There are many positives to selling products online, from selling their goods day and night to an expanded audience than a brick and mortar shop could ever get. There are many different options to sell products online, from building your own e-commerce site as an entrepreneur to using an online marketplace. Read this guide for the pros and cons of either option so you can choose which one is best for your business.
Online Retailers vs. Branded E-Commerce
An online marketplace is a website that already has many retailers and shoppers, like eBay, Amazon, or Etsy. When using an existing marketplace, it’s as simple as creating a seller account and starting to sell products. On the other hand, an e-commerce website is an online shop that belongs to your own business and you are in full control of your brand.
Online Retailers: The Pros
There are many popular marketplaces that merchants and shoppers use online, especially Amazon. The majority of businesses on these platforms are small and medium-sized companies, and the main reason they use it is because of its strong logistical advantages. It also simplifies the process and can be quite profitable for these businesses. It takes less time or financial investment than creating your own website from scratch.
Another major benefit of using an online retailer is that shoppers have a lot of trust in the platform. Shoppers will usually search on a platform like Amazon first when they need a product. According to Bob Lauzon, a marketer at Brit Student and Write My X, “this means that you don’t need to invest as much in marketing because your customers are already on the site. You also don’t need to be concerned with security issues and payments.”
Online Retailers: The Cons
There are cons to going for this easy option, including how much competition there is. There are so many retailers out there who sell similar products, so it can be difficult to know how many sales you can make to reach a profit. There is also a charge related to listing a product on this platform, so you’ll be paying fees even if you’re not making sales. There’s also a commission taken on all transactions made, depending on which platform you choose.
It’s also hard to build a loyal customer base because shoppers tend to focus on products, not on individual sellers, so it can be hard to stand out from the crowd with a unique brand or personalization. You also can’t communicate with shoppers, so forget about marketing campaigns and sharing special offers.
E-Commerce Sites: The Pros
If you have an e-commerce website, your business has complete control over the business every step of the way, and that’s the primary benefit. You can create custom scenarios for sales, you can personalize the look and brand of your shop and differentiate yourself from other businesses.
Some more benefits, as explained by Paul Lester, a tech writer at Australia2Write and Next Coursework, “you also control the feature list, the user experience, and different modules and plugins. If you’re unable to develop the site yourself, you can hire someone that can build the best website for you. Finally, you also have direct access to shoppers so you can market directly to them.”
E-Commerce Sites: The Cons
Not every business can afford the e-commerce option because it can cost a lot of time and money. You have to pay for a domain name and a secure HTTPS certificate. It’s also difficult to build up website visitors because people don’t know your company, so you have to work hard to build your search engine ranking, develop a good marketing plan and budget for that.
You also need to have a good customer service section for your online shop, because it all comes down to your reputation and how you can handle your clients. It can be difficult for small businesses to give great 24/7 customer service, while online retailers have full-time customer support units.
Both options have clear advantages and disadvantages but it all comes down to what is best for your business. There’s also the option of using a hybrid approach for selling products on an online retailer platform while building your brand a customer base on the side through a robust marketing plan.