Updated: Jan 2, 2020
It may come as a surprise to you that private label resellers make up the bulk of people that patronise promotional product websites. Typically, a great promotional product generates both high demand and widespread commercial appeal. Hence, the reason you can easily find them in bookstores and university gift shops.
One of the major benefits of using promotional product site is the fact that it allows you to purchase custom branded products in bulk without having to deal with Chinese factory hassles.
Thanks to web stores and online marketplaces, profiting from selling private label products is not limited to publishers and retail shops. Aspiring entrepreneurs can now launch a private label brand from the comfort of their homes.
Webstores and Online Marketplaces
While it is evident that brick and mortar stores are being pushed out by popular retail stores, e-commerce is still very much an area to explore as a private business. To get started, you can either opt for a webstore or an online marketplace.
Online Marketplaces allow you to list your product on their website for sale. Examples of such platforms include Amazon and eBay. Meanwhile, Webstores lets you own a website with an in-built online shop. A popular example of such a platform is Shopify.
In this article, we will be exploring all three platforms in detail. What they offer, their advantages, disadvantages and many more.
Exploring Online Marketplaces
Considering the fact that both Amazon and eBay are online marketplaces, then it means that they will share similar pros and cons such as;
Public Acceptance: Online market places have built a reputation of trust in the mind of buyers. Therefore, buyers oftentimes prefer to use them rather than unknown sources.
Ease of starting: Unlike other platforms, you need little or no knowledge to start selling on online marketplaces. Simply Sign up and kick-off.
SEO Advantage: The platforms you will be using are very popular and already rank high on various search engines. You can easily leverage on their SEO superiority to boost your product sales.Amazing
User experience: Most of these platforms have taken the time to make websites and apps user-friendly for both buyers and sellers. All users can access the platforms using a smartphone or a personal computer or any other device.
Ready customer base: Unlike online shops where you have to grow your customer base on your own. eBay and Amazon have an existing customer base, who visit the website daily to shop. It is much easier for customers to come across your products when searching for what to buy.
Competitions: As easy as it is to get started on eBay and Amazon, there is a lot of competition. The singular reason for this is market saturation. There are too many sellers signed up already. As a result, brand development is then inevitable to excel in a saturated market.
Customer loyalty: The loyalty of most customers is to the marketplace itself, and not to a particular seller. Considering that there are several other sellers sharing the market with you, the chances of retaining a customer is quite slim.
Reviews: Similar to other platforms, positive reviews often determine your ratings. Meanwhile, there are instances you get negative review due to factors outside your control. To avoid such inconvenience, you must be flexible and have a great return policy. The general rule is to invest greatly in your brand reputation.
Difficulty in getting customer information: Most online marketplaces make it difficult for sellers to track potential customers. Reaching out to customers directly is nearly impossible as these platforms discourage direct contact between buyers and sellers. Data like email and contact address are often hidden and the sellers will have to wait for the buyers to reach out first.
Do you know that third party vendor are responsible for nearly half of all items sold on amazon, including items that qualify for prime shipping?
Popularity: Amazon stands tall as the most popular e-commerce platform in the world today. Its search engine is the go-to for customers looking to make a purchase or simply check the price of a product before making a retail purchase.
FBA: FBA is an acronym which stands for Fulfilment By Amazon. FBA saves you the stress of worrying about product delivery to your customers. Also, products under the FBA can be shipped using Amazon Prime with a 2-day delivery stamp.Shipping
discounts: In addition, when you use FBA, you can cut cost by using the discounted partnered carrier option that has subsidized UPS rates.Amazon Affiliation: Did you know you can earn by tapping into the Amazon referral program? No? Well, now you do. Amazon has designed a program that allows you refer people to a listing on Amazon.com and get a commission on every product they end up buying. As a seller you will also reap benefits in sales since Amazon is already paying people to direct customers to your listing.
Privacy: Amazon does no share the email address and contact of customers, hence, it is quite difficult to interact with them without going through Amazon's messaging centre.
Market Saturation: The saturated nature of Amazon makes the competition inevitable. You as a new seller will be competing in price with seller that has been around for a while, and are most likely established in that niche. The competition will present itself in both price and supply chain.
Customer preference: Amazon will almost always support buyers/customers instead of you (the seller) should there be any dispute.
Zero Attribution: Regardless of where your customer is coming from, Amazon ensures that the purchase of your listed item goes through them. In so doing, always creating an impression that the buyer is buying directly from amazon.
eBay is one of the best platforms to kick start your journey as an e-commerce entrepreneur. The platform allows seller to list both used and new items for sale.
Encourages individual sales: eBay is one of the few platforms where there is no limit on the number of items a seller can list at a single time. Although it is worth noting that seller can list up to 50 items for free each month. You also get reasonable discounts on listing fees as a premium member.
Easy to use: The ease of use for the eBay platform has been one of the major sources of attraction for many users over the years.
Auction advantage: When you put your products up for auction, you are likely to sell at a higher price than you would if you kept it a retail price.
Cunning customers: One of the blessings of selling online is to have very straight and easy-to-deal customers. But, on eBay, there are always cunning and difficult customers that are trying to breach terms of agreement.
Joy-bidders: On eBay, you can't completely rule out the possibility of buyers absconding with your payment even after winning a bid on your item.
Customer Oriented: Like Amazon, eBay is generally known to give more support to buyers rather than sellers in times of disputes.
Moving on to webstores with Shopify as our main focus. Shopify, as stated in the early parts of this article is an online website. Shopify is setting itself apart as a platform that allows you build your website instead of simply listing your products on a marketplace. Also, it caters to your Webhosting needs unlike e-commerce webstore rivals Woocommerce. Furthermore, it is easy to use, making it great for beginners. The starting plan on Shopify is $9 a month on its Lite plan.
Content Management System: Shopify's CMS is so similar to WordPress on the back-end especially in functions and looks.
Amazing templates and themes: Shopify helps you beautify your store with the availability of cool themes and template. You could also customize your shop at will.
Payment processing: Unlike other platforms, Shopify has developed its own payment processing system which is easy to access and works with other payment platforms like Stripe.
Basic Functionality: It can be quite a headache when you need a third-party app from the Shopify app store to perform basic functions like reviews.
Deciding on which Platform to Use
There isn’t really a specific platform that would tick on the checkboxes for what would make for a successful e-commerce store. As a result, it is best to utilize both a webstore and online marketplaces. However, if you are thinking of choosing between Amazon, eBay, or Shopify then the following are the factors to consider.
Pricing: With Shopify, there is the problem of high pricing plans. The least plan goes for $29 a month. Also, there are charges for card transactions that come from non-Shopify payments. Although the platform allows the seller to list as many products as they desire.
On the hand, platforms like eBay that have no monthly subscription fee can be very appealing to a first-time seller. However there are fees like insertion fees, final value fee, fees based on duration and many more that could rise to be more expensive than the Shopify’s monthly fee.
Traffic: It is easier to set up a Shopify store and get started in no time. Getting traffic to your store might not be so easy even when you have a good looking and well-equipped store. Traffic generation on Shopify generally takes time and lots of effort, the use of Facebook and Google ads go a long way in generating traffic for you though. All these take time, so you could consider eBay which allows you to list your product without having to worry about payment for traffic generation because the company invest in attracting customers to their platform.
Customer Retention: Most online marketplaces do make it easy for sellers to build a relationship with their buyers as most of the buyer’s information is kept secret. Meanwhile, on the webstore, customers are buying into a particular brand and that would help foster trust and customer retention
While Amazon and eBay will help in generating momentum in the short term, it is best invest in an online store to build traction for the long run.
In conclusion, the world of e-commerce is quite exciting and it is easy to get started. Take the first step as an online entrepreneur by listing your product on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Afterwards, start to invest in your brand by building a Shopify store. As a side note, always do thorough research into the product you want to sell across all platforms.
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