It’s natural for a modern retailer to have an online presence. An e-commerce store offers an additional sales channel for a modern retailer. Also, it allows you to serve consumers through digital as well as physical channels which has, more or less, become essential in modern retail.
Thankfully, there are a number of options available today for merchants looking to open an online store. For instance, there are off-the-shelf online solutions available today including Magento and Shopify that allow merchants to set up their own branded online store. Another option available for you is online marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.
These days, retailers are increasingly choosing the multichannel route when it comes to e-commerce. Carrot Tomato is a popular home and giftware store that initially sold products only through its own branded shop. The company noticed that many of their customers preferred buying things from eBay. Recognizing this need, they also started selling on eBay through several accounts in order to cater to the needs of these customers.
If this strategy makes financial sense for your own business, you should also seriously consider something similar. In addition to your online store, you may want to sell on the popular online marketplaces including eBay, Amazon, and Etsy among others. It has the potential to increase your sales and visibility multiple times as you should be able to tap into the built-in audiences of these sites.
All online marketplaces have their own advantages and you need to do some homework in order to figure out the right marketplace before you sign up. All the online marketplaces charge some sort of seller fees. Some of these marketplaces are suitable for only certain types of customers or products.
Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular online marketplaces for retailers. In this quick guide, we will take you through various pros and cons of selling on these sites and will also help you with some tips on how to sell better through these online marketplaces.
Pros and Cons of Selling on Online Marketplaces
One of the biggest advantages of selling on the existing online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy is that they have a huge built-in audience base that gives them a really wide reach. The huge database of customers available with these online marketplaces allows you to tap into this huge customer base that shops there regularly.
Another huge advantage of selling on the online marketplaces is that these have much lower marketing and advertising costs as most of the work is already done for increasing visibility of your products. Their excellent search feature allows customers to find your items easily. They also advertise products for their sellers. For instance, retargeting ads are run by Amazon to target people who leave the site without completing their purchase.
All the online marketplaces charge some kind of fee to retailers selling on their platform. It can be monthly fees or a cut of the sales. The fees vary depending on the type of store or on your sales, and therefore, it’s important that you thoroughly read the fine print before signing up.
As a retailer, you won’t get a lot of freedom for branding and customization of your products. All the merchant pages on marketplaces such as Etsy or Amazon look the same and there are only a few things available for customization such as product photos and text. So, it’s difficult for you to make your brand stand out in the crowded marketplace.
In this section, we’ll cover the specific fees, procedures, and policies for three major online marketplaces.
Amazon gives you two options as a seller. You can choose to be an individual seller or a professional seller. This choice will depend on the number of items that you plan to sell every month on their platform. The individual seller accounts are best for someone who does not plan to sell more than 40 items each month. The fees for individual seller accounts include USD 0.99 for each item in addition to referral fees and variable closing fees.
On the other hand, professional sellers can sell unlimited items for a fixed monthly fee of USD 39.99 each month in addition to variable selling fees. The professional accounts also get some additional features such as customized shipping rates, gift wrap option, special promotions option and use of the Amazon’s reporting and listing tools among others. Another advantage of a professional seller account is that they can get for placement on the product detail pages and they are also eligible for selling products in a much wider range of categories.
To get started, you will need to create a seller account and confirm your contact information. In addition, a seller is also required to specify an automatic payment method. This is used by the platform for seller fees as well as the Moneyback Guarantee Reimbursement. eBay also recommend sellers to get PayPal verified as it helps in enhancing your credibility. It also allows you to have higher spending and withdrawal limits in addition to allowing you to list your items on international eBay sites.
After setting up your account, you have the ability to create and manage your product listing and also, interact with your customers. The fees charged by the platform will depend on the category, shipping costs as well as listing type among other things. eBay also provides a fee calculator in case you want to figure out how much fees you will be required to pay. You can also use eBay to sell via your own site if you use an eBay store widget.
Etsy is a specialized marketplace as it’s well-known as a marketplace that caters specifically to artists, crafters as well as collectors looking to sell vintage products (need to be above 20 years of age), crafting supplies and handmade creations. It’s easy to set up a shop on the platform as you are also allowed to use Facebook Connect. The only thing you need to figure out is the name of your shop on their platform.
Listing the products on the platform is easy as you are guided throughout the process. Be ready to answer the questions such as the maker of the product, type of item, date of creation and other such things. You will also need to provide some other standard details including shipping details, photos and description of the item.
Etsy does not charge its members a monthly membership fee but they charge a fee of USD 0.2 for listing an item for a period of four months. In addition, they also charge a 3.5% cut of the final selling price. Other fees vary as per the item being sold. Some of the other fees include direct checkout fee, promoted listings fee and multi-quantities fee among others.
Tips for More Effective Selling on Online Marketplaces
One of the ways to sell more on these online marketplaces is to optimize your listing. While the listing optimization details will vary for each platform but there are some general rules you can follow on each platform in order to stay ahead. Make sure to include the right keywords for your item and it’s also important to have an engaging and informative description of your items. The actual description will depend on the specific marketplace. For instance, Etsy encourages sellers to tell the real story behind the item in order to get more sales as sharing the story appeals more to the target market.
The quality of photos that you choose to upload on these marketplaces can make a big difference. Needless to say, people are unable to see or touch products for sale online and you can take advantage of this huge barrier by showcasing your product through various angles, and even a video that shows the product in action.
While the option for customization is limited but you have space to add your personality to your online shop and stand out among the competitors by being responsive. As a seller, you will get a lot of chances to talk to your customers on these marketplaces and you should grab this opportunity. Make sure that you always thank your customers for buying or getting in touch with you. You should always be prompt with your responses and do not forget to provide answers to their queries in an engaging manner.
Use Multichannel Selling Tools
When you sell products on many different marketplaces, it becomes a bit tricky to manage inventory but a multichannel inventory management solution such as Stitch can make life easy for you. Stitch syncs your inventory data across various channels that make it easy for you to get all the required information at one place.