers, regional payment methods and transfers, and local tax considerations.
Top global ecommerce marketplaces
Not sure where to start your search for your ideal global ecommerce marketplace? Let’s look at some of the biggest names in the industry. Even if none of them are right for you, you’ll have a baseline to continue your research.
Amazon is hands down the biggest global ecommerce marketplace in the US, earning more than $125 billion in revenue in Q4 of 2020 alone. Amazon has an incredible shipping infrastructure and ships worldwide to more than 100 countries, giving you a wide delivery range for selling internationally.
Amazon offers plenty of tools to help sellers succeed. For example, you can fulfill orders yourself, or choose Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and have the company handle all the product storage, packing, and shipping for you. You also have features to help manage international sales, like tax collection.
eBay is the second largest US internal marketplace. While it doesn’t have as big of an audience as Amazon, this could work in your favor if you’re selling niche products that cater to the type of audience who frequents eBay as their go-to marketplace. For example, eBay’s strongest demographics are shoppers between 35 and 49 years old.
One of the perks of eBay is lower fees in comparison to other international marketplaces, making the platform an appealing choice for entrepreneurs on a budget. eBay’s fees generally average about 10% to 15% of your total sales value.
Fruggo operates in more than 50 countries, including much of Europe and Asia. It also offers an added bonus to facilitate international sales: translation technology that helps translate your listing into more than 25 languages.
Unlike some international marketplaces, Fruggo doesn’t charge a monthly fee to use the platform. Just pay whenever you make a sale. And as a UK-based marketplace, it has built-in tools to ensure you’re always paid in your own currency, as well as features to help you manage other costs, like VAT.
Cdiscount is a rapidly growing France-based marketplace, with 10 million active customers. It allows merchants to create a storefront with no opening costs and no sales limit. You can list new and used items in various categories, with no limit on the number of products in your catalog.
Cdiscount also offers fulfillment on demand where you deliver the items to their warehouses when the customer places a new order. The company then ships the order through its logistics channels within 24 hours. All of this makes Cdiscount a great option for online sellers aiming to expand into France.
Zalando is a German ecommerce company with a presence in 23 European markets. Its online marketplaces feature a variety of products in different categories, with fashion being its most successful segment.
Zalando also has trained international support staff to facilitate seller registration. With their guidance, shop creation and product listing are simple and streamlined. Merchants can also tap into Zalando’s global networks, experience, and markets via Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS). ZFS is made up of extensive warehouse locations across Europe and logistics partners in multiple European countries.
Rakuten is Japan’s largest online marketplace, serves more than a billion customers, and operates in more than two dozen countries. That’s why it's earned a reputation as “the Amazon of Japan.” Rakuten has a few features that help it to really stand out from other international marketplaces.
R-mail, its proprietary email marketing tool, helps sellers build and maintain relationships with buyers so they can become loyal customers. The marketplace also offers ecommerce consultants to advise you on your unique seller’s journey. The marketplace also offers a cashback program called Super Points, which helps increase customer loyalty on the site.
China-based AliExpress operates in more than 230 countries and regions, with more than 200 million monthly visits. The platform has earned a reputation for itself for Singles’ Day, which you can think of as China’s equivalent of the Black Friday shopping holiday.
One big perk of selling on AliExpress is the cost: depending on your items and categories, fees can be as low as 5% to 8% of your total sales. AliExpress is also well known for its reliability and customer service. As a seller, you receive your payment right when your customers receive their shipment. And buyers can have peace of mind knowing that customer inquiries are handled quickly and effectively.
Blibli is one of the leading online marketplaces in Indonesia, offering thousands of products to buyers from across 15 different categories. It’s known to be highly trusted due to its emphasis on selling authentic, branded products.
Blibli has a global seller program to help international merchants quickly grow their business in Indonesia. You can list items for free, but you’ll need to provide a valid business registration and business bank account to be accepted into the program. As an international seller, you can send your products to Blibli’s fulfillment center—Blibli delivers all over Indonesia and offers merchants 24/7 local-language customer care support.
Flipkart is a top ecommerce website in India that generated revenue of $4.6 billion in October 2021 alone. The platform initially started as an online bookstore but has since expanded into other product categories like clothing, furniture, grocery, and travel.
Flipkart offers several reasons to sell on its marketplace. It has an easy interface and allows you to create a merchant profile for free. Listing a product gets you in front of over 200 million users. And when you sell on Flipkart, you don’t have to worry about how you will deliver products to your customers. With a strong fulfillment network consisting of 10,000 delivery agents and 200+ pick-up hubs, Flipkart ensures fast delivery of your items while letting you insure yourself from losses with its Seller Protection program.
With over 50 million monthly visitors, Shopee easily ranks as the top online marketplace in Malaysia. Consumers love Shopee for more than its wide assortment of products—it’s also mobile-friendly and offers low shipping fees. This ecommerce site hits all the sweet spots for the buyer.
Listing on Shopee is free, and overseas sellers with less than 100 completed orders are exempted from the commission fee. Plus, the platform lets you offer a variety of payment options to customers, including debit and credit card payment, ATM transfer, and cash on delivery (COD). It’s also easy to fulfill orders, as there are plenty of established fulfillment centers around Southeast Asia that will receive and ship your items to Shopee buyers.
11. Mercado Libre
Mercado Libre is the most popular ecommerce marketplace in Latin America. According to a Web Retailer report, Mercado Libre receives over 650 million visits per month, with Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico contributing 80% of those visits.
An all-around online store, Mercado Libre is home to products of all kinds. It allows merchants to sell products in 150+ categories, including fashion, electronics, sporting goods, home and garden, and smartphones and accessories. International sellers can list and collect their payments in US dollars, while still accepting orders in local currency. To get these benefits and more, you’ll need to be accepted into Mercado Libre’s Global Selling program.
It’s all about finding the right international marketplace
While you can find huge success selling on international marketplaces, it’s not going to be a piece of cake. You’ll have a lot of different options to choose from, and there will always be plenty of competition you’ll be up against.
But you’ll be set up for victory as long as you do your research to ensure that:
- You’re paying manageable fees to sell your products
- The marketplace puts you in front of the right audiences
- You have access to tools that help you boost your visibility and ability to be seen by the right people
And of course, you can always try another marketplace if your first choice(s) aren’t bringing the results you hoped for. The most important thing is making the first move.
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