So, you’re thinking of starting a side hustle and you want to reach your customers online. Should you set up your own website or sell in marketplaces?
In this article, we’ll dissect the key differences between the two and why selling on your own ecommerce website always trumps the marketplace.
What’s the difference between an online store and a marketplace?
An ecommerce website lets you sell online just like a marketplace. They may serve a similar goal, but they present two completely different ways to build your business online.
A marketplace is similar to a shopping mall. Customers can find various stores on the platform and shop for the best deals while they browse online. Conversely, your own website only holds products that you sell.
To give you a better understanding, we’ve listed some examples of popular online marketplaces:
On each platform, you’ll find different stores. But these stores don’t have their own (dot)com and are largely dependent on the platform’s search engine to get traffic and generate sales.
Pros and cons of marketplaces
Pro: get added exposure
Marketplaces are great for exposure because they pump in large amounts of ad spend to draw consumers into their platform. Selling on marketplaces lets you tap into consumers who are ready-to-shop.
On the other hand, small businesses tend to have a modest ad budget. Achieving the same level of exposure will be quite difficult.
Pro: start selling easily
Marketplaces make it a point to attract both consumers and sellers. That’s why marketplace platforms are designed to be easy-to-use so you can start selling quickly.
Sellers simply need to list their product photos, price, and product description to start selling. You don’t need to code or design your own online store.
Con: highly dependent on the platform’s algorithm
Here’s the thing. Tapping into a marketplace’s wide consumer base is not the same as being in front of the right customers.
In order to convert, you’ll need to make sure that your products can be found on the platform. And that’s no easy feat!
Consumers keep these marketplaces alive. And that’s why the algorithm will always see adjustments and be buyer-centric.
When the algorithm changes, your products might not be found in the first few search pages. Instead, it’s buried by competitors’ products.
Con: stiff competition with other sellers
That leads us to the next point. With so many sellers in marketplaces selling similar products, it’s hard to stand out.
Consumers are interested in getting the best deal they can find, and that often means the cheapest option.
Stiff competition with sellers on marketplaces could push you to drive your prices down and eat into your profit margins.
How can ecommerce websites help grow your small business
100% control of your own brand online
“Oh, I bought it on Amazon.” How often have you heard your friends say this whenever they bought something from a marketplace?
Customers are unaware of your store’s brand when they shop on Amazon, Ebay or Shopee. That’s because the buying experience is controlled by the marketplace and you can’t build your own brand on these platforms.
Having your own ecommerce website makes your brand memorable.
You have full control over how your online store looks and what products will be shown.
Having a memorable brand helps you build stronger relationships with your customers and helps to build brand loyalty.
Customers are browsing your products—nobody else's
With your own website, you don’t need to compete against other sellers to get your customers’ attention.
Once they’re on your website, they’re only interested in your brand.
That’s the great thing about having your own online store. You won’t need to go into price wars to compete against another brand.
You get to protect your profit margins and build a sustainable business.
Enhance your brand’s credibility
Having your own website or (dot)com helps to enhance your brand image. It gives you full control over your brand image through design, images, and copy.
Without a website, people may question the legitimacy of your business. You want to have a good website to communicate the quality of your service and products.
Easy to build and get started quickly
Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to build your own website and start selling quickly.
Cococart lets you create your own online store in just a few minutes. There’s no coding, design experience, or app download needed.
Here’s how easy it is to start your own Cococart store:
Step 1: Choose a unique link for your shop
Step 2: Add your products, delivery and payment methods
Step 3: Share your URL on your social media and start receiving orders
Personalized customer service for your consumers
It’s possible to send messages to customers in marketplaces but customers may not be responsive on these platforms.
Additionally, marketplaces keep customer data private and you wouldn't be able to connect with them directly.
Having your own ecommerce website lets you connect with customers directly.
You can collect customer information such as their email addresses, or their phone numbers and let them know about products that might interest them in the future.
Start your own ecommerce website in minutes
Want to build your business online and make an impression with your customers?
Stand out from your competitors and build genuine connections with your customers by having your very own website.
Setting up a Cococart store is fuss-free and you can start selling in minutes.
But don’t take our word for it, try it out yourself. ;)
Should I choose to sell on ecommerce marketplaces or my own ecommerce website?
Both have their pros and cons. With ecommerce marketplaces, you'll gain access to a pool of customers who are ready to make a purchase. However, it's harder to build a brand or contact your customers directly on these platforms.
On the other hand, having your own website allows you to build your own brand and contact your customers directly. That said, you'll need to put in more effort to attract customers to visit your website.
How can I market my ecommerce store online?
You can market your store through social media marketing, sending emails, or word of mouth.
Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to attract new customers beyond your immediate social circle. Through posting engaging content on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, you can access a wider pool of audience
Read this guide to learn all about social media marketing.
How do I pick a niche for my ecommerce store?
There are many profitable niches in the market—from selling digital products to beauty products or even services.
Cost, storage space, and available capital are some areas you want to put into consideration when picking a niche. Read this guide on some of the most profitable niches to go into.
Can I still start a home-based business with no capital?
YES. There are lots of business ideas you can start with even if you have no working capital right now.
Pet grooming services, providing freelance blogging or designing services, are just a few ideas to consider. To learn how you can build a business with $0 capital, read this guide to find out more.