Four Online Marketplaces Like Amazon That Will Rock Your World!

May 10th, 2023 | 6 min read

The proliferation of online marketplaces has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of e-commerce being conducted worldwide.

According to Statista research, global eCommerce sales are projected to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026.

Data from Pew Research Center found that around eight out of ten Americans are online shoppers and that 15% shop online weekly.

Online marketplaces like Amazon have become household names, with more than 350 million items for sale on the platform.

Keep reading to learn more about four online marketplaces like Amazon and how they are leading the way for online marketplaces.

Rakuten is the Amazon of Japan, and They Are Killing It!

Rakuten is the biggest eCommerce platform in Japan and the third largest global online marketplace next to Amazon and eBay.

Founded by Japanese billionaire businessman and writer Hiroshi Mikitani in 1997, Rakuten originally started as a small eCommerce website.

Japan has the third largest economy in the world, and Rakuten holds a 26.8% market share of the eCommerce industry in the country.

Dubbed the Amazon of Japan, Rakuten is listed in Forbes' Top 100 Digital Companies and operates in 30 countries and regions worldwide.  

Since its inception, the platform has grown into an online marketplace with 1.6 billion members worldwide. Wow! 

Rakuten eCommerce is divided into three divisions: Rakuten Global, the online shopping mall for international customers; Rakuten, which is assigned to online shopping within the United States; and Rakuten Slice, the online purchasing data analysis service in the United States.

Merchants must be approved before they can sell on Rakuten since it is an invitation-only platform.

Sellers from the United States or Japan who want to sell on Rakuten's marketplace can submit their applications directly to Rakuten.

Sellers based in either country would need to use a third-party provider.

For example, UK-based sellers need to contact the partner, which will handle their store's setup, admin, and operations.

Once the application is submitted, it takes Rakuten around 3-10 business days to review it.

Once approved, sellers in the United States and Japan can begin manually uploading their inventory using the platform's web tool.

Those in countries outside of the US or Japan would need the assistance of a third-party service provider to upload inventory.

There are three types of seller fees used by Rakuten - an Individual Listing Fee of $0.99; a Monthly Account Fee of $39; and a Commission Fee ranging from 10% to 15%, depending on the category of the items sold.

Sellers are given free rein to create and customize shipping and return policies for their online stores.

They can either pick from Rakuten's recommended shipping partners or choose their own based on their shipping and packaging needs.

Looking to expand from Amazon? Check out Rakuten! 

Alibaba Dominates the World's eCommerce Market

Founded in 1999 by Chinese business magnate, philanthropist, and investor Jack Ma and seventeen other successful businessmen and women, Alibaba is a Chinese business-to-business eCommerce supplier.

China is the world's biggest eCommerce market, with over $2 trillion in sales in 2022.

Alibaba holds a 47.1% market share of eCommerce in China.

Part of this success is due to the integration of live streaming, digital payments, and eCommerce service into one platform.

For e.g., viewers can purchase through links shown during the live streams.

In 2020, Alibaba made headlines when its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival generated $74.1 billion in gross merchandise volume and processed 583,000 orders per second at the campaign's peak.


In a 2022 report by Statista, Taobao, and Tmall, both owned by the Alibaba Group, are listed as two of the world's most valuable retail brands.

Small and large suppliers can source wholesale products from suppliers on the platform. 

Alibaba has a Verified Supplier program, wherein the company verifies the legitimacy of suppliers using an independent certified agency.

To sell on Alibaba's platform, suppliers need to register for an account, set up their company profile, and create their online storefront.

The company also offers Trade Assurance, a service that covers both sellers and buyers should there be shipping or quality issues.  

Sellers can list for free on the platform, but they can also choose to become a Gold Supplier, which gives them additional perks to promote products and increase ROI.

Gold Supplier memberships have four packages: Basic for $1,999; Standard for $3,499; Premium for $6,999; and Standard Extended for $6,498.

All these packages are renewed annually except for Standard Extended, which is renewed every two years.

Get inspired by Alibaba's online marketplace!

Mercado Libre - The People's Choice for an Online Marketplace in Latin America

Mercado Libre, which means free market in Spanish, is the number one online marketplace in Latin America.

Founded in 1999 in Argentina by billionaire businessman Marcos Galperin, Mercado Libre has since accrued 132.5 million users in South America.

In a report by Insider Intelligence, Mercado Libre ranks as the 9th of the Top 10 Retailers Worldwide, with Latin America being one of the top three fastest-growing eCommerce markets in 2022.

With the number of online shoppers in Latin America expected to increase to 350 million in 2024.

The company also reported an annual revenue of $7.069 billion in 2021, a 77.92% increase from 2020.

The company operates in 18 countries, including Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Venezuela.  

Most of the platform's revenue is from Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.

Mercado Libre has launched its cross-border Global Selling Program, allowing US-based suppliers to sell their products in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.

One of the benefits listed for this program is the ability to list and sell products in US dollars, so the sellers aren't affected even if the local currency fluctuates.

This program also eliminates language barrier issues with automated translations for questions and claims management.

It doesn't cost to list products on Mercado Libre, but the platform charges a Selling Fee once you get an order.

The Selling Fee amount depends on where the order was placed.

For example, if it's sold in Brazil, the platform will charge 12.5% per order for Classic Listing Types and 16.5% for Premium Listing Types.

Additionally, Mercado Libre charges an Additional Per Unit Fee for every additional low-cost product purchased.

The platform also implements a minimum listing price that ranges from $8-$12, depending on the location.

Interested in expanding to Latin America, list on Mercado Libre!

Shopee Breaks Sales Records in Southeast Asia

Created by Singapore-based billionaire Forrest Li in 2015, Shopee is a latecomer compared to most large online marketplaces.

However, the platform proved it could compete.

Shopee was awarded Singapore Startup Of The Year in 2015 and Overall Brand Champion at the 2022 Marketing-Interactive PR Awards.

In five years, the platform became the most downloaded app, pushing even the eCommerce giant Amazon to fourth place.

In 2021, Shopee broke sales records with its 11.11 Big Sale, selling over 2 billion items throughout the campaign.

In Q2 of 2022, Shopee also reported having amassed revenue of $1.7 billion.

The online marketplace is also known for partnering with highly-popular endorsers and local celebrities, which affirmed their position with Gen Zers and millennials.

Some of the platform's brand ambassadors include BlackPink, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jackie Chan.

Not one to fall behind its competitors when it comes to its payment platform, Shopee launched ShopeePay in 2019.

This is the company's secure and seamless mobile wallet.

Shopee encourages shoppers to use this as their online wallet with extra deals, coupons, and vouchers exclusive to ShopeePay users.

When it comes to selling, there are two ways to sell on Shopee: the Marketplace or the Shopee Mall.

The marketplace is ideal for retailers who want to start selling right away with low upfront costs.

There are no commission fees for the first six months as a marketplace seller, but sellers are charged a 2.24% commission fee after that period.

The Shopee Mall is for official brands and authorized distributors.

These stores are entitled to join mall-only brand-exclusive campaigns and have access to all-exclusive in-app features.

Commission fees for Mall items range from 2.24% to 5.60%, depending on the category of your inventory.

Further, sellers who join the Coins Cashback and Free Shipping Programs are charged a Service Fee of 3.36% and 5.6%, respectively.

For a marketplace that targets sellers who want to start quickly, be inspired by Shopee!


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