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

Pros

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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10 Online Marketplace where you can sell(with high shopping traffic)

Online marketplace to sell your goods
10 online Marketplace where you can sell your products

If you are a follower of my blog you will know by now that I am someone who is passionate about starting home businesses from the comfort of your home. In my older posts, I have explored different ways you can give expression to the Idea of starting a home business. You can check my post on Drop-shipping if you are interested in reading more or my post on how to start an Etsy shop.

While I have always recommended starting a shop, nothing beats the flexibility of online marketplace. It gives you the opportunity to stay at home and showcase and sell your products to the whole world. I have delved into the individual online marketplace like Bonanza and Etsy but today I am going to be exploring the 10 different online marketplace you can sell on in other to have a thriving and successful home business.

I know that many people know the online marketplace giants  like Amazon, Ebay and Etsy  I will leave it and go to the less known but also popular and unique online market places this will make it easy for you to make a decision as to which one you would like to start with. As you read through, you will be able to make a decision based on the online marketplace you like most.

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1 Rubylane

Rubylane is an online marketplace where you can sell Vintage, Handmade , Antique, Artisan or Upcylced items. They feature different categories like Jewelry,Dolls, Fine art,Furniture and lighting, Glass decors,Porcelain and Pottery, Vintage fashion. Etc.

If you are someone who loves to hunt for vintage and antiques that you will like to resell, then this may be the ideal place to open your online store and sell such items. When you open the online marketplace you will notice that their items are quite pricey, of course it denotes the quality of what they have to offer so you can judge how to position your shop. It costs about a 100 dollar for the first time set up fee, they also charge various fees for the different categories of items. Click here for further details.

The good thing about this online marketplace is that they enforce MAP(minimum advertised price), this means there is a threshold to which you can price your products, this prevents unnecessary price wars and helps ensure that every one has a good price fro their products.

2 Wanelo 

Wanelo is like your  average shopping mall,you know the Macy’s of this world, only that it is online. It is an online marketplace where people can apply to sell their goods, it features basically fashion items and has about 350,000 stores on it.

The good thing about Wanelo is that you have independent sellers and also Fashion brands who open stores on their platform. Wanelo was opened in 2012 and has listed about 30 million products. Millions of shoppers use Wanelo as their place to shop for items they love without having to set foot in a brick and mortar shopping mall. They can shop from their different brands and combine all into one shopping cart. Kind of like your regular Polyvore without having to visit each shop independently.

You can apply to sell on Wanelo by installing their sales channel, this costs you nothing. Your shop is then sent in for approval, once approved you can begin to upload pictures  of products you wish to sell. The Wanelo systems charges you 15% commission for every order fulfilled and will also help you sync your products from your shopify store in case you already have one before you went to sell on their online marketplace.

3 Zibbet

Zibbet is an online marketplace that features basically handmade items, it is like an alternative to Etsy if that suits you. They have different categories like Jewelry, vintage items, soft furnishings, supplies, home and living, kids, photography, Fine art. Zibbet online market place is unique for the following reasons

-zero listing and sales fees

-standalone shop front

-Easy set  up and seamless integration

-Offer promotional tools and also have effortless and seamless order fulfillment options

-They offer advanced tracking analytic and can also import your Etsy listed items

-You can have your own custom domain name and they also offer multi currency support.

If you are a stay at home mom who love handmade and crafted goods, you may consider this as an answer to your prayer of getting your goods out there for others to buy. They offer you the easiest way out with listing of unlimited items for no fees. Its something one should consider. It’s a good alternative to Etsy if you feel that Etsy is so big that your items will not be noticed if posted there.

Zibbet has about 54,000 online stores currently on its online marketplace.

4 Sears.com:

I know when you think of sears you are seeing a brick and mortar shopping mall, scratch that  sears is online and is currently offering individuals who want to sell an online marketplace where they could sell their products just like Amazon does. It also offers fulfilled by sears, just like you have Amazon currently doing.

All you have to do is sign up in their online marketplace and you are good to go. Sears takes its payment after you have made a sale. You can read up on this on their page, if it interests you.

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5 Artfire

Artfire is an online marketplace where crafters and sellers of handmade goods can showcase and sell their goods just like you would on Etsy. It features different categories of items like Jewelry, kids, wedding, home and living , clothing and accessories and also entertainment. It’s a great alternative if you seek to showcase your goods on a smaller platform where you feel your goods will gain more buyer attention. One of the good thing about this platform is that it has no listing or selling fees, it also features a well developed online community forums, because people who visit Artfire are looking for specialty items, they are more likely to buy from the shops on the platform.

6 Flipkart:

Flipkart is an online marketplace that is founded by Indians and available for all to sell on. Gist has it that the founder was refused an immigrant visa in the US after schooling there hence he went back to his home country and founded Flipkart. It’s a billion dollar  eCommerce giant much like Aliexpress and Amazon. It helps people who want to showcase and sell their products especially to emerging markets like India to do so.

7 Jet.com

Jet.com is a new online marketplace as compared to others that are listed above but it is making waves especially since Walmart said it will acquire it. So if you want to tap into a market place that will have the backing of Walmart retail giant, then now is the time to open your online store on jet.com.

It features different categories like Grocery, appliances, home decor, furniture and lots of other features which you can find on their online marketplace. Just picture your average Walmart store and you won’t be far from the truth.

You can start your online shop on this platform by applying and once your application is approved you will be allowed to set up your retail portal on their platform.

Benefits of this platform is that its that they help you manage your competitiveness and profitability via their search engine optimization.

 

8 Toucandeal.com:

This is an online market place which is a bit new but has the opportunity to list your items for free and pay a commission after you make a sale. The commission is usually about 10% of your total sale.

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9 Triple clicks.com :

Tripleclicks.com is an online marketplace that operates much like ebay because you can sell there, and also bid for items if you are a buyer. The fun part is that you can also play games and win prices on the platform. The listing fee is free and you can sell  unlimited number of items

10 Offeritem.com:

This is an online marketplace where you can sell things for free, there is no listing fee and they have the advantage of featuring your items on Bing shopping, Google shopping , Thefind and Shopwiki. Your products also gain exposure through their RSS feed and other social media button options that they provide to make sure that millions of shoppers find your products.

Do you have an idea of any other Online Marketplace where you can sell, please leave a comment below