What is Bonanza?
Bonanza is similar to eBay, but has a greater focus on unique products. It doesn't have the auction style format, but you can choose to accept offers from buyers that don't want to pay your listed price. Personally, I think this cheapens handmade, but Bonanza isn't just a site for handmade.
Their tagline is "Find everything but the ordinary". When they say everything, they really mean it! Check out all of their categories. I was going to add an image of it here, but there's no way I could make it fit! 😂
While everybody is welcome to sell on Bonanza, our most successful sellers are those that have items that aren't new, shiny, and mass-produced. Why? Because we believe Amazon already does a darned good job at helping people find new DVDs, CDs, electronics, computers, and books. We specialize in helping you buy and sell everything else – Bonanza Help Center
With Bonanza you can also build your own standalone website, as well as having your products in the Bonanza marketplace. They also have an Etsy, eBay and Amazon importer to make getting started quick and easy.
Bonanza review summary
- Great opportunity to increase your exposure both on and off Bonanza
- Fees are very expensive and not handmade-friendly
- Bonanza was formerly known as Bonanzle, and launched in June 2008.
Bonanza review scores
- Competitiveness: 7/10
- Exposure: 10/10
- Fees: 6/10
- Flexibility: 3/10
- Handmade ethos: 4/10
Total score: 30/50
This review is written for those wanting an alternative to selling on Etsy. So, I'll be reviewing Bonanza based on the top 5 reasons people are looking for an Etsy alternative:
1. Competitiveness – Do your products have a chance of standing out from the crowd?
2. Exposure – Is there a good chance of increasing your traffic and getting more exposure?
3. Fees – How much does it cost? Is the pricing simple and predictable? More than that, are the fees fair for what's on offer?
4. Flexibility – How professional does it look, and how flexible is it to change?
5. Handmade ethos – Are they strictly for handmade, or can you sell anything there? Will you be competing against manufacturers of mass produced goods, that can easily beat you on price?
I'll give each of these elements a score out of 10, to arrive at a total score out of 50. I'll then use this score to arrive at the top 10 Etsy alternatives.
Bonanza is competitive, mainly because you're part of a marketplace that is primarily made up of mass produced products. It's hard to compete and stand out from the crowd in this situation.
However, kudos to Bonanza for having separate sections for some of the handmade-specific categories.
Bonanza also distinguish between art from dealers and resellers vs direct from the artist. Great to see!
There's definitely an opportunity to stand out from the crowd if you sell in these categories.
The amount of exposure you get on Bonanza is strongly correlated to how much you pay in fees. We'll cover that more in the next section.
If you're happy to pay more, your products can be added to Google Shopping, eBay, Nextag and Bing Ads. The fact that Bonanza help you to reach customers both ON and OFF Bonanza is what is most appealing about them.
According to Bonanza, they can help you to reach up to 6.4 Million shoppers on their highest plan. That figure is a combination of their own marketplace, Google Shopping, eBay, Nextag and Bing Ads. Bonanza's ad spend budget for you on Google Shopping and BingAds would be very minimal. Think of it as entry level just to appear on those channels, but you'll want to consider buying one of Bonanza's "Turbo Traffic Packs" for $24.95 (you can buy up to 10 of these at a time). This boosts your ad spend on those channels, which therefore increases your traffic. Keep in mind that products added to eBay are still liable for eBay's commission fees and Bonanza will also charge a further 1.5% on top of that. You can learn more about that, here.
Although the fees for more exposure are expensive, I can't fault Bonanza's ability to help you reach more customers. That's why I'm scoring this one so highly.
Bonanza's fee structure is quite convoluted and multi-faceted. I'll do my best to break it down for you and make it as clear as possible.
Fees are structured around the concept of accessing various advertising channels. The more channels you want to appear on, the more commission fees you'll need to pay.
- Economy (3.5% commission): Bonanza has a free tier. You can list your products and pay a 3.5% commission fee once it sells. This gets you listed in the Bonanza marketplace and you'll only get traffic from people that find you on there.
- Basic (9% commission): will allow you to gain access to Google Shopping’s search engine, Bonanza's network of affiliate bloggers, and be included in Bonanza's promotional emails.
- Standard (13% commission): You'll get what I've mentioned above, plus the ability to add your products to eBay.
- Superior (19% commission): Everything above + NexTag and Bing Ads.
- Elite (30% commission): This includes access to everything listed above + Bonanza will assign your products a higher ad spend. It'd be great if they were more specific about this, as I can imagine their ad spend is the bare minimum for each of those channels.
To further boost your ad spend on Google Shopping and Bing Ads, you can buy "Turbo Traffic Packs" for $24.95. If your store gets a lot of clicks (i.e. you have a popular product or you have a lot of items in your store), your Turbo Traffic Pack will only last a short time compared to a store that only has a few items. It will fluctuate, but Bonanza allows you to track the performance of this.
Bonanza also has membership fee options.
Becoming a member gives you... you guessed it... more exposure. 😉
Keep in mind that this is separate from the advertising options mentioned above, so if you want those, that is extra. However, if you're on the Titan plan ($200/month), you get full access to all of the advertising options for 9% commission, instead of 30% commission like the other membership plans need to pay.
Turbo Traffic is also included for 7 days on the Platinum plan ($70/month) and 25 days on the Titan plan ($200/month).
Take a closer look at Bonanza's membership options.
Lastly, if you want to build a website with Bonanza, that's an extra flat fee of $25/month. You won't pay any commissions on sales made through your website. Keep in mind that the advertising channels mentioned above will send traffic to your Bonanza marketplace listings, NOT your website listings. In other words, you can't use Bonanza's advertising options to send traffic to your website.
Hopefully that brings you some clarity about Bonanza's fees. It's certainly the most confusing out of all of our top 10 Etsy alternatives.
As mentioned, the more you pay on Bonanza, the more exposure you'll get. The fees are quite expensive though and definitely cater towards mass produced goods rather than handmade. There's not too many handmade sellers that could afford Bonanza's fees, but I have to give them credit for having some entry-level fees. I just don't think the overall fee structure is very "handmade-seller" friendly.
Bonanza's product listing pages look a lot like eBay and their storefront's look a lot like Etsy used to, back in 2005. It looks ugly and outdated to say the least and there's little to no customization available either.
Bonanza's website builder is unfortunately quite limiting too. It's not very intuitive to use and the themes they have are quite outdated also. It's certainly not worth the $25/month in my opinion, especially since you can't send Bonanza's advertising traffic to it.
Bonanza says that their best sellers sell things that aren't "new, shiny, and mass-produced". They're going for the unique angle, with the tagline "find everything but the ordinary". Based on what I can see on their marketplace, and how their fees are structured, I'm not sure I believe them. I think this is marketing-speak in order to try and differentiate themselves from Amazon and eBay. They're definitely catering more towards the mass produced market, even though they are welcoming of handmade products.
In conclusion, Bonanza definitely has the potential to increase your exposure. But, it's going to cost you quite a lot in order to obtain that exposure. They're not a handmade marketplace, nor do they have a handmade friendly fee structure. However, they are welcoming of handmade products and have some good separation of categories in their Bonanza marketplace. The website is a great option to have if you want to keep everything with Bonanza, but for what it offers, $25 is not worth it.
If you're going to try Bonanza, track your results carefully. I found a lot of comments from people in a similar situation to this gentleman below. Just because you can get extra exposure, doesn't mean you'll automatically get sales.
I have checked several times and even though I am giving Bonanza the maximum percent I am not getting any views. I have tried both with shipping and with free shipping. These are pretty good items that sold on Ebay – GrampsCellar on Bonanza's forums
Bonanza has finished up with a score of 30/50, which ranks them 4th in the top 10 Etsy alternatives list.