More than 77% of UK internet users made a purchase online back in 2015, making us one of the leading markets in Europe. Despite this, UK retailers continue to face a range of issues including competition between leading e-commerce sites including the likes of Argos, ASOS and John Lewis. Mobile sales have continued to drive unexpected e-commerce growth within the UK and its success is said to continue, so is it best to sign up to an online market place or have your own online store?
Market places are great because they already have an established reputation over individually –owned online stores. Web stores attract millions of customers everyday thanks to developing keyword search algorithms that enhance sales revenue. Even the most established merchants including the likes of Amazon are aware than even the smallest of keyword changes can improve results and better growth. They are great platforms to sell ‘generic’ products that can be found elsewhere as putting them on a marketplace can help boost sales since internet users will be looking for those items. To boost sales, you could create related product bundles to sell at a discounted price or make your item stand out to the eye, such as those that are available in bright colours or unique designs.
Unfortunately market places won’t and can’t do all the hard work for you. A number of online merchants believe that market places are the easy option, when in reality they’re not. Many merchants are under the impression that the site is responsible for the legalities sellers may come up against when in fact it is still the merchant. They are also over-ruled with competitors. It’s not uncommon to discover that your product descriptions are the same as some of your competitors on the likes of eBay, Etsy and Amazon. It’s vital to provide consumers with great images and detailed descriptions to emphasise why they should buy your product and not the one being advertised at the top of the screen.
It may surprise you, but online stores can be cheaper to run compared to marketplaces since they don’t charge merchants to set up on their website. Monthly charges or charges per transaction can add up quickly and begin to effect business profit margins if costs start to slip. Unlike online marketplaces, having your own online store gives you the control you need in one place. There are now more complete e-commerce solutions than ever which allow businesses to combine all aspects of their selling platforms into one convenient interface. On top of this, you won’t have to pay commission on every sale you make.
Online marketplaces present limitations as to how you can brand your business’ online presence despite being a great additional platform to market your products, whereas your own online store can be tailored to suit your customers. No matter who your audience might be, you can display your product on your website in a way that appeals to them. So whether you want to display 6 or 9 product images per page or want to make other adjustments to design the ideal web-store for your customers you can.
It’s entirely up to you how to choose to sell your products, whether you decide to create your own online store or explore what opportunities marketplaces have to offer. Either way, you should think carefully about the audiences and products you intend to target.
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