This post was edited on February 21, 2013.
For the majority of online buyers and sellers, eBay has become synonymous with the online marketplace. But even with hundreds of millions of registered users and over $9 billion in revenue, many are not happy with the platform. Here are 17 worthy (and often cheaper) alternatives to the eBay juggernaut.
Like it or Leave it: eBay is Still the King of Online Marketplaces
Even those who are not so fond of eBay still have to admit that the site remains the go-to place to buy and sell a wide variety of items worldwide. The statistics, such as those mentioned above, speak for themselves, and sellers in particular cannot overlook the potential exposure that can be achieved by building up a presence on the site.
Nevertheless, there is a significant population of users who are unhappy with eBay. The most frequent complaints include: expensive seller fees, intense competition, and weak markets in select niches- typically in crafts and certain groups of collectible items.
To fill in the gap, there has been a growing set of rising stars- online marketplaces that are gaining in popularity and interest. Each offers services and a setup that differs from eBay and that may be better suited to certain industries and business models. Many experts in online selling recommend that sellers and small business owners continue to maintain a presence on eBay, but they should also try out some of these other sites in order to supplement their income.
17 eBay Alternatives for Buyers and Sellers
Here are 17 of the most popular eBay alternatives (not in any particular order) that online buyers and sellers may want to consider using:
Artfire is an online marketplace with a focus on crafts, craft supplies, vintage goods, and fine art. Unlike eBay, sellers pay no fees unless they choose to open a Pro account. In that case, they pay a monthly subscription fee. There are several helpful features to the site including: SEO tools, a coupon feature, and Google Analytics integration. Artfire also receives high marks for customer service and the overall administration of the site.
2. Ruby Lane
Ruby Lane has a decent following among the buyers and sellers of high-end antiques, collectibles, and vintage items. Though many of the site’s users consider it to be a worthwhile and profitable venue, some users, however, may find their fee structure to be a bit expensive (and even prohibitive in some cases). It really depends on what is being sold and how much the sellers build up their storefronts.
Bonanza is a general online marketplace offering fixed price listings on general merchandise, including fashion items and collectibles. Compared to other sites, Bonanza has one of the lowest fees- which is a draw for those who need to keep their overhead costs down. However, there is no auction-style buying and selling, and the site is a virtual no-name when compared to the likes of eBay.
Ebid is like eBay’s smaller, less well-known brother. It offers several merchant programs including, auctions, fixed price transactions, and storefronts. EBid is also notably a Google Shopping Marketplace Partner. One key feature to the site is the “Ninja listing tool” that allows for bulk uploading. There is also a very reasonable fee structure.
Like many of the other sites in this list, iOffer supports an auction format, and sellers can also sell items at a fixed price. What makes iOffer unique, however, is its swaps and trades platform. Sellers can automatically receive a storefront when they upgrade to a seller account. The store and all listings are free, and they will only pay a fee when items are sold.
Amazon has been supporting a successful non-auction merchant program for a while now. But, if you are looking for a break from seller fees, you won’t find them here. On Amazon, sellers can create either an individual or business account, each with different features. Both accounts have the option to use the “Fulfillment by Amazon” program, allowing sellers to store and ship their products from Amazon fulfillment centers. Individual accounts will incur fees only when an item sells- a feature that may work well for low sales volume. Professional accounts have a monthly charge but also have lower selling fees than individual accounts. With a professional account sellers can add their own products to Amazon.com, but individual accounts are limited to existing products.
For those who create handmade items or sell craft supplies or vintage products, Etsy.com is a compelling alternative to eBay. Etsy.com has a unique culture and an exceptionally loyal following of buyers. The site does have some restrictions, however: items must either be hand-made by the seller, over 20 years old, or be commercial or handmade crafting supplies. Though setting up a storefront is free, fees are charged for listing items with an initial listing period of four months.
TIAS is one of the oldest marketplaces, offering fixed price transactions in antiques, collectibles, arts and crafts, and jewelry. The site also provides sellers with various store formats to choose from as well as several levels of customer support. TIAS does have a minimum fee requirement, but if a seller’s TIAS commissions are higher than the minimum fee, then only the commission is paid. Other services provided by TIAS include the submission of auctions automatically to eBay and the sending of listings to over 2000 classified ad networks.
The online auction website EAltBay was initially created so that those who buy and sell legal items that have been banned by eBay would have a place to set up and browse online auctions. Ealtbay offers free listings and very reasonable final value fees. There are also several payment options including PayPal.
Delcampe is an online auction specializing in antiques and collectibles, including stamps, coins, and postcards, though other items can also be found there. Like Ealtbay above the fees are pretty reasonable and there are a variety of payment options.
eCRATER is both a free web store builder and an online marketplace. There are millions of products listed, and addition to the free and easy webs store builder, sellers can use Google Wallet at checkout
All listed items area also submitted to Google Product Search. Finally, there is a feature that allows sellers to import their products from eBay.
Bidstart is another online auction specializing in collectibles. The fees here are about half that of eBay, so it’s definitely worth some consideration.
Storenvy is an online store platform that hosts about 19,000 creative entrepreneurs and small businesses, for a total of over 320,000 different products. The best part is that Storenvy is that the service is totally free for both buyers and sellers.
Here’s another really cool option for online buyers or business owners looking to update their equipment, furnishings, or other inventory. This is a fast moving penny auction site. You have to pay a small fee to place a bid (currently it’s $0.60), but the savings (as much as 95% off the retail price on a brand new item) can be shocking. Just expect to spend a little time getting used to the site and how it works to learn how and when to place a bid. Once you get the hang of it, you can really score some deals. Just beware, it can get addictive!
15. Asos Marketplace
At Asos Marketplace, fashion minded people from around the world can buy and sell new, pre-owned and vintage fashion, whether it comes from designer labels and boutiques or from individuals wanting to sell individual pieces. The site is well laid-out and clean, and all of the photos on the site are shot by real people in regular conditions, so you get a better idea of what the clothes will look like out on the street. People on the site can set their own prices, so the savings can be really great, and the customer service and return policies are solid.
Onlineauction.com stays true to the off-line auction where the highest bid wins. The site features a low $8 monthly membership fee, no listing or re-listing fees, and no sales commissions. Sellers can post personal website information with every listing.
Liquidation.com is a marketplace where professional buyers can source commercial surplus inventory and government surplus assets in an online environment. Bulk lots are sold by the truckload, pallet, or small package, and conditions range from new in a box to customer returns and used. Product categories include: apparel, computers, electronics, housewares, industrial equipment, and even vehicles.
Although eBay is a popular and successful venue for online buying and selling, there are several other options that can greatly increase exposure and online sales and improve the buying experience.