I know what you think. Since we are selling solutions to build eCommerce websites, why would we want you to sell on Amazon instead?
That’s a legitimate concern, but here is a big fact about being a seller on Amazon-
You don’t have to choose between selling on Amazon vs your own site.In fact, you can stay a seller on Amazon and sell on your proprietary website at the same time. To your surprise, it is much easier than you think.
“Amazon made its seller API public a long time ago. Using this API, developers can embed your entire Amazon dashboard on your proprietary store’s dashboard”.
That means, all the products you upload on your store can synchronize seamlessly with your Amazon account, enabling you to manage your website and Amazon store from a central control panel. Not just product uploads but you can also manage your order fulfillments from the same dashboard.
Hence, there is hardly a need to think –”should I sell on Amazon or my own website?”
The purpose of this article is to not make you choose but to make the right decision even if you have a clear choice. Would you want to keep selling on Amazon – if you have a choice? On the other hand, should you just quit selling through Amazon, because dozens of articles on the internet have spoken ill about the multivendor marketplace and they find it not so good?
That’s what we are going to analyze here. We will look at the pros and cons of selling on Amazon and the pros and cons of starting an online store of your own. Knowing both the options from inside out would help you decide the best ways to get the best of both.
Selling on Amazon- Pros and Cons
Pro #1: It’s easier to get on-board and enter into the eCommerce Market with Amazon:
It’s one of the biggest USPs of Amazon’s Multivendor Marketplace Model. Except for a few product categories, where Amazon approves only specific merchants, getting started as a seller on Amazon is mainly straightforward. It is certainly easier than setting up your own eCommerce website.
Just sign up as a seller, provide the sked details, upload your product listing, and you are in business. Although, there in between where you need to choose between a free merchant account and premium Amazon FBA account, the overall walk through the entire process is simple.
Pro #2: Great platform for small retailers with a limited workforce
The Entire existence is based on the fact that eCommerce nearly destroyed the offline market a few decades ago. Small traditional retailers, who couldn’t tap on the online market, struggled to keep up with the newly developed taste for online shopping among their prospects. No retailers had the skill, money, exposure, and workforce to build, promote, and manage an eCommerce website back then.
That’s where Amazon came as a savior with its multivendor market place model. Now, retailers had an online marketplace to set up their storefronts and attract online customers without owning an eCommerce website of their own. Gradually, Amazon introduced a series of services (like FBA), which made selling through Amazon even easier and fun with the support of infrastructure from a global giant.
As a result, even though creating an eCommerce website today is cheaper than FBA services, merchants still believe in Amazon’s infrastructure for good reasons.
Pro #3: Amazon is where customers are: get on-board or lose from those who are onboard
Amazon is not the only big player in the market, but it’s the first choice of online customers in almost every region where it functions. Customers trust Amazon’s brand, website, and services. Hence, those who want to expose their products to a prospective market have no choice but to sell through Amazon.
That’s where the concept we talked about in the beginning comes in the play- Amazon’s seller API. Using this API, brands and merchants manage their dual presence –both on Amazon and their websites. For some, while Amazon is the place to be, many others use this prospective marketplace as an additional channel to market and sell their products until their brand becomes prominent.
Hence, even if you build your proprietary stores, you can’t simply neglect the additional value, exposure, and customers Amazon can bring into your business.
Con #1: Amazon thinks about itself and its customers; not the sellers
No doubt, Amazon started as a savior of small retailers and merchants. Even today, it is one of the best places to find online customers. However, with time, the platform’s services have grown into luxuries. Today, if a retailer is choosing to sell on Amazon, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the retailer can’t afford to set up his/her store. It is just that the trust of customers has grown so deep in the Amazon that an eCommerce business can’t help but sell on it to keep getting conversions.
This over-dependence of merchants on Amazon’s brand has made many stories in the market. The articles about Amazon’s growing commission percentages, forcing merchants to opt for FBA, and Amazon wiping out small retailers by directly manufacturing the same kinds of products under its brand are just a few examples.
It’s not just Amazon, but also every marketplaces’ strategy. The marketplaces are building a complete ecosystem to bind customers into their web of products and services that no customer can escape. Be it Amazon’s CDN service or –audio-video streaming services with Prime Membership, the giant has surrounded a customer in 2020 by its presence in almost every sector.
If you are selling a good product on Amazon with high-demand, there is a chance that someday you might have to compete with the marketplace itself for the same product. Moreover, you cannot do anything about it, because the customers trust the brand. You would want to quit Amazon, but wouldn’t be able to do so, because Amazon’s ecosystem is where the customers are in the current scenario.
Con #2: They are Amazon’s customer; not yours
No doubt, you get sales on Amazon, but they are not your customers but mere transactions. Amazon or any marketplace in the market, own their customer relationship. Amazon makes sure that no customer who purchased with its seller leaches out of the platform. You can’t market your brand on Amazon by yourself and you can’t access the customer data.
Con #3: The ultimate control of your business is with Amazon
Right from no access to the customer data to the merchant’s sole responsibility to please the customers, everything you do on Amazon is out of your control. You can’t expect to set up an eCommerce Business Empire by selling on a third-party marketplace. Tons of things on Amazon can result in the sudden suspension of your seller account, and you can’t even do anything about it.
Ultimately, it’s a gamble. For small and medium enterprises that cannot manage their online presence by themselves, Amazon seems like a good option. Even though they can route to managed-services like Shopify and BigCommerce, but the kind of exposure with an association with Amazon’s brand is unmatchable. However, for those who are looking to build a strong brand and business empire in the market, setting up a proprietary web store is a good option. Besides, one can keep selling through Amazon as an additional channel, even after building a dedicated online presence. There are pros and cons of starting an online storeeither, but this hard work wouldn’t go in vain with proper planning and implementation. No one would control your brand and you own your customer relationship when you setup your own web store.
Jessica Bruce is a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. She also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.
Follow me on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)