There are various benefits to selling items through the internet. You can reach a bigger number of customers than a typical brick-and-mortar business, sell at any time of day, and save the cost of building a physical storefront.
However, the term “online” has a wide definition. There appears to be an infinite amount of eCommerce options and eCommerce trends and tips, as facilities keep sprouting up on a regular basis. It might be challenging to choose the perfect place for your firm to sell items online.
What’s the similarity between an eCommerce site and an online marketplace? As a retailer, how do you choose between the two? Is making a decision even necessary? Here’s all you need to know about marketplace vs eCommerce and launching your online sales channel, as well as how each option is strategically positioned to help you grow, regardless of the retail landscape’s future.
Choosing Between Online Marketplace vs eCommerce Platforms, Which is Better?
Which choice is best for your business? Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of selling your items on and through a marketplace in this ongoing battle between marketplace vs eCommerce.
1. In Terms of Customer Acquisition
The process of bringing in customers into your shop and persuading people to buy your products is known as customer acquisition. It involves a number of strategies from moving customers from brand awareness to purchase decisions via the marketing funnel.
Marketplace: Marketplaces are already known to be established and well-respected websites. People are accustomed to making purchases on marketplaces and prefer to visit them rather than go elsewhere to learn about new goods.
Many marketplaces are well-known, with millions of clients shopping for items of various purposes. It’s not difficult to get your products in front of potential customers.
ECommerce Platforms: Obtaining clients using eCommerce platforms, on the other hand, necessitates advertising and getting your brand out there. You’ll need to employ a lot of digital marketing strategies such as SEO, content, email and video marketing to get your message out there. It’s only difficult at first but once you grab some people’s attention, you’ll almost certainly receive their recommendations.
One other advantage of using eCommerce platforms is that only you can place your products on your website. You’ll be the only seller on your own platform, so no one will be enticed to buy something from another shop when you just have your own to sell.
If you are a beginner in eCommerce, the marketplace probably will be the best option at first. It is easier to test out your products in marketplaces if they are marketable enough due to the volume of users that come and go through the marketplace website.
2. Trust Factor
Customer trust levels are likely to be influenced by perceived market orientation, site quality, technological trustworthiness, and the user’s web experience. When it comes to eCommerce, those who have a higher assessment of site quality seem to have a higher view of market orientation and trustworthiness.
Marketplace: People are more ready to place their orders from a marketplace like Etsy, Amazon, or EBay rather than from a website they’ve never heard of. Marketplaces also allow customers to place their reviews easily so it is easy for others to decide whether to purchase a product or not.
ECommerce Platforms: Product reviews do a lot in influencing trust from customers. With eCommerce platforms, you will need to rely on third-party applications or solutions to enable your customers to place a review. If you miss this part, then your store will likely fail. Building trust in eCommerce platforms might also take more time, so you’ll need to employ a lot of marketing strategies at first and prove your products worthy before you can influence a lot more people in buying them.
Marketplaces can be saturated with the same product over and over again. However, sellers are for sure more mindful of their reputation since they have a lot of competition. Because of this, more people are opting to buy from such since quality products and offers are the only keys to convert.
3. Brand Awareness
Your company’s brand awareness helps consumers recognize and remember it. If you have a high level of brand awareness, more people will identify your logo, messaging, and products. Is brand recognition a marketing tactic? This concept, like brand awareness, is broad.
Marketplace: As mentioned above, you’re going to be competing with other brands that might sell the same product or an even better version of it. They’ll probably know the colors of your brand but smart competition will probably apply the same palette and even use a name that sounds almost identical to yours. This way they can mooch off your marketing while minimizing their own.
However, it’s not all bad, when you’re on a popular marketplace you’re exposed to a lot of people. When people look for ergonomic chairs and you specialize in those, you can probably appear at the top of the options.
ECommerce Platforms: You’re on your own: that means unless people know of your site you’re not going to be appearing on other people’s search list in a marketplace. However, once they know of you and your quality, they won’t need to leave your site when they need what you specialised in.
It’s a toss-up between marketplaces and eCommerce platforms. Sometimes, being exposed to millions of customers may mean being exposed to copycats. However, when you’re on an eCommerce platform that means you’re on your own which has its own pros and cons.
4. Marketing and Promotions
Offering bargains and discounts to online shoppers as part of marketing and promotion can help you attract new customers and enhance revenue. Furthermore, these deals have the potential to convert new visitors into loyal clients and repeat sales.
Marketplace: Sometimes, you can control the sales the platform may provide. Lots of people may have vouchers that they can use to get discounts which means you’ll probably be losing out on some sales. Hopefully, this can translate into repeat customers who will buy later on at a full price.
Some marketplaces have an image they want to project so they may require you to present yourselves in a specific way. You can definitely use eCommerce tools here to help you with that.
ECommerce Platforms: You control when you’re going on sale and how low your prices can go and you can control how you promote your brand. You have no one who you need to answer to except yourself and your brand.
Despite its drawbacks, marketing and promotions would be better in eCommerce platforms especially if you have already made a name for yourself.
Customer care is sometimes forgotten in eCommerce due to the continual focus on recruiting new clients. However, such a strategy might end up costing you money in the long run. Consider how crucial customer service is in eCommerce and online markets, and take the necessary steps to provide excellent assistance to your consumers. Supporting your clients entails more than just resolving the issues they bring to you.
Marketplace: While third-party marketplace providers have technological challenges from time to time, the majority are hosted by huge cloud providers that also serve other significant organizations. In terms of dependability, they are the best-protected against hackers or outages, so you can be certain that your business will be open when your consumers need to shop. You won’t have to bother about upgrading your WordPress plug-ins or managing your server. All of this happens behind the scenes, which is one of the major advantages of a marketplace.
ECommerce Platforms: Although you have the help of the platform to make sure the site is ongoing, sometimes you may not be able to provide or receive support 24/7.
Regardless of the platform you use, you’ll find that you have competition. You’re either competing with people within the marketplace or you’re competing against other eCommerce platforms.
Marketplace: You’ll be vying for the attention of other shops, sometimes you’re the one they pick, and other times you’re the one they ignore.
ECommerce Platforms: Your website will exclusively sell your products, and you’ll never have to pay for advertising to get your listings to show above identical items offered by your competitors or to rank higher on your own site. An eCommerce solution is great for people who want to be the most highly pushed in their sector.
It’s better to go with an eCommerce platform in terms of competition because you’re only competing with yourself.
7. Convenience and Maintenance
Why would anyone use your platform if it’s not convenient? From delivery to adding products to a cart, and making sure the site never goes down.
Marketplace: eCommerce can be made easier with the help of an online marketplace, especially for beginning merchants. The infrastructure is already in place, saving retailers the time and effort of having to construct a website from the ground up.
Because no single vendor owns an online marketplace, the transaction and payment are handled by the marketplace. To add and change product listings, the seller must go through a few processes.
ECommerce Platforms: When you’re using an eCommerce platform, you’re responsible for the maintenance of your site. Sometimes, you may need to take the site down for a while to upgrade it and make it better. Time down is money wasted – even if you have reasons to keep the site down for a time.
Even though Marketplace seems like the best option, it doesn’t mean it cannot go down. If the whole site has issues, it might trickle down and affect you too. However, since you’re just a seller and not someone who needs to maintain, you wait on the marketplace owners to fix issues on their end.
There may not be a clear winner in the Marketplace vs eCommerce conflict. This is due to the fact that they both provide some extremely appealing benefits for specific firms. You must determine which qualities are most essential to you. When making your final decision, consider the following list of questions:
- Do we place a higher emphasis on customization and brand branding than on ease of use and turn-key solutions?
- Is it one of our long-term aims to develop a standalone website with our own domain name?
- What kind of advertising do we wish to conduct?
- Do we market a product that is edgy, controversial, or heavily regulated (or could become heavily regulated in the future)?
- Are our company values compatible with those of a third-party vendor?
- Are the clients we’re looking for already using third-party vendor sites?
When customers buy something online, they’re usually unconcerned with how their money is collected or their orders are fulfilled behind the scenes. They want to place an order and have it delivered to their home.
What matters is your long-term strategy. While using a marketplace tool is the simplest way to get started selling, it’s limited in terms of growth, permissions, and branding. If you don’t care too much about making your online store “your own,” marketplaces can help you get up and running quickly with the least amount of time and effort.
Yen Pedrajas is a full-stack SEO specialist and content writer. She also has experience in developing Shopify & WooCommerce online websites and writes about social media marketing, digital marketing, and ecommerce.
She currently works as the Lead Editor at Removal.AI – an advanced AI background removal tool used to edit background image for ecommerce and marketing automation purposes.