Bricks And Mortar Store Online
It’s no secret that the pandemic has hit bricks and mortar stores hard. Lockdowns combined with a general cautiousness among consumers has driven more and more shoppers online.
Some business analysts believe the pandemic has the potential to impact buyer behavior long term – converting consumers who would never have considered shopping online in the past. In the United States alone, ecommerce sales are expected to surpass $740 billion by 2023 and this number is only likely to increase.
Having an online presence has been important for some time but now it’s a necessity, so what’s the best way to go about it?
Without doubt the fastest way of getting your products in front of online shoppers is through an online marketplace such as eBay, Walmart, Etsy or Amazon.
Through an online marketplace you can gain access to a readymade audience of customers who are searching for products just like yours. Marketplaces are not just for retailers who don’t have a website either. Businesses which already have online stores can benefit from an additional source of revenue and exposure by listing their products on an online marketplace.
What are the Benefits Of An Online Marketplace?
1. Minimal Effort
The beauty of selling on a marketplace is the easy set-up and maintenance. Etsy in particular has a very straightforward set up process so you can get selling in a matter of hours.
Compare that with selling through your own site which would require you to spend a lot of time and money setting up your website, as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining it. Then you need to invest huge amounts in advertising and marketing just to drive traffic to your site. Unless you’re a well-known brand, this can be very expensive and time consuming.
If you’re a new seller, marketplaces are a particularly useful way to test market demand for your products and get customer feedback as you can get your products to market quickly without the risk of high upfront costs.
2. Access to a Huge, Ready-Made Customer Base
Amazon reported over 2.7 billion users in June 2021 and this massive customer base is full of people who are ready to buy. For sellers of handmade goods, Etsy offers the chance to get in front of a large audience of customers who are specifically looking for high quality, handmade goods. This is an incredible opportunity, particularly for small businesses who don’t yet have a large online customer base.
There are also plenty of specialist marketplaces out there such as Game (a marketplace specifically for gaming, media, computer hardware or toys) or Farfetch (a luxury fashion retail platform). These marketplaces have highly relevant customers and are well worth considering.
3. Access New Markets
Marketplaces allow you to target customers based all over the world. This is invaluable for small companies which want to grow quickly without taking on the expense and logistical challenge of operating and marketing their products in different countries.
Both Walmart and Amazon offer storage and fulfillment services which can make selling in overseas markets a whole lot easier. If you sell on Walmart or Amazon, you can simply ship your inventory to one of their facilities and then they store and ship your orders to the customer. They even sort out returns so you don’t need to worry at all about expensive international shipping fees. This can be incredibly useful for small retailers who don’t yet have fulfillment processes in place or for those who need additional logistical support.
4. Customer Trust
Being part of an established online marketplace provides a level of trust between you and the buyer. Customers are fiercely loyal to marketplaces like Amazon because they trust in the great customer service Amazon offers (quick delivery and easy returns process for example). Therefore, customers are more likely to purchase your product on Amazon than on your own website because they know that they are going to get the reliable, efficient service they have come to expect from Amazon.
What you need to Consider Before Selling On An Online Marketplace
Before making the move to start selling on an online marketplace, there are a few things to consider, namely which is the right marketplace for your brand. Amazon is known for having a huge customer base but it’s not the only option. As we’ve discussed, there are plenty of great marketplaces out there to choose from so work out which platforms best suit your target audience..
It’s also important to think about how you’re going to fulfill your orders. For example, would you like the convenience of using Amazon or Walmart’s fulfillment services? Or do you already have fulfillment processes in place, in which case that might not be a consideration for you.
Lastly, don’t forget about fees. Every marketplace has a slightly different fee structure and it will depend on your business as to how much these will add up to. For example if you use Amazon’s fulfillment service, you will need to pay for that in addition to sales fees. Most marketplaces will also charge additional fees for advertising your products.
It’s vital you understand what fees you will end up paying so you can ensure that you still make a profit when selling your product through the marketplace.
Online marketplaces allow you to get your products in front of a huge, ready-made audience and there is no better time to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. There are of course disadvantages with selling on a marketplace – every marketplace will charge fees and impose restrictions on how you operate but for most businesses these drawbacks will be far outweighed by the massive potential benefits.
I’m Teddy Smith, an e-commerce seller and coach. I have built a successful brand on Shopify, Amazon and Etsy and I enjoy helping others do the same. I love writing and talking about eCommerce and marketing techniques on my blog (www.teddyagsmith.com) and on Youtube (Teddy AG Smith).