For an online business, choosing between the ecommerce platform and marketplace can be a tough decision. Many online sellers are not aware of the differences between an ecommerce platform and a Marketplace.
An ecommerce platform is much more personal. It's a platform designed and developed as per your requirements that allows you to have your own domain, theme, and display your products.
- Own website
- Have followers/subscribers
- Control over the content
- Control over brand awareness
- Control over discounts and promotions
- Access to consumers' information
- Integration with own social media channels
- Consumers can directly connect with your store and brand
A Marketplace is a platform that has many sellers showcasing their products, which makes it a place of tremendous competition.
- No branding
- High competition
- Not much exposure
- Products displayed on one platform
- No buyer and seller interaction
- Limited or No access to consumers information
- Marketplace fees/charges for each product sold or on a monthly/annual basis
A large number of retailers sell their products on marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon, etc. but do not bother to develop their own ecommerce website. Confining yourself to a marketplace and not having your own ecommerce platform is a very poor practice that still exists in the retail industry. In other words, selling online is incomplete without an ecommerce website.
Having an ecommerce website is beneficial to both - the retailers, as well as the customers and here, are a few reasons why:
Allow Customers to verify product features
If a customer is trying to buy a product in a marketplace then they want to check and verify the product features from the actual brand website. In the absence of the Brand Website, the Consumer may not trust and simply go away.
Often consumers complain of discrepancy when they read the product features listed on a marketplace as against the Brand website. This mostly happens when a customer goes on to buy electrical and electronics appliances. For example, if a customer is looking out for a projector in a marketplace. How will he confirm the technical features and specifications? The only way for him is to go and check on the actual brand website.
Direct Customer Access
When a customer buys a product directly from your own website then it allows you to save the customer data into your CRM and use it effectively for future sales. However, if the same customer was to buy your product through a marketplace then there is a wall between you and him and you may not have his data.
Website with Integration to Marketplaces
A retailer can enjoy the best of both worlds by integrating his/her ecommerce website with marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. This way they won’t lose out on customers who are only browsing these marketplace websites and it will also allow them to showcase their products to a greater consumer base.
Avoid Competition Banner Display Advertising
Being alone seller in Flipkart may not help you as a Retailer. When a customer sees your product in a Marketplace, he also sees display ads of your competitors offering similar products. This might be advantageous to the consumer but it makes your product look like just one of the options among many others. However, that is not the case if you have your own ecommerce Website because here you can avoid competitor display ads and create your own universe displaying your products further enhancing your product branding.
Being in control of your own ecommerce Website goes hand in hand with having your own brand to ignite loyalty in customers. However, it also means managing all marketing and merchandising by yourself.
Understand Consumers’ Buying Intent
Ecommerce retailers can easily understand the buyer's intent by keeping a constant eye on their buying habits and interest which empowers them to tailors their offers as per customer's requirements. By fulfilling their needs constantly, the retailers can improve their relationship with the buyers and build long-lasting relations.
Boost Brand Awareness
Ecommerce websites can help B2B businesses to get new customers which help in boosting their brand awareness in the niche market. They can enhance and increase the target audience on their website by developing pages that can help them to appear in the search results.
Both selling on the marketplaces and your ecommerce website could be profitable. Still, both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks. Selling on marketplaces will not help you build your brand awareness and increase loyalty among customers. The development of an online store can help you to build your own customer base and brand.
Looking for an ecommerce platform? Learn how to choose the best retail ecommerce platform.