The US is the second largest market in the world for online sellers. Just three years ago, eCommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales in the US, and this figure is expected to rise to $4.5 trillion by 2021 - making it an extremely lucrative market for retailers looking to sell overseas.
While it may not be as geographically close as mainland Europe, one of the key benefits of selling into the US market is that there are no language barriers, which is an advantage to British sellers.
The fact is, there are a number of opportunities available to sellers looking to enter the US market, and while both eBay and Amazon have great international programmes, below we have compiled an overview of some of the other top US marketplaces you should consider selling on.
While Jet.com only publicly launched last year, it has already become one of the fastest growing marketplaces in the USA, and is expected to generate $20 billion in GMV by 2020. It has also recently been announced that Walmart have agreed to acquire Jet.com, further supporting the marketplace's projected growth.
As with any marketplace, Jet.com will be better suited to certain sellers. For example, if you sell competitive products with competitive prices, or alternatively have exclusive distribution rights over products that are sought after by customers, the Jet.com marketplace could be a great fit for your business.
That said, you should be aware that in order to sell on the Jet marketplace, you will need to apply to become a retail partner which can take some time, so we would recommend that you get started sooner rather than later if this is something you wish to do.
What's also interesting is that despite the potentially lengthy application process, approved sellers aren’t required to pay sign-up fees, monthly fees or fees to list products. In fact, the only costs sellers will incur for selling on the Jet.com marketplace are commissions for each product that is sold. This is a flat 15% commission, unless otherwise stated in the table below:
While the Newegg marketplace specialises in computer hardware and software, it has expanded into a much wider range of product categories, enabling sellers to list anything from Health and Fitness goods, right through to Homeware and even Automotive and Industrial products.
Due to its growing popularity, Newegg has a great US presence, and by selling on the marketplace, merchants can access 30 million US customers.
With regards to merchant fees, there are no set up costs for selling on Newegg, and you are only charged commission on each sale. These charges are competitive, ranging from 8%-15%, and the specific fees for each category can be found in the table below.
The fact that Newegg is the Merchant of Record, makes this marketplace a favourable choice amongst many UK sellers. This means that the customers are essentially purchasing directly from Newegg, rather than your business, which eliminates the need for UK merchants to pay US sales tax, or register with different tax jurisdictions. Instead, this will all be handled by Newegg.
Newegg also offer their own fulfilment service, Shipped by Newegg, which enables retailers to put their stock into the US, where it can be fulfilled in an efficient and affordable manner. Similar to Amazon’s FBA, Shipped by Newegg will also fulfil orders from other channels, not just those made on the Newegg marketplace, and in addition to picking, packing and shipping your goods, they will also provide customer service, which might be an ideal solution to avoid time-zone barriers.
Walmart’s 80 million unique monthly visitors make it an extremely lucrative option for online retailers.
Unfortunately, Walmart is an invite-only marketplace, however it is still one that you should be aware of. Although it is a closed marketplace, you can in fact request an invite by applying on their website, and if you are seen as a good fit in terms of your reputation, sales projections and how well you align with Walmart’s values, you may be selected to list your products on their marketplace.
Sears is another great platform for reaching the US market, as it is a popular marketplace in America. Merchants can sell a broad range of merchandise on Sears, including consumer electronics, entertainment, clothing, homeware and fitness equipment.
While there is no application process for selling on the Sears marketplace, there are various fees including a $39.99 month subscription fee which enables an unlimited number of monthly orders as well as access to the site’s seller support resources, and also a commission fee (also referred to as a transaction fee), which can be up to 20% depending on the product category, although on average this will be 15%.
It is worth keeping in mind that the $39.99 monthly fee will be waived if your sales don’t reach $400 for the month.
The Sears marketplace further operates their own fulfilment service, Fulfilled by Sears. This uses a pay-as-you-go model, meaning you only pay for what you store and ship. With this, you can also take advantage of reduced shipping rates for both inbound and outbound shipping, and have the confidence that Sears will handle all order related questions for items that they fulfil, through their 24/7 customer support.
As a seller on Sears, you are also provide with the option to advertise your site on your product pages, through the use of a ‘Go to Site’ button. While this programme does not incur a monthly fee, you will be charged on a pay-per-click basis, should a customer be redirected to your site.
More details on the Fulfilled by Sears pricing model can be found in the table below:
While Etsy has an international presence, it is also a great platform to reach a US customer base. As you will be setting up an Etsy store in your domestic market, you will, however, need to optimise your listings to attract US customers.
As an example, there are certain words and spellings that will differ between English-speaking markets, such as ‘Jewellery’ and ‘Jewelry’. While with this example, Etsy Search is able to understand these variations, there will be other words used to describe your products that Etsy won’t be able to distinguish. For this reason, we would recommend taking the time to explore potential US variations on the language and spelling used for your keywords and descriptions.
In order to reach an international market, you will also need to set your shipping to international. It may also be beneficial to include international tracking, which not only gives your customers piece of mind, but also gives you as the seller some protection.
As an Etsy merchant, you will not be required to pay a monthly membership fee, nor will you be charged to set up an Etsy shop. You will, however, be required to pay a $0.20 listing fee per item (please note that this will be billed in USD, and will be dependent on the exchange rate as to how much you are charged) as well as a 3.5% commission rate on each item sold.
More information about Etsy’s fees, including their Deposit Currency Conversion and Direct Checkout Fees can be found in the table below. For more information about the exact country charges for Direct Checkout fees, visit the Etsy help site here.
All in all, each of these marketplaces are extremely popular amongst US customers, and as such are worth considering when selling into this market.
Regardless of which market you wish to sell into, you will need to do thorough research to ensure that both the market itself, as well as the marketplace(s) you wish to sell on, are a good fit for your business.
One final factor to consider is whether or not your inventory management software is robust and reliable enough to support your global expansion. Other than synchronising your stock levels from one centralised location, it should help streamline your order management along with providing several features to facilitate international expansion, such as the use of multiple warehouses.