This article is updated on March 2023.
If you’re researching for online selling platforms to start selling online, but you’re unsure where to start as you are overwhelmed by the different platforms. Or you’re already selling in one of the platforms but thinking of alternatives, or even expanding your existing selling channels.
If you are considering any of the above, then you’re in luck!
In this article, I’m going to introduce the 10 most popular and easy-to-start online selling platforms, so you can start selling your products
10 Popular Online Selling Platforms for Your E-commerce Business
Shopify is a complete eCommerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. It lets you organize your products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, and track and respond to orders — all with a few clicks of the mouse.
Shopify is the fastest way to start your own online store without the need for any IT knowledge. You do not need to worry about hosting and downtime.
– Easy to setup
Their plug-and-play settings allow you to set up your store in less than 30mins.
– Management Tools Included:
Backend management tools like inventory management, customer service, marketing, shipping, reporting, social media, and much more are already ready for you.
Shopify also integrates more than 70 payment gateways with checkouts in more than 50 languages, which makes it easy to sell products to customers anywhere in the world.
– Offline sales
If you plan to sell in flea markets or expo trade fairs, you can use the Shopify POS app to do that! This will automatically sync your product inventory and sales report.
Shopping online is all about safety, Shopify possesses a high level of security since the payment usually involves the processing of credit cards.
Apart from the monthly charges, Shopify also collects a transaction fee on every sale you make.
If you need a certain look for your website (aka customized theme), not only do you need a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS code, but you also need to know Shopify’s own coding language. For this, you need to hire a Shopify expert to help you.
Once your business starts bringing you sales, you might want to think of scaling it. Marketing comes to play. Most marketing plug-ins by third-party developers require monthly subscription fees, so this can drastically escalate the cost of operating your store.
If you violate any of their policies, you may risk having your store closed down without any prior notice.
You can register for a 14 days trial to test it yourself via this link or hire us to help you to set up your Shopify store.
WooCommerce is a popular and powerful WordPress plugin, which currently accounts for 42% (and growing) of all eCommerce websites on the web. WordPress, is one of the best multi-purpose content management systems. Suitable for small-scale businesses to large-scale businesses.
– 100% Free for both WordPress and WooCommerce
– Incredibly versatile and customizable
From blogging, online selling affiliates marketing and subscriptions. WooCommerce has a ton of options available to set up your online business. It allows you to completely tailor your site to fit your needs and reach the customers that will be interested in your product. You can literally sell ANY products and services. Because it is highly customizable, you can upgrade or design it according to your needs.
– Easy to scale
With thousands of plugins available, you can easily find a free or affordable plugin (most of them are a one-time payment or yearly subscription) to scale your business.
Because of its popularity and free platform, there is a lot of 3rd party software (for marketing, social media etc) available, easy for you to integrate them together and scale your business.
– Good Platform for SEO
Another important factor is that WordPress is open-source. Developers all over the world have created good free-to-paid plugins to help you optimize your websites. WordPress also naturally structures your content by organizing it into pages, blog posts, blog categories and tags.
– Self Management
You have to get yourself a domain and a hosting plan of your choice.
– Frequent updates
WordPress and WooCommerce have frequent updates to ensure their security features are up to date and to prevent bugs or malware attacks. All these frequent updates may cause some plugins to break the website if you do not how to manage it properly.
Although there are a lot of free WordPress eCommerce themes, customizing according to your needs can be very costly (you will need to hire a WordPress Designer or Developer) unless you have basic knowledge of HTML and CSS code.
You can start building your WordPress website now or hire us to help you set up your WooCommerce Store.
Selling in Marketplace
Selling in Marketplaces is the easiest way to start your online business. Huge and readily customers are always readily available at Marketplace.
Pros: Start selling in mins.
Cons: Can be very costly in the long run. No brand awareness. No customer data to do retargeting. All user database belongs to the marketplace.
Carousell (Free & Paid)
Carousell started out as a consumer-to-consumer marketplace for buying and selling new and secondhand goods in 2012. It allows you to sell easily just by taking a photo. Buying is as simple as chatting.
– Ready customers
They have ready customers, so you do not need to source your buyers from scratch.
– 100% Free, but paid if you are in certain industry or need advertising.
You can list a lot of products, and as many as you want.
You are limited to selling only to members within the same country.
– Certain listings are not free
If you are providing certain services like jobs, services related or Learning & Enrichment categories, you will have to pay for the listing. For cars and property listing, there is a listing quota. When this quota is exceeded, a listing fee is required before your item is listed on the Carousell marketplace.
Since this is a marketplace, which means a lot of people are also selling at the same platform and will probably have the same or similar products as you. In order to stay competitive, you will have to purchase “Carousell coins” to ensure your post is in the spotlight or you can offer a cheaper price on your product pricing.
– Payment process
They have a payment processor called Caroupay which takes 2.49% + $0.50 for each transaction. You can choose not to use this payment method by offering your customer other alternatives which are either Paylah/Paynow or bank transfer
Start selling in Carousell!
Shopee (Free & Paid)
Shopee is an e-commerce marketplace platform. It is a platform tailored to the region, providing both buyers and sellers with an easy, secure and fast online shopping experience through strong payment and logistical support.
– User-friendly interface
It’s quite easy for a seller to list up their products within mins.
– Free to setup. 2% for non-mall seller, 3-5% for premium retail brand owners and distributors.
Seller support is ready whenever you need it. You will have a designated account manager to help you if you wish to run any promotions.
– Money will be held in Shopee until the buyer successfully confirms receipt of the order. Once the Buyer accepts the order, the payment will be released to the Seller.
Start selling in Shopee!
Lazada (Free with commission)
Lazada is an e-commerce marketplace platform founded by Rocket Internet in 2011 and now owned by Alibaba Group.
– Large database
– Credibility, back by Alibaba Group
– Not easy to list
The ease of set up is not easy, there are many steps in order to list one product. You have to be accurate on your category otherwise listing will not be approved.
– Commission + GST
There are no charges for listing on their platform but there is a commission for every sale you make. Depending on what category your product falls under, it ranges from 1% to 7% + an additional 8% GST.
– Only can use appointed logistics company by Lazada
Previously, they allow the seller to use their appointed courier company but now they only restrict to Singpost and Ninja Van. Unless your item is super bulky, then you’ll be able to request your own courier, subject to approval.
– Lots of penalties for the seller
There have a lot of penalties and restrictions imposed on sellers. For example, delays in delivery, out-of-stock cancellation etc. All these penalties cost the seller money!
Their support takes 1-3 days to reply and most of the time, the support doesn’t really understand what your concern in.
*Update: Redmart and Lazada have merged in 2018*
Qoo10 (One-time fee and commission)
Qoo10 started in 2010, is an online ecommerce, where shoppers are able to browse through an extensive range of products from digital, fashion, home & living, baby products to food items, they’ve just recently expanded this product category, consisting of ready-to-eat meals, desserts, fresh and frozen foods.
– Huge database
Their advertising and keywords system allows you to advertise and promote your products easily compare to other marketplaces.
– Selling options
They have different selling options which allow you to gain a lot of sales like auctions, group buys, time sales, daily sales etc
– Sell regionally
Not only can you sell to Singapore, but you can also sell to other countries like Malaysia, the USA, Indonesia, etc
– Listing takes time
The listing can take some time to do, but once you get the hang of it, it will be a breeze!
– Opening account fees and commission
Opening a seller account would require you to pay $100, but this money will also be converted to 10,000 Qpoints which can be used to boost posts and do advertisements.
Commission ranges from 7% to 12% depending on your sales volume.
Open your Qoo10 account here.
Amazon (subscription and commission)
Amazon.com is a huge Internet-based enterprise that sells books, music, movies, housewares, electronics, toys, and many other goods, either directly or as the middleman between other retailers and Amazon.com’s millions of customers.
– Huge and International customers base
It’s a no-brainer. You have millions of active customers all over the world each month visiting Amazon looking to shop for products.
The numbers don’t lie: with a base of more than 300 million active customer accounts and more than 170 million monthly unique visitors to the website resulting in over $100 billion in revenue, Amazon is the number 1 place to go for most shoppers.
– Fulfillment services
With more than 100 fulfillment centers all around the world, you can ship your products in bulk to Amazon and they will store your inventory, package it and ship it to customers. By using Amazon fulfillment services, you can free yourself from the shipping hassle, your products will qualify automatically for Amazon Prime shipping and buy box priority, which will hugely impact on the overall sales.
– Listing Fees
If you are a company with more than 40 products, you have to pay a monthly of USD$39.99 + other selling fees. If you are an individual with less than 40 products, there will be a transaction fee of USD$0.99 per sale + other selling fees.
– High competition
Since it’s an international platform, competition is fierce at Amazon. So, when multiple sellers have the same product as you, Amazon will decide which seller is the best fit. When a customer clicks the Add to Cart button the items of the featured seller will be added to his shopping cart
Start selling on Amazon.
eBay (Free and commission)
eBay is an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a wide variety of goods and services worldwide.
– Easy to list
eBay listing is very easy – you only need to add your product to the Inventory and you are ready to sell your product(s)!
– Huge customer base
eBay is the largest C2C (consumer to consumer) marketplace on the internet. Immediate access to millions of potential customers is available. On eBay, there are over 149 million active buyers located all around the world.
– Listing Fees
When you list an item for sale, they charge a fee per listing, per category. But sellers get a fixed amount of “free listings” per month depending on their eBay account type.
For eBay stores, the monthly fees range from SGD$5 to SGD$100 per month.
To find out more about their listing fees between fixed selling amount and auction here.
– Price sensitive
eBay is well known for their auction site, so customers still expect to bag a bargain and are accustomed to bidding for certain prices.
Start selling on eBay.
Etsy (listing fee)
Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items. These items cover a wide range, including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, food, bath and beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, and toys.
– Ease of setting up
Setting up an Etsy store is very easy, fuss-free and it takes few mins.
Communication with customers is very easy through their online and mobile app messaging system. The customer can contact you anytime if they have questions regarding your products. All these can easily convert into sales if you are able to catch your customers when they message you.
It is very easy to market and advertises to your social media account like Facebook and Google.
– Listing and transaction fees
Every product you list will cost you USD$0.20. They also charge a 3.5% transaction fee on every sale you make. You can find out about other fees they have here.
– Renew your listing
Your listing will not be there forever, they will expire. So, you will need to constantly renew your listing. And each renewal of listing costs money too.
Start selling on Etsy.
Facebook / TikTok Live
Socail Media Live selling has become popular due to Covid-19. It brings a totally new and refreshing way to sell to your buyers. And it brings a lot more marketing and income to sellers based on the research data.
– Increase brand awareness & brand engagement. Because it’s real-time, the more people will like to engage with your video. Comment, ask questions, give reactions and even share to their friends or family. These engagement brings a lot of exposure.
– Since it’s live, you cut down the time of recording and editing the video.
– Anything can happen. Because it’s live, everything can happen! Like you encounter technical problems, nobody watching or engaging with your live stream, you drop your products, products not working as expected and so on.
– Censorship. Since Facebook / Tiktok live is accessible to all users. Sometimes if they found that your content violets their rules, they will take down your live streaming immediately.
Building your own brand / Private Label / OEM
If you wish to build your own brand, that is what we recommend if you are planning to build a long-term, sustainable business. You can build your own business through 1 these 3 channels below.
Pros: You can collect customers’ data and email addresses. Build a long-term relationship, for reoccurring sales and do retarget marketing
Cons: It takes some time to see results and depending on which channel you use, it may be costly to start with.