I’ve been on a bit of a mission to source a fancy dress outfit this week – I say mission, it almost descended into a crisis. But this crisis did flag up a key factor in the success of online selling the importance of the sales platform you choose to go with.

Make sure you know your market before choosing your sales platform

Now, this may seem obvious but it is amazing how many sellers don’t take into consideration the simple dilemma that faces ready and willing cash-in-hand, I want X now, buyers…

They want to know where to look first. eBay? Amazon? Online Retailers? A local bricks and mortar shop?

In my case the first port of call was eBay.


a) I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money seeing as I’d only be wearing the outfit once (thank goodness) and

b) I was pretty sure that eBay would also throw up some good old genuine vintage stuff.

I was right and this got me thinking about whether certain sales platforms are more suited to certain niches…

Whether – for example – fancy dress sells better on eBay or Amazon? Or in a good old fashioned shop?

Do vintage clothing and accessories suit online retail or do buyers like to see and touch these kinds of items before they buy?

I’ll get back to eBay in a moment but first let me tell you a little bit more of the story…

I knew that there was a fancy dress store in the local town, so a friend and I took a trip over there to see what they had in stock, try a few things on and see which outfits made us look the least ridiculous.

When we got there however, the place had morphed into a tattoo parlour (don’t laugh). Apparently they still sold fancy dress – but only on eBay.

Why? Well, it turns out that – for fancy dress at least – eBay is a much more profitable sales platform than bricks and mortar premises.

So, why does fancy dress work so well as an eBay product?

Fancy dress does not need to be sold from a physical store. In fact, the outfit I ordered came from an eBay seller – I didn’t touch it, I didn’t see it in the flesh, or even know if it would fit me until it arrived on my doorstep.

The reason this system works is that fancy dress is a kind of throw-away thing. I don’t mean that you wear it once then throw it in the bin – but it doesn’t really matter if the quality isn’t great, or it’s a size too big or small or if the colour doesn’t suit you.

You wear it for a couple of hours and then stuff it in a drawer or resell it on eBay. And it’s for this reason it’s a fairly easy product to sell as long as your prices are competitive – which they can’t be if your overheads are being swallowed up by rent.

So, during the course of my research it became pretty clear that eBay is the place to go for fancy dress. (Amazon’s prices were higher as were the myriad of other online stores).

Now, the chances are, the majority of buyers will plump for eBay when buying a product in this niche. So if you decided to sell fancy dress this is the sales platform you would choose (if you were being a savvy online seller!)

But remember I said I’d looked at vintage stuff too. Is ‘vintage’ less tacky than fancy dress?

Well yes it seems it is, but is eBay still seen as the place to go for vintage items?

It seems not – I discovered that, for vintage items, there’s an even better place to go: Etsy.

The sellers there are mostly US based but you can view prices in sterling and check shipping costs and times before you buy. Definitely a great alternative for vintage stuff and is well worth checking out as a sales platform if this is your niche.

So, my whole point is this:

Pick the sales platform that suits the product…

The sales platform where your hungry market is waiting and where you will – inevitably – make the most sales.

Remember: some products will sell better on eBay, some on Amazon and some just aren’t suited to online sales at all – i.e. professional tattooing!

So, next time you are researching what to sell, make sure you think about where you’re going to sell it too. The sales platform is as important as the product!

As always I wish you the very best of success.