Day 14: Choosing the best eCommerce platform to sell.

In the last topic HERE, we did fix a pricing strategy for the products we have decided to sell. In this article lets choose a good & convenient eCommerce platform to sell.

Get regular quality TRAFFIC that just CONVERTS!

Even before deciding on which eCommerce platform to sell, lets check out the Pro’s & Con’s of selling on established marketplaces like Amazon, eBay etc.

PRO’s

  • Have a HUGE audience already.
  • People like to BUY on a trusted & established marketplace with a big brand name.
  • No headache’s of technology etc. Everything is taken care by the Marketplace, including shipping, delivery etc.

That’s it…. cant think of anything more ( please do lemme know in the comments if there are any more significant PRO’s )

CON’s

  • Price war: 1000 different sellers sell the same product we sell. They compete on the price and some are ready to bring it down to peanuts!
  • CHINA: Yes, China is an issue here. Off-late manufacturers from China are directly listing their products in these marketplaces at such rates, that no-one else can sell anything!
  • Very Strict rules: Thanks to the massive success of these BIG marketplaces that they are no more dependent on the sellers. One small mistake you do & you are banned for life ( they dont even care if you have been a loyal seller for 5+ years in the marketplace ). All the reputation you have built over the years, just gone in a snap. Accept it or not, Its just a pain in the neck to always be frightened of these rules & do business.
  • Fraudulent Reviews & Ratings: This is off-late becoming a trend. There are now services offered to post positive reviews. Competitors compete by spending money and buying such services. This is not the bad part. Lot many merchants compete by ordering your items to only leave negative reviews & ratings, to confuse your Buyers. The worst part is, the marketplaces have not yet found a solution for this. Just imagine you have a hot selling product with 100 good reviews & suddenly 10 super negative reviews land. That is end of story!
  • Growing Commission & Fee: As it is, the competition is fierce & the price war is seeing no limits. While we plan on keeping the profit margin’s low, the marketplaces put in their hands with all the listing fee’s, commission etc. This makes it extremely difficult to keep the price stable against competition and ends up in low sales.
  • No Branding: From listing of a product to delivery, 90% of the brand equity goes to the marketplace. Your product brand does not at all stick in the buyers mind. Which means you would be dependent on the Marketplaces for sales all along.

With all the above limitations, I guess the only major advantage in going with these huge marketplaces is the existing massive amount of Traffic. I don’t see any other significant advantage. So here is what I have decided:

  • List the products in a couple of Big Marketplaces ( Mainly to take advantage of the traffic > Acquire customers & pull them to my eCommerce site for up-selling other products )
  • Make a list of at-least 100 other small Marketplaces ( that not many know of ) & list the products there at a more profitable price point.
  • Establish my own multi-vendor marketplace & start selling my products alone ( as per the strategy discussed earlier here)

Cool, so the only thing I need to work on now is to setup my own Marketplace.

The first option that comes to mind to setup a Marketplace easily is using a hosted SAAS model like Shopify. After doing a bit of research, its clear that such hosted models are geared only towards creating an effective Single Vendor eCommerce stores. There are a couple of 3rd party plugins available, using which we can create a sort of a marketplace. But its too vague and looks terrible. So clearly a hosted solution like Shopify isn't the Answer.

The next option is to get a Turn-key Multi-Vendor eCommerce solution and deploy it. There are plenty of such ready-made eCommerce platforms available. To name a few good ones:

  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • Prime Fusion
  • Big Commerce
  • PrestaShop
  • Drupal

In the next topic, lets do a comparison among the above platforms and choose one to sell the products on.

Checkout the next topic: Comparison of eCommerce platforms.
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