More than ever, ecommerce is booming, with many entrepreneurs looking to buy established online businesses or sell their own. However, the process of buying and selling ecommerce websites can be complex, requiring a deep understanding of valuation, negotiation, and due diligence.
Enter online marketplaces and brokers. They provide a platform for buyers and sellers to connect, facilitating the entire transaction process.
So let's dive into the world of ecommerce transactions, exploring some of the best solutions available today. Should you be seeking to buy or sell a website yourself, the following is geared to help you make better, more informed choices.
What’s the difference between a marketplace and a broker? 🧐
While both marketplaces and brokers facilitate the buying and selling of ecommerce businesses, they operate differently.
A marketplace is a platform where sellers list their businesses for sale, and potential buyers can browse these listings to find a business that suits their needs. It's akin to a real estate listing site but for online businesses.
On the other hand, a broker is more like a real estate agent. They offer personalized services, helping sellers to find the right buyers and vice versa. They assist in the negotiation process and provide guidance throughout the transaction. Brokers often have a curated list of businesses for sale and a network of potential buyers, which can make the process smoother and more efficient.
What’re the best marketplaces and brokers to buy and sell ecommerce websites? 🚀
There are numerous platforms available for buying and selling ecommerce websites. These platforms vary in terms of their services, fees, and the types of businesses they cater to. Some are marketplaces where you can browse listings at your leisure, while others are brokerage firms that offer personalized services.
Here, we will explore some of the best platforms in both categories, examining their key features, pros and cons, and fees.
First up on the list is Flippa, one of the world's most popular online marketplaces for buying and selling digital assets. With a diverse range of listings, Flippa caters to various types of online businesses, from small starter sites to large ecommerce businesses.
Flippa Key Features 🧰
- Wide range of listings: Flippa offers a diverse range of businesses for sale, including blogs, ecommerce stores, SaaS businesses, apps, and digital services.
- Verification icons: Flippa provides verification icons for listings that have been vetted for their stated financial and operational performance.
- Integrated tools: Flippa offers a range of tools to facilitate transactions, including direct data connectivity, a deal room for discussions, call scheduling, due-diligence options, legal services, and integrated payment services.
Flippa Pros ✅
- Large user base: Flippa boasts a large community of buyers and sellers, increasing the chances of finding the right match.
- Diverse listings: The platform caters to a wide range of businesses, making it suitable for various buyer preferences.
- Verification process: Flippa's verification process adds a layer of trust and integrity to the transactions.
- Integrated tools: The platform's integrated tools make the buying and selling process smoother and more efficient.
Flippa Cons ❌
- Due to the large number of listings, it might take time to sift through and find the right business.
- The quality of businesses listed can vary significantly.
- Some users have reported encountering scams, although Flippa's verification process aims to mitigate this risk.
- Buying and selling through the platform can sometimes be slow.
Flippa Fees 💰
The platform charges a listing fee ranging from $10 to $49, depending on the type of asset you're selling. Once your asset is sold, Flippa also takes a success fee, which is between 5% to 10% of the selling price. For instance, if you sell a website for $4,500, you might end up paying a total of $499 in fees to Flippa.
Flippa even offers a price guarantee, asserting that their listing and success fees are cheaper than any other platform. However, additional service add-ons like premium boost, NDAs, and other features can increase the cost of a sale.
Sign up for Flippa here.
Empire Flippers is a well-established and respected online business broker specializing in helping entrepreneurs buy and sell online businesses. The platform is known for its rigorous vetting process, ensuring that only legitimate and profitable businesses are listed. This makes Empire Flippers a trusted choice for both buyers and sellers.
Empire Flippers Key Features 🧰
- Rigorous vetting process to ensure the quality of listings.
- Wide range of online businesses, including ecommerce, Amazon FBA, SaaS, and content sites.
- Provides a secure and transparent platform for transactions.
- Offers a range of services, including business valuation, migration services, and post-sale support.
Empire Flippers Pros ✅
- High-quality listings due to the strict vetting process.
- Transparent and secure transaction process.
- Excellent customer service and support.
- Provides a range of additional services.
Empire Flippers Cons ❌
- A high minimum listing price may exclude smaller businesses.
- The rigorous vetting process can be time-consuming.
- Fees can be high compared to other platforms.
- A limited number of listings due to the stringent vetting process.
Empire Flippers Fees 💰
Empire Flippers' fees are structured in a blended commission model. The commission rates are stacked based on the value of the business. Here's how it breaks down:
- Under $700,000 – Commission will be a flat 15% on the sale price.
- The value of the business between $700,000 and $5M – Commission will be reduced to 8% on the amount above $700,000 and below $5,000,000.
- The value of a business above $5 million – Commission will further be reduced to 2.5% on the amount above $5,000,000.
As for the minimum requirements, Empire Flippers requires an online business to make $2,000 per month or more in net profit over a 12-month average. The business must have a solid track record of at least 12 months of revenue/earnings. Google Analytics or Clicky must be installed on the website for at least three months.
The business cannot be related to pornography, gambling, payday loans, hacking, illegal substances, any form of criminal activity, or sell physical products that are CBD or hemp oil-related.
Sign up for Empire Flippers here.
3. Quiet Light
Quiet Light is a company that specializes in mediating the sales of online businesses. Founded in 2006 by Mark Daoust, the team comprises career entrepreneurs who have brokered hundreds of sales. They deal with a wide variety of web-based businesses, including ecommerce retailers, content-based websites, Amazon FBA businesses, and blogs and media companies.
Quiet Light Key Features 🧰
- Specializes in the sale of web-based businesses and websites.
- Offers a free valuation service to help determine the worth of your business.
- Provides a comprehensive marketplace for listing your business.
- Has a team of experienced brokers who are also entrepreneurs.
Quiet Light Pros ✅
- Extensive experience in mediating the sales of online businesses.
- Offers a large database of potential buyers.
- Provides a less stressful way of selling your business.
Quiet Light Cons ❌
- They require a strong exclusive contract, which means you cannot list your business on multiple marketplaces.
- The process from initial interest to final payment and transfer after sale can take longer than with some other brokers.
- Not suitable for smaller businesses – they don’t tend to work with businesses valued at less than $100,000.
Quiet Light Fees 💰
Quiet Light charges fees based on the sale price of your business. The fees are as follows:
- 10% for $0-$1,000,000
- 9% for $1,000,000-2,000,000
- 8% for $2,000,000-3,000,000
- 7% for $3,000,000-4,000,000
- 6% for $4,000,000-5,000,000
- 5% for $5,000,000-6,000,000
- 4% for $6,000,000-7,000,000
- 3% for everything above $7,000,000
Sign up for Quiet Light here.
FE International is a leading M&A firm and online business broker helping online business owners sell their mid-sized SaaS, ecommerce, or content businesses. They have a strong reputation for their data-led, customer-centric approach and commitment to making the acquisition process as simple as possible for buyers.
FE International Key Features 🧰
- Comprehensive due diligence process providing a detailed prospectus to buyers.
- Strong relationships within the online business community, enabling quick sales.
- Physical offices in several international financial centers.
FE International Pros ✅
- High success rate of 94.1% in closing business acquisitions.
- Specializes in larger deals, including several 8-figure transactions.
- Provides extensive post-sale support and training.
FE International Cons ❌
- Fewer listings compared to some other brokers.
- Requires buyers to sign an NDA and pass a background check to view full listing information.
- Some buyers report slow response times.
FE International Fees 💰
FE International charges a standard 15% sales commission or success fee that is paid by the seller. The sales commission decreases for larger deals in the mid-6 figures. They also charge a 2.5% buyers fee (maximum $1,000), which covers administrative and legal work. Sellers and buyers split the escrow fees via Escrow.com, which is typically just under 1% of the total purchase price.
OpenStore is a unique platform that offers Shopify store owners the opportunity to sell their online businesses. Unlike traditional ecommerce platforms, OpenStore doesn't provide buying options for consumers. Instead, it uses an algorithm to evaluate Shopify stores and make an offer to buy them.
OpenStore Key Features 🧰
- Automated evaluation: OpenStore uses an algorithm to review sales, inventory, and other data from Shopify stores.
- Quick offers: The platform can generate an offer for merchants by the next business day after they apply and share their Shopify login credentials.
- Consolidation benefits: By rolling up multiple Shopify stores, OpenStore can automate customer support and shipping while unlocking volume discounts.
OpenStore Pros ✅
- Easy and quick selling process for Shopify store owners.
- An automated evaluation process reduces the need for negotiations.
- Consolidation of stores can lead to operational efficiencies.
OpenStore Cons ❌
- Limited to Shopify store owners.
- The selling price is determined by an algorithm, which may not always align with the seller's valuation.
- The platform is relatively new, so long-term success and stability are not yet proven.
OpenStore Fees 💰
OpenStore does not charge any fees to the sellers. The platform makes money by buying Shopify stores and benefiting from their operations.
Website Closers is a brokerage service with over 20 years of experience facilitating online businesses' buying and selling. They may not be as widely known as Flippa or Empire Flippers, but they have a solid online presence with numerous testimonials and hundreds of verified reviews.
Website Closers Key Features 🧰
- Decades of Experience: Website Closers has been in the industry for over 20 years, providing a wealth of experience and expertise.
- Eye-Catching Listings: Their listings are designed to be visually appealing and informative, providing detailed descriptions and important information about the business.
- Wide Range of Business Niches: They deal with a variety of businesses, from five-figure to nine-figure businesses, including product lines, brands, dropshipping, FBA, and other online models.
Website Closers Pros ✅
- Long Track Record: Their extensive experience in the industry is a significant advantage.
- Quality Listings: The listings are comprehensive and visually appealing, which can attract potential buyers.
- Financing Support: They offer support to buyers in finding financing, which can bring more potential buyers to the table.
Website Closers Cons ❌
- Commission Structure: The commission structure is not publicly listed and can vary on a case-by-case basis.
- Not Ideal for Small Businesses: They tend to focus on larger businesses, defining anything below $6 million valuation as a small business.
- Longer Closing Time: The process of closing a deal can take longer due to negotiations and finding the right fit.
Website Closers Fees 💰
The commission fees are not publicly listed on the Website Closers website. However, discussions with past sellers indicate that the commission structure is on a sliding scale, with the commission percentage increasing with the size of the sale. The exact commission fees will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Business Exits is a business brokerage that prides itself on being run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Founded in 2013, the company has grown to become a leading entity in the USA for the sale of companies with revenues ranging from $2m to $60m.
Business Exits Key Features 🧰
- Business Exits is a business brokerage firm that specializes in helping retiring founders sell their businesses.
- They focus on businesses with revenue between $2 million to $25 million, dealing with larger deals.
- They offer a comprehensive process that includes valuation, marketing, deal negotiation, due diligence, contract development, and post-sale transition.
Business Exits Pros ✅
- They offer a free valuation tool to help sellers determine the value of their business.
- They have a high success rate, closing 95% of their deals.
- They have a more personalized approach due to their smaller team size.
Business Exits Cons ❌
- They are a relatively young company compared to other firms.
- They mainly deal with larger businesses valued at over $2 million, which may not be suitable for smaller businesses.
- They usually only deal with matured businesses with owners looking to retire.
Business Exits Fees 💰
Business Exits does not charge any upfront fees and only gets paid once a business is sold. Their commission is on a sliding scale based on the value of the business. The typical fee for businesses under $2 million is 10% of the sale. For businesses over $2 million, the fee is around 5-6%. For businesses valued at $10 million and above, the fee can be around 4.5%.
Acquire.com is a marketplace that connects startups and SaaS businesses with potential buyers. The platform, launched in 2020, focuses on growth and revenue rather than profitability, making it a suitable platform for startups and SaaS models. Acquire.com uses a paid membership model for buyers, which helps eliminate spam buyers and ensures a more streamlined experience for sellers.
Acquire.com Key Features 🧰
- Acquire.com caters specifically to startups and SaaS businesses, focusing on growth and revenue.
- The platform uses a paid membership model for buyers, which helps to filter out non-serious inquiries.
- Acquire.com provides a modern user interface and a streamlined experience for both buyers and sellers.
Acquire.com Pros ✅
- Acquire.com is a specialized marketplace for startups and SaaS businesses, which can be beneficial for sellers in these categories.
- The platform's paid membership model for buyers helps to ensure that only serious inquiries reach sellers.
- Acquire.com has a modern, user-friendly interface.
Acquire.com Cons ❌
- The platform's focus on startups and SaaS businesses may limit opportunities for other types of online businesses, such as ecommerce.
- Some businesses listed on Acquire.com may have valuations outside the typical 2-6X range seen across other online business brokerages and marketplaces.
- As a relatively new platform, Acquire.com may not have the extensive data and experience that older marketplaces possess.
Acquire.com Fees 💰
Acquire.com operates on a paid membership model for buyers, with three levels of membership: Basic (free), Premium ($390 per year), and Platinum (for businesses over $250,000 in TTM revenue). For sellers, there is no commission fee for listing, but Acquire.com does offer a "Managed by Acquire.com" service that charges a 5% fee.
BizBroker24, founded in 2009, has quickly grown to become one of the largest e-business merger and acquisition companies globally, listing over $100 Million in businesses for sale.
BizBroker24 Key Features 🧰
- Specializes in the listing and sales of websites and internet businesses.
- Focuses on internet businesses with transaction valuations between $150,000+ and $20 million.
- Global presence with partners in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.
BizBroker24 Pros ✅
- Extensive experience in the industry, having been founded in 2009.
- 95% successful closing rate.
- Specializes in a wide range of transaction valuations, making it suitable for both smaller and larger businesses.
BizBroker24 Cons ❌
- The website is not as user-friendly as some other platforms.
- Some users have reported that the process can be slow.
- Lack of transparency on the website about the process and fees.
BizBroker24 Fees 💰
BizBroker24 operates on a success fee basis, meaning they do not charge any upfront, advance, marketing, commitment, valuation, or documentation fees. They only earn when they successfully close a deal. The exact percentage of the success fee is not disclosed on their website or in the available online resources.
Latona's is a business brokerage that specializes in selling online businesses. They have nearly 15 years of experience in the industry and offer a wide variety of businesses for sale, including content websites, ecommerce businesses, domain portfolios, lead generation sites, membership sites, and SaaS businesses.
Latona's Key Features 🧰
- Wide variety of online businesses for sale, including content websites, ecommerce businesses, domain portfolios, lead generation sites, membership sites, and SaaS businesses.
- Detailed listing information provided to potential buyers, including income information, business setup and operations, and an executive summary of the business.
- Experienced team with nearly 15 years in the industry.
Latona's Pros ✅
- Offers a wide variety of businesses for sale, providing buyers with many options.
- Detailed listing information is provided to potential buyers, allowing for thorough due diligence.
- Experienced team that understands the ins and outs of buying and selling online businesses.
Latona's Cons ❌
- Listings tend to stay up for a longer period of time than with some other brokers, with 3-4 months being a reported average from many sellers.
- Not as much support during the transfer process as many buyers and sellers would want.
- Some negative reviews have mentioned a lack of communication during the process.
Latona's Fees 💰
Latona's commission fees are 15% of the final sale number, which is higher than many other brokers. However, they also handle many businesses that other brokers would not, which could justify the higher fee for some sellers.
BuySellEmpire is a global marketplace specializing in buying and selling high-quality online businesses. They have a rigorous vetting process to ensure that only the most promising and profitable businesses are listed on their platform.
BuySellEmpire Key Features 🧰
- Large pool of sellers and quality businesses.
- Assistance with due diligence and legal templates.
- Full-time dedicated and experienced team.
- 100% commitment and consultation.
BuySellEmpire Pros ✅
- Low success fees compared to industry standards.
- Quick and efficient process with a high success rate.
- Thorough vetting process for businesses before listing.
BuySellEmpire Cons ❌
- Some users have reported slow response times to their requests.
- Not as well-known or as large as some other marketplaces.
- They only deal with high-value markets, which may limit opportunities for smaller businesses.
BuySellEmpire Fees 💰
BuySellEmpire operates on a tiered success fee system based on the final sale price of your business. The fees are as follows:
- 4% for any business above a $10 million sale price
- 5% for any businesses between a $5 million and $10 million sale price
- 6% for any business between $500k and $5 million sale price
- 7% for any business under $500k sale price
These success fees are payable from the seller's side once the business is successfully sold. There are no success fees from the buyer’s side.
What are Marketplaces and Brokers to Buy and Sell ecommerce Websites? 🤔
Marketplaces and brokers for buying and selling ecommerce websites are platforms that facilitate the exchange of digital assets, specifically online businesses.
Marketplaces are platforms where multiple sellers can list their online businesses for sale. They are like eBay or Amazon but for ecommerce websites. Sellers can provide details about their business, such as revenue, traffic, and other key metrics, and interested buyers can browse through these listings, much like shopping for products online.
On the other hand, brokers are more personalized and hands-on in their approach. They work closely with both sellers and buyers, providing a full-service experience. Brokers help evaluate the business, prepare it for sale, market it to potential buyers, negotiate the deal, and guide both parties through the transaction process.
Benefits of Marketplaces and Brokers to Buy and Sell ecommerce Websites? 📈
Marketplaces and brokers offer a multitude of benefits to those looking to buy or sell ecommerce websites.
For sellers, these platforms provide a vast audience of potential buyers, increasing the chances of finding the right match for their business. They also handle the marketing aspect, showcasing your business to attract the right investors – saving sellers significant time and effort.
For buyers, these platforms offer a diverse range of businesses, each with its unique selling proposition. They also provide crucial information about the businesses listed, such as financial performance, traffic data, and business model details. This transparency helps buyers make informed decisions.
Both marketplaces and brokers offer secure transaction processes. They hold funds in escrow during the transaction, providing security for both parties. Brokers also offer additional services, such as due diligence assistance and negotiation support, making the process smoother and more efficient.
So whether you're a brand looking to sell your website or an entrepreneur seeking to buy, these platforms provide a streamlined, secure, and efficient way to achieve your goals.