Marketplace or Ecommerce: What’s Best For My Business?

Defining Before Deciding

Understanding the differences between a marketplace and ecommerce site is necessary before determining which one you and your company should focus on. Oftentimes, people clump them together, when in reality, they represent two different platforms used for online shopping.

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Good Monster promises the differences are not too complex 👇

Marketplace 👉 A marketplace is where the owner of a company grants a third-party permission to sell his or her products and handle all interactions with customers, such as invoicing them. To gain a clearer understanding of what qualifies as a marketplace, you can check out Amazon, where about 50 percent of online shoppers search for products. You may have heard of it.

Ecommerce site 👉 A website a brand uses as its online store to sell products. An example of an ecommerce store is sustainable toothbrush-manufacturer RADIUS’ madebyradius.com site.

See, pretty easy to understand, right? 😌

 

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Now that we are already smarter than we were before reading this blog, let us figure out the answer to this burning question 🔥

Which is better suited for your business: a marketplace or ecommerce site? 🤔

Marty and his fellow Monsters put their heads together to round up some strategic marketing-influenced information in order for you to determine which platform your company should focus on!

Advantages x Disadvantages 5 Factors to Consider

Marketing

Selling products on a marketplace adds another element to your company’s marketing strategy: marketing to the marketplace itself.

“Marty, do you mean to say we have to market our brand to people who are not planning on purchasing our products?” 🤨

marty good monster

Bingo! 👏

Because of the extensive competition, your brand will face on a marketplace, grabbing the marketplace’s attention is vital to your brand becoming visible to shoppers. 

Rather than marketing specific brands, marketplaces themselves advertise the fact that they have an array of different products, appearing like the destination to be an all-in-one stop for everything online shoppers need.

That company mentioned in the first part of this blog does a decent job of this.

The reason we want to point this out is because you and your brand must understand simply having products available on a marketplace does not automatically expose them to online shoppers.

Here are some ways to raise awareness on behalf of your brand 👇

  • Create video ads informing online shoppers your brand is on a particular platform 🎥
  • Record audio ads to share message with marketplace shoppers 🎙
  • Contact marketplace to discuss purchasing banners ads 🤝
  • Allow the experts to handle it 😎

Now onto ecommerce.

If your brand puts all of its energy into earning business through its own ecommerce site, you and your team only have to concern yourselves with marketing to customers, as opposed to worrying about satisfying the marketplace and beating out several competitors.

When we put it that way, it all sounds fine and dandy, but there is a catch. 🥁

Your brand is 100 percent responsible for driving its own site traffic, which is not easy, but possible!

A few different methods that accomplish this are 👇

  • Implementing SEO keywords in content so online shoppers find it 🧐
  • Producing consistent, quality content, such as blogs, to give people reasons to visit your website ✍️
  • Writing effective email and SMS marketing campaigns 🤳
  • Focusing on growing your social media following 👍

Developing a loyal customer base is not something that happens overnight, but if you dedicate yourself to putting in the work and you collaborate with the right people, your ecommerce efforts will pay off.

Margins

A reward for selling products on an ecommerce site is all of the profits go to your bank account. 🤑

Sure, you have to pay your suppliers, employees, etc., but once a transaction is final no one is going to jump in and take a certain percentage of the final sale.

The same does not apply for a marketplace.

A third party’s involvement means someone else, the marketplace in this instance, is profiting from your company’s sales.

 

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Like any other situation, this has its fair share of pros and cons.

Marketplace Pros

Let us start on a positive note, shall we?

Rising Popularity

Online shoppers are visiting marketplaces more often than they ever have, directly contributing to their increased share of the market.

Therefore, if you effectively market your brand to your target audience and marketplaces that carry it, the astronomical amount of shoppers marketplaces boast may lead to so many transactions that your reduced margin will not matter as much.

Testing the Waters

If your brand wants to test the waters with a new product and does not care about the profit margin, at least in the immediate future, a marketplace serves you right. 

With less risk, your brand can identify what needs improving based on customer reviews without losing out on a large profit (reduced margins and returns) and loyal customers’ trust.

Marketplace Cons

We do not keep secrets here at Good Monster.

Managing the Channel

Managing both an ecommerce site and a marketplace presence may be cumbersome.

Each demands a certain amount of attention, and even though your brand does not own the marketplace, you must treat it equally. 

We will use inventory levels as an example. 

Allocate enough to fulfill ecommerce site and marketplace orders so customers ordering products from the latter are not disappointed with an “Out of Stock” message shortly after believing they found their new favorite brand.

Any shortcomings here could lead to your brand losing out on the opportunity to convert those online shoppers into loyal customers who purchase products on your site.

Which means, in this hypothetical situation, your brand failed to maximize its profits. 😭

Potential Losses

Since a marketplace cuts into margins, it is possible that your already low margin-products will lose you money.

Maybe this is sustainable for a short period of time, but if converting a marketplace’s online shoppers to loyal ecommerce shoppers does not go as planned, selling products that only contribute to losses is not a practical business strategy.

How to Proceed

Depending on your industry, margins dramatically differ, but you know what your brand’s ideal margins are and how low they can go before 💩 really hits the fan.

Sit down with your team to discuss the risks of both ventures to determine the best route for your business.

Allocating Resources

Time and money. ⏳ 💸

Two valuable commodities in business, wouldn’t you say?

When evaluating whether your company will benefit more from an ecommerce site or a strong marketplace presence, consider how you and your team want to spend both time and money.

Ecommerce Site Resource Requirements

Whether you have an internal team or specialists building your ecommerce website, you have a stronger influence on it.

Which is good, but it may be quite stressful at times, too. 🤯

On top of ensuring your products are aesthetically pleasing to shoppers, the customer experience from start to finish depends on you. Some of the tasks on that checklist include 👇

Approving design and copy that converts visitors into customers

Providing easily accessible and responsive customer service

Creating a straightforward checkout process

And plenty more!

Developing an ecommerce website grants you more authority over the direction of your brand, but keep in mind, this means how impressive or “blah” it is directly reflects your company. 

Hence why brands team up with website and ecommerce designers.

A site that converts site visitors into online shoppers requires time and money, so be certain you have an ample amount of both before choosing to build your ecommerce site!

Marketplace Resource Requirements

A marketplace takes care of a good amount of the grunt work relating to customer experience and design for you. That way, you can focus on the aforementioned marketing strategies involved in a successful brand on a marketplace.

There is something to keep in mind, though 👇

The marketplace makes money off of every transaction, directly contributing to your company’s diminished margins.

So Then, What is the Right Decision?

Dedicate some time to analyze where your company currently stands with two of its most important resources to decide how to best spend them.

No matter what, spending significant amounts of time and money is one of the many non negotiable requirements of operating a successful business.

Knowing this, figure out how to maximize your business’ online presence with the time and money available!

 

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Competition

Would running a business be any fun if there weren’t any competition?

Imagine if your company was the only one in its space, and had every member of its target audience regularly placing orders.

Life would be a little too easy, right? 🙄

Before you get to thinking too long and hard about this hypothetical scenario that has zero chance of ever existing, recognize competition is going to be a factor in nearly every decision you make relating to your customers.

This includes picking between an ecommerce site and a marketplace.

Marketplace Challenges

On top of eating into your margin, a marketplace presents other obstacles as it relates to competition. Below are the two main ones 👇

☝️ Your brand is not the only one permitted to sell products on a marketplace; therefore, you will have to beat out several competitors on the same platform. This includes keeping tabs on the competition’s prices, which you can do with Boardfy, a price tracking and pricing platform Sephora and other notable brands use.

Maintaining visually-appealing displays, and, of course, constantly assuring the quality of all of your products will benefit your business, too. 

✌️ Marketplaces are further thrusting themselves into the action by selling their own products. Now that this is the case, marketplaces are, obviously, inclined to market their own products to online shoppers rather than other brands in the same space.

This may not apply to you, but if it does, this is a factor to consider when deciding if a marketplace is right for your brand.

Ecommerce Challenges

As we previously alluded to in this blog, once online shoppers land on your ecommerce site, there are no outside variables to compete with; however, en route to getting them to your site is where the challengers await. 😈

The majority of this fight goes down on social media, where brands duke it out in hopes to land in favor of just a portion of the billions of users who spend a significant amount of the day glued to their feeds. 😳

To emphasize how powerful of a tool social media is, 2021’s social media marketing usage rate with companies with 100 or more employees sits at 91.9 percent, according to Statista.

So yeah, a f@$% ton.

The following Smart Insights’ stats demonstrate why so many brands want in on the action 👇

  • Over 50 percent of the world’s population uses social media.
  • Close to 30 percent of social media users around the globe discover new brands and/or products on social media platforms.
  • Gen Z social media users averaged two hours and 41 minutes on social media per day before COVID-19; in May 2020, 54 percent of them admitted to spending more time on it after the pandemic started.

With billions of eyes on screens for hours every day, a brand without a social media presence might as well close up shop.

Pick Your Poison

Neither a marketplace or ecommerce site comes without some hard times. It is up to you to identify which your brand is better equipped to overcome. 👊

Trust

Buildling trust with customers once consisted of developing relationships during face-to-face interactions.

A customer strolls into a brick-and-mortar store, an employee proceeds to greet him or her and boom, they are chatting away! 

Even though online shopping did away with face-to-face interactions, customers still crave a brand they can resonate with.

A brand they feel has their best interests at heart.

A brand they trust.

Developing trust on the Internet was once an abstract concept, but because of how dependent the world now is on it, we have no choice but to fabricate relationships over the World Wide Web.

So What is the Most Effective Way to Do This?

The short answer is by building a presence on a marketplace, and the long answer is you can utilize a marketplace as a tool to build the foundation for trust, which eventually leads customers to your ecommerce site (assuming your brand has one worth going to).

A marketplace ignites the trust between you and your customers because it plays a weighty role in creating it. Customers who shop on a certain marketplace do so because they have come to trust it; therefore, they trust the manufacturers on the marketplace.

In fact, 67 percent of customers trust a purchase on a marketplace they are familiar with even if the brand they are buying is foreign to them, and over half return to the marketplace when they need to make a purchase in the future, according to Kreelazid.

The takeaway 👉 a trustworthy marketplace encourages its customers to trust your brand.

Manage this correctly and your brand will become trustworthy independent of the marketplace its products sell on. 

Below is how you do that 👇

  • Pay attention and respond to customer reviews, as doing so demonstrates your brand cares.
  • Send thank you emails to customers who buy your products on a marketplace to evince your appreciation.
  • Collect email addresses from marketplace customers so you can include those shoppers in your future email marketing campaigns.
  • Plug your brand’s social media accounts wherever is visible to customers, such as the thank you emails you are going to begin sending out.

Use a marketplace’s prominence to your advantage, and watch your customers’ confidence in your brand build. 🏗️

To Go to the Market or to Build On Site

Numerous variables contribute towards deciding whether a marketplace or ecommerce site better suits what your company is striving to achieve.

Marty and the rest of the Monsters hope this blog will result in you and your team making a better informed decision when growing your brand’s Internet presence.

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