Written by Jodie Pride
8th May 2015 • 6 min read
eBay and Amazon are both online marketplaces which offer huge opportunities for small retailers trading online, even if they’re not experts in ecommerce. The process of setting up and selling on these marketplaces can be very simple – Amazon, for example, will set up a site for you, store your stock and even ship your orders – but there are a few other reasons why you should consider selling on eBay and Amazon.
It’s great for first time sellers
If you’re interested in playing the ecommerce game but you’ve never sold a thing in the past and know next to nothing about selling online, it might be best to start selling on eBay and Amazon before setting up a standalone online store. You don’t need that many sales skills and you certainly don’t need to be a pro to sell on either of these marketplaces – you just need something to sell.
If you were to begin with a ecommerce store using Shopify, for example, you’d need to know exactly what you’re doing if you want to achieve decent results; it’s not enough to just put together an online shop and expect the sales to start rolling in, you need to know your market, how to build your shop, how to market it, otherwise you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Okay, there are things you need to learn about before you start using eBay and Amazon, but it’s so much easier to start here compared to selling on your own online store. You just need to start with one listing, possibly something you already own, add some keywords to the title, and pick up the rest as you go along.
Increase your sales
The sheer scale of their online presence is enormous, so taking advantage of Amazon and eBay’s millions of monthly unique visitors is a great business idea. Although nobody is visiting Amazon and eBay in search for your store specifically, they may be searching for your products and might eventually discover your store and items they may not have discovered otherwise, hopefully turning them into a repeat customer.
Once that customer has their foot through the door you’ve got a chance to win them over with your excellent service, it doesn’t matter if it’s through a marketplace, they may become a loyal customer, especially if you sell products which encourage frequent purchases like art and hobby supplies.
Remember that with marketplaces, there are strengths in numbers. The key advantage here is that Amazon and eBay already have an established customer base and gain millions of new users every month, whereas if you were to start your own online store, you wouldn’t have access to this customer base.
Amazon offers its own fulfilment option (Amazon FBA) which is great for retailers who sell a large volume of goods, but not have the available storage space. With FBA you can send all your stock to Amazon’s warehouse, and they will take care of shipping when an order comes in, as well as any returns. Although this costs money, it could save you money on warehousing and staff costs.
Although there are costs involved with selling on Amazon and eBay, these can be considerably lower than paying for hosting and building of your own ecommerce store. Amazon and eBay fees are typically a percentage of the final sale, or there are professional options (which usually save the retailer money if they are a high volume seller) while sites like Magento and Shopify can become expensive in terms of hosting, support and features/add ons for the store
Unlike other ecommerce channels, you don’t need to worry about designing and maintaining your site with eBay and Amazon. With both marketplaces, you have a simple storefront design which doesn’t require any design work (although eBay does offer some customisation options) or updates to keep up with. With other channels you have to worry about finding a designer for your storefront (or doing it yourself), or paying for a professional version and expensive add-ons, as well as any updates involved with the platform and the various add-ons and features. If you’re an Amazon seller or selling on eBay, you’re guaranteed a much simpler process which is low maintenance and easier for a novice to operate.
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