A website might seem like a prerequisite for an online store, but modern ecommerce has transcended websites. Many merchants rely exclusively on external marketplaces, such as Amazon.com or eBay, while new technologies have made it easier than ever to sell through social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. The decision of whether to use a website depends largely on the types of products and services that you’re selling and your goals.
You should ask yourself several questions:
- What fees are involved? If the fees and commissions are low enough and the volume is high enough, marketplaces can be much more profitable than investing the time and capital into setting up your own ecommerce website.
- Are you operating in a high-volume business? If you sell factory equipment that nobody searches for, marketplaces probably aren’t the best idea. But, if you’re selling basketballs, marketplaces are a great way to reach customers.
- How much time do you have? Marketplaces take a lot less time and commitment than setting up an ecommerce store, but the tradeoff is that they are often less flexible when it comes to adding new functionality and almost always take a cut of the profit.