Broadening your horizons beyond Amazon and eBay

Zoe Ripley of ChannelAdvisor presents five online marketplaces to help online retailers venture beyond the safe harbours of eBay and Amazon.

Marketplaces are playing a significant role in the evolving e-commerce landscape. Amazon and eBay have arguably led the field with their huge global reach and resulting success. While these two behemoths take up the largest share of the market, they’re far from the only options.

The global success of Amazon’s and eBay’s third party marketplace models has led to an explosion of marketplaces from new players: La Redoute, Tesco, Rakuten’s, Trade Me and MercadoLivre are just a handful of examples across the globe. These emerging marketplaces are growing fast.

With so many third party marketplaces cropping up regularly, it can be confusing and scary for retailers to determine which make the most sense for their products. How do online retailers cut through the noise?


A main player in the brick-and-mortar grocery retail landscape in the UK, Tesco expanded its presence to an online marketplace in 2012. Currently the Tesco marketplace is invite-only, with over 50 sellers listing their products on this channel. The marketplace offers a variety of product categories, including baby and toddler, home and garden, sports and leisure, toys, clothing and jewellery. One attraction for many Tesco customers is the Clubcard programme, which awards points for purchasing items. This type of rewards programme is unique, and many of Tesco’s third-party sellers participate. Tesco’s potential is only increasing, especially with its huge customer base, massive distribution network and focus on online growth.


Founded in 1998, was sold to global giant Rakuten in September 2011. Historically, the site sold gaming and media products, but Rakuten’s now has more than 3,000 sellers across many categories. In a short time, the platform has become the third largest online marketplace in the UK, behind Amazon and eBay. All retailers have the ability to promote their brand on the site’s storefront, making it an appealing site for retailers of all sizes. One of the major advantages of selling through this marketplace is the lack of listing fees; retailers pay only a sales commission. The marketplace does, however, require that retailers offer free shipping to anywhere in the UK, as well as to ship products within two days.

La Redoute

A major online retailer in France, La Redoute was founded in 1875 and expanded to an online marketplace in 2010. It’s now established in 26 countries, with more than 10 million active clients, making it the third-largest e-commerce market in Europe. The marketplace’s average basket value is 95 euros, while product categories include men’s and women’s apparel, lingerie, shoes and accessories, home accessories, technology and furniture. As with any international marketplace, there are naturally a few cross-cultural requirements that you’ll need to consider before expanding, such as language and currency. For example, La Redoute requires retailers to translate all product descriptions into French and list prices in euros. After you make the sale, La Redoute will issue your payment in euros.


MercadoLivre is the most visited site in Brazil, so it’s a fantastic channel for getting your products in front of a massive audience there. Founded in 1999, the marketplace operates in 13 countries, making it part of the largest e-commerce ecosystem in Latin America. The interconnected MercadoLivre ecosystem provides retailers with the opportunity to sell in countries like Mexico and Argentina without building separate localised websites for each. Inspired by eBay, MercadoLivre started as an auction site, with customers often buying used items. Today, however, 95 per cent of the transactions are fixed price, and 80 per cent of the products sold are new. In a region with a massive population and one of the world’s fastest-growing internet penetration rates, MercadoLivre provides a lot of potential for retailers who wish to sell abroad.

Trade Me

Trade Me is New Zealand’s leading online marketplace. Trade Me started with humble beginnings: a platform for secondhand goods sold in auction format, similar to eBay. Now offering new products from retailers at fixed prices, the marketplace has grown into New Zealand’s most visited website. It’s home to 70 per cent of the country’s domestic webpage impressions and has built a reputation for itself as a secure environment for online trading. 

Product categories include baby gear, books, clothing, computers and home and living. Despite its massive per capita volume and customer base, Trade Me is still relatively young and largely underserved in many new product categories for new items. There is a great opportunity for retailers to take advantage of these large supply gaps if they have the inventory and prices.

It’s a big and exciting world out there. Full of new consumers, new opportunities and new potential for your e-commerce growth. Expanding your horizons beyond traditional marketplaces can open plenty of additional avenues for growth out there – so what are you waiting for?

Further reading on selling your product

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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