Your brand and third-party marketplaces
Amazon, eBay and other third-party marketplaces can be a tremendous boon to sales, particularly for a young, unestablished retail brand. These markets offer startups with unique products significant exposure to millions of potential buyers. It may initially seem like a win-win scenario for brands at first glance: they get access to more customers, and they get to sell their goods.
Drawbacks of marketplaces
However, there are some innate drawbacks with selling on these platforms. Most notably, the loss of brand control. When customers are buying products through Amazon, eBay or any other marketplace, they are doing business with the marketplace owner in their mind. They likely don't care about your brand, and won't become a loyal customer unless you are offering something truly unique. When their friends ask where they got that cool item, they'll say Amazon, not your webstore on Amazon.
On top of that, these third-party marketplaces also maintain control of customer data.
Sure, they might provide you with the buyers' address so you can mail them the product. But you won't be able to tell what other goods they are looking for, and you will never know if you could have maybe encouraged them to buy another product from you that would have supplemented their purchase. This data can play a pivotal role in improving eCommerce operations, yet it will be locked away in the pocket of the marketplace owner.
Additionally, if something goes wrong in the purchase process, you'll be the first one to blame. If Amazon gives you the wrong address from a file or doesn't send you the right notice, you'll be dealing with an angry customer. It's a scenario where, when everything goes well, the customer doesn't remember your brand, but when something goes wrong, they remember you as that ineffective Amazon store.
There are other drawbacks as well. Operating on a third-market place can be time consuming, especially when you're trying to sell from the same inventory across multiple platforms, including your own eCommerce website. As Shopify notes, "a marketplace is essentially a second point of sale. And one that sometimes can't be configured to talk to your shopping cart. In effect, both draw down the same inventory, but don't sync with one another, making it challenging to understand your stock levels without lots of manual reconciliation."
Gaining control of marketplaces
Selling products on third-party marketplaces has a lot of benefits, but there are some real drawbacks as well. Utilizing the right eCommerce software, such as SalesWarp, can help you manage your listings across platforms, which is pivotal in simplifying your eCommerce operations across marketplaces and keeping everything in sync. SalesWarp could even be potentially used to create your own marketplace, if that's the road you want to take with your eCommerce brand.