You are trying to use your online presence and turn it into something more tangible than good reputation but you are not certain how to do it. If you are looking into increasing your revenue by not only offering but also selling your services online, you need to know that there are several roads you can take.
However, two have proved to be the most efficient and widespread, e-commerce websites and online marketplaces. The choice between the two depends on your business’s state, needs, and goals. Try to have those three things defined and run them against that which each of the two roads has to offer.
Technical side and costs involved
Look at an e-commerce webpage as a part of your business, one of the stores in your chain. On the other hand, perceive a marketplace as a service you are hiring. This analogy will help you instantly notice the difference between what each of these entails.
An E-commerce website is something you need to build. Unless your main line of work is web design and webpage development, you will need to hire someone else to do this for you. Not only that you will need someone to create the page, you will also need someone to help you maintain it regularly and fix any issues that come up.
Furthermore, you will need to pay the fees for the third party enabling the money transactions to take place, as well as the taxes involved in having an online store. This goes hand-in-hand with other expenses any store has such as warehouse, staff, and delivery. These are probably only some of the things which will come up before and when you get the page running.
Quite the opposite, if you turn to a marketplace, you can upload your products onto a ready-made platform. You do not have to think about web design or any fees. Some marketplaces offer free memberships, others charge, but overall the expense is nowhere close to those of building a website.
Looking at the previous paragraph, you can notice that the cost of getting your products online through an e-commerce website is much greater when compared to that of doing the same thing but through an online marketplace.
We know that each one of those has its perks.
Being cheaper and easier to manage is the perk of a marketplace. You would think that consequently, you can earn more as you have invested less. However, think about the competition. The fact that there are other brands offered on the same marketplace means that you have to offer more competitive prices and that there are more distractions for your customers since they have a greater variety laid out in front of them.
E-commerce is a page dedicated to celebrating your product line and it allows you to have higher margins. The chances are that a larger percentage of visits to a webpage results in purchasing your product if it is your e-commerce site we are talking about and not a marketplace.
Branding and reputation
Depending on what it is you are selling, sometimes it can be beneficial to include your product in a bulk of other products. Perhaps these are complementary products and they can affect buyers to spend more than they actually would.
To give an example, if you are selling batteries, it might be good to sell them side by side with a product which uses those batteries; if you are selling phone accessories, you want to offer them at a place where people come to buy phones.
However, if you feel that your products are unique and the fact that they are sold alongside other similar products may hurt your sales or reputation, you are better off selling them through an e-commerce webpage.
This type of website will help you boost your brand identity, and according to GWM, your online rankings as it will attract more traffic than a simple web-presentation of your business. You will be personally responsible for your customer’s satisfaction in terms of payments, delivery, and performance.
This means that if you take it seriously, you can promote your brand the way you would never be able to through an online marketplace.
Marketing and traffic
Once you have your products offered in a marketplace, you no longer have anything to do with their promotion. The owner of the marketplace has their best interest in selling as much as they can and this also includes your offer.
They will do the marketing to attract as many customers as possible to the marketplace. The rate of the traffic they have is something you probably will not be able to reach in months after starting your e-commerce site.
The downside to this is that these will not be your customers, and not all traffic the marketplace attracts will show up on your sales. Also, the customers are not your customers even if they decide to purchase your products. You will have no means of knowing who they are nor how they can be reached. This leaves you with no leads and no customer rapport.
However, if you are the one managing all of the sales and dealing with customer details, you will have plenty of leads and satisfied customers to include in your future campaigns. Speaking of marketing campaigns, you can design them and conduct them whichever way you find fit if you choose to build an e-commerce page.
You had a chance of seeing that both approaches to sales have their pros and cons. Perhaps, you can use the best of both and decide to take your business both lanes. Create an e-commerce website and promote your brand.
Brand identity is what will help your company survive and fight its competitors. Apart from that, use the fact that an online marketplace has fewer costs involved and is less engaging to have your products visible and available to a greater number of customers.
If you manage to build a good name for yourself, your products will have no trouble fighting the competition and you will be a leader on the market.
Here you can also find more information on this topic: Pros and cons of running a marketplace model business.