Best Marketplaces To Sell On in the UK 2023
At their core, marketplaces connect third-party sellers with buyers, consumers and businesses. Amazon and eBay have now been around for over 20 years in the UK, and marketplaces have only become increasingly popular - due to the availability for consumers to compare features, reviews, specifications, delivery times, and price.
Listing on marketplaces allow a brand’s products to be seen where potential customers are already shopping, which allows for greater visibility, and strengthens a brand’s image by being seen on a trusted marketplace such as Amazon. As a result, many sellers often experience higher sales by listing on marketplaces.
There is now a wide range of marketplaces available to sellers, and sellers now commonly sell on multiple marketplaces to reach different demographics and expand their customer base. If your brand is looking to start selling on an e-commerce marketplace for the first time or is considering expanding into additional marketplaces, these are the top UK marketplaces you should consider in 2023:
Amazon is now the 4th most-visited website in the UK, with 474 million visits per month. In other words, everyone in the UK visits Amazon at-least once a week on average. Furthermore, Amazon is where 23% of shoppers in the UK start their online search.
Amazon is the largest marketplace in both the world, and the UK, and selling is relatively straight forward. A professional selling plan costs £25 a month and allows you to sell in the UK and even across Europe if desired.
Fulfilment by Amazon, commonly known as Amazon FBA, allows sellers to send their stock into one of Amazon’s warehouses and let them handle picking, packing, delivery, and customer service. This is especially helpful for international expansion, as for example stock can be sent to Amazon in France and then any European orders are dispatched from this inventory to offer the fastest delivery possible to ensure a positive customer experience.
Amazon also allows brands to setup a customised brand store, which has a custom URL, to establish brand loyalty on Amazon. Additionally, this brand-registry feature also protects Amazon sellers from anyone else reselling their brands products on Amazon without their permission.
Thanks to Amazon’s Prime subscription service, their shoppers are very loyal, and are often happy to pay a slight premium to purchase something off Amazon than another marketplace as it means they can utilise their Prime delivery subscription to receive the item in 1 or 2 days.
Amazon’s high level of traffic and low barriers to entry make it the perfect marketplace for almost any product to be sold, so it can become competitive against other sellers to rank organically. This is where Amazon’s comprehensive advertising can be leveraged with Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display advertising campaigns to maximise visibility and conversions. The average conversion rate on Amazon is 9.58%, which is 3-4x the average for e-commerce websites, which means that advertising on Amazon often offers a much higher ROAS.
This means that its never too late to start selling on Amazon, as newcomers to the market can quickly gain market share, build reviews, and establish brand loyalty as a result of Amazon advertising.
Fees: £25 a month, up to 15% referral fee on each product sold (varies by category), FBA Fulfilment and Storage fees also apply if using Amazon FBA.
eBay is Amazon’s largest competitor, since it is the 9th most-visited website in the UK, with 279 million visits per month.
eBay similarly has millions of shoppers who are already searching for your products, and they too allow sellers to setup a customised brand store to showcase their brand. Where eBay differs from Amazon is that on Amazon there is one product listing page, and sellers compete to offer the best price. Whereas on eBay, each seller has their own listing, which results in duplicate listings for the same product.
However, this can be to advantage of the seller, as offering free, fast delivery and having good feedback means that a shopper may choose to purchase from them over another seller who may be cheaper. eBay also allows bidding and offers, which can be useful to sell products where the market value may be somewhat unknown.
Another advantage of eBay is that it’s the easiest platform to sell on, since anyone can sign up and sell, whereas as Amazon may require approval for certain categories. This can make eBay very price competitive, which can make it a great marketplace for brands utilising a cost-leadership strategy in their industry as shoppers on eBay are similarly price conscious.
eBay similarly offers international sales, through their Global Shipping Programme, which can reach over 60 million buyers in over 100 countries around the world.
eBay has recently expanded its advertising to compete with Amazon, as until 2023 they only allowed sellers to run automatic campaigns to appear as a sponsored product in search results. However, they now offer manual keyword PPC campaigns and offsite ads, which sellers can utilise to secure even higher visibility and a higher ROAS thanks to more manual control being available.
Fees: 12.8% referral fee on each product sold + 30p fixed charge per order.
OnBuy launched in 2016 and is now the fastest-growing marketplace in the world. OnBuy additionally claims to be the UK’s most trusted marketplace, due to their very positive TrustPilot rating with over 65,000 reviews and guaranteed safe payment via their PayPal partnership. OnBuy was launched in the UK and offers a dedicated UK-based support team.
OnBuy still has a lot of catching up to do to compete with Amazon and eBay in terms of traffic, but they still have over 7 million shoppers, and their advantage is that for some categories their fees are lower than both Amazon and eBay which allows for greater profit margins or the ability to offer lower prices to entice customers into making more purchases.
OnBuy similarly offers international expansion, they now offer 42 additional countries, with over 100 more planned to be available by the end of 2023.
Fees: 7-13% referral fee on each product sold (varies by category) and £19 a month subscription.
TikTok shop was recently launched in September 2023, which currently makes it the latest marketplace released. It’s also the most different - instead of searching for products in a catalogue style like on Amazon or other more traditional marketplaces, instead shoppers discover products and brands through shoppable videos, live streams, and product showcases often through collaboration with a creator who already has a following on TikTok. Purchases are made in-app, with no external redirects.
TikTok has 3.7 million active users in the UK and 61% of weekly TikTok users engaged in e-commerce behaviour on TikTok. As a result, TikTok has approximately over 2 million active shoppers on its app.
The advantages of TikTok Shop is the fees are much lower, at only 5%, and promotions and coupons are paid for by TikTok.
As a result, shoppers can often get up to 15% off at no cost to the seller. TikTok shop also allows access to highly-influential creators who can showcase the features of your product in a much more immersive way than a product description.
Almost 50% of sales on TikTok shop are from the health and beauty category, due to the ability for creators to showcase these products in use with their respective benefits, which now makes TikTok Shop an essential marketplace for sellers in the health and beauty industry.
Fees: 5% referral fee on each product sold.
Etsy is a marketplace which specialises in hand-made, vintage, and customised items, which makes it an essential marketplace for sellers in this industry.
Etsy is easy to use, costs nothing to setup, and has low fees with 16p per listings and 6.5% referral fee per product sold. The low fees allow for very competitive pricing or greater profitability than experienced on other marketplaces.
Fees: 16p per listing, 6.5% referral fee per product sold.
Not On The High Street
Not On The High Street is similar to Etsy in that specialises in unique items and gifts, with approximately 2 million UK visits per month, however the barriers to entry are much higher. Businesses have to submit an application to sell, and not all of them are accepted.
Furthermore, they charge a 25% referral fee per product sold, which makes this a comparatively expensive marketplace to sell on. However, this makes the marketplace very trustworthy to customers as only the best UK small businesses are permitted to list their products on the marketplace.
Fees: £199+VAT sign up fee, 25% referral fee per product sold.
AYKO are experts in setup, listing, organic optimisation, integration, and advertising across all these marketplaces. We can help your brand sell on marketplaces for the first time, optimise any current marketplaces, and also assist with expansion into new marketplaces for further growth.