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As NZ consumers continue to shop online, online marketplaces are only going to grow in popularity. These are online platforms where parties can meet and complete transactions with each other, such as eBay or Trade Me. NZ users are more likely to use online marketplaces based in NZ. Therefore, it is crucial to make your site the most accessible option to draw these customers in. A vital consideration is how you structure payment for your online marketplace. There is a wide variety of options available to you, but you must pick one that suits your goals and needs. This article will go through: 

  • what payment structures you have available for your online marketplace; 
  • the factors affecting what you charge for these payments; and 
  • how to decide on online payment options for your users.

Marketplace Payment Structures

As an online marketplace operator, you provide a venue where two parties can meet and complete a transaction of goods or services online. However, you take no part in the sale itself. You simply provide the place where a transaction occurs. Online marketplaces charge fees for this service. However, the way you do so depends on your needs and circumstances as a business. Furthermore, it is important to think about the kinds of users and customers you want to attract and the nature of the exchanged goods or services.

You have a wide variety of options available to you. Some marketplaces will combine different fee types, depending on the nature of their services. Be sure to outline your payment structure in your terms and conditions.

Here are a few payment structures for you to consider:

Membership/ Subscription Fee

One option is to charge a one-off or recurring subscription fee. You can choose to charge your sellers, buyers, or both. This could come as a one-off fee when they set up an account on your website. Or, alternatively, as a recurring fee that they pay as they continue to use your site. You could also provide this as a premium upgrade option for users who want to access extra services.

For example, you may offer product promotion services for those that pay for a premium membership or subscription to your site.


This payment option consists of a commission you charge on a successful sale. You would receive a set percentage of a seller’s earnings when they complete a transaction. You may decide to change this rate depending on frequency, to reward continuous use of your site.

For example, Trade Me charges a 7.9% commission fee for sales over $1 on their website.

Listing Fee

You may charge sellers a fee when they list a product or service on your online marketplace. A listing fee is a set value that can increase or decrease depending on the number of listings they have going on at the same time.

What Should You Charge?

Choose the payment structure that you think your users will respond well to. It is important to conduct proper market research to ensure that you choose one that suits your purposes. Another consideration You will also need to consider how much you will charge for the use of your marketplace. The exact numbers and percentages will depend on what kind of structure you opt for.

You should also consider the following factors:

  1. competitors’ prices;
  2. the value of your services;
  3. financial viability;
  4. price consistency; and
  5. cost margins.

Users will engage with your marketplace if they think it is offering something that they would not be able to get elsewhere. If you charge for certain services, such as promotion advertising, it may be a good idea to offer a short free trial for users. This way, they can see if your service works for them, and you can demonstrate why they should choose your marketplace.

Payment Methods

Buyers have to pay for their online purchases somehow, and this is where your online marketplace comes in. You have to ensure you provide secure online payment options for users. You can draw sellers with easy payment solutions that they do not have to manage. Buyers will also want secure and convenient payment options that cater to their circumstances. You should provide several options for your sellers to choose from. These options may include:

  • cash on pickup;
  • bank deposits through internet banking;
  • credit or debit payments;
  • payment gateways like Stripe Connect or Paypal; or
  • online banking solutions like POLi.

A key draw for your online marketplace may be that it uses secure payment solutions so that your users can focus on the transaction itself rather than how they will pay. It is important to do your research to find an online payment option that suits your needs.

Key Takeaways

When choosing a payment structure for your online marketplace, try to keep it straightforward. Users will respond to fees that they see as fair, so make sure you charge adequately for the services you provide. You should also develop a plan for how users will exchange money on your site and ensure that you provide secure online payment options. If you would like more information or help with structuring payment for your online marketplace, contact LegalVision’s New Zealand eCommerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.


What are some possible payment structures for my online marketplace?

You have various choices available for structuring payment for your online marketplace. You may decide to charge a commission/success fee or operate on a membership/subscription system.

How should I structure payment for my online marketplace?

How you decide to structure payment will depend on the nature of your online marketplace and the kinds of users you want to attract. You can use a combination of fee types if that suits your platform.

What is the best way to accept payments online?

You should do proper research to determine which way you want your online marketplace users to pay for products and how to receive those payments. There are various online payment gateways available, as well as internet banking services.

How do I decide what to charge for my online marketplace?

What you charge for usage of your marketplace will depend on the value of the services you offer. Look at your competitors to gain some insight as to what they charge.

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