So you're in a funk with eBay, or maybe you're just looking out into the big wide world of selling platforms to see what opportunities lay yonder. Either way, you've ended up here, and you wonder about the top alternatives to eBay and which ones will suit you most.
No one can deny the power of eBay: Since 1995, eBay has held its place as one of the largest marketplaces in the world. It has turned thousands of hobbyists into PowerSellers and allowed thousands more to run profitable, at-home businesses. However, the eBay marketplace has evolved significantly in recent years, and various policy changes have prompted an exodus from eBay, as sellers look for other, more lucrative online marketplaces.
Where there's a will there's a way, and this rise in need for other platforms has produced more options than you can shake the proverbial stick at. So what are these eBay alternatives?
Below you'll find a description of each site, some information about who that marketplace is best suited to and a direct comparison to eBay.
It's almost hard to believe that once upon a time Amazon was simply an online bookstore that dropshipped much of its inventory. The world's largest online book store, sure, but it only sold books. It has since exploded into one of the world's most visited websites, which offers millions of products across a range of product categories.
Amazon is similar to eBay in that you're opting into a very large marketplace that a lot of buyers trust, but the massive customer base comes at the price of higher fees and more competition.
In saying that, the large number of people looking to buy is a definite plus. With larger platforms like these, you need to think of it as getting a smaller slice of a larger pie. The slice may be a smaller in proportion to the whole pie, but the size of the pie means that you're still getting a decent amount. This huge traffic volume is probably the main reason that Amazon's Sellers Choice profitability rating was similar to eBay's.
Amazon also uses a built-in algorithm that will recommend your products to people who might be interested in them based on their search histories.
Want to know exactly what you'll get with Amazon that you haven't had with eBay? Here's the list:
Almost anyone, selling almost anything, will be able to run a business on Amazon. The sheer diversity of prospects is a powerful enticement. You just have to make sure that your prices are competitive enough to be a contender without sacrificing too much of your profit margins. If you're a small seller, this can be a bit more of a challenge, as there will be others selling in large quantities making pricing very competitive. That's where you need to make sure you're selling the right products.
One of the best ways to get ahead in a competitive space like this is to do a little market research into what you want to sell before you commit time, energy, and capital to actually selling it.
You can get an idea of how well a product will perform with the SaleHoo Labs. You can simply select a category (or select "all" categories), filter your products to see the ones with the highest success rate for the lowest competition, and you'll see some top options for you.
This way, you'll be able to sniff out some great product options for you to sell. You'll also get a smattering of additional information, like the average sale price or how many listings there are for that product. It's well worth checking out, especially if you plan to sell on Amazon.
If you'd like to see the most recent market research that we're done for you, you can always see our Market of the Week posts here. Some example ones you could look at are:
These are just a few options that we've already looked into. Whatever you'd like to sell on Amazon, you can research it easily for yourself in the lab.
Etsy is doing very well as an online selling platform. It started in 2005 as an online community for crafters, artists and vintage enthusiasts, based in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Now it has 1.6 million active sellers, and 26.1 million active buyers. Not bad! It came out on top as the Sellers' Choice for ease of use, and it was the top pick for profitability after giants Amazon and eBay.
Etsy specializes in handmade and vintage goods, as well as craft supplies. Yes, this does limit what you can list on the network, and you might find that this rather niche-specific market isn't for you.
If, however, you make geeky things, costumes, jewelry, fashion accessories, home decor, cool gifts, and any number of other crafty items (or you know how to source quality vintage items or wholesale craft supplies), this is definitely the place to sell it all.
Want to know exactly what you'll get with Etsy that you haven't had with eBay? Here's the list:
Etsy is clearly best suited to any merchants with handmade items, vintage items, or craft-related resources. If you are an online seller who either produces your own unique product, or you source items that suit this market, then this selling platform is exactly what you're looking for.
If you create your own products, then by all means go ahead and list them and see how you go. If you'd rather give Etsy a go with some wholesale products, you have to be careful what you sell. You should read Etsy's Seller Guidelines before selling on this network.
Basically, Etsy is a place for unique goods or the supplies for making them. So if you're not making your own unique goods, stock up on the supplies instead by searching in the SaleHoo directory for "craft supplies," or search for specific types of supplies such as "fabrics" or "beads" or "clasps."
Some examples of items (and links to trusted supplier pages) that could provide what you need are:
There are many others you could look into, the above are just a few of the trusted suppliers available to you in the SaleHoo directory.
I thought it worth mentioning that there are a few other sites like this one now, claiming to have more unique goods than websites like eBay and Amazon. Two in particular are doing very well. If you are interested in tapping into this market, then it could be worth trying your luck with:
Look around these marketplaces to get an idea of the types of products people are selling, and then find suppliers for those types of items to start selling on these networks.
Bonanza is headquartered in Seattle and, though it's relatively new to the e-commerce scene, it's doing incredibly well. The Bonanza marketplace encompasses more than 22 million items ranging from Godzilla garden gnomes to taxidermy alligators.
A lot of sellers are making good money on Bonanza. The site has merchants and shoppers in nearly every country around the world. More than 40,000 sellers have already created businesses here.
Bonanza is one of the easiest selling platforms to use, and its popularity is on the rise amongst sellers. In the Sellers' Choice awards, Bonanza has taken out the top rating for communication again, and were voted the most recommended selling venue. They were also recognised in Entrepreneur's 360 best companies list.
Want to know exactly what you'll get with Bonanza that you haven't had with eBay? Here's the list:
Bonanza is best suited to any merchants who have something to sell online. Although Bonanza specializes in unique items and one-of-a-kind finds, it is not without its Justin Bieber perfume or Michael Kors handbags.
Bonanza actually provides a really helpful guide for making sales on its platform, so that's definitely worth checking out. You could make a profit in any of its categories, but some of the top-selling ones currently include:
These are all categories in the SaleHoo directory, so you'll find a wide variety of trusted wholesale suppliers there for sourcing these types of products.
Over the years, Bonanza has put emphasis on building platform-specific tools to make selling online much easier for entrepreneurs. They offer automatic eBay, Amazon, and Shopify importing, multi-item editing, and a marketing tool that allows sellers to provide targeted discounts to their buyers. You can learn more about these tools here, and use them to boost your profits on Bonanza.
You can sell almost anything on Craigslist (including yourself, in the "personals" section). It's very "no-frills" in that there are no listing fees or selling fees, but it's super basic both in design and automation of the selling process.
It is, after all, just a forum. This means that you're pretty much on your own as far as selling and disputes go.
Want to know exactly what you'll get with Craigslist that you haven't had with eBay? Here's the list:
Craigslist is best suited to sellers who are selling locally, and prefer to manage their transactions personally. It can be a good option for selling items that are perhaps too big or expensive to ship, such as furniture.
Some people like it because they can meet the people they're selling to, so there's a small social element. You can get cash-in-hand and you don't have to pay a network or shipping fees. In saying that, if you're paranoid about getting scammed or don't want to be personally involved with the transaction, then Craigslist might not be for you.
Be careful with how you sell, as online transactions can be a little dodgy here, and if you get handed fake money, then it's basically your loss. Accepting payments in person can be good, but be careful (and safe!) when deciding where and how you meet people.
If you're good at spotting items that are worth a lot more than they're being sold for, or you have the skills to do up items that are a little lacklustre, you could make a neat profit here. For example, you might have an eye for valuable antiques, or you might know how to restore old wooden furniture. Or maybe you know how to sew something back to life. Pick up some workable free items or low cost items from craigslist (or browse local garage sales), work your magic, and sell the items for a higher price on Craigslist or other selling platforms. This can be a hit-and-miss strategy, so be sure to only select items that you're confident you could sell for a profit. And if items need work, make sure you have the time to do it, otherwise you may end up with a garage full of items you can't flip.
The downside of that strategy is it involves time, energy, and often a bit of luck to work. If you're a hobbyist it could be an enjoyable and profitable process, but if that's not your cup of tea, consider buying wholesale goods. List items that will sell well locally, save on listing and shipping fees, and you could make a hefty profit margin without the effort.
Some examples of items you could sell on Craigslist include:
You can find other wholesale suppliers in the SaleHoo directory. Just search for the types of products you'd like to sell and browse the trusted suppliers available to you.
eBid is another marketplace similar to eBay and Amazon in that it is a platform for selling almost anything. Still, it's not as well known, so you'd be selling to a smaller pool of buyers.
It's definitely a lower-cost option than eBay or Amazon, but the profitability rating is also lower. The absence of listing fees and low 3 percent commission charged per sale does make this a low-risk market to test out, so if you're looking for a change, you've got little to nothing to lose here.
If you'd like a thorough run-down of eBid as an alternative to eBay, check out this post: Is eBid a Viable Alternative to eBay?
Want to know exactly what you'll get with eBid that you haven't had with eBay? Here's the list:
eBid is for you if you don't want to pay to list your items (as you have to on eBay), or if you'd just like to try your luck on an alternative (but similar) network. There's extra potential here if you know a thing or two about generating your own traffic.
Basically, the lower level of traffic circulating on eBid (compared to eBay) is the only major downside. So if you promote your listings effectively elsewhere, such as social media or forums, you can enjoy your traffic as well as lower traffic.
Some examples of items you could sell on eBid are:
There's definitely potential here, but also more work required to get your shop off the ground.
Selling on your very own website really is the ultimate option if you want to increase your profits and build a business that will become a long-term asset. If this appeals to you but you have no idea how to get started, don't worry. There's an easy way, which I'll mention a bit further down.
When selling from your own online store, you have to establish your own traffic, which can make it a little slower to get started than selling in a bigger marketplace. But once you're up and running, you don't have to compete with anyone else and your sales are all your own.
With this option, you can build up your own brand, rather than eBay's or Amazon's. When you sell on those platforms, who's really making the sale? They're spreading their brand, not yours. People say "I got it on eBay," or "I got it on Amazon," with no mention of the seller's name! It's ultimately you contributing to their marketplaces and their sales. Why not put that effort into yourself instead?
Here are the benefits of running your own online store, rather than selling on eBay:
Honestly? Pretty much anyone can get their own website and make a profit. Setting up your own store isn't nearly as hard as it used to be, and with a little time and effort, you can sell exactly what you want to, and how you want to.
You can learn about the pros and cons of owning your own website here, and decide for yourself if it's something you'd like to pursue.
Selling on your own website used to be expensive and complicated, but it doesn't have to be! If you don't have website-building skills and a heap of time, then store builders such as SaleHoo Stores are a really great option for you.
With SaleHoo Stores, there's no need for technical experience or knowledge; you can have your own store up and running in minutes and with just a few simple clicks of a mouse. You can see a SaleHoo store demo here.
Want a shop for yourself? It's super easy. Find out just how easy it is to set up your own online store here.
Then, you just have to get traffic to your site to encourage sales. There are a couple of great lessons readily available to help you with this, including "Get Buyers to Your Store" and "4 Ways to Advertise Your Store." There's also a community forum where you can ask questions and get advice.
Niche-specific websites are marketplaces where people only sell one type of product. So rather than the larger category-based marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, these sites hone in on one of those options and specialize in only that.
For example, if you were specifically interested in selling clothing, you might consider selling on a site like Poshmark. Or if you wanted to sell gear for the outdoors, you might try selling on GearTrade. Heck, if you were in the car market, why not try Cardaddy?
If you're passionate about a specific niche of products, or you tend to bulk-order a small range of items, then niche-specific websites could be a great platform for you.
This will allow you to really focus on one market, and get to know the selling techniques that work best with that niche's buyer-audience.
If you haven't already, you need to really zero in on the type of product you'd like to sell and determine how much demand there is. A quick way to get a rough comparison of popularity is to do a keyword search. You can use a tool like the Keyword Research Module in AffiloTools.
Simply type in the name of the product or niche that you're interested in selling, and look at the monthly search volumes. This will show you how many people are searching for words or phrases to do with that topic, which is a strong indication of how much interest there is. If you're tossing up a few options, then try each one out to see which ones generally have more searches.
Once you've got a strong idea of what you'd like to sell, try searching in Google for "Places to sell [product type]." Look for marketplaces that cater to selling in your specific niche, like the examples we've already mentioned. Be sure to read about other people's experiences selling on them first. If these sites come across as genuine and promising, give them a go!
Finally, you need to find trusted suppliers with the best products to sell on these networks. For example, if you were looking for clothes to sell, you could try any of these:
These are just some examples of the trusted suppliers you can access in the SaleHoo directory. If you've got a niche that you'd like to sell to, then type it into the search box there and find the best suppliers.
Have we missed a marketplace that you'd like to see here? If so, let us know in the comments below and we'll add it to this list. Stand-outs will be researched and added in our next update.
Current suggestions from the comments on this post include:
There are a lot of options for you to choose from, so it depends on which of these following elements appeal to you most...
Amazon is the only other network that's similar to eBay in size, with a giant range of products and massive customer base. So if that's a benefit of eBay you don't want to lose, this is an alternative to try.
Bonanza is similar to eBay in that the range of products you can sell isn't limited like it is on sites like Etsy, and they have a fantastic relationship with sellers, so it's worth trying.
Finally, if the auction-style is what you like about eBay, then eBid is the closest relative, although there's much less traffic circulating there so you'll have to do a lot more promotion to get your store off the ground.
These creative-style networks are really taking off, with Etsy coming in highest after eBay in overall Sellers Choice ratings. These networks might be totally wrong for the type of product that you're looking to sell, but if you're not tied down already, then these networks are worth the time to try out.
This network is certainly on the rise as a strong alternative to eBay. The site has fantastic communication, and your listings will only cost you if they're successful, in which case it'll be a non-issue.
Amazon is also free to list items on, but it charges higher commissions. The high volume of traffic on Amazon may make up for that though, depending on how much competition you're facing and how much demand there is for what you're selling. You can always try listing on both and seeing which gives you the best returns. After all, neither will cost you anything until your items sell so you've got nothing to lose.
If you do decide to give it a go, remember to check out this guide to selling on Bonanza.
This is a sort of cheap-and-nasty option where you're left to your own devices and often end up trading in person, but if you don't mind selling locally and being a little more hands-on in the selling process, then this is an option to consider.
If you like to sell locally consider other outlets such as local markets, especially if you enjoy this social element to selling. These environments are full of buyers and can give you an extra chance to show off your wares and add to your sales.
If you want to avoid competition, listing fees and paying commissions, then consider running your own online store. It's a little more work to get set up (unless you use a store builder like SaleHoo stores) and to promote, but in the bigger picture it can be a hugely profitable option.
Finally, if you're an enthusiast for selling one type of product but you don't want to build your own site, it's worth looking into niche-specific marketplaces. Just do a quick Google search to see if you can find any in your area of interest.
We haven't looked into all of your suggestions yet (unlike like the other options here), but they're suggestions made by other sellers and could be worth looking into.
Have we missed one that you'd like to see here? If so, let us know in the comments below and we'll do the research and add it to the list.