For start-up companies, it can be difficult to gather the financial backing and resources to launch your own ecommerce website straight away. This is where Amazon and eBay come into their own, as they enable growing companies to start selling online in a straightforward, cost-effective manner.
Both sites are strong platforms for small businesses; it’s interesting to note that nearly two thirds of eBay sales are now fixed price, and the site features hundreds of thousands of professional sellers. Amazon, meanwhile, offers a Pro Merchant category, designed for businesses that anticipate selling more than 35 items per month.
Some start-ups tend to pick one site or the other to trade through, and Amazon is generally the preferred option. However, today’s technology connected consumers will shop across the internet, comparing offers on multiple sites, so it can be worth targeting both platforms in order to drive as much business as possible.
One great thing about using an online marketplace to start selling is that it promotes your business to a much wider customer base than launching your own ecommerce site. Often, shoppers visit Amazon or eBay looking for a certain item – rather than a brand – and stumble across your products during that process. If they’re satisfied with their purchase, that consumer is more likely to look you up directly next time they’re online.
In addition, the fact that consumers can purchase multiple items from different sources in a single transaction means they are much more likely to include your items in an impulse purchase, compared to you selling to them through your own direct site.
Another great benefit of both sites is that they take care of the sales infrastructure on your behalf. Rather than having to work out how to build and run a transactional website, eBay and Amazon take care of the logistics.
Some retailers even choose to run fulfillment through the sites, however this can cause can cause problems if you’re trying to balance eBay and Amazon order management. This is because outsourcing the entire supply and delivery process segments stock, making it difficult to keep a close eye on inventory levels for each site.
Reconciling inventory across several sales platforms is a challenge for businesses of all sizes, but the difference between established retailers and start-ups is the level of available resources. Major businesses have the cash flow, infrastructure and manpower to respond quickly to supply issues; growing companies can find an Amazon or eBay inventory management issue quickly escalates into a crisis.
In order to avoid this situation, it’s important that new retailers carefully consider their options when launching online. It may be best to start with one or the other – Amazon or eBay – until you find your feet. Once that channel is successfully up and running, then comes the time to consider trading through both marketplaces.
After all, online competition can be incredibly tough, so it’s wise to focus on customer service in a single site before strategically expanding your sales channels to target shoppers on multiple ecommerce platforms.