Earlier this year, an RBC survey found that only 46% of Canadian small businesses have a website. Online marketplaces offer a way to sell online with or without a website of your own. The structure for each varies, but the standard offering is a place to sell your products online where the traffic is high and the marketing is done for you. The larger marketplaces like Amazon.ca have millions of visitors every year, which could seriously increase your sales and build your brand. What a great way to test-drive the online market for your products!
Unfortunately, Canadians don’t have as many online marketplace options as other countries, but that is improving as international businesses realize the profit potential here. We’ve compiled a list of Canada-friendly marketplaces to help you get started. We’ll update the list as new marketplaces open to Canadian sellers.
Online Marketplaces for Canadian Sellers
Newegg Canada boasts more than 20 million annual customer visits. You must be approved before selling products on Newegg.ca. They charge a commission, but sometimes they have a commission special with reduced rates.
Best Buy Canada marketplace gives you access to over 225 million visitors per year. They say their fees are competitive with other online marketplaces and there is no setup fee.
eBay has a complicated fee schedule but they do seem to be working on improving that. The fees can add up quickly if you aren’t careful. eBay is downright paranoid about anyone using their marketplace to promote their business directly, so you won’t be able to mention your website or even an email address.
Amazon is the recognized giant in the marketplace category, with well over a hundred million unique visitors every month. This also means the space is more competitive so you should do some research. They charge a monthly fee for sellers selling more than 20 items per month, plus selling fees. A super easy option is to go with Fulfillment by Amazon, as explained in The Amazing Amazon Genie: FBA.
Alibaba recently struck a deal to bring Canada’s products to the Chinese market, but they’ve always allowed Canadian suppliers in their international marketplace. There are several supplier packages available if you think this structure is suitable for your business.
eCrater offers a free store with no fees unless a buyer comes through their marketplace, for which they charge 2.9% of the sale. You must agree to ship to the US to sell on eCrater.
Etsy is an international online marketplace for crafts and craft supplies. Their fees are reasonable and the site is very popular.
iCraft Gifts is based in Canada and accepts only hand-crafted goods from sellers around the world. You must be the designer, creator or producer of your art, craft or fashion (no product resellers are permitted). Set up your account for $25 CAD and then pay listing fees for the items you list for sale. All payments are via PayPal.
FarmersMarketOnline.ca is a small, Canadian online marketplace focusing on homemade and homegrown goods. The cost for one year starts at $19.95.
Runway Crush offers an online boutique for Canadian designers of fashion and accessories. They charge an 8% commission on items sold.
Big Apple Bargains sells crafts on consignment for Canadian artisans/crafters.
Walmart Marketplace will accept Canadian businesses if you ship products to the United States.
Kijiji.ca allows ad’s for individual items by any Canadian seller. You cannot list an item like a store advertisement, but you can include pick-up information. They allow a link that is specifically product-related or as an alternative form of contact.
CraigsList.org is less specific about what type of ad’s they allow. You can go with trial and error based on the same criteria as Kijiji.ca, or send the ad to Craig’s List staff to ask if it is acceptable.
Drop Shipping and Auction Marketplaces for Canadians
Some marketplaces allow third party integration to facilitate drop-shipping, such as eBay or Amazon. This is usually done through a website host or eCommerce Platform, like Shopify Canada or BigCommerce. If you plan to sell on eBay, you’ll find some drop shipping companies are authorized eBay dealers with integrated features to make auction selling easier, like Wholesale2B. Please see our article, Drop Shipping / Wholesale for Canadian Sellers, for more information.
Auctions and online marketplaces can be more challenging than selling from your own website due to the competitive environment. You can still come out on top with the proper use of data and competitive analysis. Canada’s Terapeak is a powerful tool that will give you a serious competitive advantage. You’ll gain access to insider eBay, Amazon.ca, and Alibaba analytics for Canada, the US and other countries. You’ll be able to calculate your margins and monitor the listings, quantities, and prices from your competitors to stay ahead of market conditions.
Do you sell through online marketplaces? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
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Finding Suppliers for your Canadian Business
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10 Hot Product Niches to Sell or Drop Ship Online in Canada
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