Selling your products online can be the most-effective way to reach out to a wider audience and increase awareness of your brand. Need not to say this can help you boost your sales severalfold.
As per records, 61% of the customers agreed that they made more purchases online during and after the covid-19 pandemic proving that e-commerce is the future of sales.
Still, most vendors hesitate while starting their online sales. The biggest reason to get confused is "which platform to use for selling their products for the greater benefits".
One option is to create your own e-commerce website that gives you complete control of the sales. Other options are online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart which are already being used by millions of customers and are capable of increasing your product visibility.
If you are also about to start your online business but are confused about which platform to choose, we are here with the answers to all your questions.
Let us begin with understanding the basic difference between an online marketplace and an e-commerce website.
“E-commerce is a powerful tool to connect the unconnected to global trade” - Arancha Gonzalez
Difference Between the E-commerce Website and Online Marketplace
Although both online marketplace and e-commerce websites are built with the purpose of selling products, they are quite different from each other. Let us understand the key differences between the two:
|Online Marketplace||Ecommerce Website|
|These are similar to the real-life shopping mall that offers a variety of products from different sellers. Three parties are involved: customer, seller, and website administrator. Example: Amazon, Flipkart, etc.||Here a single seller displays and sells his products. It is similar to a bakery shop selling self-made cakes and bread.|
|Existing traffic on the website makes it easier to get instant customers||Need to make efforts to attract the target audience|
|Can be set up quickly, mostly in a day or two. The vendor can immediately start selling after the registration is complete||It takes time to build and manage a website. Reaching your target audience is rather more time-consuming.|
|Extra costs like plan fees, referral fees, etc. are involved. Moreover, these websites keep a good share of the profit obtained by selling your products for themselves.||Once you have settled the website there are minimal costs involved in maintaining your e-commerce website.|
Now, when we know the basic differences between these two platforms, we can move forward to discuss the details of each of them.
Although there are plenty of online marketplaces available, Amazon and Flipkart have cornered the Indian e-commerce ecosystem for a long time, and each of them is a veritable gold mine for you if you know how to use them to their full potential.
Similarly, building your own e-commerce website can also be extremely productive if used correctly. So, if you want to maximize your profit, you’ll have to choose the right platform for selling online.
Each of these online selling platforms has its own set of benefits. Let us understand each of them one by one.
Selling with Amazon
Founded in 1994, Amazon has emerged as the leading e-retailer across the Globe. As per a survey, the net sales of Amazon grew up from US $88.99 billion in 2014 to US $469.81 billion in 2021, which is a growth of more than 400%.
The prime membership of Amazon offers rewards like 2-day delivery, video streaming, music, etc. It is preferred by most of its customers who are quite engaged in shopping.
Amazon hosts a maximum number of vendors on its platform and is known to have the highest reach across the globe.
Amazon Seller Registration
Selling on Amazon requires you to go through a registration process, similar to what you would do for creating an online channel.
Amazon seller registration is a three-step process as mentioned below:
- The seller on-board process allows you to decide your product category, create listings, and enter your product details.
- On Amazon, you can list your products for free, provided you are willing to give up a certain percentage of your sales in exchange for visibility.
- You can also opt to pay a small fee to make your product listing a featured item, which will appear at the top of the search results.
Benefits of selling on Amazon:
Amazon has a massive user base and a presence in several countries, which means that you will have a huge audience to cater to through your products.
Amazon puts a lot of emphasis on product listings, owing to the fact that customers usually browse through products before they decide to buy something. In fact, product listing is one of the most important aspects of selling on Amazon.
Amazon offers a lot of insight about your customer base, which you can use to increase your sales and make better marketing decisions.
Delivery & Returns
Amazon provides the seller with FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service. This means that Amazon will take care of your product delivery and customer care. Moreover, when a customer returns your product Amazon will bear the logistics.
You can use Amazon’s platform to build your brand, leveraging the website’s popularity among customers to attract more buyers.
Selling with Flipkart
As per a survey, Flipkart Private Limited reported revenue amounting to approximately 433 billion Indian rupees in the financial year 2021. Additionally, the e-commerce player had an increase of 25 percent in its revenue, compared to the previous year.
Unlike Amazon, Flipkart is more of a niche player and hosts fewer sellers, but that doesn’t make it any lesser of a great place to sell online.
Flipkart Seller Registration
The seller registration procedure for Flipkart is similar to Amazon, but it can take 1-2 days to get the business up and running with the required paperwork submitted to the company while Amazon takes 24 hours to approve the account. In some cases, the process may get delayed but it gets resolved once you contact seller support.
Benefits of selling on Flipkart
Flipkart has a niche audience, which means that you get the opportunity to cater to your target customers, making it easier to retain them.
Flipkart puts a lot of emphasis on high-quality product listings, which means that you can maximize your visibility on this platform just by providing quality products.
Flipkart offers a lot of data that you can use to make better marketing decisions and improve your sales.
You can receive payments through Flipkart’s payment gateway, which means that Indian customers and those from neighbouring countries can also shop from your store.
Delivery & Returns
Flipkart handles the cost of delivery or picking returns. They also provide a customer care facility for your product.
You can use Flipkart’s popularity to build your brand, and get more customers to your store.
Selling With Your Own Website
As per a survey, 52% of the sellers stated that they only sell through their own website, while 42% sell through both their website as well as an e-marketplace, and only 6% stated that they only sell their products through an e-commerce website.
According to another survey, in 2020, the private labels shared more than 50% of repeat purchases under all categories. The largest repeat purchases were recorded in the cosmetics category i.e. around 75%. The other categories such as grocery, wellness, furniture, etc. also showed a hike in repeat purchases.
Creating your website
In comparison to selling on any e-commerce website creating your own website can be a tedious job. You will have to manage a lot of different aspects right from payments, and orders to setting up a full-fledged store.
This might even be cost-intensive and way more difficult than the simple process of registering and selling available on other e-commerce platforms.
Benefits of selling on your website
You are the owner, you set the rules. So, you do not have to worry about any change in terms, designs, or priorities. You can change your product priority. You can also design your website in accordance with your product to improve customer retention.
No comparative purchase
Online marketplaces offer hundreds of options to buyers in your product category. This might reduce your visibility. On your website, buyers only see your products and are able to appreciate the quality and variety you have on offer.
Other than sharing a certain percentage of profit with the e-commerce platform you use, there are several charges that you are expected to pay. These may include plan fees, referral fees, etc.
Instead of just being dependent on the data provided by the e-commerce platform, you can choose your own analytics. Google Analytics can help you identify your best-selling products, and most visited products, track buyers’ activities, etc.
A customer buying your product through an online marketplace platform will recommend that particular website in return for your product quality. However, if the purchase is made directly from your website it becomes a means of oral publicity.
So, which option is better? We say it is completely your call.
In this blog, we have tried to list all the pros and cons of owning an e-commerce website as well as selling through an online marketplace like Amazon or Flipkart.
However, no matter which option you choose for yourself just remember that looking at the current scenario selling products online is not a choice but a necessity. So, if you have decided to sell your products online, you have already made a step towards success.
Looking at which option to choose, with their unparalleled brand recognition Amazon and Flipkart are a great fit for first-timer and casual sellers who do not want to spend much time worrying about customers and related issues.
Also, selling your products here cut down the risk percentage. Amongst these Amazon is arguably the largest e-commerce platform while Flipkart has a loyal customer base, that trusts the site for quality.
At the same time, they may not be suitable for keen sellers owing to a number of hoops like fees and competition. This might also create difficulty for the small businesses to make their presence felt on these platforms.
At such a point, creating your own website can help you make your presence felt, maximize your profit, and increase your brand loyalty.
Is it better to sell on your own website?
Yes, selling on your own website is always better than selling on any online marketplace because you don't have to share the commission with the marketplace but building an audience can be quite a tedious task.
Can I have my own website on Amazon?
No, you cant have your own website on Amazon, you can only sell your products via Amazon.
Do I need an e-commerce platform to sell online?
It is not necessary to have an e-commerce platform to sell online, you can sell through various online marketplaces or through social media.