Should You Sell on Your Own Online Store vs. Marketplaces (2022)


Are you starting an online business and don’t know where to start?

You may be considering between building your own online store, or perhaps you’ve heard that it’s much easier to list your products on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Shopee, or Lazada. Both these platforms have its own pros and cons, and making this decision will ultimately rely on what’s best for your business, and what requirements online stores vs. marketplaces will fulfil.

Ask yourself these 5 questions below to get a clearer idea of which platform works best for you and your business.

Question #1 What are your business objectives?

Do you want to run your business long-term and develop a brand? If so, having your own brand website will be essential for you to strengthen your brand image, as well as setting the tone for your brand. In addition, it may help you avoid competitors in the marketplace such as Amazon, or eBay.

However, If you are looking to sell products online for just a short period, and don’t want to be investing too much upfront, then online marketplaces (such as Amazon, Lazada, or Shopee) may suffice.

Question #2 How much time could you invest in your online business?

Before getting an online store, make sure you have prepared yourself to deal with customer queries – it’s going to be time-consuming. One perk of using marketplaces is their in-house customer service to address your buyers questions and reduce your time involved. That being said, they would only be able to handle basic requests, such as payment and fulfilment, and not more detailed queries like product information, which has to come from you.

With an online marketplace, you will still have to plan all the marketing, website design, and promotion. All of these could cost you a lot of time. With a website built from SHOPLINE or IT design companies could save you a lot of time from storefront designing and web structure planning.

Question #3 Do you know how to build or design a website?

If you have no experience in web design and don’t have time to learn, then a free open-source eCommerce platform is not for you. These often require a lot of manual work, such as storefront design, domain setup, online shop building, and more. There are a lot of things to consider if you want to build your website from scratch, like hackers, information leaks, online fraud.

If you’re incapable of handling these, then marketplaces, subscription-based platforms and IT design companies may suit you better.

Question #4 What is your budget?

This is a very important question. If you don’t have enough of budget to start your business, there are economic choices like free web builders and online marketplaces that allow you to start your business quickly and inexpensively.

Something to consider is that while online marketplaces allow you to post products for free, they still require transaction fees, monthly maintenance fees, and additional advertising costs, all of which can add up.

So, instead of going after annual-based subscription platforms or IT design companies that charge you a large sum upfront, consider monthly-based subscription platforms, which don’t require a large upfront monetary commitment and allow merchants to upgrade their plans for more advanced features.

Question #5 Who is your target audience?

Identifying your target audience is key to helping you decide which platform is best for your business. For example, if your target audience is teen schoolgirls, starting with an Instagram shop may be a good idea. If you have a wider audience or are selling a niche product, having a brand website might be a better choice to start your business. To get to know more about your customers, review your order and look for consumer behaviour patterns.

After asking yourself these questions, if you think annual and monthly online store builders are a good choice to build your business’s online presence, but are still debating which platform to use, check out this comparison between SHOPLINE and Shopify, two market leaders in the eCommerce space.

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