As an online business owner, how do you know when it's better to go with an e-commerce solution or a marketplace?
Both have their benefits and drawbacks and knowing which option is best for your brand is important.
We'll go over some of the most important factors to consider when making this decision. We'll also provide some examples of each so you can better understand what they look like in practice. Let's go ahead and break out the definitions and features of each.
The Definition of an E-commerce Website
E-commerce is the act of purchasing or selling goods or services through the Internet using electronic data or money. This definition has evolved to include more specific instances of buying and selling via online platforms, e.g., Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce.
These pre-built platforms make it easier for businesses to get their online stores up and running.
The Definition of a Marketplace Website
An e-commerce site that connects a variety of merchants and customers is known as an online marketplace. The marketplace owner owns the platform and helps individuals connect their products with buyers.
Companies utilize marketplaces to connect with clients interested in buying their goods and services. Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist are all examples of online marketplaces.
Benefits of E-commerce Platforms
- E-commerce websites provide considerable control of the website's functionality, navigation, and design. This means you are managing your website, from updating your logo to tweaking various design elements.
- E-commerce websites often allow for customer data collection. This allows you to save more information on customers for future marketing. Individuals can sign up for a mailing list and can typically follow you on social media.
- E-commerce websites allow you to build brand recognition. When customers put in your URL, they will be directed to your website, where they will be able to associate your products and services with that URL.
- You can develop the shopper experience you want based on your company values.
You can pretty much sell almost anything. If a consumer doesn't like something you sell, you can deal with it on your terms without the risk of being suspended or banned by the platform.
Benefits of a Using an Online Marketplace Platform
- It's easy to startup. Online marketplaces are made to be simple to navigate.
- You can create a storefront in minutes and then make use of payment processing and advertising revenue.
- You can distribute and ship channels in a fraction of the time it would take to find and register for these services on your own.
- There is little need for technical expertise or marketing resources. Unlike maintaining your website, you won't need much technical knowledge to start selling on marketplaces.
- No web server maintenance.
- Marketplaces are the best protection against hacks or outages in terms of reliability, so you can rest confident that your store will be open when your customers need to shop.
- You won't have to worry about maintaining your server or updating your plug-ins on a website. All of this takes place behind the scenes, which is one of the marketplace's advantages.
These are some brief notes on whether to consider an e-commerce storefront or leverage an existing marketplace to sell your items.