Part I – E-Commerce Marketplaces
The list of Internet stores open for business is growing at a rapid pace. Each one has slight differences depending on your goals. You have the big name store, Amazon, and on-line auction giant, EBay. So how do you know where to sell your products? Here is a simple overview of some of the top marketplaces and what they offer to you as a seller.
EBay – EBay is a great marketplace if you have unique items you want to put up for auction. You can also offer fixed price sales if your items are widely available. After a sale, buyers give you a feedback to promote your ratings as a seller. Beware as this can be either a positive experience, or a negative one. However, EBay has recognized this and is changing how they measure performance by using a new ‘defect rate’ calculation to measure sellers ratings. As one of the largest on-line marketplaces, EBay can give you great exposure. http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/Index.html
Amazon – Amazon is the current leader and is known as the worlds largest online retailer. Most countries have their own domain version of the Amazon marketplace. Here in the US we shop on Amazon.com. If you live in Canada, you shop on Amazon.CA, and so on! But even though they are all part of Amazon, each is treated as a separate marketplace requiring you to contract with each entity. Amazon can offer you enormous exposure as well as flexibility in selling your items. Once you list your items in their massive catalog potential customers can do a simple search to find your product! But keep in mind the search will also find your competitors (including Amazon itself) offering the same items. Competitor prices are displayed allowing buyers to pick who they choose to purchase from. They also offer various services you can elect to utilize like setting up your own personalized “Amazon WebStore” where you can build your personazlied web page using Amazon templates, or utilize “Amazon Fulfillment” where you send your inventory to an Amazon fulfilment center and they complete the sales process for you by shipping to your customer! https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/homepage.html
Rakuten – Even though they’ve been around since 1999, this marketplace is not as well known here in the US like Amazon, however, the company has enormous Japanese presence and has become a major worldwide online marketplace for both buyers and sellers. While selling on Rakuten, you don’t have to worry about competing with Rakuten as a merchant like you do on Amazon. They also go out of their way to do a lot of advertising to potential customers about upcoming sales and merchandise available on their site. But, as with all marketplaces, selling on Rakuten could have its downfall. Since many of your customers could be located in a country outside the United States, you will have to consider the high shipping costs as a factor in your selling price, no matter who is paying the shipping cost! http://www.rakuten.com/sell/
Etsy – if you are an artsy, crafty person and make your own products, this is the marketplace for you! Etsy attracts customers from all over the world looking for unique or vintage items making Etsy a great place to set-up shop. But the site has a reputation of only being as good as the customers who sell on the site. You as a seller are responsible to fulfill your orders so your customers come back. You are responsible to keep Etsy as the top known crafters marketplace. http://www.etsy.com/sell
When it comes to selling online there are endless possibilities and marketplaces. Some old, some new. You may have heard of Yahoo, Craigslist, and Overstock.com. Here is a great link to an article posted on Ordoro.com last year that gives a very good overview of many of the top contenders: https://www.ordoro.com/blog/2013/05/03/where-to-sell-a-short-guide-to-major-online-marketplaces-part-1/
But have you heard of these smaller stores, which too, offer their own unique reasons why you might want to list your products thru them: www.zazzle.com, www.oodle.com, www.ecrater.com, www.bonanzle.com
If you are interested in e-commerce marketplaces your personal attention should be given to researching each marketplace for their seller rules and requirements. Each entity has unique fee structures and content requirements that you need to make sure you understand before you sign up in order to establish and achieve your full selling capability. Be sure to read the Inspire Technologies Blog dated 3/8/2011 “Internet Storefront Start-Up Checklist” for additional information!
If your business is large enough and you are ready to automate your process into any of these marketplaces, contact Inspire Technologies to learn how we can assist you in “Growing your E-Commerce Business”.
Check back for Part II – Managing Your Inventory