As a B2B seller, you want to attract more customers and have control over profit margins. You have the option to sell your products on marketplaces or your own e-commerce website.
There are pros and cons to both these options. While marketplaces make it easier to attract buyers, you will face huge competition and have to pay commission on sales. Meanwhile, an e-commerce website allows you to build your brand, but it can be difficult to initially attract customers.
By understanding your needs, you can decide where to sell your products to increase profits and grow your business.
What is a Marketplace?
A marketplace is an online shopping platform where various sellers can list and sell their own products. Marketplaces attract a huge audience due to a large number of buyers and sellers.
As the popularity of the platform grows, buyers willingly visit to shop for products and sellers only have to convert buyers with relevant information about their products.
Sometimes, advertisements can be purchased by sellers to stand out from the competition and be more visible to shoppers.
Marketplaces charge sellers membership fees and/or commissions on every sale. Some of the popular B2B marketplaces are Faire, Alibaba, and IndiaMART.
Pros of Marketplace
- Dashboards and analytical tools are available for sellers to easily keep track of their sales and profits
- Trusted by buyers due to reputation built over years and a large number of sellers
- Extensive marketing efforts aren’t needed as buyers directly visit marketplaces
- Buyer-seller relationships are safely managed in a single platform
- High traffic leads to increased sales and more profits
- Time to launch a store on a marketplace is effortless and quick
- No need for maintenance, updates, security fixes, and error resolutions
- Secure portal for trades and payments
- Programs to protect buyer and seller interests
Cons of Marketplace
- Can be hard to stand out from competitors offering similar products
- Third-party ads can distract buyers to switch to other products
- Commissions must be paid to the platform on every sale
- Membership may be required to avail exclusive benefits to reach more customers
- Less control over the layout and functionality of your store
What is an E-commerce Website?
An e-commerce website usually has one business owner to promote products on the platform. Custom features can be added to the store to give buyers options to select the right products for them. To build a brand, an e-commerce website is essential as it allows users to recognize the brand and visit the website directly.
An Independent e-commerce website requires a higher initial investment with no guarantee of return. Marketing costs can be high and it is harder for new sellers to build a brand while trying to attract customers at the same time.
Pros of E-commerce Website
- Configurations and features can be customized according to your needs
- Improved communication channels with customers through chatbot integration, newsletter subscriptions, etc.
- More insights into customer behavior through targeted marketing campaigns
- Ability to build a brand as customers recognize the website, resulting in more direct traffic
- No distracting third-party ads or branding
- More personalization options to quickly adapt to changes in customer behavior
- Improved revenue growth as earnings do not have to be shared
- No suggestions to purchase products from other businesses
Cons of E-commerce Website
- Initial setup cost can be high
- Web development and maintenance requires hiring developers
- Marketing and advertising are required to drive traffic to the website
- Improvement in organic search results can take time (at least six months) as Google’s search bot regularly crawls and indexes web pages
Where to Sell Your Products?
Now that you understand the pros and cons of a marketplace and an e-commerce website, you have to decide where you should sell your products to grow your business.
Usually, a win-win solution involves selling products on marketplaces and an e-commerce website.
As customers trust marketplaces when looking for new products, it is important to focus on marketplaces when you start your business.
As you continue to grow your brand and customers search for your products directly, you should have an e-commerce website to direct them for a better experience and benefits.
If you want to build a brand, an e-commerce website is essential. However, you should also have a presence on marketplaces to improve sales and attract new customers. A two-pronged approach will allow you to grow your business and build a strong brand identity.