UK Marketplace Focus: OnBuy

05 October 2021
UK Marketplace Focus: OnBuy

With the ecommerce industry rapidly growing and undergoing accelerated technological innovation, there are many unique marketplaces available on which you can sell your products. The ‘UK Marketplace Focus’ series will shine a spotlight on UK marketplaces by providing key insights to those who are unfamiliar, giving you useful information to help you make a decision about your marketplace strategy. This article will focus on OnBuy, shedding light on the key characteristics of this marketplace – covering everything you need to know from why you should sell on OnBuy and the unique selling points of the marketplace all the way to commission fees, other costs and customer service. 



Launched in November of 2016 as a direct alternative to Amazon, OnBuy is one of the fastest-growing UK online marketplaces, which offers consumers millions of products from thousands of different online retailers. As the winner of the 2020 Retail Without Borders ‘Marketplace Merchant Logistics Award’, OnBuy offers sellers good logistics SLAs – with very few restrictions on their logistics strategy on the marketplace. 

Why Sell on the OnBuy Marketplace?

Key highlights:

  • Competitive and transparent selling fees 
  • Immediate seller pay-out and seller protection 
  • Dedicated personal account manager to support your brand
  • Offers a global opportunity to grow your business

The OnBuy marketplace boasts multiple features that make it a great place for sellers to offer their products. To begin with, OnBuy offers very competitive selling fees (which we’ll touch on later in more detail). This allows you – as a seller – to price your products lower in order to attract buyers without losing a profit. In addition to that, OnBuy offers a subscription waiver guarantee, meaning you have time to integrate with their platform and list your products without being charged a recurring subscription fee until your sales begin to grow. 

To continue, OnBuy is very transparent with their fees: their fees are fair and all sellers pay the same regardless of their size or volume. OnBuy are also very open about the fact that they do not compete with sellers – their efforts are solely focused on promoting your products, as they do not sell anything. Furthermore, when it comes to getting paid, as a seller you will get paid instantly as OnBuy pays you through PayPal as soon as an item is marked as dispatched. On this same topic, OnBuy offers PayPal seller protection, meaning you can sell with the peace of mind that your orders are covered for 180 days. 

Finally, what kind of support does OnBuy offer once you are integrated and up and running on the marketplace? To begin with, you will have a personal account manager who will be there to support your brand, as well as the dedicated UK-based support team at your fingertips. To round off, possibly one of the strongest opportunities that OnBuy marketplace has to offer is just how global it is. In 2021, OnBuy plans to scale up into 42 additional countries, with 100 more to come by 2023. Therefore, there is an excellent opportunity to tap into the global market as you grow your business.

The USPs of the OnBuy Marketplace

Key highlights:

  • Fees as low as 5-9% versus Amazon’s fees of up to 15%
  • First marketplace to partner with PayPal since eBay
  • Subscription waived if you do not succeed

So far, we have clearly established that OnBuy has many features that would be more than desirable for you as a seller, but what is the main unique selling point that differentiates OnBuy from other marketplaces? The main feature that makes OnBuy stand out, aside from them committing to never competing with sellers, is their low sales fees. These low fees of 5-9% (compared to Amazon’s fees of up to 15%, for example) allow you to price your products competitively and attract new customer bases, while still making a profit. 

The other really unique selling point that OnBuy benefits from is their partnership with PayPal. OnBuy is the first marketplace to partner with PayPal since eBay, meaning you as a seller can be more secure when it comes to the selling experience. To expand on the point made earlier, sellers are never made to wait for their funds – they are paid as soon as a product is marked as dispatched, which brings huge advantages in terms of cash flow that you may not find on other marketplaces. 

Finally, to develop the topic mentioned earlier about subscription fees, OnBuy demonstrates their belief in their marketplace by offering sellers a no-risk scenario. The way this works is if you do not make at least £500 in sales during a month, OnBuy marketplace will waive the next month’s subscription fee. This gives your business a chance to trial the marketplace with less cost-associated risk should it not work out. 

Top Product Categories

With millions of products, OnBuy marketplace has a large number of different product categories, with some of the most popular being electronics, entertainment, home furniture, gardening products and toys. 

Who Is the Consumer Base? 

OnBuy’s consumer base is extensive – as mentioned previously, OnBuy was established to be a direct alternative to Amazon, meaning virtually anyone can buy from OnBuy. To clarify, OnBuy has over 8 million buyers, with 35 million products offered by over 7,000 sellers. 

Commission Fees and Other Costs

As mentioned earlier, one of the advantages and main USPs of OnBuy is their low, transparent fees (which are consistent across all sellers irrespective of their size or volume). So, let us be precise and break down exactly what these fees are for your business. Firstly, one of OnBuy’s goals is to try to keep the fee structure simple, so the only fees you would incur as a seller are the following: OnBuy’s sales fees (plus VAT where applicable) and PayPal’s payment fees. 

Starting with OnBuy’s sales fees, these range from 5-9% depending on the category of the product. Consumer electronics, large appliances and computing incur fees on the lower end of the scale at 5%, whereas everything else (including delivery charges) incur a 9% fee.

With regards to PayPal, their fees are between 1.9-3.4% and incur a fixed 30p charge per transaction. The full information on PayPal fees can be found here.

Customer Service

As mentioned previously, all sellers on OnBuy will have their own personal account manager who will act as a main point of contact, actively monitoring your business to ensure that you are making the most out of the marketplace. In addition to this, they also have a dedicated UK-based support team that helps resolve any issues that may arise.

Delivery and Returns

Since OnBuy is a marketplace that does not sell their own items (only their sellers’), it is ultimately up to you as a seller to handle refunds and returns. Customers can return a product within a minimum of 30 days from delivery. As a seller, you are able to offer longer return periods, but OnBuy requires you to provide customers with a minimum of 30 days.

Sell on OnBuy Marketplace with Arcade Retail

So, clearly the low fees, combined with the wide, growing consumer base make OnBuy marketplace a very compelling option for your global marketplace expansion. To make it even more compelling, why not work with Arcade as your merchant of record? At Arcade, we can:

  • Facilitate your brand’s cross-border trade strategy in the UK and beyond
  • Leverage our relationship with OnBuy to secure you the best commercial terms
  • Use our customer service network to respond to queries in the local language and time zone, taking the stress out of translation
  • Design appropriate, localised product listings for your business
  • Run local marketing campaigns during peak seasons and shopping events throughout the year so that you can be sure your products are reaching customers at the right time
  • Handle local fulfillment and local returns of your products, so we can do the majority of the heavy lifting for you in terms of logistics
  • Take care of compliance for you, using our existing partnerships and knowledge to ensure that you avoid any unnecessary problems with taxes, tariffs or documentation

Altogether, Arcade can offer your brand unparalleled speed-to-market, a far smoother transition and more comprehensive support once we set everything up. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us today at:

Tags :

Get in Touch

Arcade can help you to sell successfully globally via online marketplaces and develop a strategic international roadmap.

Contact Us

More Insights