A major component of ecommerce growth is expanding your business to new sales channels. Maybe you’re selling successfully on Amazon, and now you’re ready to strengthen your brand with your own website. Or, it could be that sales are doing OK on eBay, but you’re wondering if you’d have more success somewhere else. Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you in depth statistics and facts on which marketplaces and ecommerce websites are best at what, so you can narrow down which ones are right for you.
Amazon is, by a long run, the biggest marketplace today. In 2013, it had
- $74.45 billion in sales.
- More than 237 million active customer accounts worldwide.
- 162.6 unique monthly visitors.
Due to it’s magnitude, you won’t have to do much (read:any) advertising to get people to the site. You will, however, have to compete with many sellers providing the same and similar products. This is where accurate listings, great descriptions and impeccable customer service come into play to set you apart.
Listing on Amazon requires conscious effort. There are many restrictions and policies to abide by. You need to familiarize yourself with the rules before trying to get something listed on the marketplace to sell.
- Some categories (like Jewelry) are closed.
- Others (DVDs with MSRP of $25 or more) require pre-approval.
- Descriptions are strict, and must be classified in the appropriate location
- Ex: Blush would fall under Beauty>Makeup>Face>Blush.
- To search restricted products and a complete list of restrictions/policies, please click here.
Often, the UPC/ASIN associated with your product will auto-populate images that other retailers selling that product have also used. If you want to upload your own photos, you must abide by the following rules.
- Images must be uploaded in TIFF, JPEG or GIF format.
- All photos must have a pure white background (RGB 255, 255, 255).
- Image pixel dimensions must be at least 1000 or larger in height or width.
- For a complete list of image policies, please click here.
Though Amazon dwarfs eBay in terms of revenue, it is a widely popular site for ecommerce sellers. EBay was initially founded as an auction site, but today fixed price trading accounts for 70% of their merchandise volume (2013). In the past year, eBay reached the following benchmarks.
- 148.9 million active users.
- $16.05 billion in revenue, and $2.856 billion in income.
- More than 133 million unique site visits.
- Ranked 83 in customer satisfaction in the most recent ACSI results.
One of the differentiators between Amazon and eBay is eBay’s much more relaxed listing policy.
- Enter UPC or ISBN for item.
- OR, enter manually with Title, Condition (new/used).
- Then, select from the drop-down menu the product details.
- Ex: For blush, the following detail categories automatically populated for me to fill out: Type, Brand, Size, Formulation, Effect, Shade, Skin Type, Features, Expiration Date, Model, Country/District of Manufacture.
- Enter your own details for list price.
- Choose length of listing/auction.
- If item doesn’t sell, you can opt-in for automatic relisting after a set period of days.
Images are much less policed on eBay. You have up to 10 images per product that you can upload for free. Even though there aren’t strict policies, still be wary of
- Good lighting – make sure all images are clear, well-lit.
- Adequate angles – do you show the product from every frame of view?
- Details – are there any special details a buyer should be aware of? Any damage they need to know about?
Your Own Website
Since you can’t rely on the popularity of a widely known marketplace, you will have to conduct your own marketing and advertising efforts to bring shoppers to your site. However, having your own ecommerce website can be very effective.
- 9% of ecomdash customer’s sales came from their ecommerce websites in 2014.
- Adding an ecommerce website to a brick and mortar store is estimated to increase revenue by 250%.
- US ecommerce sales accounted for 5.8% of total sales in 2013 – Forrester predicts that number to nearly double this year in 2014.
Listing will depend on the website (Shopify, Magento, etc.) and how they format the upload of your products. You can expect less policy restrictions than Amazon of course, but it’s important to still format your listings and descriptions professionally. Websites are a great place to pay special attention to your product details. Your product descriptions should
- Be very detailed – include dimensions, sizing guide, why it’s special (this will help justify pricing, if it is more expensive than your competitors).
- What else about your item sets it apart from other comparable products?
- Consider including details that could help build customer loyalty. Some companies that sell Fair Trade items will include information about the artisan and/or village that created the product. This pays homage to these crafters, and creates trust between you and your customers.
Being that you create the rules for your own website, you can upload the images that you see fit. However, we recommend following some of the same guidelines instated by marketplaces.
- Take clear, professional, well lit photos. If applicable, have a completely white background (RGB 255, 255, 255).
- Take pictures from all angles.
- Show fine details, any damage, or the item in it’s intended use.
Is there anything we’ve missed concerning the differences in each marketplace? What kind of research would you like to see in our next post – maybe you’d like to know more about some of the lesser-known marketplaces like Bonanza or 11 Main? We look forward to hearing your thoughts and providing you with the best information to make good selling choices!