It is now easier than ever to set up an online store and market your business in the digital sphere. Whether you want to grow your business from scratch or you want increased online sales to complement your bricks-and-mortar store, online marketplaces offer wide flexibility.
As a small retailer, you can benefit from online marketplaces they can help you build awareness of your business and reach new audiences. Its important to choose your selling platform wisely though, to ensure lucrative success. Depending on the nature of your business and the products you sell, you may be best suited to an expansive online platform or a more niche one.
Here are four of the best online platforms to start growing your marketplace digitally.
Perhaps the most obvious online platform, Amazon is highly credited and attractive to a wide range of businesses. If you sell more than one type of product (e.g. books and music), you can use Amazon to market everything in one place. As a platform that is easily recognisable, trusted, and the number-one choice for many online shoppers, you can benefit from reaching an expansive audience.
One of the key downsides to using Amazon is, of course, the strong competition more customers and more businesses go hand in hand, so you might find it difficult to stand out from the crowd. However, this platform gives you the flexibility to regularly adjust your pricing to beat your competitors and offer the lowest price. This is especially advantageous if a lot of other sellers have posted the same product. Also, Amazons customer reviews algorithm can work effectively to place your products above your competitors
Next in line to the ecommerce throne, eBay remains unique over other major platforms for its auction, best-offer, and immediate-sale options. Unlike the fixed prices customers face from the likes of Amazon, eBay can be more attractive due to the flexible pricing. You can change your prices at any time and choose how long to set your listing live for sometimes, shorter listings will increase urgency, prompting a customer to a quicker purchase; whilst longer listings mean less maintenance and allow for your product to be found.
Another good feature of eBay is that it can help you grow your business on an international scale, with their international postage calculator.
Quickly growing in popularity over the last few years, Not on the High Street is ideal for creative businesses, specialist makers and hand-crafted goods retailers. If you have a number of different products but are still operating in a rather niche market, your business may be best suited to this platform. Calling itself a platform for unique and thoughtful gifts, existing sellers range from jewellery makers and notecard designers to chocolatiers and homeware craftsmen.
The CMS is streamlined to use, and provides multiple filtering, categorising and keyword solutions so that you can optimise your product listings to reach the right audience. More recently, the platform has proved to sometimes out-play ecommerce giants eBay and Amazon in Google search results due to Not on the High Streets continuing advertising efforts, both online and offline.
However, the platform is rather competitive, which can make it harder for your audience to find your products over your competitors. Many sellers have overcome this by carefully growing their credibility over time, particularly through the customer reviews option. The platform also offers expert advisors to guide you through how to get the most value from the platform.
More streamline than a lot of other platforms, Shopify actually lets you set up your own unique storefront, with a range of templates to build your website from scratch you can link an existing domain to your Shopify account, or you can purchase one through the platform. Its drag and drop options make it easy to get started, and the platform offers many additional features to give you real control over payment options, shipping rates, discounts, refunds, reviews, mobile optimisation, and more.
Shopify has built a loyal reputation for offering ongoing support, training and marketing advice for users, so you can really benefit from this platform if youre new to ecommerce. Theres even a built-in analytics suite, so you can better understand and measure the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Youll gain insight into which products are selling well and which arent, track the traffic and referrals to your store, and monitor the general engagement with your store.
Unlike the other three mentioned platforms though, visitors wont find your website directly through Shopify itself. Having your own unique shop domain can appear more professional, but youll want to ensure that you effectively market your business online (through paid advertising and social media, for example), in order to attract potential new customers because they arent likely to view your products by chance, as they might through Amazon.
If you need help managing your online marketplace, our ERP software can be integrated with platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify. Keep track of your stock, automate orders, manage relationships with your customers, and ultimately streamline your ecommerce sales by using our integrated software.