This article will outline the channels to launch your online store and, more specifically, your own branded store or an online marketplace like Amazon.
Let’s find out…
Selling on a marketplace vs. Building your own branded website
Amazon receives over 214 million unique visitors every month. That’s more than the entire population of Brazil. This huge customer base makes it an attractive choice for online sellers. But is it the right choice for everyone? Could you run a more profitable business by building your website using an eCommerce platform?
Before you commit to the platform, you’ll need to know precisely how to sell on a marketplace. Including exploring both the pros and cons of selling via a platform.
Pros of Selling on a Marketplace
1. Exposing your products to millions of unique customers every month
2. Selling on a marketplace allows you to immediately get trusted by customers. They guarantee their money if a business does not deliver.
3. Selling through a marketplace is highly scalable as it can withstand spikes in demand and traffic due to its robustness.
4. Most marketplaces manage the payment process and have high fraud protection.
Cons of Selling on a Marketplace
1. Selling on a Marketplace means it is highly likely that other businesses are selling something similar to you. So there will be competition. We have all bought items based on the highest amount of reviews so getting reviews is vital.
2. You do not have control over your products. Marketplaces may flag your products at any time and restrict you from selling.
3. You’re subject to fees that can eat away at your profit margin. If you don’t fully understand the terms and conditions of selling in any marketplace.
4. To prevent false reviews, marketplaces can limit the type of product reviews you get per day or week, which means that your organic customer reviews won’t get the visibility you desire.
Tools Needed To Sell on a Marketplace
- Product Research Tool: Marketplaces are usually saturated with the same products. Product hunting tools help you identify the right products for your business. Tools like ProfitGuru and JungleScout provide data on the performance of competing products and help pinpoint product categories where there is less competition.
- Listing Optimization Tools: Keyword research tools like MerchantWords are explicitly designed to help sellers analyze shopping trends and help sellers optimize their product listings for maximum visibility.
Building Your E-Commerce Site
Building your e-commerce site from scratch is entirely doable, but it requires a lot of planning and know-how to make it worth your efforts and resources.
Pros of Building Your E-Commerce Site
1. You’re not subject to any other marketplace’s rules, which means you have a definitive say over the site’s content, design, and product descriptions.
2. Your potential customers won’t be distracted by a “similar products” section or sponsored product placements that can ultimately tempt them away from your product.
3. Building your website allows you to develop your brand how you want, present your products in your way, and create a name for yourself.
4. Customer loyalty and brand presence tend to be higher when customers buy a great product from a standalone website, and they’ll also be able to refer others to your store by name rather than a generic marketplace.
5. Since you’ll have direct access to customer information, you can engage in targeted customer marketing and relationship-building activities — something you can’t do on Amazon or Etsy.
Cons of Building Your E-Commerce Site
1. You’ll have less customer reach when you build a site from scratch, especially if you don’t have the resources to sell internationally.
2. Building credibility and trust around your online store will take a while.
3. You’re directly responsible for the customer support function when customers have issues or complaints, which can consume a lot of time and resources.
4. If your website goes down for any reason, you must fix it. You’re also responsible for technical issues that arise. You’ll also miss out on potential sales while selecting them.
5. Running a successful online store often requires hiring team members to support it. Training and paying them also eat into your time and resources.
Tools Needed to Build Your E-Commerce Site
Building and selling on your website require multiple tools. Below are just a few of the essential tools you’ll need.
- An E-Commerce Platform: eCommerce platforms are tools that help you build your online store from scratch, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce
- Payment Processor: One of the essential tools you’ll need is a payment processor that facilitates payments and helps you stay compliant. Every payment processor has payment terms, setup, monthly, and transaction fees to consider. Examples include stripe, PayPal, and square.
- SEO Tools: SEO tools are essential for building an e-commerce website’s presence and customer base. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs help your site rank well on Google and outrank competitors by helping you create an SEO strategy that works for your products.
Comparing the different eCommerce channels to build your own branded website
Many eCommerce channels allow you to build your own branded website. We will list the top 8 channels with their features and include a detailed breakdown of the Top 3 eCommerce channels.
Comparing the Top 8 eCommerce Channels
The top 3 eCommerce Channels based on customer reviews on Capterra for small eCommerce businesses that are launching in 2022 are: