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The 8 Best Online Selling Apps To Use In 2021

These popular websites and marketplaces offer a variety of ways to sell online, whether you're already running an eCommerce store or finally launching a side-hustle.

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The 8 Best Online Selling Apps To Use In 2021

Whether you’re looking for additional sales channels to help your online business stay competitive, launching a new business, or turning a hobby into a side hustle, buying and selling apps can help you meet your goals.

Whether that means jumping onto a marketplace like Mercari or Amazon or signing up for a service like Square or Shopify, knowing the difference between the options is the first step toward choosing the best selling apps for your business needs.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Etsy

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Best for established crafters or vintage resellers who want to join a larger marketplace.
Best for established crafters or vintage resellers who want to join a larger marketplace.

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Mercari

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Best for resellers specializing in top Mercari categories like small electronics, video games, designer clothing.
Best for resellers specializing in top Mercari categories like small electronics, video games, designer clothing.

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Shopify Lite

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Best for sellers who want to add an eCommerce element to existing webpages like social media, a website, or a blog.
Best for sellers who want to add an eCommerce element to existing webpages like social media, a website, or a blog.

Visit Site

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Facebook Marketplace

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Best for sellers looking for a free way to access a wide local audience.
Best for sellers looking for a free way to access a wide local audience.

Visit Site

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Square For Retail

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Best for sellers who want a flexible POS that allows them to sell wherever their customers are.
Best for sellers who want a flexible POS that allows them to sell wherever their customers are.

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Other Featured Options:

  • Amazon: Best for high-volume sellers looking for an easy way to connect customers and merchandise.
  • Instagram Shopping: Best for sellers with a social media presence who want to monetize it.
  • eBay : Best for sellers in niche or collectible markets, or those who follow trends.

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

8 Selling Apps To Sell Online & Locally

You’ll find a lot of variety among selling apps. So, do some research to choose the right one from among the best-selling apps out there. How do you get started on Mercari or OfferUp? Is Shopify Lite the tool you need? Keep reading for the information you need to know to make the right choice.

 

1. Etsy

Etsy



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Best for established crafters or vintage resellers who want to join a larger marketplace.

By serving as an intermediary connecting customers and artists/crafters, Etsy has turned handmade goods into serious business. The latest figures, via Statista, show 2020’s annual revenue of $1.7 billion worldwide and annual income for Etsy of $349 million. That’s a lot of money left over to benefit the 4.3 million individual crafters and vintage resellers who sell on the site. Still, one of the most common complaints about the marketplace is the numerous Etsy fees for sellers. A close second in the complaint department is that Etsy is a crowded field, and it can be hard for sellers to stand out.

Although some sellers are looking for Etsy alternatives, the site continues to grow. The Etsy website is loaded with tools to make it easy for crafters and vintage resellers to create sales, including a website-building tool called Pattern that can help you build a basic online store linked back to Etsy. There are two Etsy apps, one for shoppers and one for sellers. The seller app for iOS and Android devices lets you create, edit, renew, upload photos, and publish listings. You can also keep track of your Esty shop stats, respond to customers, and receive instant notifications of sales, customer inquiries, and more.

The Etsy seller app is highly rated by users. With more than 61,000 reviews on the Google Play store, it’s earned 4.6/4 stars. Over on Apple’s App Store, the Etsy seller app has earned 4.9/5 stars with 2.3 million ratings.

Screengrab of Etsy's seller app for iOS

Screenshot of Apple App Store webpage, captured 6/4/2021

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Wide audience
  • Strong community of users

Cons

  • Numerous fees
  • Limited sales categories
  • Mandatory offsite ads

Read our in-depth review

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2. Mercari

Mercari



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Best for resellers specializing in top Mercari categories like small electronics, video games, designer clothing.

Combining two rising trends — eCommerce and decluttering — Mercari is a community-based shopping app that lets sellers list their unwanted items. Whether they’re new or used, your fashion items, toys, shoes, and electronics can be among the estimated 100,000 new listings added each day. Beyond commonsense exclusions like drugs, weapons, and counterfeit items, if you can ship it, you can list it on Mercari.

Screengrab of Mercari search

Screenshot of Mercari webpage, captured 6/4/2021

Each Mercari listing includes multiple photos and an item description. While your items don’t need to be in perfect condition, you’re encouraged to include all their details, including their condition and any flaws. Shoppers can search by brand, so each listing should include the item’s name and its manufacturer. All products sold on Mercari are shipped to their buyers, and sellers can use Mercari’s prepaid flat-rate labels, with an average of 30% savings on postage plus shipping protection, or purchase their own labels. Purchased items must be shipped within three business days with a valid tracking number.

It’s free to list items on Mercari, with a minimum 10% fee assessed when an item sells. Mercari also charges payment processing fees that match the industry standard of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Fees apply for payments to the seller that fall under the minimum transaction of $10, or you can choose Instant Pay for up to $500/month with a $2 flat cash-out fee. A few other fees are less common, including authentication and warranty services.

Apps on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store show the Mercari app is both popular and highly rated. The Android version of the app has almost 295,000 ratings, with a total of 4.6/5 stars. For iOS, the app has 1.1 million ratings and 4.8/5 stars.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • New and used listings
  • No listing fees
  • Unlimited listings, with no expiration
  • Shipping made simple

Cons

  • Lag time in payment to sellers
  • Desktop version lags behind app
  • Limited customer support

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3. Shopify Lite

Shopify Lite



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Best for sellers who want to add an eCommerce element to existing webpages like social media, a website, or a blog.

As we said earlier, not every eCommerce success story included a full online store. If you have a devoted following and want to make it easier to monetize your website, blog, or social media pages, a service like Shopify Lite may offer the solution you’re looking for. You can even use the Shopify Lite account to help you set up and run a Facebook store if you have a Facebook business account.

In addition to letting you add a “buy button” to any existing webpage, for a monthly payment of $9 a Shopify Lite account gives you access to the Shopify POS. A Shopify Lite account unlocks the Shopify Admin and includes access to a pared-down list of Shopify’s features, such as the Overview dashboard, financial reports, customer profiles, order and production management tools, a mobile POS; and hardware, gift cards, discounts, and more.

Screengrab of Shopify Lite functions

Screenshot of Apple App Store webpage, captured 6/7/2020

Available for Android and iOS, the free Shopify POS app allows users to view recent activity, track sales, update their catalog, create invoices and take payments, accept and process returns online and in person, and manage orders from a mobile device.

It’s fairly well rated on both the Apple App Store and Google Play store. With 4,000+ reviews, the app has 4.4/5 stars from Apple users. The app rates a bit lower among Android reviewers, with a 3/5 star rating and 1,200+ reviews. The Android application is newer, and it seems some bugs remain to be worked out.

Pros

  • Suitable for low-volume business
  • Affordable
  • Supports PayPal payments
  • Full Shopify support
  • Dashboard sales/inventory management

Cons

  • Paid plan required
  • Limited access to Shopify features and integrations
  • Features vary between iOS and Android apps

Get Started with Shopify Lite

Read our in-depth review

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4. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace



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Best for sellers looking for a free way to access a wide local audience.

Facebook’s 1.6 billion daily users can look like an appealing audience for anyone looking to sell products. Can you use a selling app to reach them? Businesspeople can use different strategies to monetize Facebook, including Facebook Marketplace. When you sell via Facebook Marketplace, you’re essentially running an online ad that appears to all your followers.

The bad news is that your reach will be limited by Facebook’s algorithms, tempered by the number of engagements and shares your post gets. The good news? Facebook Marketplace is free to use.

Screengrab of Facebook Marketplace listings

Screenshot of Facebook webpage, captured 6/7/2021

Facebook Marketplace is a crowded and sometimes messy place. Those potential pitfalls are somewhat offset by the low cost of entry for those wishing to explore Marketplace’s sales potential.

You don’t even need a verified business account to sell on Facebook Marketplace. The fact that anyone can list anything for sale there (with some commonsense exclusions, of course) means that you’ll see a mix of new and used items as well as listings from creators and resellers alongside paid promotions from large commercial sellers. One thing in Facebook Marketplace’s favor is that sellers can accept Facebook Pay as payment and can add a Buy Now button to their Marketplace ads. And accepting payment via Facebook Pay is a hassle-fee and low-risk method.

There’s not a dedicated app for Facebook Marketplace, but you and your potential customers can access the Marketplace through the main Facebook app. It has been downloaded millions of times, but the reviews are not overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the Facebook app for iOS has just a 2.2/5 star rating, with more than 1.1 million reviews. Over on the Google Play store, the Android app has a  2.3/5 star rating, with more than 117 million reviews.

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Payment processing option
  • Vast potential audience

Cons

  • Best for a local audience only
  • Facebook audience may not be serious shoppers
  • Cluttered by a mix of new and used

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5. Square

Square For Retail



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Best for sellers who want a flexible POS that allows them to sell wherever their customers are.

Square POS sets the bar for mobile point of sale systems, with 30 million active customers using Square each month. Square’s appeal lies in part with its reputation as a convenient and easy-to-use system, with perhaps the most appealing attribute being the fact that it’s free to use.

Of course, Square users will pay credit card processing fees, but because those are in line with industry standards, it’s difficult to think of a reason not to use Square — if that is, you’re a seller who wants to be able to take payments from customers in person and online, wherever they happen to be when they’re ready to buy from you. When you sign up for Square POS, you even get a magstripe reader, at no cost, so customers can just swipe to pay.

Screengrab of Square P.O.S.

Screenshot of Square webpage, captured 6/7/2021

Square has a free plan that gives users access to basic inventory, reporting, and some employee management tools. Of course, Square offers much greater functionality. But if you want access to, say, payroll, scheduling, marketing, or loyalty features, you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan.

With the free plan, you can sell online and in person, but you won’t be able to set up a full online store using Square’s free plan. Square is known for its ease of use, and the free plan is great for small businesses that don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. It allows users to bulk import thousands of products vis CSV files, receive stock alerts, and transfer inventory across multiple sites.

What about the apps? Both Android and iOS apps are available, with users mostly satisfied with each. More than 135,000 users have reviewed the Android app, awarding a cumulative 4.3/5 stars on the Google Play store. Over on the Apple App Store, iOS users rate the app a little higher, at 4.7/5 stars with just 2,700 ratings. By far, on each app store the most common rating is 5/5. Users say they appreciate how easy it is to use Square POS, and their customers appreciate the security of the system and how easy it is to get receipts. Read our full Square POS review to learn more about the basic functions as well as how you can access advanced features to make your business run.

Pros

  • Free plan
  • Competitive payment processing fees
  • Basic features included
  • Compatible with most payment forms
  • Numerous integrations, even on the free plan

Cons

  • Loyalty features available only on paid plans
  • Live support only during limited hours

Get Started with Square For Retail

Read our in-depth review

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6. Amazon

Amazon



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Best for high-volume sellers looking for an easy way to connect customers and merchandise.

Amazon’s reach is huge.

The retailer accounts for roughly 36% of online purchases in the US. If you’re looking for a way to expand your own sales reach, adding your products to this vast marketplace might be the right step. And of course, there’s an app you can use to make it easy to manage your business. The Amazon Seller app, available for both iOS and Android devices, lets users track sales, fulfill orders, find products to sell, communicate with customers, create and post listings, and take professional-looking images, all from their mobile devices. You can even view reports, analyze sales opportunities, and learn from Amazon Selling Coach.

Screengrab of Amazon Seller app

Screenshot of Google Play webpage, captured 6/8/2021

All sellers who use Amazon are eligible to use Amazon’s in-house fulfillment service, Amazon FBA. While it won’t be the right solution for every seller, particularly those who sell bulky or heavy products, joining FBA gives you some advantages, such as access to Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping. Adding Prime shipping to your listings can help you stand out and to gain featured status on Amazon.

User reviews for the app are mixed. Some complain that customer service is helpful or nonexistent. Others say the app works well and gives them everything they need to start and run their Amazon store. Overall, the Android app rates 4.2/5 stars, with 104,000+ reviews. The iOS app fares slightly better, with 4.6/5 stars and almost 60,000 reviews.

Pros

  • Access to Amazon customer base
  • Access to Prime’s speedy shipping
  • Fulfillment option

Cons

  • Fees
  • Limited contact with customers
  • Crowded field

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7. Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping



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Best for sellers with a social media presence who want to monetize it.

A typical post on Instagram is not designed for selling. However, approved sellers can make items available for their followers to purchase. You can keep the entire transaction on Instagram or link to an online store. When customers make their first purchase on Instagram, their shipping and payment information will be saved, so they don’t have to enter it again.

All major credit cards are accepted, in addition to PayPal, making it a convenient way for your followers to purchase from your feed. You can also set up your Instagram posts to send interested followers directly to your online storefront to make their purchases there.

Screengrab of Instagram shoppable post

Screenshot of Instagram webpage, captured 6/7/2021

Not every Instagram member is eligible to use Instagram’s shoppable posts. For one thing, you’ll need to have a valid Facebook Business Page and be approved for a business account on Instagram rather than a personal one. Learn more about Instagram shoppable posts to find out if you can qualify before you make too many plans.

If your online store is built using one of Facebook’s eCommerce partners, you’ll have more options for Instagram sales. Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, OpenCart, and WooCommerce all make it easy to sell on Instagram. The Instagram app is available for iOS and Android, with a 4.7/5 stars and almost 21 million reviews on the Apple App Store and 3.8/5 stars and 119 million reviews on the Google Play store.

The apps are not aimed specifically at sellers but provide a full Instagram experience to users who want to post or browse the social media platform.

Pros

  • eCommerce integrations available
  • No technical expertise required
  • Interested audience

Cons

  • Manual product/catalog entry
  • Not all sellers will qualify

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8. eBay

eBay



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Best for sellers in niche or collectible markets, or those who follow trends.

Although eBay has a reputation as an auction site, the majority of transactions that take place on the platform today are for brand-new or authentically refurbished products sold at fixed prices. So if you’re looking for a new sales channel or a platform, eBay may be worth a look, especially since it’s possible to run your whole account from the site’s mobile apps for Android and iOS.

With more than 3.8 million reviews on the Google Play store, the app is rated 4.7/5 and has 4.8/5 stars with 2.5 million reviews on the Apple App Store. Users of both apps says it makes selling on eBay both convenient and easy.

Screengrab of eBay app

Screenshot of eBay webpage, captured 6/7/2021

Sellers can use the eBay app to scan the barcode of the item they want to list and pull up product details, including descriptions. Image cleanup tools allow you to remove the background of photos to make the images stand out. Buyers can pay with Google Pay, PayPal, a credit card/debit card.

eBay supports integrations with Shopify and other popular eCommerce platforms including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shift4Shop (formerly 3dcart), Magento, and more. So, if your online store is built on one of those platforms, eBay may be a natural choice for expanding your sales reach. If you sell on Amazon, you can even link your eBay account and use Amazon FBA for your eBay fulfillment.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No listing fees
  • Large audience
  • Strong app

Cons

  • New sellers need time to develop a good seller’s reputation
  • Expensive fees

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Looking For One Of These Names?

It’s easy to find apps that promise to help you sell. Not all of them deserve a place on a “best of” list, and a few just barely miss the cut. Here are three popular buying and selling apps you’ve probably heard of that didn’t make our list:

OfferUp

A mobile-centered local marketplace, OfferUp has its fans. Unfortunately, not many of those fans leave their positive reviews on the app store. Although the app has an overall rating of 4/5 stars, with 953,000 reviews, on the Google Play store, recent reviews are quite negative. Even users who said they’ve previously had success with the app say it’s not working now. Reviews from Apple users are slightly better, but not overwhelmingly so. If you decide to try selling on OfferUp, be sure to add a review of your experience!

Poshmark

Highly rated on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, Poshmark didn’t make our list of the best-selling apps because of its very narrow focus. However, sellers who are looking for a place to sell their new and secondhand fashionwear and accessories for men, women, and children may find the home they seek on this niche marketplace.

Craigslist

Started as one man’s virtual garage sale (thank you, Craig!), Craigslist now is an online sales platform with a nationwide reach but a narrow local focus. Both the app and the platform have huge and satisfied followers. However, we couldn’t add Craigslist to our list of the best-selling apps because it lacks a few things we consider essentials, namely shipping options, payment processing, and security.

Selling App FAQs

What are the best apps for selling stuff locally?

If your sales focus is on local sales, you can reach buyers in  your area by listing items on Facebook Marketplace. If you want to meet shoppers face to face, Square is a good option to consider.

What are the best selling apps for a business?

An established business looking for a good app that can expand its sales reach into another sales channel should look for apps that integrate with its shopping cart platform. Using integrations to link your apps to your sales platform makes it easier to sell and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Etsy, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay all link to the most popular shopping carts. Start your search with those selling apps.

What is the best free selling app?

Square offers a versatile selling app that’s completely free to use, outside of the payment processing fees that are unavoidable no matter what app you use. If your budget can handle a small monthly payment, Shopify Lite offers useful eCommerce tools for just $9/month. Both Shopify and Square offer advanced tools and useful integrations for additional fees, so you will have options to support your business as it grows.

What is Mercari?

Mercari is a marketplace that lets sellers list their unwanted items and helps buyers connect with new-to-them treasures. Almost anything can be listed on the Mercari, and all items must be shipped, with very few exceptions. Mercari creates security for both buyers and sellers by processing payments.

In Summary: 8 Selling Apps To Sell Online & Locally

  1. Etsy: Best for established crafters or vintage resellers who want to join a larger marketplace.
  2. Mercari: Best for resellers specializing in top Mercari categories like small electronics, video games, designer clothing.
  3. Shopify Lite: Best for sellers who want to add an eCommerce element to existing webpages like social media, a website, or a blog.
  4. Facebook Marketplace: Best for sellers looking for a free way to access a wide local audience.
  5. Square For Retail: Best for sellers who want a flexible POS that allows them to sell wherever their customers are.
  6. Amazon: Best for high-volume sellers looking for an easy way to connect customers and merchandise.
  7. Instagram Shopping: Best for sellers with a social media presence who want to monetize it.
  8. eBay : Best for sellers in niche or collectible markets, or those who follow trends.
Kate Hoots

Kate Hoots

Expert Analyst & Reviewer: eCommerce, Neobanking at Merchant Maverick
An expert in online sales, Kate Hoots has been writing about small business eCommerce since 2020. A former journalist for the West Linn Tidings and the Wilsonville Spokesman, Kate boasts wide experience in business leadership and communication. She has a degee in English Literature from Lewis & Clark College.
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Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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