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A guide to effective delivery management for marketplace sellers

March 2022

At Whistl, the UK’s leading delivery management company, we help marketplace sellers save time and money, improve seller feedback and grow cross-border sales with our range of bespoke delivery management and tailored fulfilment services.
In this article we will discuss the current state of play in the UK marketplace arena, the various sales channels on offer and key marketplaces’ delivery requirements, to help you maximise your marketplace sales.

In this article, we will explain delivery management and why it is important, plus key factors to consider when forming a delivery management strategy. Furthermore, we will discuss the current state of play in the UK online marketplace arena, the various sales channels on offer and key marketplaces, to help you maximise your marketplace sales.

What is the marketplace landscape in the UK?

The UK is the most advanced eCommerce market in Europe, with £0.7 trillion in annual sales, representing nearly a 30% share of all retail sales. Furthermore, With around 190,000 businesses registered on eBay UK and more than 280,000 Amazon sellers, marketplace sellers represent a significant proportion of the UK’s 580,000 eCommerce-enabled businesses.

While Amazon and eBay dominate the UK marketplace landscape, Etsy, Wayfair and OnBuy are increasing in popularity.
The largest online marketplaces in the UK according to Web Retailer:

Largest Marketplace Sellers UK.PNG

For eCommerce merchants who are seeking greater brand exposure and scalability, Amazon and eBay are the most appropriate marketplaces to prioritise due to their reach and scalability. However, with the emergence of more specialist marketplaces such as Etsy, notonthehighstreet and home-grown marketplaces such as OnBuy, more progressive multi-channel retailers would be best placed to diversify risk and leverage these alternative marketplaces to complement their core sales channels.
What are Amazon’s delivery requirements?
When selling via Amazon you have two options; FBA (fulfilment by Amazon) and FBM (fulfilment by a merchant. While FBM gives you greater control and lower selling fees, FBA gives you access to Prime Customers and the Buy Box.


If you want to sell on Amazon in the UK via the FBM method, you will need to ship via particular parcel carriers to meet their requirements. This is because, just like the most diligent eCommerce retailers, Amazon has to protect their brand and reputation by setting guidelines, which only a select few couriers meet.

Amazon works with a carefully selected range of carrier partners to consolidate domestic, less-than-lorry-load deliveries into their fulfilment centres, including:

  • Amazon Shipping
  • APC
  • ArrowXL
  • DHL Parcel UK
  • DPD
  • DX Freight
  • GLS
  • Hermes
  • Parcelforce
  • Royal Mail
  • TNT
  • UPS
  • Yodel
  • Whistl

Recently, Whistl has been added to the list of Amazon integrated carriers. With this integration, Amazon says that they are improving the customer’s ability to track their packages and help you reduce buyer contacts, order defects, lost order costs, and protect you from A-to-Z Guarantee claims.

What are eBay’s delivery requirements?
Unlike Amazon, eBay sellers are allowed to ship through any carrier, provided it matches what they are describing on their listings.

Despite this greater freedom of choice, eBay safeguards its customers with Buyer Protection to make sure that if anything does go wrong during the picking, packing or delivery stages, the consumer will get the item they wanted or their money refunded in full, including postage. This means you should ensure you are working with trusted delivery partners that offer the level of speed, service, in-flight options, tracking visibility and insurance coverage that you and your customers expect.

What is eBay's global shipping program?

eBay’s answer to Amazon FBA, eBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP) aims to make international shipping easier for eBay sellers. With GSP you only have to ship your product to a warehouse in your own country, then eBay takes over and handles international delivery to the buyer. Benefits include greater discoverability for international markets, and drawbacks include stringent delivery restrictions in terms of size, weight and value.

What are the benefits of working with a marketplace delivery management company?

For retailers wanting to increase their international marketplace sales, a popular option is to work with a cross-border shipping specialist. Wherever your customers are based, Whistl can help you reach them with our dedicated global shipping solutions. Here at Whistl, we’ve developed a range of international courier services to give you and your customers greater delivery choices, whether you are looking to import or export your items.

How to formulate an effective marketplace delivery strategy.
Naturally, you will have growth objectives for your eCommerce business, with marketplace sales contributing towards this. To excel with marketplace sales, you will need to ensure your delivery performance matches consumers’ expectations, in a way that complies with each marketplace’s guidelines.

Here are the tactics we recommend you implement to optimise your marketplace delivery:

  1. Map out your product range and ideal customer profiles and segment by product types and preferences. For example, some of your products might be more bespoke and handmade, better suited to the likes of Etsy whereas for retailers shipping FMCG mainstream marketplaces could be more appropriate.
  2. Analyse the most ideal marketplaces to suit your product range.
  3. Once you have selected your preferred marketplaces, learn about each marketplace’s delivery requirements. You may wish to adopt a hybrid fulfilment setup in which you fulfil some orders from your premises (e.g. FBM / traditional eBay selling), utilising a carrier management firm. Alternatively/additionally utilise a third party fulfilment provider or marketplace fulfilment (e.g. FBA / eBay’s Global Shipping Programme).
  4. Monitor your delivery performance with proactive technology.
  5. Redeploy resources and implement reactive technology to reduce Where Is My Order? (WISMO) queries.
  6. Continuously analyse delivery-related customer feedback and your seller metrics to drive continuous improvement.

How Whistl can help with your marketplace delivery and fulfilment

As detailed in this article, marketplace selling is an essential component of any multi-channel retailer’s growth strategy. With this comes the requirement for greater consistency and reliability with delivery.

Here at Whistl, we know that your future sales can be dependent on your customers’ deliveries, and all-important brand reputation. We handle over 100 million packets and parcels annually, both domestically and internationally.

Our specialist eBay and Amazon parcel delivery services are designed to manage large volumes of items, so we can accommodate your requirements and respond effectively, even during seasonal or promotional periods when you experience higher demand for your products.


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