Online selling is something that every self-respecting business goes through nowadays, particularly when everyone is shopping on the Internet. If you’ve been selling your products online for a while now, you’ve probably heard many marketing experts say that you’d benefit from the “multichannel sales strategy.”
This strategy involves selling your product on more than your average eCommerce website or your local physical shop. There are several types of online sales channels that you can offer your product on – the only condition being to pick the right one. Every marketplace is different, so here is how you choose the most appropriate one for your business.
In this Article
- Amazon (General Marketplaces)
- eBay (Auction Marketplace)
- Facebook and Instagram (Social Media)
- Etsy (Handmade Items and Crafts Marketplace)
- Cratejoy (Subscription Box Service)
- CafePress (On-Demand Production)
- Craigslist (Classified Listing Platform)
- Bonanza (Unique Items)
- Not on the High Street (Niche Curated Platform)
- Google Shopping (Comparison Shopping Engine)
- Groupon (Daily Deals Site)
Factors for Deciding Your Business Sales Channels
There are dozens of online platforms that you may use to sell your product, so it can get quite overwhelming to narrow it down to a single one. To make your decision, you need to consider the pros and cons of following your audience. Here are a couple of factors that you might want to keep in mind.
1.Your Business Model
What do you plan your business to be? Do you want to be the creator of your products to do everything yourself from scratch? Do you wish to make a living out of dropshipping? Or is your purpose here of making profits out of wholesale? Before you even begin choosing your online sales channel, figure out precisely what you plan your business to be like.
2.Your Payment Processing System
What option for the payment processing system will you decide to use? Do you want to go for Google Wallet or Square, or do you believe that ApplePay and PayPal are the better solutions? Are you acquainted with the fees requested by this provider – and if so, do you think your cash flow and revenue cycle can handle it? Think about your preferences, along with the popular way in which customers tend to make their payments.
3.The Habits of Your Audience
Think about your product. Now, think about where your audience would go in search for a similar product. Do they like one-click purchases on Amazon Prime, or are they more interested in eBay auctions? At this point, you may also want to determine whether your product is made for specific groups or designed for mass appeal. A platform that is appropriate for the former may not be as good for the latter..
4.Your Brand’s Market Positioning
Think about where precisely you want to be on the market. Do you intend to offer mass-produced functionality, or do you want to become a luxury, upscale brand? Maybe you want to sell unique, hard-to-find items, or products designed for specific niches. In this case, you might want to carefully consider your sales channel, as each one has a different approach.
5.Your Business Goals
What exactly do you want to do with your business? Do you wish to scale your business even higher? If so, how do you plan on doing that? Think about this aspect when deciding on how to sell online for better profit.
6.Your Product Type
Do you plan on selling products meant to be accessible for every person, or are you targeting your product towards a particular niche? Do you plan on selling mass-produced products, or do you intend to sell vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces that are custom-built for every individual? Before deciding on your sales channel of choice, you need to consider what you will be selling.
7.Weaknesses and Strengths of the Channel
Before choosing an online sales channel, you need to consider the pros and cons of every option you are considering. Some channels might have higher competition. Others might require you to pay higher fees in exchange for a better client flow. To successfully get your product out there, you have to know every advantage or drawback of the platform you intend to use.
Tot Popular Online Sales Channels
There are various online sales channels that you may select. Some of them might be global marketplaces, and others may focus more on crafts and handmade items. Think about the product and your audience, and determine what type of market works best for your purpose. All of the following websites will have particular benefits following the shopping behavior of every individual.
1.Amazon (General Marketplaces)
If you sell products with a mass appeal, you might have to go to global marketplaces such as Amazon. Thanks to the success of this retail giant, you can sell everything from electronics to sunflower-shaped lollipops. According to an article written by Mrinalini Krishna for Investopedia, Amazon is growing more and more in power as it brought convenience onto our doorstep.
“Amazon started with books and then added everything from engagement rings to jail cells for mobile phones until it became “the everything store.” Add the convenience of having it delivered promptly to your doorstep, and customers have rewarded Amazon with open wallets. According to eMarketer, Amazon accounted for about 4% of U.S. retail sales and 37.7% of U.S. eCommerce sales in 2019.”
If you have niche products to sell on Amazon, then the platform’s popularity will probably help you get your product out there. With the diversity of the website, people already know that if they want to look for items, unique or not, then Amazon is a website that might undoubtedly satisfy their needs.
The downside of Amazon is that your credibility is a result of how they streamline the product. You may have some fancy and robust brand – but to the customer, it will be nothing more than a simple “Amazon product.” If you have some strong branding for your product or are selling one-of-a-kind items, then Amazon might not be such an appropriate platform.
2.eBay (Auction Marketplace)
eBay is likely one of the most popular options in terms of online marketplaces. What makes it different in comparison to other websites is its purchasing style. As such, instead of setting fixed prices for their products, eBay takes the auction approach. This makes it a good option if you are selling unique pieces such as vintage models, collectibles, or objects that are overall very rare.
This platform has no listing fees – not unless you try to list more than 50 products per month. The only money they will take is a percentage of the purchase value; that will be their commission.
However, the downside lies in the fact that the seller might have to wait a bit of time before they go through the sale. In some cases, they might not even get their money’s worth – mainly if the auction is slow. Still, they will get a reasonable price if they have things that sell well online.
Yes, social media is not only for sharing funny pictures and check-ins. You may also use the Facebook Store application, which allows your eCommerce website to sell directly on your Facebook place.
Facebook Marketplace is also quite popular in terms of classified listings. Louie Ortiz, CEO of Monbi.com, also emphasizes the benefits of using social media platforms as sales channels.
“Whenever people need a breather, the chances are that they will be going onto social media. During their 10-minute break, they will scroll through their notifications, their newsfeed – and when they finish, they will go to the marketplace too. They will use it as an opportunity to see what other people are selling – thinking that they might need what they are providing. With so many people going through this process, you would be mad not to take advantage of this.”
Instagram and Pinterest also have their shopping features if you are more accustomed to these platforms or if you just seem to have more engagement with your customers there.
4.Etsy (Handmade Items and Crafts Marketplace)
If you are selling handmade, one-of-a-kind crafts, you might want to turn your attention towards Etsy. The design of this platform is for people who like to create their products and do not necessarily want to go into mass-production. Plus, since the competition is smaller on this platform, it is more likely that your products will sell faster.
Etsy does charge a listing fee for every product, along with a commission for each sale that you make. As a plus, they do provide quite a lot of payment methods, including Apple Wallet sand Paypal, so that every customer may easily make a purchase.
5.Cratejoy (Subscription Box Service)
If you have a subscription box service as your primary business, you may want to sell it through Cratejoy or other similar platforms. It provides services and features regardless of the stage of your subscription box business. You may be starting, or you may be looking to expand – but irrespective of your status, this platform should help improve your sales.
6.CafePress (On-Demand Production)
CafePress allows people to sell pieces that feature printed components, which are created on an on-demand basis. This platform is excellent for those with a broader range of designs but wants to begin outsourcing their products while cutting down on storage and management costs for their inventory.
Since they work on the create-and-fulfill-orders system, CafePress sees the seller not as a store owner, but as an artist or a designer. For this reason, the website pays royalties as well. A fee is deducted from that every month, but there aren’t any setup fees, and you may receive commissions on every sale that you make.
7.Craigslist (Classified Listing Platform)
Craigslist is a platform that people use for buying and selling online the products they no longer want. It might not be precisely a place where business owners can sell their new manufactured products. However, some people still managed to find a way to make profits out of Craigslist.
According to Steven Rosenbaum, a former contributor to Forbes, Craigslist is the kind of platform where you can buy anything and sell anything – and you will still receive quite a lot of profit for it.
“It’s a massive community of people buying, selling, bartering, and connecting. And at a time when the web has become increasingly commercial – with toll booths sprouting up at every useful corner, Craigslist has remained remarkably true to its roots. Other than a few categories like job postings and real estate, the bulk of the site’s engagement and traffic is remarkably low-tech and free. The site serves over 20 billion-page views per month, putting it in 37th place overall among websites worldwide and 10th place overall among websites in the United States.”
This popular platform allows you to sell electronics and appliances, but you can also provide one-off items. The upside is that it’s free to make a listing on Facebook. The downside is that this “free listing” also makes it riskier, with fewer protection policies placed to protect people from scams.
8.Bonanza (Unique Items)
If you are looking for something similar to Etsy but not as demanding, then Bonanza is quite a good fit. As their slogan says, this is the website where you can find anything, except for ordinary things. It is a particularly useful platform to sell any of the quirky items that you may have, especially if you are in the apparel and fashion industry.
Bonanza may not be as well-known as other platforms such as Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, but people that desire less mainstream items use it. There aren’t any listing fees, but they do take a certain percentage of your sales price, turning it into their commission. The commission amount will vary based on how big the transaction will be.
9.Not on the High Street (Niche Curated Platform)
Some people might think that as a “niche marketplace,” this one should sell products catering to a specific category of people. In other words, it should sell a “single category of things.” That is not particularly true, as every product sold on this platform is unique in its own.
NOTHS provides unusual gift ideas that you would not typically find “on the high street” gift shops. It’s perfect if your best products to sell online are quirky and creative. You will have to pay a joining fee when you create an account, but other than that, there is no listing fee.
10.Google Shopping (Comparison Shopping Engine)
When people think about how to choose a product to buy, they like to weigh their options. Other platforms might be storing the same product at a different price – so it goes without saying that the customer will be looking for the most attractive prices to them. Something that Louie Ortiz mentions is:
“People will always be looking for a better deal of a product, regardless of what you are offering. If they put their minds to buy something in particular, they will browse through platforms until they find a price that is within their budget. Therefore, if you offer a competitive price for something, you will want your potential customers to see it. Make it obvious that you’re the one they should be going to for a good price, not your competition.”
In this case, you might be interested in using Google Shopping or other similar search engines. The drawback of this platform is that it caters to people that are looking for cheap yet efficient products. So, if you are selling expensive, unique, or luxury items, this might not be the best place for you. It is mostly the right choice if you are selling a mass-produced product that more people want.
11.Groupon (Daily Deals Site)
If you want to expand your brand’s reach and give your customers a taste of your product, you might want to consider listing your items on sales channels such as Groupon. It works similarly to paid ads, only that there aren’t any upfront costs, and the website will only take a percentage of your product revenue.
Groupon will help you promote the service or product that you are offering, using their email list to get your item out there. It is also a good option if you still do not have a long subscription list.
Finding the perfect online sales channel is relatively easy, mainly if you already know your service details. No matter which platform you choose, keep in mind to go through the following: goals, business model, product type, audience, and brand. Once that is settled, it should be easy to make your pick. Hopefully, our guide on how to start selling online managed to help you out.