Building an audience from scratch is one of the biggest hurdles for an online seller today. There are numerous places your customer can go, and grabbing (plus keeping) their attention is an art all its own.
This is why marketplaces are, in some ways, a godsend for sellers. They offer an established audience that regularly returns to the marketplace to do their shopping.
Did you know? 63% of product searches today start on Amazon.
That said, no two marketplaces are exactly alike. Between varying levels of monthly traffic and their unique strengths, some marketplaces are better suited for your brand than others. In this blog, we’ll cover the sheer volume of visitors that each major marketplace gets in a month and dig deeper into what makes each platform so popular.
Our two cents? Don’t simply be wooed by the monthly traffic. Take a look at which types of consumers each platform attracts and if those channels offer a relevant audience or a competitive edge. Select a few channels to test if you can (*cough* a platform like Zentail makes it easy to test new channels without complicating your work), understanding that you never want to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Free Ebook: Why Brands Sell on Amazon and Other Marketplaces
Ecommerce Marketplaces by Monthly Traffic
There are lots of metrics you can use to measure the value of each ecommerce marketplace, but the number of monthly visitors can be indicative of the type of brand exposure and engagement you can expect to see. This should also guide your goal planning; avoid expecting the same results from each channel and rather tailor your strategies accordingly.
Amazon — 200,000,000 Unique Visitors Per Month in the United States
Amazon saw 200 million unique visitors per month as of late 2020. Since COVID-19 and the rapid increase in online shopping, that statistic has only grown. Prime members today spend an average $1,400 per year in the U.S. (by contrast, non-Prime members spend an average of $600 per year), citing free shipping and convenience as top reasons for shopping on Amazon.
Read More: Ecommerce Buyer Personas by Channel
For sellers, the value (and the challenge) of Amazon is that it’s practically open to anyone. The barrier to entry is low and there are now 1.9 million active third-party sellers worldwide (493,000 in the U.S.), which has equated to more than 12 million available products on Amazon.com. To compete, nearly 75% of sellers use FBA to some extent.
Amazon’s expansive reach has also yielded big fortunes for some sellers. It’s typically regarded as the “cash cow”—though only 1% of marketplace sellers ever hit $1 million or more in annual sales. Success on the platform has become a complex science, requiring a combination of high-quality listings, fast (and reliable shipping), positive reviews, ads and a good customer experience.
With all this said, Amazon should never be the end-all-be-all. There are a number of reasons why you should expand to other channels, including a webstore, regardless of your success. The most important to note: Amazon has all the control. If the company decides to change its terms of service, fee structure, algorithm or seller services, your bottom line could be hit hard and leave you with no recourse.
In the worst of scenarios, Amazon can suspend or remove your store for perceived lack of quality, such as too many chargebacks. No business is exempt from this; history shows that even the largest of sellers can be suspended or impacted overnight.
Protect your business by diversifying your sales channels and regarding Amazon as a vehicle for growth, not your final destination.
Walmart Marketplace — Up to 100,000,000 Unique Visitors a Month
Walmart.com sees more than 100 million visitors a month, according to comScore. That number is only expected to grow as the company invests in campaigns like Walmart+, a loyalty program that has garnered between 7.4 million and 8.2 million members. Customers on average spend around $1,000 on Walmart.com purchases per year, which is “remarkably similar” to the spending habits of Amazon shoppers, according to CIRP Co-Founder Josh Lowitz.
While Walmart is nowhere near Amazon’s monthly visitor count, it has the advantage of 10,500 brick-and-mortar stores, which serve approximately 220 million customers globally. Its retail reach is massive, as is its supply chain network. The company’s biggest hurdle online is drawing more attention to its marketplace and refining the seller experience to be more user friendly.
Worth noting: for sellers, Walmart Marketplace presents a unique opportunity. It is far more selective when accepting sellers onto its marketplace. It has strict eligibility requirements and an exhaustive application process that is focused on bringing trustworthy U.S.-based sellers onto its platform. For those who are accepted to sell on Walmart.com, the channel offers 13x more exposure than on Amazon given its favorable seller-to-customer ratio.
Bottom line: you’ll want to consider this marketplace a long-term investment. It’s best to apply now and gain the early-moved advantage. Aside from tapping into a large audience with less competition, you can affiliate your brand with Walmart’s global brand, affirming the quality of your products and service. Keep in mind that the marketplace itself is relatively young. It is constantly evolving, which can lead to growing pains.
eBay — 106,900,000 Unique Visits Per Month
eBay may seem like a blast from the past, but it's not leaving the ecommerce world any time soon. With over 100 million visits a month and a site structure that actively requires engagement, it's a strong platform to include in your portfolio if your products appeal to hobbyists, value seekers or “enthusiast buyers.” eBay is a particularly strong platform for electronics (#1), health and beauty (#2) and home and garden (#3) products.
Some of the reasons to make eBay a bigger part of your strategy (besides the sheer number of visitors) include:
- Good customer ratings: People who love shopping on eBay love shopping on eBay. If you follow the rules, it's a great place to get hundreds of five-star reviews. This builds up your brand reputation and makes you a more appealing candidate for platforms like Walmart Marketplace.
- Cost savings: eBay usually has relatively lower commission fees. This means more profits for your business and less risk if you want to experiment with new product listings.
- A friend of brands: eBay offers “concierge” services for large brands to assist with customer service, error resolution, strategy and more. It is also strictly a marketplace that does not compete with its sellers by developing its own products.
Newegg — 35,800,000 Visits Per Month
Newegg is a niche ecommerce marketplace with more than 35.8 million monthly visits and 40.2 million registered customers. The strongest categories on this platform are electronics and home appliances (though other categories, like apparel, are growing), and most Newegg shoppers are interested in comparing product specs in depth. This follows its humble beginnings as the first marketplace for computer component enthusiasts.
Business advantages of the platform include less fees (read: no monthly or credit card transaction fees), more precise targeting capabilities and brand-building services. The company offers full shipping services (Shipped by Newegg), a la carte fulfillment services (returns management, labeling, etc.), marketing service and much more—all with the goal of helping its sellers thrive.
Facebook Marketplace — Over 30 Million Unique Visitors in the United States (Annual, Not Monthly)
With over 30 million annual visits in the United States alone, Facebook Marketplace is a small but growing ecommerce platform that may be worth your attention. (Globally, it attracts 800,000,000 monthly users). Facebook Marketplace got its start as an online equivalent to garage sales, with individual Facebook users posting used items or handmade goods for sale in their local areas. It has since evolved to be a B2C platform where merchants with large inventories and hard-to-beat discounts perform best. Consider adding Facebook to reach local audiences and to build your presence in tandem with your Instagram marketing.
Google Shopping — Unclear
Unlike other ecommerce platforms, there is no clear metric for the number of unique visits within the Google Shopping ecoystem. The ecosystem includes Shopping ads, free listing and Buy on Google. Depending on which you use and who you’re targeting, monthly traffic can vary wildly. But it’s worth noting that Google brings in more than 62.19 billion visits in one year.
What does this mean for ecommerce businesses? First, it means you have to do your own legwork on setting up campaigns, tracking purchases and leveraging all of Google’s assets for sellers. However, it also means there's a good chance that the sheer number of Google users will create a valuable enough pocket of shoppers.
On a big-picture level, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Google's increasing infrastructure of ecommerce tools. If you have the bandwidth, learning more about how Google Shopping connects to Google CPC ads and organic traffic is worth it. It will also give you a unique advantage, as many of your competitors may think Google's complex ecosystem is too confusing to navigate.
Food for Thought When Choosing Where to Sell
The Importance of Selling on Multiple Ecommerce Marketplaces
Every channel presents a new audience and opportunity for brand exposure. Shoppers who don't use Walmart Marketplace may find you on eBay. Mobile audiences can find you on Facebook. By selling on multiple channels, you can reach various audiences you may have otherwise missed. And even if audiences overlap, you increase the number of touch points between your brand and your customers.
Protecting your business is just as important as reaching your market. By diversifying your portfolio, you can better insulate your business from disruptions to your revenue streams and sudden platform changes. You should never rely solely on one platform, especially when you don't own that platform.
How to Keep Your Growth Cost-Effective
Managing all these platforms takes time and growing your presence on each takes some elbow grease. Aside from handling normal operations, you have to understand what makes each platform tick, how much inventory to set aside, how to get your products ranking and how to play by each marketplace’s rules.
Here are some tips to make this all more manageable:
- Focus on quality over quantity: While it's important to sell on multiple platforms, some platforms aren't worth the cost. Focus on the platforms that align with your target audience and long-term goals.
- Streamline and automate the process: You can only go so far when you’re relying on spreadsheets or logging into each platform separately to perform simple tasks. To scale (and save you a great deal of headache), consider an automation platform like Zentail to manage all of your product data, listings, inventory and other workflows to cut down on uncertainty, risks and delays as much as possible.
- Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate: Set checkpoints every time you take on a new sales channel so you can assess the profitability (one month in, three months in, etc.) and on a recurring basis. There will be some turbulence and upfront costs, but the other marketplaces will help to stabilize your company and keep you growing!