There are billions of products listed online on millions of ecommerce sites. Some on online marketplaces like eBay & Amazon, and others on customized websites created using platforms like Shopify. Whichever platform gets utilized to secure a sale, the objective of sellers is the same – to make a sale. Then why you may ask, there’re so many different kinds of selling platforms? Each platform caters to different selling needs and offers functionalities that serve them; therefore, before you decide where and how to sell your products, you need an understanding of the pros and cons of different ecommerce platforms and your needs.
Understanding your needs
It’s crucial to understand your selling needs; if you don’t realize your requirements, then failure is inevitable.
Budget: What is your budget? Can you afford to set up a new website to sell your products? Analyze if you can bear the losses if your business doesn’t perform well online.
Expertise: Know your expertise and what you need to learn to develop, run and maintain an ecommerce store. If any training is required, how will that impact your current operations, and how much time would be required?
Type of product: Research which platforms are more suitable for selling your products – is there any successful platform specific to your product type?– and which platforms get more traffic from the audience that caters to your product.
Product display needs: Each product & company has different parameters to be defined. However, not all ecommerce platforms provide enough features to display products fully. Look what the customer needs to see and know – videos, comparison tools, customization options, 360-degree view, etc.
Once you’ve considered your needs, you must choose the platform that matches them. Therefore, it’s essential to learn about the pros & cons of each platform.
These platforms enable setting up webstore on its servers and provide other infrastructure required for running and maintaining an ecommerce store.
Easy set-up: Webstores on the Saas platform are easy to set up with little expertise.
Fully hosted: No need to maintain & upgrade the server.
Integration facilities: Allow integration with different apps to increase your website's functionality.
Cost: Saas software charges subscription fees and commission on each sale. Additionally, some apps on Saas platforms can cost as well.
Limited control: You’ve limited control over your webstore as the platform provides the server and hosting.
Online marketplaces allow users to sell their products on their website, listing products from other vendors as well.
Low setup cost: Most marketplaces allow selling without any initial charges and charge a commission only when you sell.
Large customer base: Established marketplaces attract many customers making it easier for start-ups to secure sales.
No expertise: No expertise is needed to set up a webstore; anyone can start selling instantaneously as soon as they create an account.
Limited configuration: You have limited to no options available for configuration – products get displayed in a standard format offered by the marketplace.
High competition: As you have other vendors in the marketplace, customers could become distracted
Brand image restrictions: It’s hard to create your brand image, unlike personalized webstores, where you can design webpages and offers representing your brand.
Social media is a great place to reach people
No selling price: No commission or set up fees – just create a business page & start selling.
Easy to promote: Promote your product easily across millions of users for free using social media posts.
Customer engagement: Customers can comment, like, share, and tag their friends in your posts; this boosts your products’ reach to more audiences.
Limited functionality: Social media offers limited functions compared to primary ecommerce platforms.
Limited payment & shipping options: Integrated payment & shipping options are usually not provided; therefore, sellers need third-party service providers.
Limited configuration: Absence of a personalized & unique touch that is available to standalone webstores.
Choosing the right ecommerce platform is a deliberate task – one should decide after understanding each platform and then matching it with their requirements. However, if you have a physical business and looking to step into ecommerce, the x2x team can help you set up a webstore and integrate it with your existing business solution.