As businesses evolve, entrepreneurs continue to look for ways to conduct their business in a more simplified way, both for their and their customers’ sake. Brick-and-mortar businesses are beginning to realize that website owners who run businesses online have an advantage over them.
Physical shops are starting to offer online shopping on their websites since it is an opportunity for them to expand their business reach. According to ecommerce statistics, there are 209 million online shoppers in the US, and it is estimated that China will generate $1.7 trillion in 2020. It is obvious that ecommerce is changing marketing dynamics.
Stepping into the world of ecommerce can be quite challenging for first-time users. The very first question is whether you want to build a standalone e-commerce site or join a marketplace website. Even though both options are fine, it is crucial to examine the advantages and disadvantages of each one. That will help you decide on the more suitable option.
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Standalone and Marketplace: What Do They Mean?
A standalone website is a website built by you, where only your products and services are available. Businesses with a physical presence usually choose this option as they want to build their reputation and increase popularity.
A marketplace website, on the other hand, is a platform where multiple online vendors list their products and services. Most online vendors without a physical presence, who are just looking to sell rather than build a brand, usually opt for it.
Which Is Better?
A standalone website is not a top choice for most retailers as it usually involves some technicality, especially when it comes to the use of ecommerce software. They would instead opt to offer their products on marketplace websites, such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and others.
Although shopping sites are an excellent option for you to kick off the online market easily without much technical know-how, you do not own any website. It can be compared to a shopping mall, where you merely rent a space and share the whole building with other sellers. That means having to deal with competition as other merchants with similar products will also be present on the platform.
Comparing the Two
Many marketplace websites are already a popular choice for online buyers. Hence, placing your products on such platforms is a wise choice. What this also means is that the cost of advertising and increasing brand awareness is lesser compared to a standalone ecommerce site.
Marketplace sites offer a wide customer base. Amazon, for example, has one of the largest customer bases.
According to statistics by BigCommerce, over 197 million people worldwide visit Amazon every month. That is quite a staggering amount of traffic, even greater than the population of some countries. This number will most likely continue to grow as more people switch to shopping online. In terms of customer base, a standalone ecommerce website may not be able to compete.
Level of Trust
Marketplace websites have built a strong bond with customers over time, making new products easier to be accepted by buyers who visit the site. In this case, you do not have to try so hard to convince customers to purchase your products. That is because customers trust the marketplace website and not the product itself.
Cassandra Droogan, PYSIS founder and president, suggests that customers feel more comfortable buying on Amazon as it is a trusted website.
When utilizing a marketplace site for selling your products, a significant challenge is a competition that usually comes with it. The competition is fierce, and there will surely be situations where other online vendors happen to be selling the same products you are offering.
Even in cases where no one is offering the same product, there will be products that are similar to the one you are selling. In other words, the competition will always exist. This is where a standalone website is a better option, as customers who visit your website will only see your products, so the competition will not be a problem anymore.
If you are looking to promote your brand, a marketplace site might not be your best option. That is because the marketplace’s name receives more attention than your brand’s name.
A standalone website offers you the option of custom branding for your business, from the website name to its logo.
Website Management and Technical Support
Setting up and managing a standalone ecommerce website can become too much to handle and may require lots of time and finances. Most marketplace websites like eBay and Amazon offer technical support (e.g., inventory management) that helps lighten the burden of website management.
Whether you are going for a standalone or marketplace ecommerce website, one thing you can be sure of is that ecommerce is changing business dynamics in today’s world. With worldwide retail ecommerce sales projected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021, you might want to consider setting up an ecommerce store for your business today.