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What Should You Know about E-commerce Platforms?

E-commerce gains great popularity as it helps millions of people achieve their business dreams and get rid of economic poverty. Supported by the advanced technology, it thrives with its great and flexible marketing. Growing from the booming of dot-com, to the SEO marketing, the mobile impact, e-commerce has come through a long way. Gradually, it has emerged as the easiest way in our mind to create a business. As a result, millions of people are busy starting their own business online and involved in the e-commerce industry with great ambition.

E-commerce platforms grow at a fast pace to meet various demand of business types. Wholesale platforms eBay, Amazon, and other brand websites sprung up overnight to make shopping and selling easy for our lives. The booming platforms make people hard decision-making to choose their business forms. Opening a store on Amazon? Or beginning a seller on eBay? Or creating your own business website for your great brand? It always seems that people would like to be hesitating when there is an option for them. It’s quite right to get everything clear before you make your final decision. We will dwell on major e-commerce platforms in this article, and hope it will be helpful for your business online.

1. eBay

Found in 1998, eBay offers a great online marketplace for the sale of products and services, online payment, etc.  Known as the site where you can post your stuff to auction it off, things have changed over the years. The platform offers various ways to streamline your business. If you want to join in eBay, it’s very easy.

According to the platform regulation, it is free if you plan to list up to 50 items for sale in a month. But you will be charged if you want to list more than 50 items a month. While for eBay stores subscription, you are allowed to post thousands of items for free in exchange for a certain subscription rate. Then you will be taken a percentage of your profits when you make a sale each time by the platform. For sellers, you have to take high-quality pictures and for each item to list your inventory. The platform will help you decide on a competitive price for a better sale. It’s quite easy for sellers as they don’t need to make SEO optimization.

The auction is available on eBay. This is the most distinguishable features of the platform. You are allowed to list your item as an auction or sell it at a fixed price. When you are engaged in the listing, the platform will help you decide which will better for your sales. It is rather flexible for sellers. For rare items, auction option will be the best one for you to get relative more profit margins.

Being a seller on eBay, you will get paid the smart way. PayPal is the official payment method of the platform regarding its security and safety, though you have to be charged for the handling fee. As a multi-national marketplace, you will be paid via different currencies from different countries. Another way for payment is using a credit card if you are not willing to use PayPal. 

If you do want to tap into the world of e-commerce, but you have little time to work on it, eBay valet will help you to manage it. What you have to do is to use the site prepaid shipping labels to submit your items to your eBay Valet. In doing such an e-commerce business, you will save lots of time and energy.

2. Amazon

Founded in 1994, Amazon was an online bookstore in its inception stage where enable people to source books on the Internet. With the great transformation during the past years, it finally grows into a mature business-to-customer platform where people can sell and buy almost everything on its website. It is a multinational technology company with millions of retailers and sellers. It’s a good choice for people to start their own business on Amazon. However, it may seem a time-consuming work to start a business on Amazon.

Amazon sells its own items and the third-party products. You can find Amazon products like Alexa, tablets and other kinds of household items. However, there is still big money comes from the third party sellers on the big platform. They sell items they source from other regions.

It is easy for people to register an Amazon seller account if they are over 18 years’ old. You can register an individual seller or a professional seller on Amazon. For free individual sellers, a maximum of 40 items which must have a listing on Amazon can be sold per month. Besides, they are prohibited to use the advertising platform to market your products.  While for professional sellers, they have to pay $40 monthly fee. But they are allowed to sell an unlimited number of items and create a listing for your product, you can choose the Amazon warehouse; make your inventory for sales. Both the advertising service and fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) are available for you. You can register the Amazon FBA service to make Amazon fulfill your orders and ship for you. Generally, you will be charged for a small fee for fulfillment and the monthly inventory storage.

Selling wholesale products and private label items are the top two ways to gain great profit margins. For wholesale products, you have to source the profitable products directly from the manufacturer at a cheap price and resell it on Amazon. It means you are a third-party seller. While sales for the private label item means you buy the item from the manufacturer with your own brand label on the product.

Being an Amazon seller doesn’t mean you just need to upload your items to the platform, create listings for your products, you have to understand the market skills to market your store and your items. To be a successful Amazon seller, you have to understand what you can do to generate sales. You have to learn SEO optimization, organic marketing, and paid marketing to reach possible customers and boost your sales. You have to do much more than you imagine after you opening your Amazon shops.

3. Personal brand website

With the rising competition between Amazon sellers, and other e-commerce platforms, you find the profit margins get smaller and smaller, and the rules on these platforms have been stricter than ever before. How could you survive among them? Is there an uncharted way to manage a business with profits? If you have your own brand, and wonder if you could create a new website for your own brands for people shopping and having your service. You get the right place. Do you want to personalize your customers’ experience? Do you want to understand much more about your customer? You can get all this done on your own website. Your website will be a integrate community linking yourself with customers based on your products and service.

To build a website for your own brand, you have a lot to do. You have to name your brand, register your brand, get your business license permit, create your logo, start web design, and build your website, and finally publish your website and market it. Regarding your brand name, you’d better keep your brand name and your website domain related and suitable for your niche. For logo creation, make it innovative and resemble your brand and its value to make impressive for your possible visitors and customers. While regarding web design, you can divide into different pages to present different parts of your brand and your corporation such as your story, your products, your service, and the shopping regulations. Make use of these pages for your further marketing with well-organized information and compelling content.

Complicated as it is, if you own a website, you will be much free in your marketing and rule settings. You can set up your rule based on your niche and business goals. It will be very costly in building the website and maintaining after publishing as you have to hire professional experts in computer science and online marketing and rent web service provider. However, the price on the website will be much higher than on the B2C platforms. And you will get lower competition over your items than the one sold on B2C platforms.

If you already have your own website, you’d better ensure high-quality items and trustworthy reviews to make your business stand out. In addition, curated inventory and robust search, and informative and well-organized product pages will attract people and help market your business. If possible, you can support mobile shopping with the skyrocketing number of mobile users. Besides, you have to value your customer and offer great customer service to boost your marketing. Make a customer-friendly social community based on your products and service will help you stand out and win customer’s brand loyalty.

4. Dropshipping

Dropshipping emerges quite popular recently which enable sellers to earn the profit without the involvement of inventory. The seller can be regarded as the middleman. It is a retail fulfillment where sellers do not have keep items and have them sold in stock. Generally, customers place orders for the retailer’s store, while the retailer will automatically forward the order to the dropship service provider, and then the drop shipper will package and ship the order directly to the customer side. Unlike the traditional retailing merchants, they have to stock or warehouse the sold items until they sold out. This new business model enables retail sellers to purchase inventory as the order needed from a third party – a wholesaler or a manufacturer.

With low threshold, are you gonna to join in such a business? It can be easily set up with low cost and business risk. If you are involved in drop shipping, you will have more time and resource to scale your business. However, drop shipping will leave you low-profit margins with fierce competition comparing to sourcing from a wholesaler or manufacturer. You will have lower control of your supply chain and brand control. Certain issues may pop up because of the complexities of the delivery in the middle of the business.

Given its pros and cons, drop shipping is not suitable for all retail sellers. It may get smoothly for the business startups and first –time entrepreneurs to test new products before a heavy investment on this project. But it may not suitable for brand-oriented sellers or margin-focused businessmen as it is difficult for them to maintain a long-term sustainable brand or create great profit. You have to give full consideration for your business decisions.

If you still want to engage in the drop shipping business, you have to do your homework to make a profitable business. First and foremost, you have to find the right item. You have to consider the retail price and the wholesale price to get the balance that works for you. Besides, size and weight, durability, and turn-over rate should take into account. This is to have a rough estimation of your possible profit margins. Then, you have to know your market including the demographics, gender, age range, your niche, your competitive environment. With everything in mind, you can find the drop ship supplier and negotiate with him, and start your business. To boost your sales, you can market it on your social media, and try to reach possible customers as more as possible.

The rapid development of high tech has transformed both the way how we live and work, and the way how we do business. In this article, we explore the e-commerce modes in various ways including eBay, Amazon, and the private brand website, and the drop shipping method, and their pros and cons for a business starter. We hope it will be helpful for your business and know much more about the popular e-commerce modes to better your business idea. Should you have any idea about this top, please feel free to leave us your comment.

About the author

Sharline is the founder of LeelineSourcing.com. With 10 years of experience sourcing in China, She loves to share knowledge and ideas in sourcing bussiness.She writes only the truths which others are normally not willing to tell. This makes her posts distinguishable from other import & export articles.

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