Those new to the online selling industry often wonder whether they should begin their own online business or consider selling via giant retailers, like eBay or Amazon. This thought is not even new for marketers who have been in the online business for a while and profiting. They also consider the option of creating their own business website or continuing to sell on Amazon marketplace.
There is no doubt that selling products on Amazon is straightforward as it does all the heavy lifting for businesses. All customers need to do is to source their product and let Amazon handle the remainder. The businesses get an endless stream of traffic without having to become involved with the hassle of digital marketing. The larger marketplace has a much bigger volume that an online merchant can expect from a single website.
Further, a recent Amazon blog post stated that business customers, in the last four years, have been heavy-hitters in pushing some large B2B vehicles. Amazon has successfully managed all the B2B customers into one business platform by accommodating all their purchasing needs.
The situation, however, is not always as it appears. That means despite all the benefits of online business, there are some downsides of selling products on Amazon that you can’t simply ignore. If you rely on this marketplace, you will have to face the risk of your revenue coming from an online platform over which you have no control. Plus, if you sell all your products on Amazon, your direct sales may be affected because of losing higher margins.
Thus, both options entail challenges as well as opportunities. To decide which you should pursue for requires weighing the pros and cons of both options. To help you make an informed decision, below we break down these options:
Building a brand image
Over the past few years, Amazon’s business has paved its way into a large B2B market. You will see everything from suspenders to staplers from different enterprises boosting their commercial products in the giant marketplace. According to the latest survey from Amazon, the marketplace is a hub for many business customers and includes some top healthcare and educational organizations. B2B customers choose this platform to gain value, visibility, credibility, and quality promotion for their brand.
However, when it is about building a brand, there is no denying that creating a business website enables you to control the image of your brand. If you’re familiar with the selling format of Amazon, you must know that it gives you limited options to control how your product page will look.
It is because fonts, layouts, and colors in this e-commerce marketplace are standardized. You won’t find anyone claiming that product pages on Amazon are dynamic. Naturally, you get a few options that can help you distinguish your brand from other similar products.
According to expert marketers, creating unique product pages is of paramount importance when you’re selling your brand online regardless of what selling platform you choose. Like product pages, creative product descriptions can create a great impact and help you stand out among other B2B customers selling the same product on a marketplace like Amazon.
Selling on your own business website, on the other hand, provides you an opportunity to create a different experience for the customers. Amazon has a strict policy for how B2B vendors market their brands. It essentially forbids online merchants from mentioning their business in any way.
Therefore, with the Amazon marketplace, you can’t print your business website on invoices or include business cards. Amazon sees this practice as the retailer’s attempt to lure the customers away from the overall Amazon website, which may affect its business.
That is what makes carefully reviewing the policies, terms, and conditions extremely important before you choose Amazon for selling your products. You may have your account suspended if you violate the conditions.
Sales and traffic
There is no doubt that marketing is one of the crucial elements of running any business successfully, whether or not you’re an online merchant. Your brand presence has an impact on both sales and the traffic to your website. Simply, when you promote your products, it increases your sales.
If you have an online store, there are plenty of options you can employ to drive traffic to your website. Using various digital marketing strategies helps you optimize your online business by causing it to rank high in Google’s organic search results. You can run Facebook ads, create Instagram campaigns, and use Google ads to get a high ranking. Plus, hashtags, Twitter, and Pinterest are some of the more powerful options to improve brand awareness.
However, using all these digital marketing tools to promote business takes a lot of effort, as well as time. And this is where the option of selling on Amazon takes an edge over running your own marketing campaign. That is, Amazon is a large e-commerce platform with plenty of unique opportunities to keep B2B customers engaged. As a commercially focused seller, Amazon offers you a huge traffic volume. Plus, B2B customers can easily learn about their market competitors and their marketing tactics on Amazon. Finding your product on Amazon is a lot easier than finding your website on the internet. On the other hand, it also depends on the product you’re selling and the level of competition in your niche.
Despite these factors, according to a survey by Bloom Reach, shoppers search products 2x more often on e-commerce marketplaces than by using Google. So, you can’t deny the significance of having your products on Amazon.
When it’s about buying from e-commerce marketplaces, most of the customer experience is associated with the specific marketplace rather than the seller. To put it simply, when a customer’s buying experience goes well, it adds to another successful purchase for Amazon, though you’re the product creator.
Branding on your own store, on the other hand, is all about you. The customer experience is in your hands, as you can customize and control the customer’s buying journey. From visiting your homepage to your sending a follow-up email, it is all about you and your brand. It may translate to more work, but it is all yours in the end if the customer is happy.
In a B2B approach, buyers are the end users if you sell on a marketplace. Amazon gives you profit on a single product purchase. Naturally, when you sell on your own business website, you have this freedom to display whatever prices you want, with or without a discount.
Overall, although there is no better option than creating your own business website if you know how to run it, experimenting with Amazon won’t hurt. In fact, it complements your online business’ sales. Amazon has some strict rules, but it has built a reliable market reputation that can get your online business great exposure.