Online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay seem to be a creation of mutual benefit. Ecommerce store owners gain increased exposure for their products, and the marketplaces gain an expanded product range without having to increase inventory.
There are many benefits of selling products online. You can reach more customers than a traditional shop and sell at all times of the year. However, “online” is very general. There seem to be infinite Online Store options, with new sites popping up all the time. Choosing the best place for your business to sell products online is not an easy task.
Some merchants look to get started on either a marketplace or by building their own online store. Let’s define what we mean by each:
- Marketplace: A third-party site that includes product listings from many sellers across product categories. Examples include Amazon, eBay etc.
- Own website: An independent Online Store website that a seller runs, where buyers purchase goods directly from the website belonging to the business. Many are built using Online Store platforms like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc.
What’s the difference between marketplaces and Own Online Store?
The main differences between marketplaces and Own Online Store are simple, but really depend on who are and what you’re selling. Marketplaces will make millions of visitors available to you, but you will also be fighting with thousands of sellers to be seen. An Online Store website is a way to differentiate yourself, but you’ll need to put in a lot of effort to get traffic and drive sales.
This article will help dive deeper into which pros and cons are worth it for your business.
Which is best for your business? Learn the general pros and cons of selling your products on a marketplace and your own website.
What are the benefits of selling on a marketplace?
There are many advantages when it comes to selling on a third-party marketplace. Learn why many sellers use this option.
It’s easy to get started
An online marketplace can simplify Online Store, especially for new sellers. The infrastructure is already there, thus saving retailers time and hassle associated with building a website from scratch.
Online marketplaces are not owned by any individual seller, so the transaction and payment are handled by the marketplace itself. The seller’s experience involves few steps to add and modify product listings.
Lots of visitors who already make purchases
Marketplaces are well-established, highly trusted websites. People are comfortable making purchases on them and used to going there to find products.
As many marketplaces are already household names, they have millions of shoppers who are searching for products like yours. It doesn’t require much effort to get your products in front of potential customers.
What are the downsides of selling on a marketplace?
While they may seem like the easy option, there are some disadvantages of using a third-party site to sell your products online.
Multiple competing brands on the same site
Though your product is unique, there are plenty of similar offerings out there competing for your potential customers’ attention. In a crowded marketplace, your product might not necessarily stand out.
Even more, your competitors may target shoppers who visit your listings and place advertisements for their products on your pages. Depending on the intensity of competition in your product category, you may not get the exposure or easy sale that you’re hoping to achieve.
People who buy your products may never realize you exist
Many people who shop on marketplaces and buy your products will assume they are buying from that marketplace. The next time they buy again the customer is going to remember the marketplace & not your brand. Every marketplace will focus on its products and not on their sellers.
There is very little, if any, customization offered to individual brands. This makes it extremely difficult to build brand awareness and recognition, and ultimately differentiate your business.
You can’t build a customer list to market to in the future
Since marketplaces serve as a third-party, they don’t let sellers communicate with buyers outside of the site (however, the marketplace can contact your customers again in the future). This means you cannot send your customers future promotions, new product announcements, or simply remind them that your product exists to drive future sales.
The reality is it’s much easier (and less expensive) to retain a customer than it is to get a new customer. Without building a customer list, you are relying on new sales only. You can’t take advantage of past purchasers.
Why should you use your own website to sell online?
There are plenty of reasons to create and sell on your own Online Store website. Learn the top advantages of doing it yourself.
Establish and maintain full control over your brand
When you run your own Online Store website, you have total control over its look, what it says, and how it works. It doesn’t have to be generic or boring. This is your chance to show the world your brand’s personality.
You get to create the shopping experience that you want for your customers. Many Online Store platforms offer flexibility over design, pre-built templates to choose from, and integrations with other systems.
Retarget shoppers to become repeat buyers
One of the greatest advantages of managing your own store and website is that you get direct access to your customers. This enables better customer service and ultimately more upsell possibilities.
You can target people who visit your site with promotional ads, market to those who have already purchased from you, and stay connected in the future. Email list building helps you build awareness, bring in steady revenue, and run promotions to get rid of inventory.
What are the downsides of selling on your own website?
There are some pain points of building your own Online Store website. Learn the most common points of frustrations faced by sellers.
Setup can be time-consuming and technical
Building your own site can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. With the rise of OnlineStoreBuilder.pro’s Online Store platform and do-it-yourself tools, it’s never been easier to get a site up and running. However, you may still run into technical issues or at the very least, time constraints.
There are many steps, including choosing a domain name and hosting service, setting up shopping cart and payment processing software, and creating content for the site. Some solutions streamline and take care of these processes for you, but nevertheless, there will be work involved to set up and maintain the site.
Here’s where we make a big difference for our customers, OnlineStoreBuilder.pros online store system is pre-created and pre-configured to let you take of immediately. All you need to do is:
- Choose your Theme
- Copy paste your content pages
- Add your products
- Setup Payment gateway
- Setup prices, discounts and offers
- Launch your Online Store
- Start marketing with in-built marketing tools
- Monitor your Online Store
We take care of all the technical stuff, and in-case you need help through the process you can get in touch with our helpdesk for Technical Support.
Work to get shoppers to your site
Once you launch your website, your work is not done. You need to get people there. Visitors won’t magically flock to your site, or even find it right away for that matter. There is marketing effort that goes into setting up the right campaigns to get the word out. You have to know, learn, or pay for the expertise.
Once you get them to visit your site, you then have to convert them into becoming paying customers. You should optimize your website to have a great user experience, which involves placement of buttons, mobile experience, and more.
How to choose the right Online Store platform
The best place to sell online will differ retailer to retailer depending on their products, needs, and goals. Each individual marketplace and Online Store platform have their own unique features and drawbacks.
There are also monetary costs associated with both. Marketplaces can charge a wide range of fees such as listing your products and taking a percentage of each sale. Many Online Store platforms that help you build a website charge a monthly hosting fee. You can also spend a significant amount on ads for each, as well as on managing your Online Store shipping.
To achieve customer reach and brand recognition, many online merchants sell on both marketplaces and their own website. Some will choose one to start with and then expand into others once they become more established.
Integrate your Online Store and Marketplace
The last but not to the least, you can integrate your Online Store to the Marketplace, by doing so you can have the best of both worlds. How is this integration done, that is a topic for another article.