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1. The growth and popularity of online selling platforms

8 most popular selling platforms for your business [2024]

Updated Jan 15 2024

Navigating the world of online selling platforms as a creator, artist, or entrepreneur can often feel overwhelming. With numerous options available, finding the one that perfectly fits your business needs can be a daunting task. More than just a digital storefront, the right platform can facilitate your operations, reach the right customer base, and ultimately, drive your business success. However, when it comes to selling stuff online, the challenge lies in sifting through the myriad of evolving ecommerce platforms, each promising to be the best fit for your business.

The solution lies in being equipped with the right knowledge. Understanding each platform's unique selling propositions, target demographics, and operational conveniences can significantly simplify your decision-making process. In this article, we dive into the ten most popular selling platforms in 2024 that can help you elevate your online business. From established platforms like Shopify and Etsy to emerging contenders, we'll provide you with a comprehensive overview to help you navigate your way to successful entrepreneurship.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Navigating online selling platforms can be challenging for creators, artists, and entrepreneurs. Understanding each platform's unique selling propositions, demographics, and operational conveniences can simplify the decision-making process.

  • Selecting the right platform involves considering the platform's capabilities in terms of demographics and geographical reach, its features, user experience, and customer support.

  • We've examined the top-selling platforms in 2023, including Etsy, eBay, Wix, and Shopify. Each platform has unique strengths and considerations.iden

  • Selling on multiple platforms can expand customer reach, increase brand exposure, and provide opportunities for market research. However, it can also lead to increased operational complexity, inventory management challenges, dilution of brand identity, and potential conflicts in pricing and promotions.

The growth and popularity of online selling platforms

02_The growth and popularity of online selling platforms

The ecommerce sector has expanded rapidly in recent years. Social media platforms and online selling sites have completely changed how businesses interact with their target markets and create lucrative income streams. Customers are now more likely to make purchases from the comfort of their homes, even for items they would often buy in physical locations, thanks to the ease and accessibility of online shopping.

The growth and popularity of online selling platforms have revolutionized the ecommerce industry. These platforms have not only provided businesses with new avenues for growth but have also transformed the way customers shop. With the convenience, personalized experiences, and opportunities they offer, online selling platforms have become an integral part of the modern business landscape.

Why do customers love online shopping?

The convenience that online selling platforms provide to both businesses and customers is one of the key factors fueling their exponential growth. Consumers no longer need to leave their homes to browse through a variety of goods, compare prices, and make purchases. Not only has this convenience transformed consumer behavior, but it has also given businesses new avenues for growth.

Another reason behind the popularity of online selling platforms is their ability to provide personalized shopping experiences. These platforms utilize advanced algorithms and data analytics to understand customer preferences and offer customized product recommendations. This level of personalization not only enhances the shopping experience but also increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and customer loyalty.

How do online selling platforms help businesses?

Businesses now have a fantastic chance to build a strong online presence and increase their consumer base thanks to the surge in online sales. Businesses can now sell to a global market, attract new customers, and increase revenue by utilizing online selling platforms. Online selling platforms have experienced unprecedented popularity, making them a crucial channel for companies to prosper in today's cutthroat business environment.

Additionally, entry barriers for businesses have been dramatically lowered through online selling platforms. It used to take a significant amount of investment and intensive marketing efforts to start a business and attract a broad consumer base. However, businesses may set up virtual storefronts using online selling platforms for very little money, providing store owners immediate access to millions of prospective clients.

Furthermore, online selling platforms have also contributed to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These platforms provide SMEs with a level playing field, allowing them to compete with larger, more established businesses. By leveraging the reach and resources of online selling platforms, SMEs can showcase their products to a global audience and gain recognition in the market.

Criteria for choosing the right selling platform

03_Criteria for choosing the right selling platform

When it comes to selecting the right selling platform for your business, several key criteria must be considered. Understanding these criteria will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives and maximizes your chances of success.

Here are some factors to bear in mind:

Target audience and market reach

When it comes to targeting your audience and reaching a wider market, it is crucial to consider the selling platform's capabilities in terms of demographics and geographical reach. Some platforms may have a larger user base in specific regions or industries, making them more suitable for businesses targeting those markets. Understanding the costs and fees associated with each platform is essential for budgeting and ensuring profitability. Some platforms may charge a percentage of sales tax, while others may have monthly subscription fees or transaction fees.

Platform capabilities and features

Platform capabilities and features play a significant role in determining the overall functionality and user experience. It is important to assess whether the platform offers essential features such as inventory management, order tracking, and marketing tools. Also, consider whether the platform integrates with other tools and services that are important for your business operations. Seamless integration with accounting software, email marketing platforms, and shipping services can save you time and effort in managing your business processes.

User experience and customer support

User experience and customer support are vital aspects to consider when selecting a selling platform. A user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation can greatly enhance your selling experience and reduce the learning curve for you and your team. Furthermore, prompt and reliable customer support can be invaluable when you face technical issues or need assistance in optimizing your platform's performance.

By carefully assessing these criteria, you can narrow down your options and choose a selling platform that caters to your specific business needs.

Top online selling sites in 2023: an overview

04_Top online selling sites in 2023 an overview

Now, let's explore the top-selling platforms in 2023 and examine their pros and cons. This will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the available options and help you pick the best one for your business.

1. Shopify

Shopify is one of the most popular and best online-selling platforms available today. Shopify's user-friendly interface, various features, and scalability make it an attractive choice for businesses of all sizes.

Shopify provides everything you need to build and run your own store online. With its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, customizable themes, and extensive library of apps and print on demand integrations, Shopify enables you to create a visually appealing and highly functional store tailored to your brand. The platform also offers reliable hosting, secure online payment options, and 24x7 customer support.

Benefits of selling on Shopify:
  • User-friendly interface and drag-and-drop design features with various SEO tools

  • Extensive library of apps and integrations for enhanced functionality

  • Reliable hosting, secure payment options, and 24x7 customer support

Things to consider when selling on Shopify:
  • Transaction fees are applied to each sale unless using Shopify Payments

  • Advanced features may require additional app integrations, increasing monthly expenses

  • Customization options may be limited depending on the selected theme

2. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source ecommerce platform built on WordPress. It was first released in 2011 and since then has become one of the most popular choices for online stores around the world. WooCommerce allows users to build an online store from scratch or add ecommerce functionality to an existing WordPress site, providing a robust and flexible solution for businesses of all sizes. Furthermore, it supports physical and digital goods, has a plethora of payment gateway options, and it's free to start, with costs only arising when you decide to purchase premium extensions.

Benefits of selling on WooCommerce
  • The platform is highly customizable, allowing businesses to create a unique, branded online store. 

  • With a multitude of plugins available, you can add a variety of features to your store, including SEO tools, contact forms, and more. 

  • As a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce leverages the strong SEO capabilities of WordPress. 

Things to consider when selling on WooCommerce
  • While WooCommerce is a powerful tool, it requires a degree of comfort with WordPress, which may present a learning curve for some users. 

  • While the basic WooCommerce plugin is free, many of the most useful add-ons and themes come at a cost. 

  • As a self-hosted platform, the security, performance, and hosting of your store are your responsibilities.

3. Squarespace

Squarespace's main selling point is its ease of use. Squarespace is a user-friendly platform offering a wide range of beautifully designed, responsive templates suited to various business needs. First launched in 2004, Squarespace has grown to become one of the most popular website builders, offering a fully-hosted, all-in-one solution for businesses and creatives looking to establish an online presence. Other benefits include in-built analytics, SEO tools, and 24/7 customer support.

Benefits of selling on Squarespace
  • It offers a range of sleek, professional templates, all of which are mobile-friendly. 

  • This drag-and-drop builder requires no coding skills and allows users to build visually impressive websites quickly. 

  • Squarespace also offers integrated ecommerce functionality, allowing users to sell products directly from their sites. 

Things to consider when selling on Squarespace
  • It may not be the best fit for complex ecommerce sites with a high volume of products.

  • It has limited customization capabilities compared to other ecommerce-focused platforms. 

  • There is no free version beyond the 14-day free trial, and transaction fees apply unless you're on an advanced commerce plan.

4. BigCommerce

BigCommerce, launched in 2009, is a leading cloud ecommerce platform for businesses of all sizes. It provides a comprehensive solution for launching an online store, offering built-in features, including marketing tools, analytics, and hundreds of integrations with other business tools. Plus, its scalability makes it a great choice for growing businesses.

Benefits of selling on BigCommerce
  • BigCommerce is a fully hosted ecommerce platform, meaning you don't need to worry about site performance or security updates. 

  • It offers a variety of customizable, mobile-friendly templates and enables selling on multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. 

  • Notable features include an embedded blog for SEO, a plethora of payment gateways, and zero transaction fees. 

Things to consider when selling on BigCommerce
  • It can be complex for those new to ecommerce, with a steeper learning curve compared to more user-friendly platforms like Squarespace. 

  • BigCommerce uses a tiered pricing model based on annual sales volume, so costs can increase as your business grows. 

  • While it has a multitude of features, you may still need to purchase additional apps or integrations to get exactly what you want out of your online store.

5. Amazon

When discussing online selling platforms, it's impossible to ignore the world's largest curated marketplace that is Amazon. With its vast customer base and efficient fulfillment services, Amazon offers an unparalleled opportunity for sellers to showcase their products to millions of potential buyers worldwide. Amazon's robust search algorithm ensures that your products will be visible to those actively searching for items similar to what you offer. 

The FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program, which enables merchants to keep their goods in Amazon's warehouses, is what distinguishes Amazon from other online retailers. This saves you time and effort because Amazon takes care of the packaging, shipping, and customer support. With such benefits, it is not surprising that many businesses succeed on this platform by utilizing its enormous potential.

Benefits of selling on Amazon:
  • Massive customer base and global reach

  • Ease of use and efficient fulfillment services

  • Opportunity for increased exposure and sales

Things to consider when selling on Amazon:
  • Competition can be fierce, so differentiation is key.

  • Amazon selling fees can impact profit margins, so pricing strategy matters.

  • Building your brand identity may be challenging within Amazon's ecosystem

6. Etsy

If you're an artist or craftsperson looking for a platform that caters specifically to unique, vintage, or handmade items, then Etsy is the place for you to sell stuff online. Etsy has established itself as a niche market, attracting a community of buyers who appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity found in handmade products.

Etsy stands apart because it prioritizes creating relationships between consumers and sellers. This online marketplace fosters a more personalized shopping experience by enabling store owners to sell locally and globally. Customers who value authenticity and wish to support independent small business owners might be attracted to purchase products on Etsy.

Imagine being able to showcase your handmade jewelry, pottery, or artwork to a targeted audience who actively seeks out artisanal and unique products. Etsy provides you with a platform to reach these like-minded individuals who appreciate the time, effort, and skill that goes into creating something by hand. It's not just about selling a product; it's about connecting with people who share your passion for craftsmanship.

Benefits of selling on Etsy:
  • Targeted audience of individuals seeking artisanal and unique products

  • Opportunity to connect with like-minded creators and build a community

  • Flexible listing options, allowing for customization and creativity

Things to consider when selling on Etsy:
  • Competition within the handmade niche can be fierce, so showcasing your quality is paramount.

  • Etsy charges fees per listing and transaction, impacting overall profitability.

  • Maintaining high-quality customer service and prompt shipping is essential for positive reviews.

7. eBay

For those looking for a more auction-style selling platform, eBay remains a popular choice. With its roots dating back to the early days of online marketplace trading, eBay has evolved into a versatile platform that accommodates both auction-style listings and traditional fixed-price sales.

eBay's broad user base and extensive product categories make it a suitable platform for selling a wide range of products. Whether you're selling collectibles, electronics, or clothing, you're likely to find a market for your items on eBay. Additionally, eBay's feedback system helps build trust between buyers and sellers, ensuring a safer and more reliable buying experience.

When it comes to selling on eBay, there are many benefits to reap. Firstly, eBay offers a wide range of product categories catering to diverse customer interests. This means that regardless of what you're selling, you can find a specific category that aligns with your product and target audience. From selling antiques to high-end electronics, eBay will have a business category for you.

Benefits of selling on eBay:
  • Wide range of categories and products, catering to diverse customer needs

  • Flexibility to list items through auctions or fixed prices

  • Buyer feedback system that builds trust and credibility

Things to consider when selling on eBay:
  • Competition can be intense, necessitating compelling product descriptions and competitive pricing.

  • There are fees associated with listing, selling, and optional upgrades that impact profitability.

  • Managing timely shipping and responsive customer service is crucial for positive buyer feedback.

8. Wix

Although Wix is mostly known as a website builder, it also provides an ecommerce platform that may assist business owners in expanding their operations online. Wix enables businesses to create professional-looking websites without needing solid technical knowledge thanks to its drag-and-drop design capabilities and user-friendly interface.

Wix offers a wide range of tools and services, such as adaptable templates, safe methods for making online payments, and marketing integrations. Wix also provides an SEO optimization feature that makes it easier for customers to discover your business online.

Benefits of selling on Wix:
  • User-friendly interface and intuitive design tools

  • Customizable templates for creating visually appealing online stores

  • Integrated marketing and SEO tools to improve discoverability

Things to consider when selling on Wix:
  • Although Wix provides the necessary tools, it may require additional plugins or integrations for specific functionalities.

  • There are transaction fees associated with different payment gateways.

  • Regular website maintenance and optimization are key for smooth operation & high conversion rates.

Advantages and disadvantages of selling on multiple platforms

05_Advantages and disadvantages of selling on multiple platforms

Selling in online marketplaces through multiple platforms can expand your reach to potential customers. However, it's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before working on a multi-platform strategy.

Advantages include:

  • Access to a broader customer base: Expanding your sales channels to multiple platforms allows you to tap into a wider range of potential customers. With each platform attracting a different user base, you can reach individuals who may not have discovered your products or services otherwise. By diversifying your revenue streams, you can reduce your reliance on a single platform and decrease the impact of any potential fluctuations in sales. This can provide stability and financial security for your business.

  • Increased brand exposure: Selling on multiple platforms may dramatically boost your brand awareness and reputation in addition to helping you reach more people. Each platform provides a unique set of marketing options, such as sponsored content, ad targeting, and influencer partnerships. You can increase the exposure of your business and draw in more customers by utilizing these promotional methods on various platforms.

  • Opportunity for market research and data analysis: Another advantage of selling on multiple platforms is the increased chance for data analysis and market research. Each platform offers insightful information about consumer behavior, tastes, and internet trends. You may better understand your target market by analyzing this data and adjusting your marketing plans accordingly. You may make smart business decisions and maximize your sales efforts by using this data-driven strategy.

Disadvantages include:

  • Increased operational complexity: The complexity of operations has risen, which is one of the key drawbacks. In order to maintain efficient operations, managing numerous platforms is time- and resource-consuming. This includes managing inventories, fulfilling orders, and providing customer assistance. To manage the increasing workload and keep up a high level of customer satisfaction, efficient systems must be in place.

  • Potential inventory management challenges: Inventory management can become more challenging when selling on multiple platforms. Keeping track of stock levels, updating product listings, and synchronizing inventory across platforms can be time-consuming and prone to errors. It's essential to implement inventory management software or tools that can help streamline these processes and prevent overselling or stockouts.

  • Dilution of brand identity: When selling on multiple platforms, there is a risk of diluting your brand identity. Each platform will have its own design, layout, and user interface, which can impact how customers perceive your brand. It's important to maintain consistency in your branding elements, such as logos, colors, and messaging, in order to ensure a cohesive brand identity across all platforms. This will help customers recognize and trust your brand, regardless of the platform they see it on.

  • Potential conflicts in pricing and promotions: Conflicts in pricing and promotions can arise when selling on multiple platforms. Different platforms may have varying fee structures, commission rates, and promotional opportunities. It's crucial to carefully plan and manage your pricing strategies to avoid undercutting your own expectations or confusing customers with inconsistent pricing. Coordinating promotions across platforms can be challenging, as timing and messaging need to be carefully synchronized to maximize their impact.

While selling on many platforms may be beneficial, it's crucial to thoroughly consider the drawbacks and develop a comprehensive plan to minimize risks. By making well-informed choices and optimizing your omnichannel selling strategy while being aware of the advantages and disadvantages, you may increase the success of your company.

Gelato: a global print on demand solution for businesses

Understanding the landscape of online selling platforms and their unique capabilities is an essential factor for business success in the digital era. In an age of global connectivity, these platforms have become the backbone of many businesses, connecting them to vast networks of potential customers and offering valuable resources for managing various aspects of their operations.

Gelato, a print on demand (POD) solution, introduces a new dynamic into this sphere. As a POD provider, Gelato acts as a complementary service to these online selling platforms. Instead of focusing on facilitating the selling process per se, it allows businesses to handle product creation in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

Unlike traditional ecommerce models where businesses would need to maintain stock, print on demand services like Gelato enable businesses to print products as orders come in. This not only reduces the overhead and risk associated with holding inventory but also allows for unlimited customization, catering to an increasingly personalized consumer market.

Furthermore, Gelato’s expansive global network—spanning 34 countries—allows businesses to manufacture their products closer to the end consumer. This local production model reduces shipping times and costs, improves the customer experience, and makes a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions associated with long-distance shipping.

Gelato can seamlessly integrate with a number of popular platforms, making the implementation process as smooth as possible. Moreover, for businesses with bespoke needs, Gelato also provides an API solution. This allows businesses to customize the integration according to their specific operational requirements, thereby providing them with an unparalleled level of flexibility.

Here are some key ways Gelato transforms the way businesses operate:

  • Effortless customization: Gelato's intuitive design tool empowers businesses to create unique and personalized products tailored to their customers' preferences.

  • Global reach: With a vast network of printing partners worldwide, Gelato enables businesses to fulfill orders locally and reduce shipping costs and delivery times.

  • Cost-effective scalability: By eliminating the need for inventory management and upfront manufacturing costs, Gelato offers businesses a scalable solution with minimal financial risks.

Gelato is here to help you turn your creative dreams into reality and enable you to build your own success. So, why wait? Join our global network of creators and entrepreneurs. Bring your creativity to life and into business with Gelato.

Sign up for Gelato today and embark on your journey to global ecommerce success. Your creative journey starts here.

Selling platform FAQs

How can I start selling online?

To start selling online, you must first choose the things you wish to offer and choose your target market. The next step is to choose an ecommerce platform, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or our own Gelato platform, which is great for print on demand companies. Create your store, list your items with appealing photos and descriptions, decide on prices, and make delivery arrangements. Finally, use internet marketing techniques to advertise your shop.

Where can I sell my stuff online for free?

Many online platforms allow you to sell products for free. These include eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. However, while listings are often free, they may charge a small commission on every item sold.

What is the safest platform to sell online?

The safest platform to sell products online often depends on your product and market, but Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify are generally safe, as they have secure payment systems and offer protection for both sellers and buyers.

What is the best platform to sell for small businesses?

The best platform for small businesses can vary based on specific needs. Shopify is great for its user-friendliness and scalability. Etsy is best for vintage items and handmade crafts. Meanwhile, Gelato is perfect for businesses looking to use a print on demand model and reach a global audience.

Which product is most sold on Amazon?

The best selling categories on Amazon are books, electronics, and home & kitchen items.

How do I choose the best ecommerce platform for startups?

When choosing the best ecommerce platform for startups, consider factors like your budget, the size of your inventory, your technical skills, your marketing strategies, and your long-term goals. Look for platforms that are easy to use, scalable, and offer good customer support. Platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, or Gelato could be ideal options.

What is the best site to sell stuff locally?

To sell stuff locally, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Nextdoor are popular platforms. They allow you to reach people in your local community easily and also arrange for pickup or delivery. Instead of setting up your own online store, you can leverage an online selling site to market and sell your products, like t-shirts, wall art, mugs, phone cases, photo books etc.

What are the best online clothing sites?

The best-known online clothing sites include ASOS Marketplace, Depop, Poshmark, and The RealReal. These platforms cater to various styles and price points, making it easy for sellers to find a suitable audience for their products.


Next steps

Start selling products with Gelato