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Looking beyond the big four online marketplaces

Date: November 30, 2017

Category: Industry news


GS1 UK engagement manager Lorna Beament talks about some of the alternative online marketplaces to trade on

In our research paper, ‘the rise of the UK digital entrepreneur’, we highlighted the rapid rise in sellers using the online marketplaces as a key element of their sales strategy.

When we think of online marketplaces, the ‘big 4’ automatically spring to mind – Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping and Alibaba. We know that nearly 10,000 of our members have said they use online marketplaces like these to trade. But there is a far bigger marketplace world out there. In fact, it’s estimated that there are over 400 marketplaces globally. These alternative marketplaces are great ways to reach new potential customers that may not be aware of the sellers’ brand or products.

At GS1 UK, we work with many of these alternative marketplaces, to help our members grow their businesses. Engagement manager Lorna Beament, gives us her insight on some of these, firstly looking at alternatives in the UK:

  • The Great British Exchange – a b2b marketplace that promotes British made products to a range of retailers
  • Tophatter – a 90 second auction marketplace. A great way to clear through any over stock fast!

Lorna says, “when looking further afield for the first time, it’s good to start with marketplaces in English speaking countries, although you still need to be aware of any cultural differences. For example, ‘flip flops’ here are called ‘thongs’ in Australia and this could definitely impact your SEO strategy!”

International marketplaces include:

  • Trade me – A multi category marketplace in New Zealand that around 80% of the population are registered with and it is a very straightforward integration
  • Newegg – A US based predominately tech based platform that is looking to fill inventory in other categories. They offer fulfilment by Newegg, which is similar to Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)

All the marketplaces mentioned above are partners of GS1 UK, so if you need any help or more information on these platforms, we can put you in touch.

Lorna continues that it’s still important to remember that a Marketplace must fit the product and the brand, so you need to pick carefully. “Even if you’re not ready to take the leap into exporting yet (though a lot of marketplaces can deal with these pains for you), there are plenty of UK based marketplaces to try. They are all a fantastic way to get new eyeballs looking at your products."

Here are some further alternative marketplaces to consider

  • Fruugo - One product feed gives sellers access to all their sites globally
  • Trouva - A marketplace for boutique store owners. Similar to Net-a-porter but with high street Prices
  • Not on the High Street - A UK-based, mainly personalised giftware marketplace. Sellers need to ‘pitch’ products to the category managers
  • La Redoute - A French fashion marketplace 
  • Zalando - A fashion-focused German marketplace. Businesses need to be accepted by the category managers to be a seller
  • Secret Sales - A flash sale-based UK marketplace. It helps sellers who have produced more stock than they can sell to mainstream retailers

Download the report ‘the rise of the UK digital entrepreneur’.

And if you’re an online seller, why not take our quiz, to see what type of seller you are.


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