Marketplaces Options for CPG Brands


View more articles based on your role

Discussing the potential benefits and drawbacks of selling through online marketplaces for consumer goods brands.


In the ever-expanding landscape of eCommerce, consumer goods brands face a myriad of options when it comes to selling their products online. One of the most prominent avenues is through online marketplaces, which provide a platform for brands to reach a vast audience of potential customers. However, the decision to sell through online marketplaces is not without its complexities and considerations. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the potential benefits and drawbacks of selling through online marketplaces for consumer goods brands, supported by facts, figures, and real-world examples.

Understanding the Online Marketplace Landscape

1. The Rise of Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces have experienced exponential growth in recent years, fueled by the convenience of online shopping and the proliferation of eCommerce platforms. According to Statista, global online marketplace sales are projected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025, accounting for 17% of total global retail sales.

2. Types of Online Marketplaces

  • General Marketplaces: Platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart offer a wide range of products across various categories, attracting millions of shoppers daily.
  • Niche Marketplaces: Specialized marketplaces cater to specific industries or product niches, providing a targeted audience for brands seeking to reach a particular demographic or market segment.
  • Vertical Marketplaces: Vertical marketplaces focus on a specific product category or vertical, offering a curated selection of products tailored to a particular niche or interest group.

Benefits of Selling Through Online Marketplaces

1. Access to a Global Audience

Online marketplaces provide consumer goods brands with instant access to a vast and diverse audience of online shoppers. According to eMarketer, Amazon alone has over 300 million active customer accounts worldwide, offering brands unparalleled reach and exposure.

2. Increased Visibility and Discoverability

Listing products on online marketplaces enhances brand visibility and discoverability, as shoppers actively search for products within the platform’s ecosystem. Featured placements, sponsored listings, and recommendation algorithms further amplify brand exposure, driving traffic and sales.

3. Infrastructure and Support Services

Online marketplaces offer robust infrastructure and support services, including payment processing, order fulfillment, and customer service. Brands can leverage these services to streamline operations, reduce overhead costs, and focus on core business activities such as product development and marketing.

4. Competitive Pricing and Promotional Opportunities

Online marketplaces foster a competitive environment, allowing brands to optimize pricing strategies and leverage promotional opportunities to attract customers. Dynamic pricing algorithms, flash sales, and deal-of-the-day promotions enable brands to drive sales and maximize revenue potential.

Drawbacks of Selling Through Online Marketplaces

1. Commission Fees and Revenue Sharing

Online marketplaces typically charge commission fees or revenue-sharing arrangements for selling on their platforms. According to Forbes, Amazon’s referral fees range from 6% to 45% depending on the product category, impacting profit margins for brands.

2. Limited Brand Control and Differentiation

Brands may face challenges in maintaining control over their brand image and product presentation on online marketplaces. Generic product listings, customer reviews, and competing offers from other sellers can dilute brand identity and erode differentiation.

3. Dependency and Platform Risks

Relying solely on online marketplaces for sales exposes brands to platform risks, including changes in algorithms, policy updates, and account suspensions. A study by Marketplace Pulse found that 72% of Amazon sellers rely on Amazon for over 80% of their sales, highlighting the potential risks of over-dependency.

4. Competition and Pricing Pressures

Online marketplaces are highly competitive environments, with thousands of sellers vying for visibility and sales. Intense competition can lead to pricing pressures, as brands engage in price wars and promotions to attract customers, potentially eroding profit margins.

Strategies for Success on Online Marketplaces

1. Brand Differentiation and Value Proposition

Focus on building a strong brand identity and value proposition that resonates with target customers. Emphasize unique selling points, product quality, and customer service to differentiate your brand from competitors and cultivate customer loyalty.

2. Diversification and Multi-Channel Selling

Diversify sales channels by selling through multiple online marketplaces and direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels. By diversifying distribution channels, brands can mitigate platform risks, expand their reach, and maximize sales opportunities across different market segments.

3. Data Analytics and Optimization

Utilize data analytics and optimization tools to monitor performance metrics, track sales trends, and optimize product listings. Leverage insights from customer feedback, reviews, and search analytics to refine product offerings, pricing strategies, and promotional campaigns.

4. Customer Engagement and Relationship Building

Prioritize customer engagement and relationship building to foster brand loyalty and advocacy. Implement proactive customer service initiatives, personalized communications, and loyalty programs to enhance the overall shopping experience and cultivate long-term relationships with customers.

Case Studies and Success Stories

  • Nike: Nike’s strategic partnership with Amazon has enabled the brand to reach millions of shoppers worldwide, driving sales and brand awareness. By leveraging Amazon’s infrastructure and customer reach, Nike has expanded its online presence and optimized its sales channels.
  • Pura Vida Bracelets, a lifestyle brand known for its handcrafted accessories, has thrived in the eCommerce landscape by embracing online marketplaces as a key sales channel. Founded in 2010 by two friends during a trip to Costa Rica, Pura Vida initially gained traction through its unique bracelets made by local artisans. By listing its products on platforms like Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and its own website, Pura Vida expanded its reach beyond traditional retail outlets, connecting with a diverse global audience of conscious consumers. The brand’s commitment to social responsibility, including partnerships with charitable organizations and sustainable manufacturing practices, has resonated with customers seeking ethically sourced and stylish accessories. Pura Vida’s online marketplace strategy has propelled its growth, with the brand surpassing $100 million in revenue in 2020, a testament to the power of eCommerce in fostering brand awareness and driving sales for socially conscious brands.


Selling through online marketplaces offers consumer goods brands unparalleled opportunities for reach, visibility, and sales growth. However, it also presents challenges in terms of commission fees, brand control, and platform risks. By understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of selling through online marketplaces and implementing strategic approaches to optimization and differentiation, brands can navigate the online marketplace landscape effectively, maximize sales opportunities, and cultivate lasting relationships with customers in the digital age.

author avatar
Alan Yong CEO / Founder
Alan Yong is a distinguished eCommerce expert with an impressive career spanning over 30 years, primarily focusing on the consumer goods sector across multiple global markets, including the two largest consumer markets, China and the United States. With a deep expertise in multi-channel eCommerce, big data & analytics, performance marketing, and consumer-based supply chain and logistics, Alan has held pivotal roles as CEO and Global General Manager for multinational consumer packaged goods companies, driving significant digital transformations and eCommerce success.