A Comparison of the Top 8 Sites in New Zealand

When it comes to selling online, there are a plethora of marketplaces to choose from. This blog post will compare the top 8 marketplaces and help you decide which one is right for you. Each marketplace has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to understand what each offers before deciding. Remember that the best way to sell goods online might not always be the best way for someone else. It all depends on your unique business needs!

What is a Marketplace? 

A marketplace is an online platform that allows buyers and sellers to trade goods and services. The most popular marketplaces usually sell physical goods, but there are also marketplaces for digital products, services, and even experiences.

Some of the most popular marketplaces are:

  1. Trade Me 
  2. Facebook Marketplace 
  3. Amazon 
  4. TheMarket 
  5. eBay 
  6. Mighty Ape 
  7. AliExpress 
  8. Etsy 

Ecommerce vs Marketplace?

An ecommerce website is a website that allows you to sell your products online. On the other hand, a marketplace is an online platform connecting buyers and sellers of goods and services.

The main difference between an ecommerce website and a marketplace is that marketplaces provide a ready-made audience of buyers looking for products or services.

Ecommerce websites, on the other hand, require you to drive traffic to your website through marketing and advertising.

So, which should you choose?

It depends on your unique business needs. If you’re selling products or services in high demand, then a marketplace might be a good option. However, if you have a unique product or service that might not be as easy to sell, then an ecommerce website might be a better option. If you’re at the stage in your business where you are building your brand and customer base, then an ecommerce website is probably the way to go.

How do you know selling through a marketplace is for you? 

Selling through a marketplace is a good option for you if:

  • You have products or services that are in high demand
  • You want to tap into a ready-made audience of buyers
  • You want to save on marketing and advertising costs

Suppose you’re considering launching a business or selling your items on a marketplace. In that case, the demand for your services or products is an excellent way to determine what consumers want and who they are.

A pro of selling through a marketplace is a lowered barrier to entry. This means that it’s easier and faster to get started selling on a marketplace than it is to set up your own ecommerce website. On a marketplace, all you need to do is create an account, list your products or services, and start selling!

The main downside of selling through a marketplace is that you may have to pay fees to the marketplace (often as a percentage of each item sold) and you will have less control over your branding.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular marketplaces right now so you can determine where to start selling!

1. Trade Me

Trade Me is New Zealand’s largest marketplace. With over five million members, it’s a great option if you’re selling products or services within New Zealand. Being NZ’s most well-known and popular marketplace, and with a user base larger than New Zealand’s entire population, it’s not a bad place to start out as a new seller. Trade Me can be compared to other overseas platforms such as craigslist and eBay.

Pros:

  • A wide variety of items are listed: Part of Trade Me’s success in New Zealand is the expansion of its markets. They not only cater to the casual seller of general goods, but have expanded to Trade Me Motors, Trade Me Property and Trade Me Jobs.
  • A wide range of pricing options: You can choose to auction your items, set a Buy Now price, or even offer them at a $1 reserve.
  • No listing fees for most items: Unless you want to post more photos than the free limit of three or choose to feature your item on the top page of your category, publishing an item is completely free for any casual vendor. So, if your product doesn’t sell the first time – there are no financial consequences.
  • Easy to use interface: The website is easy to use and provides good support for any questions you might have.
  • Multiple payment options: Trade Me has built-in payment options such as Ping, Afterpay, online bank transfer, and even caters to Prezzy Cards.

Cons:

  • Trade Me fees: Casual sellers will have to pay final value fees. If your sales price including the cost of shipping is more than $1 there is a fee of 7.9% of the sale price to the maximum of $349. However, if your business model is based on being an in-trader (a person who regularly obtains goods intending to sell to others) then as part of the Consumer Guarantees Act this must be disclosed and the fees on Trade Me will differ based on the categories of goods you sell.
  • Not available to international markets: Trade Me has always been a New Zealand business, and it does not operate in other countries. If you’re planning on reaching out to international markets as soon as possible, this may not be the ideal platform.
  • Trade Me Freight/Courier: Trade Me has a shipping integration of its own, which will make it easier to get started but more difficult to handle your shipping expenses if you want more control.

All in all, Trademe is an excellent option for any New Zealand seller looking for an easy-to-use marketplace website with a wide range of items. If you want to reach out to international markets or sell larger items, you might want to consider one of the other options on this list.

2. Facebook Marketplace

With over two billion active users, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Facebook Marketplace is a great option if you’re looking to sell products or services to a wide audience. This wide audience means that “Younger businesses are more likely to be using Facebook Marketplace to sell products to customers.”

Pros:

  • Free to list and sell: There are no fees for publishing an item to the marketplace no matter how many times it is done with the exception of those located and selling in the United States where there is a 5% fee per shipment.
  • Easy set-up: Facebook is integrated into your social media profile, so the difficulty of establishing an account on a new marketplace is greatly reduced. The best sellers on Facebook Marketplace advertise their items through joining groups on Facebook or on other connected platforms such as Instagram.
  • A wide variety of items are listed: You can find just about anything on Facebook Marketplace, from clothes to furniture to cars. It is the second most used marketplace by Kiwis and is growing in popularity with the younger demographic especially.

Cons:

  • Only local available: At the moment, Facebook Marketplace only allows you to sell items in your own country. So although it is a marketplace used worldwide, these are the limitations.
  • Payment options: Facebook does not have built-in payment options, so you will need to handle payments through another service. Similarly, there are no shipping integrations so you will need to manually move sales through a separate system.
  • Potential for scams: Because Facebook is free to use, scammers have more opportunities to create fake profiles and listings. Be sure to do your research before meeting up with a buyer or seller.
  • Less control over branding: Because Facebook Marketplace is integrated into your personal profile, there is less opportunity to establish a strong brand identity for your business. The profile icon image that would usually be used to showcase a company logo is your personal profile photo instead.

Facebook Marketplace is an excellent option for sellers looking to reach a broad audience with little effort. However, because it is integrated into your profile, there is less opportunity to establish a strong brand identity.

3. Amazon

Amazon is one of the largest marketplaces in the world, with over 300 million active users. It’s a great option if you’re looking to sell products or services to a worldwide audience.

Pros:

  • More market, more sales: Amazon is continuously growing, with its revenue increasing over $469.8 USD billion in revenue and over 200 million Amazon Prime members worldwide at the end of 2021. This makes it an excellent marketplace for sellers to join as the potential for growth is high.
  • Easy advertising: Repeat sales without spending money on marketing. Amazon has a larger customer base that can’t be matched by any stand-alone ecommerce platform.
  • Easier access to international markets: Amazon is an internationally known brand and as such, being a merchant allows you to access their international markets. If your business wants to target international markets then this could be a viable choice.

Cons:

  • Amazon fees: A professional account on Amazon costs USD $39.99 per month for selling an unlimited number of products. That doesn’t sound too high, however, keep in mind you’ll have to include sales and other expenses as well. This might increase your cost by around 15% or more, depending on your offer. Some veterans have left Amazon because its commissions are too high, and the need for free delivery cuts into profits.
  • International fees: Because Amazon is an international company, there may be tax implications and fees associated with selling on their site. For example, you must provide an NZ GST registration number in order not to get charged NZ GST.
  • Fulfilment by Amazon: You can either decide to arrange to ship on your own or to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If you select FBA, Amazon will handle warehousing, shipping, and returns for you. Conversely, you may save more cost if you decide to do the fulfilment yourself. If you do charge for shipping and handle this side of it yourself, Amazon Prime customers might be discouraged from purchasing as they will not be accustomed to paying for shipping.
  • Customer service: If you plan to remarket to your customers or offer them any sort of customer service, it needs to be done through Amazon, meaning you are not in control of every potential customer interaction.
  • Competition: Because Amazon is such a large marketplace, there is significantly more competition. You’ll need to make sure that your products are well-priced and offer good value in order to compete with other sellers.

Amazon is an excellent option for sellers looking to reach a wide audience with little effort. However, there are some drawbacks to selling on Amazon, such as the fees associated with selling on the site and higher competition.

4. TheMarket

TheMarket is a subsidiary of the warehouse group and was created to compete with Amazon. It is a fast-growing new platform and a great option for businesses that may already be established as they work directly with merchants. It’s a great option for New Zealand sellers as it doesn’t charge any listing fees and offers free shipping on all NZ orders over $45 for those who are marketclub+ members.

Themarket

Pros:

  • No listing fees: One of the main benefits of TheMarket is that there are no listing fees. As a merchant, fees are negotiated with TheMarket and based on what is sold.
  • They work directly with merchants: TheMarket is focused on increasing brand exposure by specifically featuring brands and showcasing them on the platform.
  • Ability to integrate with your existing platforms: TheMarket provides an API that lets businesses integrate their store with TheMarket’s platform. This is great for businesses who want to use TheMarket as a supplementary sales platform or for those who want to move away from other marketplaces such as Amazon.
  • Local: TheMarket is a New Zealand site that can be beneficial for both buyers and sellers, as it’s easy to find what you’re looking for, and customers may feel more comfortable buying from a local site.

Cons:

  • It is still a new marketplace: This may mean that there is not the same expansive customer base as other sites, however, this also means that there is an opportunity as the number of sellers is also lower.
  • Information not readily available: Information regarding prices for merchants are not readily available for any casual seller that is considering joining TheMarket. As such, it might make it harder for casual sellers to make an informed decision.
  • Not designed for the casual seller: TheMarket requires you to have an API to connect your store to its platform. Unless you already know what your business model will look like or have an ecommerce platform already, you will not be able to join TheMarket.

Although TheMarket has some great features for businesses, it may not be the best option for those just starting out or for those who want to sell casually.

5. eBay

eBay is one of the oldest and most popular marketplaces globally, with over 182 million active users. It’s a great option if you’re looking to sell products or services to a broad audience. Top selling product categories on eBay fall under Electronics and Accessories.

Pros:

  • International market: eBay is made up of 182 million users worldwide and as such, allows Kiwis who are potentially looking for niche items to find them through an eBay international search.
  • Options to auction products: In line with Trade Me, many consumers find the option to buy through an auction appealing, giving them the opportunity to get their items for a lower price. As a merchant, auctions can sometimes drive up the original sales price because it depends entirely on the demand for your product.
  • Fewer fees than Amazon: On average, eBay sellers keep 5.13% more of their earnings than if they sold the item on Amazon, and on top of that, they receive a certain number of free listings per month.

Cons:

  • Harder to be a casual seller: Compared to Trade Me, it can be a little harder to get started and become a casual seller on eBay. This is because there are a few different fees you will need to pay including insertion fee, final value fee, monthly store fee and advertising/upgrade fees. The high cost may not be worth the effort for a casual seller.
  • Less New Zealand market: On eBay there are an average of 413.0K monthly visits from kiwis, whereas on Trademe the number is 13.5 million per month. As eBay is not a local marketplace and has comparatively less market share than Trademe, There is less incentive for kiwis to get on board with using this marketplace.
  • More difficult to stand out: Because there are so many products listed on eBay, it can be difficult for your product to stand out from the rest. eBay prioritizes sellers who can get their goods to customers in 24 hours or less. If they don’t, their listings will have a lower ranking in the search results.

eBay is a great option for sellers looking to reach an international market with a similar structure as TradeMe.

6. Mighty Ape 

Mighty Ape, started out as a New Zealand-owned online marketplace, and has since been acquired by an Australian company, in 2020. They specialise in products such as DVDs, books, games and toys. It’s a great option for Kiwis looking to sell items to other Kiwis without worrying about international shipping.

Mightyape

Pros:

  • Fast delivery focus: Mighty Ape’s market point of difference is to get their goods to consumers as quickly as possible. For customers who value fast delivery, they provide a same-day despatch promise for purchases placed before noon on weekdays, which is appealing to many Kiwi customers. To assist them to fulfil this promise, the company has distribution centres in Millwater and in Silverdale, Auckland.
  • Options for how to sell through Mighty Ape: If you are just starting out as a casual seller, Mighty Ape has a created Mighty Ape marketplace, which focuses on selling second-hand items, or, if you are looking to set up a more professional account, you can become a Mighty Ape Trade Partner and sell new items as well.
  • Potential to grow: Because they were acquired by an Australian firm in recent years, there is now an Australian version of the website and the potential to sell to that market in future years.

Cons:

  • Less focus on merchants: Mighty Ape puts more of an emphasis on their own brand and retail model, as opposed to the merchants. For example, they don’t have a dedicated section for merchant how-to’s or support like Trade Me does.
  • Commission fees on the marketplace: Mighty Ape has a 9% final sale commission fee, which is high in comparison to other marketplaces.
  • Focus on the product: Their most common business approach is direct import, in which they undertake distribution themselves from international markets. The barrier to entering as a vendor in this marketplace may be more difficult for this reason.

Mighty Ape is a great option for Kiwis looking to sell items to other Kiwis without worrying about international shipping.

7. AliExpress 

AliExpress is a marketplace that is owned by the Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba. They offer consumers a wide variety of products at low prices and as of 2021, boast over 150 million active users. The primary distinction between Alibaba.com and AliExpress is that each marketplace caters to other sales, so you must pick one based on the type of customer being targeted. Alibaba caters to wholesale sellers, whereas AliExpress is ideal for individuals looking to buy items from a catalogue.

Pros:

  • Great for drop shippers: If you are looking to set up an account to sell to individuals as opposed to businesses, AliExpress is a great option. A large demographic use AliExpress with a dropshipping business model. You could even consider this marketplace as a platform for you to source your products to sell in the New Zealand market.
  • Can tap into the Chinese market: If you are looking to sell products to the Chinese market, this is a good option as it is an Alibaba subsidiary.

Cons:

  • Product quality risk: Because of the low prices on AliExpress, there is always the risk that items may be counterfeit or of poor quality.
  • Shipping times: If you are planning to dropship or work with other businesses, shipping times can be quite long (up to a month in some cases). This is due to the fact that AliExpress is based in China.
  • Competitive: Due to the large number of businesses on AliExpress, including manufacturers that may sell at a lower price, competition for items is fierce. There are numerous copycat listings, making it difficult to sift through for the casual buyer.

8. Etsy 

Etsy is an American ecommerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. These items fall under a wide range of categories, including jewellery, bags, clothing, home décor and furniture, toys, art, and craft supplies and tools. Etsy is similar to eBay in that it’s an online marketplace for selling products. Still, the big difference is that Etsy only sells items that are handmade, vintage or supplies for crafts.

In recent years, Etsy has been growing in popularity as a platform for creative entrepreneurs to sell their wares. Suppose you make handcrafted items, from jewellery to furniture – Etsy is worth considering as a marketplace to sell your products.

Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing: One of the big advantages that Etsy has over other marketplaces is its visual appeal. When you enter the site, you’re immediately greeted with a homepage full of beautiful photos of handmade items. This makes it a great place to browse for unique gifts or one-of-a-kind items for your home.
  • Great for niche products: Because Etsy specializes in handmade and vintage items, it’s a great place to sell niche products that might not be as easy to find on other marketplaces.
  • Setup: Setting up an account is relatively easy, there are dedicated sellers’ handbooks and community forums for extra support.
  • Easy to use and market: Etsy has a smart-pricing tool that allows you to bulk change your pricing of multiple items or create strategies around meeting a minimum free shipping threshold. Etsy has a marketing platform, Etsy Ads, that allows entrepreneurs to create advertising campaigns and get immediate insights into their performance. To attract more customers, the site offers useful analytics and SEO assistance.

Cons:

  • Fees: One downside of selling on Etsy is that they charge a listing fee of $0.20 per item, as well as a transaction fee on the total sale price (including shipping costs).
  • Customer service: Another downside of Etsy is that they don’t have the same level of customer service as some of the other marketplaces on this list. If you run into any problems with your account or an order, it can be difficult to get in touch with someone who can help you resolve the issue.
  • Can only sell handmade/vintage items: To sell on Etsy, you must provide products that fall into one of these categories handmade or vintage. As a result, wholesalers or resellers aren’t permitted to sell their items on the platform.
  • Difficult to stand out: Because there are millions of sellers on Etsy, it can be difficult to make your products stand out from the crowd. You’ll need to invest some time and effort into marketing your store if you want to attract buyers.
  • Not as popular in the New Zealand market: Etsy is the most unutilized of the marketplaces in New Zealand. The majority of their demographic are United States-based, and global users only account for 34%.

Overall, Etsy is a great option for selling handmade or vintage items. The setup process is relatively easy, and the site has a lot of helpful resources for entrepreneurs. However, the fees can be high, and it can be challenging to stand out from the competition.

Other Marketplaces to consider

Although these are not the most popular marketplaces in New Zealand, they are worth considering because they are popular overseas and may someday enter the New Zealand market.

  • Taobao/Jingdong: Other similar websites to AliExpress are Tabao and Jingdong. They are Chinese marketplaces and boast a very diverse product range.
  • Walmart/FlipKart: These two are American and Indian marketplaces respectively. While Walmart is a retail giant, FlipKart is India’s equivalent of Amazon. They are both worth considering if you are selling products that would do well in America or India.
  • Rakuten: Rakuten is a Japanese marketplace. It is the largest ecommerce site in Japan and is the third-largest in the world.
  • Chooice: A New Zealand website that supports small kiwi businesses or side hustlers who create things. The concept was initially founded on Facebook and has since expanded to over 10,000 members in its first week. This website has rapidly grown in popularity and maybe an excellent place to start.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to finding the right marketplace for you. It’s essential to evaluate each marketplace carefully to see if it’s a good fit for your business. With so many options available, there’s sure to be a marketplace out there that’s perfect for you and your products.

Happy selling!