We recently shared research comparing the most popular marketplaces and ecommerce website solutions so that you could better determine how they help (or hurt) you in terms of marketing, listing and image management. Beginning again with mega-sites Amazon and eBay and a general view of ecommerce website solutions, we’ve outlined what each of these could offer sellers when it comes to audience demographics, credibility, and overall style.
Amazon has, by far, the biggest audience of all online marketplaces.
- In the second quarter of this year, Amazon was able to reach 72% of the American population.
- It is the fifth most popular global company worldwide, with a website-driven business model.
- It’s the most popular retail website in the second quarter of 2014, with 162 million visitors.
Amazon is a marketplace for new (sometimes gently used) manufactured goods. Unlike eBay and Etsy, it is not the place to sell handmade or well-worn vintage items.
Amazon is superb at catering to their buyer needs.
- Buyers have multiple options when shopping for one specific product and can narrow their search based on price and shipping time frame.
- Its A-to-Z Guarantee protects buyers from mishandled transactions.
- Amazon has more than 237 million active customer accounts worldwide.
Amazon’s vibe is that of a professional marketplace. Many buyers believe they are purchasing directly from Amazon- not a third party seller or small business. And sometimes they are; Amazon is also a seller for select items. Amazon was not designed to facilitate relationships between buyer and seller, so many buyers do not feel obligated to leave feedback for the individual seller (or even know that the option is there). Unlike Etsy or eBay, Amazon is a marketplace that sometimes creates distance between its sellers and customers. You’ll need to plan ahead in your efforts to request feedback – positive feedback will improve your chances of owning the buy box and selling more product. We recommend editing packing slip details to include a customer service line or smart email marketing.
EBay is the second most popular US retail website in second quarter of 2014 (after Amazon).
- In the first quarter of 2014, eBay surpassed 104 million unique monthly visitors.
- EBay currently lists more than 148.9 million active buyers.
Buyers come to eBay expecting a variety of new, used, handmade and liquidated or wholesale goods. Although it originated as an auction site, about 70% of eBay transactions today are fixed-price sales.
Next to Amazon, eBay is one of the most well known and trusted ecommerce marketplaces (it is the second most popular retail website in the US).
- It ranked high in customer satisfaction with an 82 in the most recent ACSI results – meaning according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, eBay customers feel that their expectations, complaints and quality standards are being met (ACSI is measured on a 1oo point scale, with 100 being perfection).
- Though eBay is known as a place for individuals and small businesses to conduct resells, some major manufacturers are now selling on the marketplace.
- According to a 2014 Ecommerce Bytes study, eBay was reported as the most profitable marketplace to sell on.
Buyers come to eBay expecting some manufactured goods, but mostly items for resale, vintage and handmade products. Relationships between buyer and seller are highly encouraged on the eBay platform. This results in a greater likelihood of buyers leaving feedback. According to company figures,
- The most popular product category is home and garden, which generated more than 11.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2013 sales.
- Other popular categories include clothing and accessories, vehicles and parts, computers and sporting equipment.
Since you cannot rely on the massive website traffic of a marketplace like Amazon when selling on your own site, sellers must conduct their own marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts in order to attract shoppers. Some ecommerce website builders, like Bigcommerce, include marketing and SEO tools within their monthly subscription price. Retailers with their own website should focus on
- Social media marketing (tips for using Instagram, Pinterest and Vine found here).
- Email marketing.
- Good descriptions, search-box keywords, image alt tags and distinct webpage titles within their website pages.
- Descriptive listings with keywords.
- Images with descriptions and keywords (will help your image show up in search results).
A well designed site will help build instant credibility. Continue to build credibility over time by
- Shipping on time and through a reputable service.
- Post positive customer reviews.
- Make yourself and your business easily accessible,
- Do you have a chat window?
- Are your contact numbers and email addresses easy to find?
- Are there real pictures of real people who work in your company – not stock photos of “fake” employees?
- Is your company mission transparent, or do customers find your brand personality “cold,” distant or unapproachable?
Most ecommerce website providers have themes best suited for companies in the fashion, health and beauty, home ware, sports and electronics industries. Look for themes that are professional, and will resonate best with your target audience. Tips on website design and color selection based on products can be found in this post. To determine the personality of your market (and how to sell to them), click here.
Do you find that any of these sites has been helpful in growing your business? Or is there something lacking? Let us know where you sell, and why you chose to share your products there.