Fuelled by the pandemic, e-commerce is growing fast in Singapore. If you want to start profiting from this growth, starting out on online marketplaces can be an easy and affordable way to do so.
Luckily for you, there are many online marketplaces in Singapore you can choose to sell on. In this article, we’ll take a look how marketplaces work, the top online marketplaces in Singapore and which ones I recommend you to start selling on.
Let’s jump right in!
What’s an online marketplace?
Broadly speaking, an online marketplace connects buyers with sellers.
Benefits of selling on marketplaces
For sellers, there are several benefits of selling on online marketplaces. The two main benefits are:
- Easy to set up – creating your own store and adding products to it is as simple as filling in forms and adding images – no technical skills required!
- Cost – it’s a lot cheaper to get started selling on marketplaces, since you don’t have to invest money in setting up an e-commerce website, or payment gateway. Simply create a store and start selling.
- Traffic – marketplaces invest in driving traffic to the website, so you’ll have visitors without having to pay for it.
This makes marketplaces a budget-friendly place for beginners.
Disadvantages of selling on marketplaces
Now, the downside of selling on marketplaces:
- Fees – marketplaces make money primarily from charging fees whenever sellers make a sale on their platform. Marketplace owners have the right to increase their fees when they want to, which can affect your business margins unexpectedly.
- Competition – when you list on marketplaces, your product listing will be placed side by side with your competition’s. With this setup, customers are likely to price shop before making a purchase, forcing you to match what other sellers are offering, even if it is a lot lower than you want to.
- Lack of branding control – on online marketplaces, your store will look just like other stores on the platform. It’s hard for you to build a brand when you sell on online marketplaces.
In spite of these disadvantages, the benefits of selling on marketplaces can greatly outweigh their disadvantages, especially for beginners.
Now that you have a better idea of the pros and cons of selling on online marketplaces in Singapore, let’s take a look at the top ones you can sell on.
Top online marketplaces in Singapore – ranked
Traffic information obtained from SimilarWeb (Updated for April 2021)
Shopee (#1: 11.82m visitors/month)
With almost 12m visitors a month, Shopee has grown to become the most popular online marketplace in Singapore since its launch in 2015. It’s a mobile-friendly and easy-to-use shopping site Singaporeans love to buy from.
Save for prohibited items, Singaporeans can buy just about anything on Shopee. From mobile phones, to diapers, to dining vouchers, there are millions of products in a variety of categories to choose from. It’s a shopper’s dream!
Buyers can chat with sellers and ask questions about a product before making a purchase, and if anything goes wrong with an order, a refund is just a click away.
For sellers, Shopee makes selling a breeze. The platform is well-designed for creating a store, listing products, fulfilling orders and disputes are easy in Shopee.
Should you sell on Shopee? Yes! It’s the biggest marketplace in Singapore. With the right products and promotions, you’ll be able to get a lot of eyeballs to your store and make bank. Starting a Shopee store is free!
Want to get started? Follow this guide to learn how to sell on Shopee Singapore.
Carousell (#2: 10.12m visitors/month)
Carousell is Singapore’s most popular peer-to-peer marketplace. Launched in 2012, it thrives as the go-to for second-hand items in Singapore. Though, buyers can also find new products at a good discount from sellers who don’t need it anymore.
With payment protection, buyers can feel safe when buying on Carousell. Buyers can also read reviews about a seller to get a better idea about the seller they are thinking of buying from.
Unlike marketplaces like Shopee where buyers can primarily find retail products, you can also find car, property, jobs and even service listings on Carousell.
For sellers, it’s easy to sell on Carousell. You can upload your product images and information to the platform on an easy-to-use mobile app.
Should you sell on Carousell? If you are a used goods seller, Carousell will be a great fit for you. However, if you mainly trade in retail products, Carousell may not be the best platform for the long-term.
Lazada (#3: 6.64m visitors/month)
Launched in 2012, Lazada is Singapore’s second largest retail marketplace, second only to Shopee. Like Shopee, buyers can get just about anything on Lazada.
Although Lazada had a 3 year head start, Shopee has caught up and overtaken it as the most popular marketplace in Singapore. Nonetheless, it still receives a significant amount of traffic.
Should you sell on Lazada? Definitely! With its popularity, you can get a substantial amount of sales if you start a store on Lazada. It’s free to start a store too!
Amazon (#4: 6.08m visitors/month)
Amazon Singapore is the local version of the world’s biggest marketplace in the world. Not only can buyers get the usual retail products on Amazon, they can also buy Amazon exclusive products like Kindle e-book readers, Kindle e-books, Amazon echo and so on.
Amazon also offers 2-hour Amazon prime delivery for groceries as well as products from international sellers on Amazon.
Should you sell on Amazon? Amazon is pretty strict, so sell on the platform if you’re a distributor of genuine, high-quality products.
Qoo10 (#5: 3.81m visitors/month)
Qoo10 is an online marketplace from Korea. On top of products sold by local sellers, Singaporeans can find a variety of popular Korean products on the Qoo10 marketplace.
Should you sell on Qoo10? While traffic is much smaller than Shopee and Lazada, it’s worth setting up a Qoo10 store if you already have one on Shopee and Lazada.
Zalora (#6: 848.07m visitors/month)
Zalora is a sister site of Lazada specialising in the sales of fashion products. Singaporeans can find clothes, bags and fashion accessories from international as well as local brands for sale on Zalora.
Should you sell on Zalora? If you are a fashion brand owner, it’s worth selling on Zalora.
eBay (#7: 735k visitors/month)
eBay Singapore is the local version of the popular worldwide auction site. While buyers can find products in just about any category in eBay, electronics, antiques and fashion are some of its most popular.
Should you sell on eBay? With traffic figures below 1m in Singapore, it’s not a high priority platform to sell on.
Gumtree (#8: 490k visitors/month)
Gumtree Singapore is a classified ads site where Singaporeans can list products or services for sale. Most listings are for used items.
Payment doesn’t happen on the platform, however, and buyers don’t get any kind of payment protection.
Should you sell on Gumtree? If you have used items for sale, you can list them on Gumtree, but if you’re planning to run an e-commerce business, it’s not the best place to start on.
Craigslist (#9: 166k visitors/month)
Craigslist Singapore is also a classified ads site for Singaporeans to list products and services for sale. It also does not offer any kind of buyer payment protection.
Should you sell on Craigslist? Like Gumtree, classified ads sites like Craigslist isn’t the best place to start an e-commerce business.
Fishpond (#10: 78k visitors/month)
Fishpond Singapore is an Australian marketplace that lets sellers buy from sellers from all over the world. While there are many categories available, home and living, as well as beauty are some of the more popular categories on the platform.
Should you sell on Fishpond? Traffic to the site is pretty low for a marketplace, so it’s not worth selling on in my opinion.
Honorable mention: Reebelo
Reebelo is Singapore’s marketplace for used electronics like smartphones, tablets and laptops. It’s a platform with a mission: to reduce electronic waste.
Should you sell on Reebelo? If you have an old phone, tablet or laptop lying around, why not give them new life by listing them on Reebelo? But unless you have a continuous supply of used electronics, Reebelo isn’t the platform for a retail trader.
There you have it – the top online marketplaces in Singapore you can start selling on, and the best ones you should sell on. If you’ve been thinking about getting your e-commerce business off the ground, starting a store on a marketplace can be an affordable way to get started.
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