As a business who sells products, there are several different online platforms that enable you to sell those products. And if you’re reading this, you’ve most likely entertained the idea of leveraging Amazon, Ebay, Etsy or any other online marketplace for your business. These marketplaces are a great way to increase sales and grow your company, however you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for your brand. Today, though, we'll just be reviewing the key benefits in taking your business to one of these large online marketplaces.
Not sure what an online marketplace is? An online marketplace is a type of e-commerce site where product and inventory information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. Online marketplaces are the primary type of multichannel ecommerce.
Let's break it down with a visual.
Imagine a large physical marketplace, where there are aisles of different vendors, selling everything from beaded jewelry and gently used books to kitchen supplies and small train toys. Now place yourself in the position of a shopper. You’re walking past individual vendor booths, and you notice something. Several of these vendors are selling the exact same products. Each seller may vary in how they display those identical products. Your interactions with each of them may vary. Even their prices could be completely off. But when it comes down to it - there maybe no obvious difference among the products or the sellers presenting them.
This is much like the experience a customer has when shopping on Amazon, Ebay or Etsy. However, in this case, the individual sellers, their faces, personalities, etc., are even more hidden. One of the biggest challenges as an online marketplace seller is that you’re directly competing with other businesses. To a customer, all they can rely on is product reviews, photos, descriptions and accessibility (shipping).
You may be thinking, “Then why is it worth it?" Well, as these marketplaces grow, they will continue to be at the forefront of online shoppers’ minds. They’ll visit these places looking for price and quality comparison. They'll rely on the condensed source of product reviews. They trust big names like Amazon because they know the volume of sales will bring more insight. This leads to one of the most valuable components of selling on these sites - exposure.
Customers go to Amazon because they feel confident they’ll find what they want at a low cost. People go to Etsy because they know it’s the best place for crafty, vintage unique items. And people visit eBay because they know they can haggle prices. These aren’t the only reasons, but they all have their individual draws. These have all become household names that you may not be able to reach on your own.
Also, specifically with Amazon Prime’s membership, there are very devout customers who will continue to come back. This type of visibility is not something you’d get if, say, you were 10 miles away from that popular marketplace we mentioned earlier. Even if your product is more affordable and higher quality, while offering a more rich shopping experience - if a potential customer doesn’t know you exist, it would be quite difficult to buy from you.
With all of that said, the most important thing is you must test various sales channels. Implement marketing strategies across all of your platforms and figure out what is going to provide you with the best value. Exposure could be one of the biggest perks of selling on an online sales channel, but don't follow every other business before you test, test, test.
Are you a multi-channel seller leveraging Amazon, eBay or Etsy in addition to your own individual website? I’d love to hear how it's working for you!