EBay is the world’s most popular online marketplace that has become an important sales channel for many small and home-based entrepreneurs. According to MSNBC, eBay “conducts more transactions every day than either the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq.”
In fact, a July 2005 study by the leading research firm A.C. Nielsen International found that “more than 724,000 Americans report that eBay is their primary or secondary source of income. In addition to these professional eBay sellers, another 1.5 million individuals say they supplement their income by selling on eBay.”
One of the attractions of eBay is its broad appeal – it is a site pretty much used by as many people over 50 as by those under 25. It attracts a large number of first-time users to the e-commerce aspect of the Internet, who have learned to buy and sell on eBay. Even the big boys are coming on aboard on eBay with Sears, Dell, National Geographic, Samsonite and other big companies setting up their eBay stores.
However, eBay is not the only marketplace in town. In fact, selling on eBay has become tougher — just look at the number of auctions that closes without a bid. Go to the discussion boards on eBay and you will find sellers complaining about how stiffer competition plus higher fees make it so much harder to sell on eBay. Sellers are complaining that eBay needs to do more to attract buyers, as it appears that there are more sellers than buyers on eBay nowadays. With so many sellers, your offering gets lost amidst competition, which may be bigger than you and able to offer lower prices.
The book “Selling Beyond eBay: Foolproof Ways to Reach More Customers and Make Big Money on Rival Online Marketplaces” by Greg Holden urges sellers to look at opportunities beyond eBay. It provides alternatives to eBay where savvy merchants can sell their wares.
The author advises, “if you focus solely on eBay for your online auction sales, you might be selling yourself short.” So why sell beyond eBay?
- Other auction sites are less expensive and more user-friendly than eBay
- You can reach dedicated collectors in other niche auction sites
- You can increase your profit margin by moving some of your sales from eBay to other venues
- You diversify your sales channel
- Look beyond eBay to save money and find new customers
So what are the alternatives to eBay? Here are some of the places where you can sell your wares other than eBay:
1. Niche auction sites
There are a number of auction specialty sites that appeal to a niche audience of collectors and enthusiasts. These are targeted sites selling a narrow category of products.
- LabX http://www.labx.com = for lab equipment, medical equipment, analytical instruments
- Just Beads! http://www.justbeads.com — for beads, jewelry, stones, beaded bags
- Sedo http://www.sedo.com = auction site for domain names
- IronPlanet http://www.ironplanet.com = for used heavy equipment, machinery, asphalt, trucks
- Playle http://www.playle.com — for vintage postcards
- Bid4Assets http://www.bid4assets.com = for high ticket items such as real estate, cars, jewelries
- Stubhub http://www.stubhub.com = for tickets
2. Etsy = Etsy has become the go-to marketplace for handcrafted products. It also now allows sellers to sell vintage items (20 years or older) as well as craft supplies. Listing on Etsy is cheaper than eBay, costing only $0.20 for a 4-month listing plus 3.5% commission on sale price.
3. Overstock http://www.overstock.com = Skews towards females and their best selling items include women’s shoes and handbags, fashion jewelry, small electronics and cell phone accessories. Overstock’s customers are typically affluent yet value conscious.
4. Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com = While Amazon.com has an auction component, it is better to sell via their Marketplace which allows sellers to piggyback on what Amazon sells.
5. Liquidation Marketplaces – ideal for sellers offering hundreds or thousands of inventory items
- UBid http://www.ubid.com = sells brand name merchandise for hefty discounts with bidders prequalified before submitting a bid (they need to provide credit card information)
- Liquidation.com http://www.liquidation.com = the largest surplus marketplace not intended for sellers offering single items
6. Local Buyers – for big and bulky items you want to sell, or if you prefer local buyers instead of the global marketplace
- LiveDeal.com http://www.livedeal.com = allows buyers to search by location; allows buyers to make offers to sellers
- Craigslist http://www.craigslist.com = a free classified ads local directory
- Yahoo Classifieds http://classifieds.yahoo.com = free classified ads for most household goods
- Newspaper classified ads = millions of people still read the newspapers’ classified ads section
7. Live Auction sites – An example is Bidz.com http://www.bidz.com, a live-auction site mainly offering brand name and jewelry products.
8. Your own website – Instead of selling through a different auction sales channel, you can opt to create your own e-commerce site where buyers can directly purchase from you.
The book “Selling Beyond eBay” offers detailed information on the above marketplaces and how they work. More importantly, it gives tips on how to succeed in these marketplaces and what to watch out as well as the tools you need to help your selling. If you are selling on auctions right now and are looking for other ways to sell, this is an absolute must-read book for you.
Recommended Books on Niche Auction Sites:
- Barcode Booty: How I found and sold $2 million of ‘junk’ on eBay and Amazon, And you can, too, using your phone
- eBay PowerSeller Secrets: Insider Tips from eBay’s Most Successful Sellers (2nd Edition) (v. 2)
- Etsy 101: Sell Your Crafts on Etsy, the DIY Marketplace for Handmade, Vintage and Crafting Supplies
- How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond
- Sell on Amazon: A Guide to Amazon’s Marketplace, Seller Central, and Fulfillment by Amazon Programs