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 often you can avoid the headaches of payments, fulfillment and customer support. Many also offer an easy route to global sales and you could enjoy the benefits of any free shipping offers they have in place.
The income potential can’t be ignored. Seventy-five percent of Canadian online shoppers have purchased through an online marketplace, while forty-two percent of merchants sell on them. Fifty-eight percent of Canadians discover new brands, merchants and products by searching on Amazon or Google.
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!
Your sales will be processed through the marketplace. You’ll either have to ship it yourself, or use their in-house fulfillment option (if they offer one). Customer service is usually provided by the marketplace, either fully or in part.
This all comes at a price, of course, but fees vary widely. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of any marketplace you consider selling in.
Online Marketplaces for Canadian Sellers
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.
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. One out of every four orders on BestBuy.ca are fulfilled by marketplace sellers.
The Bay has launched an online marketplace for Canadians. They’ll consider vendors of all sizes in existing or new categories.
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. Additionally, you have to compete for the ‘Buy Box’, where most of the sales are made. 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).
Loblaw companies include Loblaws, The Real Canadian Superstore, Atlantic Superstore and more. Their marketplace promises exposure for third-party sellers on multiple platforms, along with access to their PC Optimum customer loyalty program.
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.
H&M Rewear is a Canadian recommerce marketplace for buying or selling used clothing. They allow listings from any brand, with additional perks for H&M brand clothing. It’s free to create a listing. The buyer pays a transaction fee of 15% of the product price.
Poshmark Canada is a social marketplace for fashion and accessories.
Vinted Canada is an online marketplace for fashionable secondhand clothing. Canadian members can register for free and easily upload their pre-loved fashion items to Vinted’s user-friendly, C2C platform. Members can keep 100% of their profit with no extra fees.
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.
Most social networks and other online communities have their own marketplace. Check them out to see if they can help you reach your ideal customer and build brand awareness.
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. 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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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.