Launching your own online marketplace seems to be a lucrative idea for online retailers mostly because they would not need to tackle inventory issues like warehouse management, storing, and tracking.
Starting a marketplace like Amazon seems even more attractive: the path trodden by Amazon to become a globally successful eCommerce site inspires all of us. But what are the drawbacks of selling on Amazon and how digital entrepreneurs can improve their Multi-Vendors’ profitability with an alternative solution? Let’s figure it out in this post!
Possible drawbacks with large platforms for online retailers
Selling on a large eCommerce platform as a vendor, one thing should be taken into account. Big eCommerce players like Amazon can provide great exposure to your goods but still will take large payoffs from your revenues. Amazon has referral fees depending on the category a vendor sells in. For most items, it’s equal to 15% on average with the higher fees for clothing and accessories (17%) gift cards (20%), and Amazon device accessories (45%). Such commissions are too heavy for products, especially if for small batches.
In 2019, Amazon worsened its delivery conditions for start-ups. Now the state is rather favorable for small businesses in terms of delivery options. Just in case, an online retailer should have Plan B. It can be a secondary platform that will help to keep the head above water in bad conditions.
Partial control over online stores and large payoffs annoys. They are among the factors why vendors often get around to leave large platforms to find better business opportunities.
Alternatives to selling on Amazon
With your own eCommerce platform, you can provide your vendors with more flexible and tailored fee schemes. You can offer them a win-win approach – “we don’t make money until you do”. That is how you’ll attract more vendors to your marketplace instantly. Build a marketplace with more attractive vendor plans and clear transparent fees. You will get more business opportunities and won’t depend on somebody else. Building your own marketplace, you direct the traffic to your own source where you have full control.
But why not take advantage of both solutions? You can keep your vendor account on Amazon and possess your own Multi-Vendor at the same time. You benefit from both: your own software advantages and Amazon’s best practices for your business.
Many entrepreneurs come to us from Amazon to launch an alternative platform like Multi-Vendor Software (Enhanced) solution to start building their independent eCommerce websites. At this, they don’t leave completely their Amazon account, connecting and synchronizing their own online marketplace and the Amazon site. They can even repeat the look-n-feel of the Amazon store in Multi-Vendor thanks to the Amazon Style Menu plugin.
How to build a fully-controlled marketplace?
The structure is the basis for any project. For eCommerce websites, the best practice is to use a phased approach. Break your business plan down into three stages:
Without fundementals, the rest resides on quicksand.
On this stage, you select a platform where to set up your marketplace. You choose a hosting provider where to host it. Currently, CS-Cart offers three editions of the Multi-Vendor marketplace platform (B2B, B2C, and Ultimate). There are actually four plans for Cloud Hosting solutions. They fit the needs of a business project of any size and budget.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Begin the development of a marketplace from a minimum viable product (MVP). Create a pre-order campaign. You will get early feedback to fix issues, and add more convenient features. Early feedback helps you to validate your product hypotheses. You test your unique selling proposition at the early stage and gain early adopters of your brand.
Early adopters help to reveal all the drawbacks before the major release to your target audience. If you want to launch strong, piece together a strong storefront design. Create the impression of ‘Shopping Special”. Keep the style fresh and light, without any “flashy” design elements. White background. Focus on featuring products, remove any distractions.
The Simtech Development company offers a number of themes. These themes serve the purpose of keeping your storefront neat and clean. Take the Generation Z Theme as an example. This is the most up-to-date theme designed with the focus on the young generation. Ask for the theme customization if you have specific business needs.
Not only customers can help you with feedback about the necessary improvements in your own marketplace project. Vendors are your target audience as well. You validate your platform efficiency with them.
Think about simplifying the admin panel
Make it as simple as possible and super user-friendly for vendors. The Multi-Vendor helps to configure some settings by default. If you need help, contact us for customization.
Generate a sense of community
Build a common space. Merchants and consumers support each other on a common platform:
- Enable customer-to-vendor communication,
- Add the real-time messenger to your marketplace,
- Put reviews under the product image.
Every Multi-Vendor project is unique! We offer custom development on a case-by-case basis. If you are launching a marketplace and/or need custom features, use these tips for requesting a quote:
- Give us your project summary. Specify if you are a B2B or B2C, the number of storefronts and vendors, your product type, geography of distribution,
- Tell us about the profit scheme (how you are going to monetize the idea),
- Let us know about your business-specific needs – specific payment gateways, third-party system integrations, etc.
- Screenshots are helpful and do not hesitate to share links to the examples from other businesses that inspire you.
The more granular are the details about your Multi-Vendor, the quicker is the path to running a profitable Amazon-like marketplace.