Marketplace is not an online store.

From the latest report, there are over 800 million products sold in the marketplace Ebay and 480 million products sold on Amazon, which offers worldwide shipping right to your doorstep. On the other spectrum, online stores are typically built on personalized websites made by softwares such as Shopify or Wix and Boutir.

Conceptually, the success of marketplace and online store is due to inter-connectivity. Marketplace usually has an advantage of huge customer traffic, but online store traffic is usually driven when owners share their website through mediums such as Facebook and Instagram.

But from these two, which platform should you start selling your product on? Or is it best to sell in both platforms?

Convenience to find your item

Marketplace: Amazon and Ebay spent billions of dollars to lure around 85 million unique monthly visitors to come to their website. Wow! That is huge. But it is overly optimistic to assume that these customers would perform a direct search of your company. Instead, they will enter the keyword search of their wanted product and would be served with thousands of different competitor items. Price war would naturally occur and this would cut into your product’s profit margin. Not cool.

Online store: A website’s SEO essential to make your business to be easily found by customers. It involves the need for you to constantly innovate on deploying SEO strategies such as writing some quality blogs, creating Facebook ads and pages for the store, for customers to easily locate your online store’s website when they type in the search engine.

One product or multiple products:

Marketplace: This is more suitable if you would like to only sell a single product. With huge volume of customers, your product would be served to a wide range of audience. At times, customers would be able to leave reviews and ratings to boost the likelihood for repeat purchase from you.

Beware that the easy search of your product may also act like a double-edged sword. Marketplace owners may also “copy cat” — look for popular items and stock it for themselves.

Online store: You have the edge of creating a brand persona of your product easily by having a personal online store. Design your website to reflect on the brand persona of the product. For instance, you could redesign your website to make it look younger to exemplify a feeling of chic and stylish to your products.

Price:

Marketplace: Some marketplaces adopt a percentage of sales technique to charge their sellers. As a result, it is not feasible for you if you have low profit margins for your product. For more information regarding Amazon’s product listing: click here and Ebay- click here

Online store: It really varies from one to the other. It boils down to which features would suit your particular needs in building your store. Most of them have free trials which you can ultimately take advantage of, before becoming a premium user. Make sure you use this period to understand more about how these tools can add value to your whole business strategy.

The following info-graphic is a snapshot of online store builders- Shopify and Boutir. Both are identified as unique online store builders as the former is representative of a more desktop-focused online store builder while the later is focused on mobile (smartphones).

Some of you might have been thinking how to utilise the best of both worlds and minimise its individual adverse effects. One possible way to do this is by building your brand through your online store website and sharing it over marketplace websites, to leverage on the huge customer-traffic. Once you include your store link in the marketplace, customers would be more likely to visit your online store and see more of your product offerings. Your store’s reputation can also be built when it aggregates enough customer reviews. It takes time and patience to build customer reviews, but it strengthens the utmost fundamentals of any business- trust.

On the other hand, you should know your product’s margin before deploying this strategy. Although it may seem lucrative, this may increase the costs of selling the product too. For young start-ups, cash flow problem is the number-one assassin to destroy any business. The inability to finance your inventory, engage in marketing activity and keep up with your fixed cost of hosting a website as well as percentage of sales cost when transacting over marketplace, would force your business to close shop.

Hence, it is best to start off with low cost structure, in strategizing the choice of online store builder, selling medium and most efficient way to reach your customer.