Should You Stand Alone or Join the Masses? Where to Sell

E-commerce sellers face the choice between trying to take advantage of existing marketplaces like Amazon or building their own store. Which path is best for you depends on your business goals.

Getting Eyeballs

Amazon claims over 300 million active user accounts. As soon as your product launches, you’ll be shown in search results, category listings and recommended product pages.

To get people to your own online store, you’ll need to invest in pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing or some other marketing strategy. Even if you have the cash to fund a large campaign, building up your own following will take time.

Building Your Brand

Online retail platforms aren’t geared towards allowing brands to stand out. Instead, their goal is to make customers think to come to their site first, and then customers pick out individual products based on reviews and pricing. Customers may or may not remember your brand when it’s time for their next purchase.

When you have your own store, you have total freedom to build your own identity. Instead of saying “I got it on eBay,” customers say “I got it from [your company].” That sends referrals and repeat customers straight back to you.

Avoiding Copycats

Sellers on online platforms have been plagued by copycats. Successful products are often quickly duplicated with cheap imitations that are listed alongside the original. Even if you have full trademark or patent protection, the process of having the imitators taken down can be time-consuming and expensive.

Having your own store doesn’t stop imitators, but when customers are already going to your own store, it isn’t as easy for the imitators to get their knockoffs in front of them. In addition, your brand identity and reputation for customer service can help put you ahead even when customers are aware of the cheaper options.

Getting Started

Using online retail platforms can make sense when you’re focused on mass-produced items and price competitions, but when you need to create your own identity, building your own online store is a wise investment. While it can be costly to get started, a small business loan can help you cover those costs while you grow your store into a source of sales that will return many times your original investment.

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