Best eCommerce Platforms and Sales Channels

Dropshipping on eBay, Amazon, and Shopify

Now that you have decided the products that you are going to sell through drop shipping, and have your business well-established, it’s time to take it out there in the world! There are several channels that are available for marketing your products, the most famous of them being Amazon and eBay. Another option that you have is to sell them using your own online store. All these options have their own pros and cons. Take a look at them below and decide which one best suits your marketing model.

The retail giant – Amazon

Amazon is one of the biggest online stores in the world with its market sprawled across the entire world. Although there are a number of products that are sold by Amazon, most of the vendors are third-party. Amazon acts as the mediator and the facilitator of sales for such third-party vendors.

Pros of the Amazon Marketplace

  1. Set up your business easily – It is absolutely unchallenging to set up your business on Amazon. All you need to do is create an account. After this, list your products and voila! Just like that, you are ready to sell your products in one of the world’s biggest online marketplace!
  2. Reach out to a larger number of potential consumers – Since Amazon already has a large number of consumers, you do not need to look around for consumers to advertise to. You already have the people, the only work you need to do is to attract them to your product. It is also a very competitive market which helps you get a higher price for your goods.
  3. Little efforts on Marketing – Since SEO and driving traffic to bring your products to attention are things taken care of by Amazon, you do not need to pay attention to these intricacies. This leaves you with more time on hands for taking care of other challenges in the business.
  4. Easier order fulfillment – Amazon has its own warehouses called Amazon fulfillment warehouses that take care of the packing, shipping, and warehousing parts of the order. This tackles another big challenge of drop shipping.

Cons of the Amazon Marketplace

  1. Listing fees – In return for providing millions of potential customers to a small business, Amazon charges a substantial commission ranging anywhere from 10% to 15%. If the profit margin is small, a lot of the profits end up being paid as commission to Amazon.
  2. No privacy of sales data – Since Amazon has access to all your sales data, they have all information regarding the number of items you are selling and the amount of profit you are making from the sales. Amazon allegedly uses this data to push out competition by identifying and pursuing profitable enterprises.
  3. Short-term customer relations – As you are selling your products through Amazon, it is highly unlikely that the customers would remember the sellers. Also, there are a number of sellers selling the same product which makes it impossible to cater to your customers personally. Amazon also imposes a number of policies regarding how you can market your business which gives you little freedom.
  4. No Customization – Amazon keeps a total control over how the sellers market their products on their platform which leaves no room for personal customization.

Start Selling on Amazon

Learn about the Amazon Method Business Model

 

The biggest online auction platform – eBay

eBay is one of the biggest and most famous platforms for the auction of new and old things.

Some of the pros and cons of selling through eBay are as follows:

Pros of the eBay auction platform

The pros of selling through eBay are same as those when you sell through Amazon: easily setup your business, a wider potential customer base available, and little efforts needed for marketing.

However, one major difference between the two sales channels is that Amazon takes care of the order fulfillment, right from packaging, to shipping, to warehousing whereas eBay does not provide that facility.

Cons of the eBay auction platform

Listing fees – as with Amazon, you will have to pay some fees to eBay to access the services that they offer. The most notable one is the success fee which can be 10% or higher, thus taking away a significant amount of your profits.

Constantly surveying and relisting products – eBay, in essence, is an auction site. This means the products once sold are marked as sold and archived. In order to keep doing business there, you will have to keep an eye out on the stats and keep re-listing as and when required. There are several tools available for this but not every one of them is as effective.

Static Sales Platform –When you create a page for your product, you would want to stand out of the crowd and add more value to the page but eBay has a set template to be followed while listing the products. This means you are on an equal footing with your competitors and cannot market your product differently.

Short-term customer relations – As with Amazon, eBay does not focus on the sellers but rather on the products. This means the sellers are abstracted to quite a significant extent. It is highly likely that you will get very few repeat customers as your communication with the customers is very restricted and regulated by eBay.

Not an Asset – When you build a business, you expect to get more and more repeat customers, create a trustworthy brand, and healthy customer relationships. This prospect is not available when selling on eBay.

Building a brand: Using your own online store

If you do not want to go with either of the above options, then another option you have is building your own store.

Pros of selling on your own eCommerce store

More Freedom – You are free to create your own online environment, and add as much value to your products as desired.

Effortless design –Various platforms are available that provide easy solutions to design your own ecommerce sites.

Mobile compatible – Mobile phones are a rage these days and a significant amount of products are purchased by the customers via a mobile phone. It is quite a hassle to sell on eBay and Amazon via mobile. If you have your own site you can make it mobile friendly thus making it easier to sell products through a mobile phone.

Keep your full profits – As you do not have to shell out any fees to third-parties, you get to keep the entire profit margin.

Creating an asset – Owning your own ecommerce website helps you create your own business and create an asset by selling your products the way you want.

Cons of selling on your own eCommerce store

The most significant con of using your ecommerce website is the efforts you need to put into the marketing, SEO, content, driving traffic to the site, etc of the site along with the selling. This demands a significant amount of your time and money.

Two Types of Online Store Platforms 

There are two main types of online store providers, hosted ecommerce stores and open source eCommerce stores. You'll have to build a store using either of these methods, but the hosted solution provides many more benefits than the open source at a similar price point. 

Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Magento 

Magento empowers thousands of retailers and brands with the best eCommerce platform and flexible cloud solutions to rapidly innovate and grow.

WooCommerce

A fully customizable, open source eCommerce platform built for WordPress. You'll need  GoDaddy WordPress hosting or another hosting provider which you can install WordPress on. Woocommerce is a plugin that you install into Wordpress and is free to start.

OpenCart

A free shopping cart system. OpenCart is an open source PHP-based online e-commerce solution.

Hosted eCommerce Platforms

Shopify 

Not just an ecommerce software, Shopify is the best ecommerce platform that has everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person.

Bigcommerce 

Try the best ecommerce platform for growing brands with a FREE 15-day trial. Stores powered by BigCommerce grow 2x faster than industry average!

Volusion 

Create your online store w/ a FREE 14-day trial of our award-winning ecommerce software. Shown to sell 4x more than other hosted shopping carts!

The Best eCommerce Platform Winner for 2018

There are many choices for how you can start and run your eCommerce business, but after many years of testing, I've discovered that the best eCommerce platform is Shopify. Their platform is the easiest to start with and the most scalable with a huge community of developers, apps, experts, and 24/7 tech support to help you grow. 

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