A seller’s guide to online marketplace fees

January 11, 2017 Category : Selling Online Author : Daniel Halpin

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Choosing the right marketplace is important when you’re selling online. Every e-commerce marketplace has different features when it comes to accessibility, security, and quality of life. One thing every seller should be concerned with though, is fees. Most sites take a portion of your sale as fees in return for letting your sell “for free” on their site, but some do not. In this post, I’m going to break down a few of the more popular websites and what kind of fees they charge so that you can have a clearer picture when choosing where to sell online.

Amazon

Figuring out exactly what you’re going to pay on Amazon is no easy task. Searching up “Amazon fees” on google leads you to a landing page that brings you to choose either “professional” or “personal” and then prompts you to sign in with your account without accurately displaying your fees. To get the exact fees you will pay for either option you have to click a link to go to another page, the “fee schedule”. When you do you find this.

Here we see that fees are broken down into “per item” and “referral fees”. The chart shows that average fees are about 15% off the price of the item paid by the buyer, depending on the category your item is in. Preferential fees are available to those who buy a professional seller account, which waives the per item fee and reduces the referral fees. However, access to these (still high) fees costs $40 a year and probably costs more than its worth for anyone selling at the individual level.

amazon fees 1

Ebay

Ebay’s page is much more clearly laid out, no jumping through hoops required. Everything is readily available on this page. For the basic fees at the free level there will be a 10% final value fee taken off the amount the seller pays, and if you list more than 50 items a month a $.30 fee applies per item. Upgrading your listing to give it a subtitle, use bold, or list in multiple categories also incurs various fees.

Ebay also offers the ability to upgrade to a professional account by selling with an ebay store. This service costs $25 a month for a basic store, $75 a month for a premium store, and $350 a month for an anchor store. Each type of store comes with additional benefits, which you can read about here.

Jet

Jet is a newer online marketplace that was recently acquired by Walmart. Jet seems primarily focused on attracting larger sellers, but as far as I can tell there’s nothing stopping smaller retailers from jumping on. Jet does feature an application process though, so they can choose who sells on their marketplace.  After being approved as a seller on Jet, what will your fees look like? Well, they look similar to Amazon, quite frankly. Seller fees on Jet are 15% except in some cases, which they have compiled on this table below:

jet fees

This table is available in Jet’s PDF seller manual, which can be found here.

Etsy

Etsy is a site specifically for handmade and artisan items and offers two levels of fees like Amazon and Ebay. The basic level of fees for Etsy is an up-front $0.20 per listing plus 3.5% of the selling price of the item. There are also fees of $0.20 for auto renewing your listing if you sell less than the maximum amount (like selling 4 out of 5 items available) and other variable fees for selling more than one item at a time. Etsy also charges a 2.5% fee if you list your item in a currency that does not match your bank account currency. There is also a direct checkout fee for processing payments made by credit or debit card.

Etsy’s premium service is called “pattern” and gives you your own site. This costs $15 a month plus a fee to purchase a domain name. However, on Etsy you still pay the $.20 fee for listing your item both on your pattern site and Etsy, and you still pay the 3.5% fee as well. The direct checkout fee also applies to pattern users. Pattern does not seem to save the seller any money at all on fees, and serves mostly to generate an exclusive page for your item(s).

Etsy’s comprehensive list of fees can be found here.

Rakuten

Rakuten lays out its fees very clearly and simply. Rakuten starts with a $0.99 per item fee for everything sold on the site. It’s important to note that this fee is per item, not per transaction. So your fee for a buyer buying 1 pair of headphones would be $.99, but the fee would be $1.98 no matter if one buyer buys 2 pairs of headphones or two buyers buy 1 pair each. Rakuten also takes a commission of between 8% to 15% off your item sold, and this percentage is inclusive of credit card processing fees.

Despite Rakuten’s fees being on the higher side, I do have to admit their categories are far simpler than Amazon’s, which makes things a lot less confusing for the seller. Below I’ve included Rakuten’s basic table of its fees, which is also available on its site here.

Rakuten fees

 

BriskSale

BriskSale is a new and free e-commerce marketplace. As you can see here, BriskSale charges its sellers zero fees. That’s no listing fees, no marketplace fees, and no card processing fees, which is pretty cool. BriskSale offers stores to its sellers like Ebay and Etsy, however, with a BriskSale store sellers pay nothing to have their items organized and for sale in their own unique space.

 

Wrap Up

That’s it for now! If anyone thinks I missed a marketplace, please let me know and I’ll edit it in, but for now I think this is one of the better fee breakdowns on the internet. Its important to be informed when choosing where to sell online, so I hope you keep all the fee information close when choosing your online marketplace. Just from a quick skim, it seems like Jet, Amazon, and Rakuten have the highest fees depending on the category, with Ebay and Etsy having slightly lower fees. BriskSale is the only truly free marketplace on the list, and it’s really the only free marketplace on the internet that can be compared to paid marketplaces.  As a closing note, keep in mind that sites using PayPal as their payment processor sometimes apply PayPal fees of about 3% on top of their selling fees. This is a sneaky trick to watch out for.

 

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