Deciding where to sell online is one of the biggest challenges online traders face. Should you opt for the convenience of an established marketplace or go it alone and set up a stand-alone store of your own?
Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Deciding which option is best for your online business depends on your business goals. Get it right from the outset and you will find it far simpler to manage and grow your business.
What’s the difference?
New to selling online? Here’s a summary of each option:
- Online marketplace: Examples of online marketplaces include Etsy, eBay, and Amazon. A variety of traders sell their products and services in online marketplaces where, just like a real market, you can expect to find a wide range of items under one virtual ‘roof’. Website maintenance and upgrades are the responsibility of the marketplace and some will even take care of inventory and arrange packaging and delivery.
- Ecommerce site: Stand-alone commerce websites are managed directly by the business. The design, branding, marketing and merchandising is all carried out in-house and responsibility for website maintenance, upgrades, inventory and orders all falls on the shoulders of the business owners.
Which is best for my business?
It’s important to remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ option here. What works well for one business model won’t work for another. Each platform has its own issues and challenges that may affect the way you trade, so comparing them directly won’t be helpful.
Instead, think about your business goals and weigh up your options according to which one can best help you achieve your aims.
Features of an online marketplace
- Simplicity: Marketplaces can handle everything for you, from site maintenance to order fulfilment and delivery – for a small fee of course!
- Trust: Larger online marketplaces have built up relationships with their users over an extended period. Your business could benefit directly from their brand recognition and good reputation.
- Affordable international shipping: Larger marketplaces can help smaller businesses compete internationally as they tend to offer reduced rates on international shipping costs.
Features of a stand-alone eCommerce site
- Autonomy: Control stays with you. For example, you have the freedom to make design and merchandising decisions, or change the terms and conditions.
- Loyalty: The customers on your site are your own. You will have your own customer database and you’ll have full control over your brand and reputation.
- Margins: Typically, you’ll have the ability to set bigger margins and have a greater potential for making profits.
Read More: Personalised E-Commerce and How it Works!
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