Then you need to choose your channel.
Even if you’re “just” selling on your own website- that is a channel!
Today – we got you covered! This is an overview of various e-commerce channels (aka marketplaces)
Marketplaces in the United States
Amazon has 300 million users, 110 million active users, over 2 million sellers, and 480 million products; it is indeed the biggest marketplace there is on the Internet. Amazon caters almost all consumer products you can think of. With their prompt shipping or delivery and hassle-free modes of payment, there’s no wonder why people these days prefer shopping online. For a seller, Amazon is a good place to put your products up, as it can expose your products to its millions of users sifting through every pages of Amazon. Although, the competition can honestly be stiff, if you just put your heart and mind into it, I’m sure you can deal with it.
Amazon’s top categories are: Electronics, digital music, home & kitchen, books, automotive parts & accessories, sports and outdoors, industrial and scientific, computers, collectibles and fine art and tools and home improvement. (source: Scrapehero)
Is selling on Amazon free? No. A professional account costs $39.99 per month for selling an unlimited number of products. If you opt for the Individual plan, it will cost you $0.99 for every item sold.
PROs of choosing Amazon as your marketplace
As previously mentioned, Amazon has great figures in terms of active users, hence giving your products good exposure. Apparently, a good exposure means a good chance to get your products sold.
FBA is basically sending your products directly to Amazon’s fulfilment centres where their warehouse will handle the shipping, packing, and customer service/ support for your products. All you need to do is send your products/inventory to Amazon and let them manage the rest. This sort of program allows you to focus on other aspects of running your business (like marketing & advertising) while Amazon handles the trouble of logistics, handling, packing and customer service.
Reputation & Reliability
Amazon wouldn’t be known as the world’s largest retailer if it didn’t have a good reputation and reliability. People choose to shop at Amazon for a reason: it is indeed hassle free and easy.
One of the reasons why people choose to shop at Amazon is the availability of customer support 24/7. As a seller, it is crucial for customers to have this feature in order to maintain a good relationship with them.
Amazon is addictive
Funny or weird it may sound but for some online shoppers, it is true. The thing about shopping online is that it is so easy and fun to do it can become addictive. In other words, some people became hooked into Amazon experience, meaning: more loyal and good customers.
Global Selling made easy
Over 102 countries can access and sell on Amazon, meaning, bigger market, bigger chance of sales.
CONs of Choosing Amazon as your marketplace
1. Fees – one of the drawbacks on selling at Amazon are the fees such as a $0.99 for every item sold if you opt for the Individual Seller plan and $39.99 monthly fee if you choose to be a Professional Seller .
2. Competition – Amazon has over 2 millions sellers, obviously, the competition is pretty stiff.
3. Regulations – Amazon is pretty strict with every item posted on their website, for example, they wouldn’t accept a product unless its image is professionally taken and properly edited with white background.
Is Amazon right for your business?
Amazon is big. Amazon has so much to offer for both shoppers and sellers. I guess the answer to that question relies on how dedicated and how competitive can you possibly be. With extensive research, resources and good marketing, I believe any business can go a long way at Amazon.
Wish is one of the most leading mobile shopping apps in North America and Europe, in fact, they have over 300 million users from all over the world. Wish is known for its low-price products that mostly came from China. Most of the buyers here are basically bargain hunters who may also be a seller like you, meaning, Wish is more likely a drop-shipping company. So, basically, if your products are cheap and resell-able, I guess Wish is the right marketplace for you.
Why you should sell on Wish?
The thing about shopping on Wish is that it has the capability to determine and show you products you may like based on your wishlist, browsing history and previous purchases, hence attracting and encouraging more customers to purchase from them. For a seller, this is good because your product can be easily exposed whenever a buyer is interested on the same category your product belongs.
Cheap shipping fee
Items sold at Wish are mostly small items, hence shipping fee isn’t that expensive. For a seller, global selling would be easier when shipping fee isn’t so pricey.
I guess one of the reasons why people choose to shop at Wish is that its interface was nicely built and designed. Just like when you open the app, wide variety of products will be displayed and customers just can’t help but browse more to shop more.
Wish app is very popular, as previously mentioned, it has over 300 million users and that’s obviously what a seller needs for a marketplace. Wish was actually reported to be one of the largest advertisers on Social Media like Facebook and Instagram, that’s basically how they became so famous in just 7 years.
Signing up and posting items for sale on wish is free
CONs of Wish
1. Not everyone can sell on Wish. If you opt to sell branded products, Wish will seek authorization documents such as license, permits, certification, invoices, and any document to prove you’re authorized to sell a particular brand of product. Moreover, refurbished and used items are not allowed to be sold at Wish. To cut it short, Wish only works better with unbranded merchants with low-price items.
2. Reputation of Wish in regard to counterfeit and low-quality items is quite at stake.
3. Shipping takes as long as 1 month or longer
Is WISH your perfect marketplace?
I can say that Wish is not for everyone. Most of Wish users use Wish to find low price items, apparently, Wish isn’t for you if you plan to sell branded and expensive items. Wish is well-known for its wide variety of cheap items, hence expensive stuff just do not get along well with Wish’s existing products.
Recently, we have put up a more detailed blog post about Shopify, you can read it here.
Shopify is basically an online tool or a hassle-free platform that helps you build your retail business. One of its goals is to keep up with fundamental changes of e-commerce over the coming years. Basically, shopify has one whole package of tools you need in putting your products online – from having your own domain name to putting your products in the spotlight.
In other words, Shopify is for sellers who want to start and own their brand. Shopify is more likely a guide or shortcut to get your own store up and running.
PROs of using Shopify as your marketplace:
Shopify can be for e-commerce newbies. What I like about Shopify is that it has everything you’ll need to start up your own sales channel. It’s more like a cheat sheet for e-commerce beginners.
Effective Search Engine Optimization Techniques
Shopify supports SEO best practices like customizable H1, title, and meta tags to help potential customers find your store using search engines such as Google.
What I liked about Shopify is that you can play and navigate around it for free so you can test everything with it before putting your site online.
Reliable web hosting
Shopify offers 99.99% uptime, unlimited bandwidth, and blazing fast servers.
There are over hundreds of apps specially designed for Shopify to get you going, these apps can help you boost sales and make your store better.
Social Media / Amazon Integration
If you opt to expand your channel, you can always integrate your Shopify account with your social media accounts / Amazon seller central.
Shopify supports dropshipping, in fact, you can directly export products from Oberlo app with just a few clicks.
CONs of using Shopify
1. Shopify is not free, neither are some of its third-party apps and plugins.
2. Exposure isn’t guaranteed. Unlike Wish and Amazon, thousands or maybe millions of users lurk around their marketplace, on Shopify, it’s all you – hence you need to exert much effort in order to get your products exposure.
3. Blogging platform is not Shopify’s forte – sadly, Shopify’s blogging platform isn’t as advanced as WordPress.
4. You’re entirely dependent on Shopify and its third party apps – although this is not totally a CON for Shopify, it still is better to be independent in running your own store so you can have control over everything.
Is Shopify your perfect Marketplace?
Shopify is perfect for e-commerce beginners because it has every tool a seller would need to put up an effective sales channel. Personally, I recommend Shopify even to professional sellers, it’s just nice to have everything you need in one place: domain, themes, effective SEO, social media integration, sales reports, etc. I mean, it’s a time-saver and even cost efficient.
Marketplaces in China
JD stands for JingDong, which was previously known as 360buy.com. JD.com is a Chinese e-commerce marketplace from Beijing China that was founded in July 1998 and was put online sometime in 2004. Just like any other marketplace, JD offers wide variety of products such as electronics, clothes, shoes, furnitures, e-books and so on. Rumours say JD is the Amazon of China, for having almost the same number of users which is about 200million or more. In actuality, JD is really almost similar to Amazon, they even have their own fulfilment infrastructure just like Amazon’s FBA.
PROs of Selling in JD.com
In China, JD is way more popular than Amazon. In fact, it is the second largest e-commerce company next to Alibaba. Based on a statistics from Expandedramblings.com, JD has over 258 million shoppers, 153 million annual active customer accounts and over 130 thousands merchants.
Global Selling / JD.com Worldwide
JD worldwide is a program for international merchants who like to venture into the Chinese market without having a physical presence in China. Just like the Amazon FBA, JD worldwide can provide global shipping and warehousing solutions to ensure a hassle-free shopping experience to its Chinese consumers.
Baidu is the most popular search engine in China and it has partnered with JD. For apparent reasons, when people look for a particular product on Baidu, JD’s products show up on its search results.
JD is known for its prompt delivery, affordable items and well-managed fulfilment network.
CONs of Selling in JD.com
1. Language – JD is for the Chinese, hence its website are all in Chinese characters, there’s an English version of the website though, but I noticed that not all of its pages are converted to English. Moreover, Chinese customers hardly speak English, so it’s a CON if you cannot speak Chinese.
2. Interface – Is it just me or JD’s interface is a little bit of an eyesore? Too many products flashed on its homepage you can get lost.
Is JD.com the right marketplace for your products?
JD seems almost as big as Amazon, and I think well-established brands / companies are more suited for JD.
Also, JD’s most top selling items are mostly from the category of consumer electronics or home appliances. Most of its users visit JD for these products. Apparently, if you plan to sell or already selling electronics, JD may be the right Chinese marketplace for you.
TMALL.COM / TAOBAO.COM
First off, Taobao and Tmall aren’t the same; neither they are competitors to each other. TMall is basically an e-commerce website for business-to-consumer (B2C) while Taobao is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace. Both are operated by Alibaba group. Taobao has over 300 million members and Tmall has about 500million users. Apparently, these two are e-commerce giants in China which basically both aim the same thing – to connect Chinese consumers and sellers through their platform.
PROs of Selling in Tmall/Taobao
Almost all Chinese consumers buy from Tmall/Taobao
Just like the other marketplaces above, Tmall and Taobao has great number of users that can possibly be your potential customers.
Tmall/Taobao are open to foreign/international brands. In fact, they also have warehouses where you can send and stock your products to eliminate import taxes and to reach Chinese consumers promptly and efficiently.
China has over 1.3 billion populations, that’s about 4x of the US population. For a seller, it’s a great opportunity to be able to reach the Chinese consumers through a platform like Tmall/Taobao
Sellers are able to generate sales reports in order to see performance and make possible strategic decisions.
CONs of Selling in TMall/Taobao
1. Language Barrier – Apparently, speaking Chinese is important not only to reach and connect with Chinese customers but also to figure out everything about their buying habits and do effective marketing. Even though Tmall does not require international merchants a physical presence in China, it still is imperative to get a local team to do things such as customer service and work through marketing and logistics.
2. Opening a shopfront on Tmall Global is not free and the fee depends on what your category your merchandise belongs. Moreover, there are associated fees such as commission and Alipay service fee.
3. Tmall is open for foreign and international brands, yes, but not all can qualify and open a store immediately. They’ve honestly become more selective and prefer products from USA, Australia and Germany.
Who do I recommend TMall/Taobao to?
Most users of TMall/Taobao purchase under the categories of Personal Care, fashion and cosmetics, probably because most of its users are women. If you cater products under these categories and want to take advantage of the rapidly growing market of China, maybe Tmall is for you.
Wechat is the largest and most well-known social media app in China. The app was founded in 2011 and caters instant messaging, e-commerce and payment services. Wechat is basically everything all wrapped into one app, no wonder why it has a whopping 963 million monthly active users.
Why choose Wechat as your marketplace
Ease of access
You can easily create a wechat shop inside the wechat app, and customers can easily pay through their Wechat wallet.
Know more about your customers
Wechat provides helpful data about the customers such as buying habits and reaching out to customers can be done easily with the instant messaging feature.
It is by far the easiest, simplest, and cheapest marketplace there is in China.
Not much investment and no inventory required.
Fast growing number of users
Reaching out to customers is easy
CONS of choosing Wechat
1. Limited scalability – advertising on Wechat is limited.
2. Cut throat competition – because of Wechat’s gigantic user base, the marketplace has become undeniably crowded.
3. Language barrier – Wechat’s users are mostly Chinese and connecting with Chinese users can be a bit hard if you cannot speak Chinese