Online Marketplace vs Independent Shop
With eCommerce changing the face of the retail marketplace at an ever-increasing pace, nobody can afford to ignore the trends. Brick and mortar stores are the worst affected, but still fill an important function.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are not advanced enough yet to replace the tactility of actually seeing, touching and feeling a product. Until they are, first time buyers will still migrate towards traditional retail. Another function these physical stores fulfil is offering a more personal and tailored experience to the shopper, a more intimate connection.
While eCommerce is far from replacing the traditional marketplace channels, it begs the question. You know you need to get selling online, but do you join a large marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Takealot? Do you set up your own independent web store? Do you perhaps even do both?
Let’s go to Market
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the easiest and fastest way to generate sales is through a marketplace. That may be true in many respects, like being instantly exposed to a large audience in a known and trusted environment, there are considerations to make. You will be selling alongside hundreds or thousands of other vendors offering similar or identical products.
How do you stand out from the crowd then? You will likely be compelled to compete on pricing. You arrive at a price point that makes you competitive, now you’ll have to consider the commission these platforms charge. Often being upwards of 20%, does your markup allow room for this commission?
Let’s open our own Shop in the marketplace
Building on what we covered above, opening your own online Shop allows you to offer that personal experience. You trade on the strength of your own brand. You can connect more directly with customers, gaining their trust and loyalty, improving the likelihood of repeat purchases. You can market your products in unique and special ways. These are among the reasons that having your own Shop is the way to go.
There is also a growing movement in the culture of shopping local. People are awakening to the concept of supporting small business rather than further enriching the world’s largest corporations. This is becoming a social and moral imperative. Having your own Shop may take a little more effort in terms of marketing, but the rewards are all yours.
So where to next?
There are a plethora of options out there. Many position themselves as free and easy, terms that don’t usually go together. Keep an eye out for fine print, hidden fees and other paid services you will need to make those work when entering the marketplace.
At the other end of the scale there are web design agencies that will build a Shop for you. Budget for the build, then the hosting, then the payment gateways etc. You will end up with a properly designed and developed platform that is all your own.
Then, nicely positioned in the middle, we at OnShop have the best of both worlds for you. Right out of the box you will have a full-featured, easy to use, rock solid & secure, personal and independent store with everything built in. All of this at reasonable rates and no contracts or hidden fees.