Seventy-six percent of Canadians are purchasing online, and will be spending 39 billion by the end of 2019, according to an eTail Canada report. The 2018 Online Marketplaces Report by Internet Retailer cites a UPS study that found ninety-six percent of online shoppers in Canada have made an online marketplace purchase.
Online marketplaces offer a way to reach online shoppers with or without a website of your own. They also allow you to sell on some of the hottest online shopping sites in the country. You’ll benefit from their marketing/traffic, and you can avoid the headaches of payments, fulfillment and customer support. Many also offer an easy route to global sales and you’ll enjoy the benefits of any free shipping offers they have in place.
The income potential cannot be ignored. Canadians who sold products via online marketplaces or classifieds made $4.9 billion in the one year prior to June 2018, according to a Statistics Canada Digital Economy survey.
“From July 2017 to June 2018, 28% of Canadians aged 18 and older reported making money through online platforms. The most common method of earning money was by selling new or used products through online bulletin boards [marketplaces] such as Kijiji, eBay and Etsy,” concludes the Statistics Canada Report.
Amazon recently announced that over 30,000 Canadian small-medium businesses made more than $900 million in sales on Amazon.ca in 2018.
The structure for each platform 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
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 (FBA).
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.
Poshmark Canada is a social marketplace for fashion and accessories.
Faire is an online wholesale marketplace where small business owners and independent makers can buy and sell wholesale online. The platform provides sales, marketing and analytics tools, so sellers can simplify their wholesale business. Users can go straight to a ‘Made in Canada’ page or filter search results to only include companies that ship from Canada.
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.
VarageSale is focused on making local buying and selling safer through vetting users and the use of real names and photos. It’s a Canadian company targeting local sales throughout North America.
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 an eCommerce Platform. 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. 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. Luckily, there are powerful tools to help. You can capture, analyze and refine billions of data points from Amazon with Jungle Scout, for example, plus research competitors and even find suppliers.
Do you sell through online marketplaces in Canada? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below or discuss this and other online business topics in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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