There are many benefits to expand your local physical reach and get clients that you could never have gotten otherwise. In this day and age, especially with the pandemic, online platforms have surged exponentially these past years. From having almost no costs upfront, these platforms have stood out and created a new market & demand for consumers.
Being able to get unique products from the comfort of your home, not having to go outside or figure out where to go in the first place have made customers wanting more of those initiatives. It might be a good thing for you to hop on the train while it’s still here!
Here's a few online platforms accessible for the Canadian market & worldwide. Some might benefit you more than others, but it ultimately depends on your products and what your goals are with your business.
Online platforms you can start selling on today
Below is a list of a few online platforms available for a Canadian market that you can explore whether they’d be a good fit. It’s not always a good thing to be all over the place, so you might want to give it some though before committing. It takes a lot of times to build something up so make sure you can do it without exhausting yourself!
This is an international online marketplace for crafts, artworks, body care & craft supplies. They have a focus on handmade products, although these past few years, they’ve seen a small change in the products available being more generic. Their fees are based off listings & transaction fees. The site is very popular amongst customers around the world.
This company is based in Canada from web designers with a passion for handmade products. They accepts only hand-crafted goods like art, crafts & fashion creations from sellers around the world. You have to be the creator of the products (no product resellers are permitted). Set up your account for $25 CAD and then pay listing fees for the items you list for sale. All payments are via PayPal.
If you’re looking to sell B2B, there is a great online wholesale marketplace where small business owners can purchase from locally owned companies of various sizes. The platform provides sales, marketing and analytics tools, so sellers can simplify their wholesale business. Users can go straight to a ‘Made in Canada’ page or filter search results to only include companies that ship from Canada. You can even choose from, which province! It is still fairly new to the Canadian market, but has seen an increase in customers (and makers!) from Canada.
If you are looking to build your own eCommerce platform, Shopify is a great way to start. They allow anyone to set up an online store to sell their products. It is a quick way to launch your business and start selling right away. The downside is that if you are starting out, it can be quite expensive at first. We suggest to build and audience for your product first, and then consider investing in a platform where they can shop directly from you.
Different from the main website, this side of the giant is an artisan-only community where artists and crafters can sell their unique, one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods online. This business model is different from other ways of selling on Amazon. Competing directly against Etsy, it can be a great alternative as most people can recognize this company nowadays. There is an upfront cost, but then you only pay a transaction fee on each sale.
Now if you are an artist, maker or have a small brand, Big Cartel is one of the only free eCommerce made specifically for you. The way it works, the platform provides you with all the tools you need to get your business up and running, including a storefront where you can showcase the goods you are selling. Add your products, set up your checkout with PayPal or Stripe, and customize your shop. It comes with a monthly fee, but it can be a great thing to start with. They even have a free account so you can test it out!
Yes, even though it’s made mostly for job, cars and real estate listings, Kijiji can be a great free solution. When you’re starting out, free options are always your best friends. People still use Kijiji for various things and has become a staple in the world of local items to buy. Even though yours is brand new, you never know who can stumble across your listing and fall in love.
Another great free platform that works well if you sell handmade items is Facebook’s own marketplace. People sell various items from handmade crafts, food products to even your art. Plus, if you own a website/have a platform you already sell on or are going to attend a local market, you can advertise a little bit about it in your product description!
There are plenty of options for selling on online platforms out there that we did not even mention. The web is vast and it can be quite daunting when you don’t know where you are going. The best thing to do is one step at a time. You don’t necessarily need to be present online everywhere or even be present. It all depends on what your goals, budget and target audience are. If you are unsure of what, where and many more questions about these platforms, feel free to reach out to us! You can share a comment below or send us a private message. We are always happy to help when possible.