It is quite impossible for anyone to not be aware of Amazon as a marketplace to buy almost anything and everything. Given the fame of this international platform, hosting over a million customers every day, you might wonder why you should still consider selling some products on your own store or site. Do you wonder why not everyone jumps to only using Amazon as their selling platform? According to statistics, around 46% of business owners from the UK still prefer to use their own store.
Are you struggling to understand the different advantages and disadvantages associated with both choices? Not sure when to opt for which option? Well, we are here to help.
Let us start by checking the Amazon Platform.
Using Amazon Marketplace
If we look back at 2016, Amazon hosted over 300 million active users from all around the world. What does that tell you? Well, if your product is on Amazon, you have a potential good reach for prospective customers. But then, when is Amazon not the right direction to go for selling your products?
Let us start with the advantages of selling on Amazon.
1. Sales and Revenue
When you follow the rules set down by Amazon and list your product as per their guidelines, you can surely expect to increment your sales through the platform. How so? Well, as mentioned before, the marketplace hosts millions of users, out of which, a huge percentage belongs to active customers. It is highly unlikely to not benefit from such good exposure.
Amazon also comes with a product cataloging system that ensures that your product is shown in the correct location for an Amazon user to find it when hunting for something similar. Amazon also puts a good amount of investment behind paid Google search. And hence, you can highly benefit from that.
2. Reach – Local and International
When talking about reach, in this regard, it is mostly related to the international audience. Amazon is renowned all over the world, as a trusted marketplace too. Hence, you, as a business, can access different marketplaces all over the world through this platform. You do not have to confine yourself to simply reaching your locals. This will give you international exposure.
3. Customer Acquisition
When someone is looking to buy a product on Amazon, they usually do not search for it using the names of brands. Rather, they type in the specific product and Amazon displays a matching product from different brands to the customer. This means you are more likely to attract new, as well as unique clients through this discovery of your business in their search results.
However, every coin comes with two sides. Selling on Amazon comes with some cons as well.
4. Integrated Advertising
If you have checked out products on Amazon, you must have noticed that many products are ‘Sponsored’ within the product listings. This means, as a seller, you can use the Amazon Sponsored Ad platform to ensure your product is quite high on the product list displayed to customers on Amazon. Amazon PPC or Pay per Click advertising also ensures that as a new seller on the marketplace, you can start to advertise your products without requiring to have any prior knowledge about promotions.
5. Search Engine Optimization and Visibility
When you are using the right keywords for the products you are listing on the Amazon platform, you can highly benefit from the visibility on Google given the fact that Amazon holds a good amount of authority in this concern. The product pages can start to climb up the rank and bring you to highly competitive terms. Try it! Type a product in your Google Search Engine and at least two or three products will be pages from Amazon.
6. Management of Inventory
When you are dealing with selling your products through Amazon, you do not have to worry about keeping your eye out for the management of inventory, handling the packaging and shipping of the products. You also do not have to take the stress of thinking about the tracking. The Amazon infrastructure will take care of all the support you require in this regard.
Given the fact that customers do not look for a specific brand but a specific product when browsing through Amazon, you can expect the competition to be quite high. There will be many other businesses, similar to yours, bigger or smaller in size, that will be offering the same product and your product has to compete with theirs.
2. Lack of Control
When you sign up and list your product on Amazon, you are bound to the rules and guidelines set by Amazon. Amazon prioritizes the products, not the business, nor the seller. Hence, you cannot showcase your brand on this platform. Your only control is your product.
3. Associated Costs
While we have expressed the possibility of increasing your sales through Amazon, you must also bear in mind that you have to pay for it. Regardless of whether you are a professional account holder or you are opting for FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), you will have to bear the fees of using the platform. You should take a good look at the different plans available with the fee structure of Amazon before committing to an account for this marketplace.
4. Limited chances of Reviews
Amazon holds restrictions on what you can review and what you are not allowed to. This limit is also applied to what type of product you are reviewing on a single day or even in a week. This is mostly because Amazon wants to cut down on dishonest reviews. However, this puts a hurdle in the case of true reviews as well. Reviews play a crucial role in maintaining the organic visibility of products on the platform.
Using Your Store
Selling your products through your own store, both online and offline can come with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Let us start by looking at the brighter side of selling through your own store.
1. Full Control
This is something you would otherwise be missing in Amazon when selling your products there. Since you are using your own store’s website, you can establish complete control over it. Starting from the content of the site, to design, interaction, and management, you can decide on the smallest and the largest of parts of the website. You can have a say or the entire call on how, when, where, and what happens to your products.
2. You are the ONLY concern
Unlike in Amazon, your website will only contain information about you and your e-commerce business. It is ONLY about your product. There is no way that your potential clients will get distracted by any other brand or business when they are looking at products on your website. Your products will not be presented as ‘others also viewed’ or ‘the deal of today’. Your website will solely display YOUR products and none from any competitors.
Imagine your customers buying your product from Amazon and appreciating it. They will pass on the word about the product to their friends and family. However, when asked where they bought it from, the answer will be ‘Amazon’. People usually remember only the name of the marketplace, and not the actual brand when they buy a product from platforms like Amazon. When your clients are buying your products through your own store’s website, your site is likely to receive more referrals, ensuring that the brand presence is becoming more prominent.
Nevertheless, every coin comes with two sides. Selling your products through your own site comes with some cons as well.
1. Reduced Reach
As mentioned before, marketplaces like Amazon can highly boost the visibility of your products to a wider crowd, beyond your local customer base, allowing you to step into the international markets. Your enhanced reach is certainly limited when you are only using your own website to sell your products. That way, you close yourself off from the big markets and your product’s presence on the web reduces.
2. Reduced Credibility
Amazon has a good reputation among a huge user base. It is trusted by almost all customers and retailers. Hence, when your product is listed on Amazon, it gets higher credibility than it does when you sell it through your own store’s website. Your website will be comparatively new, and not as well-known as Amazon. Hence, it might take a while before you can develop a trusted relationship with your customers. Consumers are usually more sure and confident about purchasing products from a well-known site.
3. Lack of Support
You are the one in complete control of the website of your store. Hence, if something, unfortunately, goes wrong, you are all on your own. You will have a lack of support in terms of web development or other technical issues if they arise out of the blue. This is usually taken care of by Amazon when you list your product on their platform. You can remain free from this sort of stress.
What If You Want to Connect Both Platforms?
Well, if you were thinking that you have to choose between Amazon and your own site as a requirement from Amazon, you are wrong. You may decide to sell your product both on Amazon and on your own site by unifying a sales funnel. It is something you might find extremely handy to consider.
How to do so? Well, there are several e-commerce tools that you may use to direct the sales and construct a loyal audience base, channeling them to the product page you have on the Amazon platform. The Amazon online page should be highlighted since that is where you are most likely to get the maximum number of customers. You should hence channel most of your energy into promoting that specific page.
Some of the best website advertising options include added investment behind the PR and publicity of your site, creating great Search Ads to reach a bigger crowd, YouTube or Video Ads or even, more recently, a TikTok review. Social media networks are of course the best channels for any online advertisements you are doing. However, do not undermine the power of Paid Social Ads. Email marketing, affiliate marketing and viral marketing are also things you can explore to boost your website sales.
When it comes to Amazon, you can make use of Sponsored Brand Ads, Sponsored Product Ads as well as explore the other options of advertisements that Amazon offers.
Your site, the website of your own store, should be used as the landing page for your brand. You can engage shoppers and concentrate the social media efforts to convert the one-time buyers into returning customers. After all, you need to focus on your customers and not customers of Amazon.
In short, you should be aware that selling on Amazon can require additional strategy from you if you are involving yourself in multi-channel commerce. On the main website of your store, you can be selling all the flagship items that your business offers to generate the majority of YOUR customers. On Amazon, on the other hand, you need to think of selling sales and overstock products.
These can also include the second-tier accessories of your brand and anything else that does not contribute as the largest profit driver for your business. Why so? Well, as you might have already guessed, Amazon can be a great channel to sell the unsold stock fast, given the large customer base. Furthermore, if you are looking to attract new customers to your business, this should be your target all the way.
However, it is up to you to review our guide on selling on Amazon vs your Own Store to come to the right decision for your products.