The best e-commerce platforms in 2022

The best e-commerce platforms for small business in 2022

Find new routes to e-commerce markets you may not have known about, and start selling using the best online e-commerce platform for your product.

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An early decision when setting up a new e-commerce business is choosing the right platform. If you’re at this crossroad wondering ‘what’s the best e-commerce platform for small businesses?’, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll break down some of the best online e-commerce platforms available so you can start selling domestically or across borders with ease. We’ll also outline each platforms’ market share, revenue, customer traffic and advertising tools so you can make an informed decision on which platform is right for you.

Amazon

No e-commerce guide would be complete without mentioning Amazon. Amazon’s appeal to sellers comes from its size and market share. It is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, with over $386 billion (USD) in net revenue in 2020 alone.

Amazon’s global market share (based on gross merchandise volume) was calculated in 2019 at around 13%. Although this figure seems relatively small, it makes the company the third-largest e-commerce retailer in the world. Amazon made significant gains in 2020/21 during the pandemic, and it will enter 2022 in a very strong market position.

Amazon’s appeal to customers comes from its broad range of products, which reside in roughly 30 different product categories, including video and music entertainment. Collectively, the organisation’s regional sites receive about 5.2 billion global visits each month, making Amazon a popular destination for international e-commerce shoppers. Amazon had about 200 million global Prime members as of Q1 2021.

Within the UK, Amazon has around 10 million Prime members and holds roughly 35% of the e-commerce marketplace. Amazon is a particularly popular customer choice in the electronics and retail product categories but falls behind slightly in other areas like second-hand and white goods.

How easy is it to sell and expand internationally on Amazon?

Becoming an Amazon Seller is a straightforward process. Once you’ve submitted the necessary information and documents, you can populate your store with available products and start selling. Sellers can also optimise their listings and advertise on Amazon to expand their brands more quickly.

Notably, Amazon Sellers aren’t restricted to one region. With a few tweaks to your seller account, you can sell goods in any international Amazon location. Some of the most lucrative regions include North America (where Amazon’s market share is around 50%), Europe and Japan.

Etsy

Etsy is the third-largest e-commerce platform operating in the UK, and it occupies the artisan niche of global e-commerce, hosting a large share of independent craft businesses.

For this reason, Etsy is a great choice for sellers who create or sell unique goods like custom-made home furnishings, original wall art and handmade ornaments, clothing and accessories. Etsy is an especially popular platform for seasonal and event-themed goods, for example, for Christmas and weddings.

Etsy receives around 391 million monthly visitors, and generated just under $1.7 billion (USD) in revenue in 2020. This was Etsy’s best year to date as it grew its user base by 75% and its gross merchandise sales by more than 100%.

How easy is it to sell and expand internationally on Etsy?

Becoming an Etsy seller is easy. Once you’ve set up your account and payment methods, you can create product listings and start selling. Etsy sellers can access advertising tools that help them find interested customers more easily, and you can increase your new store’s visibility by optimising your Etsy listings with keywords and formatted text.

Though Etsy is a smaller e-commerce platform compared to other international options, it still places in the top 10 sites for average online traffic and has robust consumer strongholds. UK-based sellers, in particular, are well-positioned to grow their businesses by selling products internationally.

The best online e-commerce platform in international regions

So far, we’ve discussed three big names in UK e-commerce — but if your product is suited more to foreign markets, you may find that selling on international e-commerce marketplaces makes more sense. Not only can you get direct access to your ideal consumers abroad, but you may be able to take advantage of exchange rates to reduce your seller fees, and you might even be able to capture an early slice of growing consumer demand. So, what’s the best e-commerce platform for small businesses that export or sell overseas?

Below, we’ve compiled some of the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses selling internationally:

Your own website

The best e-commerce platform for small businesses is arguably one that they own. Starting an e-commerce website gives you lots of flexibility and control over your customer experience and sales funnel. Best of all, you can avoid seller fees cutting into your profits — and you can sell anywhere in the world, rather than waiting on the e-commerce platform you’re using to expand into new territories.

Websites like Shopify, WordPress and Wix allow new e-commerce entrepreneurs to sell directly to consumers with ease — even if they’re completely new to web design.

Otto.de, Zalando, Allegro, Cdiscount and E.Leclerc

Some of the largest B2C e-commerce websites (aside from Amazon) operating in Europe include Otto.de, Zalando, Allegro, Cdiscount and E.Leclerc. Combined, these sites receive hundreds of millions of visits every month.

Otto.de and Zalando are particularly well known in Germany, while Cdiscount and E.Leclerc are major French e-commerce platforms.

Tmall, Taobao and JD.com

Chinese e-commerce platforms Tmall, Taobao and JD.com collectively hold the largest market share of global e-commerce. China alone accounts for more than half of the world’s e-commerce market and has the largest number of buyers in the world within its borders.

China is also home to the largest e-commerce sales event in the world – ‘Singles Day’. Altogether, China is a lucrative market for new e-commerce entrepreneurs filled with some of the best online platforms to choose from.

Other major online marketplaces in Asia include Shopee and Lazada, which both operate across South East Asia, and Flipkart and Snapdeal, which are popular B2C e-commerce platforms in India.

Launch your e-commerce store today

There are various routes to market for new entrepreneurs seeking to start an online business. However, successful sellers will need to study markets carefully and choose the best online e-commerce platform for their product category — whether that’s a website of their own or an existing platform.

Once they’ve done their research and partnered with businesses that can facilitate e-commerce payments, they can expect their new businesses to flourish. Wherever you choose to sell, you're sure to come into contact with various e-commerce trends – find out how accurate e-commerce trend predictions were last year.

Buy and sell across borders with ease

Modern e-commerce businesses looking to sell to overseas customers or pay international suppliers need currency transfer solutions.

Unfortunately, too many small businesses still opt for slow and expensive methods. WorldFirst is a leading international payments provider with nearly 20 years of experience, and it offers small businesses a better way to handle their international transactions.

With an account from WorldFirst, you can operate in international currencies just like a local, by sending and receiving money seamlessly.

Open an account for free. Find out more online or call 0207 801 1065 today.

Your easy alternative to a bank account abroad

With an account from WorldFirst, you can pay suppliers in their local currency and choose the best time to move your money. Open up to 10 local currency accounts for free and start collecting funds when it suits you.

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Jason Kaye
Experience: 10 years writing within the e-commerce, finance and tech landscapes
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