online marketplace versus ecommerce store

Want to know the best option for your new ecommerce business, read this
Online marketplace versus Ecommerce store

Today I will be taking my time to look at the benefits and non-benefits as it pertains to stand alone online shops versus online marketplaces in the ecommerce business. I have a special fixation for ecommerce because the internet has made it easy for you to start one within an hour if you so choose to.

Selling stuff is as old as man itself, for as long as humans exist, there will always be commerce. Commerce is as old as when man started exchanging money for goods. The difference with the age we live in is the form and shape it has taken. This means that you do not have to own a brick and mortar store and stock up inventory for you to sell. You can now use the drop shipping model to sell.

When you decide to sell goods online, the next dilemma may be what vehicle do you want to use to make this possible. Apart from sourcing for your goods through online platforms like Salehoo, Aliexpress and co, choosing the right platform will be the next most important decision that you will make in starting your ecommerce business.

There are various ways you can sell on the internet, if ecommerce is your thing, you can sell via Facebook or perhaps via your Instagram account or even through your Pinterest account. But the more professional way of selling can be divided into two major types.

Types of ecommerce Platforms

Online Marketplace: This involves selling in places like Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza, storenvy,eBay etc. To learn more about online marketplaces read my post on 10 online marketplaces where you can sell (with high traffic)

Standalone online shop: This involves setting up your own online store using e-shop providers like Shopify, Bigcommerce or having your own website where you sell your goods.

While you can be successful selling on either of these options, the main issue that is the bone of contention is what I like to highlight which is control over your own business.

Many people have always prevaricated on choosing what platform to use in pursuing their dream of owning an online store because they are not sure of what the advantages are of using either of these options.

While some people have tried to hedge the risks for both by owning on both platforms. The issue is that if you are just starting out, it may be too much of a work for you to start your ecommerce business on both platforms because then you may be spreading yourself too thin to give each platform the attention required to make it a success. In the next few points, I am going to be looking at the pro’s and con’s of the online marketplaces versus the standalone online shop in ecommerce business.

Online Marketplace


Guaranteed traffic: its called a marketplace because they already have a name that attracts buyers to their platform.

Think of your huge brick and mortar bazaars where people open shops or shopping malls where different kinds of people open shops on a rented floor space. The online marketplace is just like that, they provide you with the platform to sell your goods, you pay rent to own it either before you start or as you make sales. Traffic to your shop guarantees that you will make sales which means your business will start yielding fruits faster.

Wider reach: Online marketplaces often have wider reach because they already have built a name and brand which they are often investing to make it better because that’s where they make their money from. You have access to all sorts of customers as long as you play by the rules. Having a wider reach is a subset of having traffic since you only attract people that you can reach.

Advertising: some online marketplaces provide you with free advertising or they may charge you a commission o advertise your products. Often their best bet is investing more money in their platform to ensure that people want to shop with them.

Low cost: Most marketplaces usually have a free version of their offering which you can use to starts as an online shop owner without paying anything. For example, in Amazon you are offered individual seller option where you pay nothing to list your products and sell, the only snag is that you have a limit to the number of products you can sell per month.

With Bonanza marketplace, you don’t have to pay anything to set up shop, you only pay commissions after you have made a sale. Etsy collects a very small listing fee of 2 cents, This makes sit easy for anyone wishing to start selling on their platforms to easily start with little investment.

Another reason its low cost is you don’t need to pay for a special domain name or maintain a website just to do your business, your only stress is to list your products and sell since all that has been taken care of by the marketplace provider.


Cons of Online marketplace

No control over your business: Most online marketplaces have rules which guide them which you must abide by, you do not have control over those rules. If they suddenly change their algorithm you will have no say on how it affects you. For instance, you may be making a huge sale on a platform, and there comes a rule that says your products can’t be accommodated on that platform anymore. You will have no option than to leave that platform.

Sometimes a change in their algorithm may also bury your own products and make it difficult for searchers to find your products. This may mean a huge drop in your sales.  Some online marketplaces may ask you to pay for exclusive display of your products on the front line if you want more customers. That’s the case of Bonanza platform, while you may not be paying anything to register on the platform, there are prices for different categories of services that they offer you. Organic driven traffic may be low if you do not have money to pay for such services.

Fierce loyalty to their Buyers: Most online marketplaces have a fierce loyalty to their buyers, that’s why they offer buyer protection. While this is a good thing because people have to trust that they will not be scammed if they are using your platform for purchase, it can also be exploited to the detriment of the sellers who are small business people trying to make a living.

Some buyers exploit that loyalty and cheat the sellers by making spurious claims that may be false hence causing the seller to either be penalized or shut down, sometimes even without a fair hearing from the concerned party.


Competition may be stiff: Another notable con of online marketplace is that competition for sales can be stiff, this is because the consumer has a wide variety of options to choose from when they want to make a purchase. While that may be good for the consumer, it will work against you as a first-time seller.

This is because people are more willing to buy from experienced sellers than from a first-time seller. It’s like a catch 22, you need people to buy from you so that you can have more experience or reviews the currency of experience in such places, people won’t buy from you because you don’t have many reviews.

No Brand loyalty: When you are in the marketplace, there are thousands of other sellers too, so its difficult to build a brand. People don’t search for shops, they are searching for products. Only some online marketplace offers a buyer opportunity to save a shop so as to be able to come back and purchase more form the shop if they so wish.  Even though people may like your goods they cannot be particularly loyal to your brand which is what breeds repeat sales.

Same look and feel:  You cannot customize the look or feel, of your store because it’s a one size fits all. This means you really cannot bring out your personality on such platforms, hence the reason it’s never about you hahaha. The online marketplace has no place for personalization, although some may offer you some aspect of personalization like your header board or logo or picture, at best, that’s all it can do. You will have at look to a stand-alone online shop to find those.


Standalone Online Shop:

This is popularly known as an ecommerce store or online shop as you may deem fit. This resembles your normal brick and mortar store where you build your own shop to your taste and design.

Pros of a standalone online shop:

Customization: Like I mentioned above with your own online shop, you get to do as you choose, depending on what platform you chose to use, like in Shopify, you can choose what themes you like, upload your own logo, input your own brand colors and generally put your own feel on the store.

Control: You have control over your own inventory, what you sell and how you sell, you don’t  have to compete with other stores over your type of products. You also have control over what your brand represents and what you want to be known for.


Brand loyalty and repeat sales: Because you are able to customize your shop to your taste, you are able to send a message about what your brand represents, people who like your products become your loyal customers. They do not have to check other competing products in the same view when they are shopping. You also able to convert them to repeat customers by offering sign up to your newsletter what you cannot do with online marketplaces.

Better Margins: If you are able to get people to come to your shop via an advertising platform like Facebook or Instagram, chances are that the buyer already knows the price of your goods and is willing to purchase from you, hence saving you from sometimes cut-throat competition that comes from operating in online marketplaces.

In the online marketplace, the same product is shown to the consumer at different prices, and the consumer will always go for the lowest price. For stand-alone web stores such choices are not available hence you make better margins and avoid loss of customers.


Cons of Using Standalone Ecommerce stores

Like everything in life there will always be disadvantages to it, here are some disadvantages of using stand-alone shops

Cost: While most online marketplaces often allow you to start with a free registration and perhaps only makes money when you make a sale, for stand-alone stores, you always have to pay a monthly subscription cost in other to keep it running.

This means that even before you have made a dime, you are spending, now if you have limited funds for your startup shop you may find it difficult to maintain it. You also have to buy your own domain name and hosting which you will keep renewing per year, these are additional costs to you.

Traffic: For stand-alone ecommerce store you have to drive your own traffic to your store which costs money and time, you are also responsible for the optimization of your store so as to come up in searches.

This means that if you don’t understand basic SEO principles, it may be a long time before anyone visits your store and the fewer visitors you have the less likely you are to make sales. Kind of worrisome since you have a recurring monthly bill to pay.

Maintenance: You are responsible for maintaining your store, meaning that the site has to be run by you, this may not always be the case if you are using service providers like Shopify or Big Commerce. But all in all, this requires a lot of time and effort.

In conclusion, when starting out as a new business person, if you have limited funds, it’s always better to start with the free platform like online marketplaces so as to navigate the learning curve without running out of funds. As you get better and you are able to make more money you can begin to think of moving to a paid option.

Think of your online marketplace like the mass-produced stuff that you use when you are starting out in life, as you earn more and you have better income, you now develop a taste for the finer things in life and hence you want your own customized stuff.

Everything in life takes time, so be willing to start from where you are, the most important thing is that you are taking action.

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5 Steps to starting an Online Shop on Bonanza

Online Shop On Bonanza Marketplace
Logo culled from Bonanza website

I have this passion to see stay at home moms or anyone who desires to stay at home with her kids to be able to do so without financial restrictions that is why I am always advocating starting a home business to support your lifestyle. You can call it a Lifestyle business if you want. Today I will be writing about how to start an online shop on Bonanza

While researching online platforms that allow you run a business from your home.I ran into the online selling platform Bonanza and since then I took interest in checking out how its platform operates. I actually came to know about this platform when I was writing the article on how to resell used items as a business. Please read that post if you have a lot of stuff you would like to resell or you want to start selling used stuff as a business.

One of the things that struck me about Bonanza is that it does not charge you anything until you make a sale meaning that there are no listing fees. I was really intrigued about it hence I went foraging for more information about this unique marketplace and what I found really amazed me hence my decision to make a post about it.

*Please note there may be affiliate links in this Post, please read my Disclosure policy.

In this post, the online shop is the same as Booth, they can be used interchangeably here so do not get confused. Okay let’s get to it

Baby Girls Clothing from Nordstrom

 Steps to take  to start an Online shop on Bonanza

1)Register on the Bonanza Platform:

You have to register on the Platform to be a seller for free, with your registration all you have to enter is your name and email address, an email is then sent to your email address to confirm its really you, after that you can then confirm your registration by clicking on the link that will be sent to you, the link then takes you back to the registration page in other to continue with setting up a Booth.

2)Setting up your Booth on Bonanza

Now Bonanza is quite different from some platforms I have seen out there because you have two options for displaying your shop. The first is the Booth, for the booth to be set up you will be required to get a store and username, your username is what will appear as the icon on the booth you have set up.

The second is the web store. The web store is the paid version where you get to pay before you can start using it, while the booth is free to set up, the webstore is not. You are only given some free days trial before you are charged for setting up the webstore. The good thing about the webstore is that you don’t pay any listing fees after you make a sale.

-The webstore is like your average standalone online shop which you can create online, the difference is that you are creating one via Bonanza, you can use your own URL or you can use your Booths URL. The only snag with webstores is that you are going to have to drive your own traffic to it, unlike when you have a booth that you get to use their various adverts options.

Webstores give you the opportunity to create your own brand and customize it as you wish. It also gives your overall ownership of the store and you get to do what you feel with it.

Having itemised the differences between a Booth and webstore, I will advise that as a Beginner you start with a Booth and when you have established your self you can determine if you want to get a Webstore or not.

To complete the setup of your booth before you can list your products, you will be required to fill out the following necessities.

Credit Card information: Now some people may balk at this information but Bonanza collects this information because they do not deduct their fees before passing on the rest to you like some selling platforms will do rather you get billed every month that you make a sale. So the credit card information is held just in case you fail to pay up your bills they can then charge the card. They are quite sincere and open in the way they deal with their sellers so I should not think there will be an issue with that.

Khiels from Nordstrom

-Phone Number confirmation: Because the online marketplace is changing so fast, Online selling platforms are now requesting for phone numbers so that they can get in contact with sellers should there be a dispute that can not be handled by email alone. So you are required to verify your number before your booth can be updated. If you are uncomfortable with displaying your personal number in a public place, you can make use of Google Voice. A free service from Google for forwarding calls to your local number.  Another option is to make use of Virtual number operators.

After getting all these niceties tidied up, you can then head back to your booth to put some certain things in place.

Choose a Banner: the Platform provides you with different kinds of free banners that you can use for the header section of your Booth. I will advise its best you choose a Banner that goes with what you want to sell on their platform. This will make it easier for your Booth to be optimized and come up during searches.

For example, if your Niche is fashion jewelry, ensure that in choosing your store name and username you get to insert Jewelry in it to make sure that it fits in with the products you are going to sell on your booth. The good thing is that they have a lot of free banners which you can choose from so you don’t necessarily need to create one if you don’t want to.

Fill in your Shop Policies: In this section, you get to put the policies that will be guiding your shop sales, this includes your shipping policy, return policy, refund policy and also your various discount policies.

-Fill in your Profile details: People like to buy from people they can identify with. So it will be nice to provide your shop with a profile picture they can identify with, this way people know where to contact you and what you stand for. In your profile page, you get to write about your shop and what ideals that your shop identifies with.

-Social Profiles: You also get to fill out your social profiles this includes, your Facebook, twitter handle etc.

Bonanza online selling platform

3)List your Products:

This is the best part of having a shop right, displaying your goods, that is what listing is in the online marketplace. I like this aspect because you get to display or showcase the goods that you want to sell to your customers. In listing your products in your online shop on Bonanza, here are things that you need to do:

Choose a title for your Product: This is basically what comes up when people search for your products, so you have to provide description of what your picture display looks like, the good thing about the Bonanza platform is that it gives you different marks for the different sections of your listing steps so you know how well you are doing. A good description makes it easier to sell your products.

Upload your Pictures: The second part is to upload the pictures, pictures are the new product samples in the online marketplace, without pictures people, won’t know what your product looks like so they won’t buy. Therefore if perhaps you are selling your own physical products which are to be fulfilled by you then you have to invest in a good camera with a good props and lighting options to ensure that your products come out looking like the real thing on the pictures

If however, you are drop shipping the products you are selling then it’s easier to do because you already have the pictures from the product manufacturer so all you have to do is copy and upload them on your booth.

Product Description: In this aspect, you get to describe your product via the various categories that are available, this makes it easy to classify your product. In this section, you get to give correct details of your product like if it’s real gold, karat number or if it’s a vintage product when it was produced. All these details are essential to give a buyer a feel of what your product is made of and what they should expect. The quality and what kind of material it is made of. This makes it easier for buyers to make a better decision.

I suggest you take on the mindset of a buyer when describing your products, this is also where a keyword research will play a big part because you store will come up via keywords that people use in searching for a product. So a keyword research is in order before you commence listing of your products

Shipping Options: In starting an online shop on Bonanza, you get to set your general shipping policies but you have to also choose what shipping options that will be available to the buyer and what shipping rates you will be offering or if you are offering free shipping. This section provides you with all the countries that you will be able to ship to should you choose to or restrict your shipping to a specific country or continent.

Setting your Price: In this section, you get to choose the selling price of your product. You also set whether that price is negotiable or not. All these boxes will be properly ticked before you can then upload your item for sale.

Because the Platform assigns different scores for the different aspects of the listing process, it’s always better to ensure you get a 100% score on your listing score in other to ensure maximum exposure of your online shop on Bonanza

Fitbitt heart rate Tracker
Fit Bit Wireless heart Rate Tracker

4)Advertising your online Shop on Bonanza

The good thing about selling goods in your online shop on Bonanza platform is that they offer you different paid options of advertising your products on the different platforms. For example, they have a plan in which your products get advertised through bonanza affiliates, Bonanza organic traffic, and google shopping. They also have other options for listing your products on eBay so as to increase your options of selling.

They also have different paid packages for attracting traffic to your shop. I love the fact that you are not left all on your own to do your marketing but you are helped to succeed via their different marketing packages. Of course, you will have to read up on the offers to know which one suits you.

5) Sell via the following Methods:

Drop shipping Via Aliexpress:  You can drop ship other peoples product via Aliexpress in the online shop on Bonanza. I have written about drop shipping before, if you would like to read about my first post on drop shipping please read it here

-Feature your own products whether handmade or by someone else

-Import your other products from other platforms such as your own online shop, Ebay Etsy, Amazon.

Features of Bonanza Online Selling Platform that are quite Unique and Cool

-You can import your already listed products from other platforms you are using such as Amazon, Etsy, Ebay or your own online Shop.

-You can list your goods for free, you only pay for your listing and advertising when you  make a sale

-You can drop ship on the platform from Aliexpress

-The platform is easy to navigate for anyone that is a first timer.  There rules and guidelines are written in a friendly way that makes you feel like you are reading stuff made for you alone.

-It was voted the  best online selling platform by over 50,000 people in 2016

-It has the lowest selling fees compared to Amazon and Ebay, take a look at the picture below:

Photo credit; Bonanza Online selling Platform

-It has flexibility when it comes to selling on other multiple platforms, meaning that your product can be advertised on other selling platforms depending on the advertising package that you choose.

-Its endorsed by many organizations such as CNN, Mashable, Time Magazine, Bloomberg Newsweek.

-The last Cool thing about this platform is that I opened an online shop there, you can check it out by clicking here: Eleora Fashion Store

Categories that are featured on Bonanza Selling Platform

-Men’s Fashion

-Women’s Fashion

-Home & Garden

-Health & Beauty



-Others: This includes sporting goods, toys e.t.c

-Collectibles and Arts.

Do you have other ideas on how to start an online shop on Bonanza ? drop your comment below

Solid color Bucket Shaped Handbag
Chic Hobo Handbag from Bonanza Marketplace