How can an e-commerce platform help your business’s bottom line?
E-commerce platforms take a lot of the work out of running an online shop. That in turn frees up business owners to focus on growing the enterprise. If you use a SaaS
e-commerce platform, you can quickly launch your online shop with few upfront costs. Thanks to advanced technology, these platforms track inventory in real time,
manage orders and prevent costly mistakes. It can also scale as your business grows – you won’t need to overhaul your website or find a new hosting service.
What are some drawbacks to using e-commerce platforms?
When you use an e-commerce platform, you are giving up control. Yes, you can customize your online shop and integrate with third-party apps, but the software resides
in the cloud, not on your business’s premises. You can’t change the source code and are beholden to the security the e-commerce platform has in place. You’re also at
the mercy of your e-commerce platform regarding uptime. If the platform goes down, you aren’t able to sell.
How do I know if I should use an e-commerce platform vendor or build a custom solution?
Whether or not you should use an e-commerce platform or build a custom solution depends on your products, gross merchandise volume and brand. A custom e-commerce
platform is better suited for companies that have the technical know-how and financial resources to manage the platform themselves. An e-commerce platform, however, is
best suited for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have to time or desire to control all aspects of their e-commerce shop.
What do the top-rated e-commerce platforms have in common?
E-commerce platforms have evolved from the days when all you could do is list photos and collect payments. Today, these platforms manage your inventory and help you
promote your products and brand. Whether it’s Shopify or BigCommerce, the top-rated e-commerce platforms are mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, they integrate with
third-party apps, have top-notch security, accept different payment methods, and can easily scale.
Should you use a marketplace or an e-commerce platform?
When it comes to selling online, you have two options: Business owners can go it alone, creating their online store with an e-commerce platform or they can join a
marketplace. Which one makes sense depends on how long you’ve been in business and the type of products you want to sell.
Marketplaces are ideal for those starting out
For those entrepreneurs who are just starting out, a marketplace like Etsy or Amazon may make the most sense. You upload photos of your inventory, link your bank
account with the marketplace, and get paid when a sale is complete. You don’t have to worry about marketing your online store. Your business gets access to all of
Amazon or Etsy customers.
It isn’t cheap, but it offers an easy entry to online sales. “Amazon is incredible for somebody starting a new business,” said Nunez. “If you create on Amazon, you
have a superhighway in front of your store.”
Here are three of the most well-known marketplaces and a breakdown of their fees:
Amazon Marketplace: Amazon’s Professional plan is $39.99 a month and is geared toward high-volume vendors. The Individual selling plan is 99 cents per unit sold and is
designed for merchants who sell less than 40 items a month. There’s also a per-item referral fee. The fee is based on the product category. You can pay extra for
Amazon logistics services.
Etsy: Etsy charges a listing fee of 20 cents per item. Listings on the marketplace remain live for four months or until they sell. Etsy also charges a 5% transaction
fee and a 3% plus 25 cent payment processing fee. If you close a sale that is a result of one of Etsy’s offsite ads, you lose 15%.
Walmart Marketplace: Walmart charges a referral fee per product that varies depending on the product. Apparel and accessories, baby and beauty products, and books are
subject to a 15% fee. Cell phones, cameras and consumer electronics are charged an 8% fee.