Shipping Unboxed: FAQs about Online Marketplaces

By Baillee Perkins
Oct 11, 2023
A computer screen with an marketplace to present online marketplaces sits on top of the globe.

In this edition of Shipping Unboxed, we’ll demystify the world of online marketplaces. Our recent study with Retail Economics projects that online marketplace sales will reach over $253 billion globally, with $183 billion of those profits coming from North America alone. Your business has the opportunity to capitalize on sales this holiday season, so it’s time to get your online marketplaces up and running. Without further ado, let’s dive into Shipping Unboxed: FAQs About Online Marketplaces.

Question Quick Jump

  1. Why should I sell online?
  2. What is an online marketplace?
  3. How many customers make their purchases online?
  4. When do customers start their online holiday shopping?
  5. What are some of the most popular online marketplaces?
  6. Does ShippingEasy support online marketplaces?
  7. How do I connect marketplaces to my ShippingEasy account?
  8. What are Amazon Prime Days?
  9. Can I use shipment confirmation emails with online marketplaces?
  10. How do returns work with online marketplaces?

Why should I sell online?

Online marketplaces play a pivotal role in ecommerce, as they provide customers with a centralized shopping space. With a quick click, customers can search and purchase almost anything their hearts desire. In our study, 53% of merchants stated they sell products through online marketplaces because they reach a wider audience. Merchants and customers alike see the benefits of selling and shopping online, so your business should reap the benefits as well. 

What is an online marketplace?

At their core, online marketplaces are simply websites where customers can search for goods from sellers. Eligible businesses can sign up to sell their products on online marketplaces through seller portals. The criteria for selling will vary, depending on the marketplace. 

Most online marketplaces also give customers the ability to create wish lists or favorite products. Once a customer has used the platform to buy products, they’ll start to receive personalized product recommendations.

How many customers make their purchases online?

Our study found that 60% of customers in the US plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online. With over half of customers turning to online marketplaces for some level of holiday shopping, your business can’t ignore this untapped audience. 

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When do customers start their online holiday shopping?

Great question! The answer to this one is two-fold. We found that 41% of customers planned to start shopping before October, with 27% planning to shop in November. Additionally, 44% of shoppers under the age of 45 plan to utilize big sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Either way, this means your business should start preparing for the holiday shopping season ASAP. 

You might have used some of the most popular marketplaces without even realizing it. Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are all three examples of popular online marketplaces. When you start selling online, think back to your experiences with these marketplaces. 

Create an experience that you would enjoy as a customer. There will be some limitations, based on the marketplace’s restrictions and guidelines; however, with 48.7% of customers in our study stating they use online marketplaces for convenience, the odds are already in your favor. 

Does ShippingEasy support online marketplaces?

Yes! ShippingEasy provides direct integrations to major marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Eligible orders from these marketplaces will automatically sync onto the orders page, so you can create labels from your account. 

Sleigh the holiday shipping season with the help of ShippingEasy.

How do I connect marketplaces to my ShippingEasy account?

The hardest part about online selling shouldn’t be connecting your marketplaces, so we try to make it as simple as possible. To connect your marketplace, you’ll follow the instructions below: 

  1. Go to Settings 
  2. Under Integration, select Stores & Orders 
  3. Click + Add New 
  4. Select your marketplace from the Platform list
  5. Follow the instructions to connect your marketplace 
  6. As long as your store shows as connected, you’re all set! 

What are Amazon Prime Days?

For the past few years, Amazon has offered sale days for customers in both July and October. These dates usually fall around the middle of each month (typically around the 10th-12th). Amazon Prime Days are a wonderful opportunity to see which products sell the best and to get rid of underselling, overstocked, or out-of-season products. This way, your business can make room for new products and start building your holiday inventory around popular products. 

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Can I use shipment confirmation emails with online marketplaces?

Shipment confirmation emails can be used for marketplaces, with the exception of Amazon*. 15% of customers we surveyed stated that visible tracking and communication is the most important deciding factor when choosing where to shop online globally. Sending customers their tracking information with easy-to-follow links is crucial. And don’t worry, Amazon automatically sends emails whenever an order is marked as shipped, so customers will still be notified. 

Note: Wish, Jane, and Reverb are also ineligible for shipment confirmation emails to be sent from ShippingEasy. 

How do returns work with online marketplaces?

Return policies and portals will vary from marketplace to marketplace. For example, Amazon requires you to submit a return label through their system, where they’ll email your customer. Whether you’re sending return labels directly or through your marketplace, clearly and concisely communicate your business’s return policy. 

15% of customers prioritize a flexible return policy when online shopping. We understand that some marketplaces have tighter restrictions on customer communication than others. However, include returns information wherever possible to avoid customer confusion, and ultimately, customer dissatisfaction. 

Learn more about customer expectations for the 2023 holiday shopping season in our blog, Planning for the Holiday Shipping Season..
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Baillee Perkins

Baillee Perkins is a writer of shipping by day and pop culture by night, so her Google search history is an actual nightmare.

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