Smaller retailers who are not selling via online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and Ebay may be missing out on one of the best routes to their customers. Nearly 70% of online shoppers prefer to purchase through online marketplaces, and small business owners may reap big benefits by selling through these marketplaces in addition to their own online stores, a new survey suggests.
Comparing products and finding the best deal is the main motivation for using an online marketplace for nearly 60% of online shoppers. The findings come from Clutch, a research and reviews platform for business services.
For small business owners with online stores, marketplaces like Amazon might seem like a threat to sales. In reality, selling on both an e-commerce website and an online platform can be a winning strategy.
“It was clear that we needed to sell on Amazon,” said Daniel Mullaly, Chief Technology Officer of Lewis Bamboo, which distributes bamboo to over 15,000 locations. “Since then, it has doubled our business.”
Despite the prevalence of online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay, small business retail websites continue to play an important role in the e-commerce landscape. They serve as a company’s online hub, solidify branding, and build valuable customer loyalty.
For small businesses that switch to a multi-channel selling strategy that combines selling through an online marketplace as well as and their website, staying on top of orders from multiple sources can present a challenge. To manage this, some businesses’ website builders have back-end features that collect and organize orders from multiple sources.
BigCommerce, a leading website builder specializing in e-commerce, is equipped with back-end features that allow merchants to set and track promotions and discounts such as buy-one-get-one offers and free shipping.
“These seem like fairly mundane features, but it’s very hard to find e-commerce platforms that have robust promos and discount features,” said Leo Castro, Vice President of Marketing at BigCommerce.
Above all, online shoppers prioritize saving money and time. One-third (33%) of shoppers prefer the convenience of shopping online compared to brick and mortar stores, while 37% cited discounts or coupons as the prime attraction to purchase through a small business website.
The survey suggests that as Amazon and other online marketplaces continue to shape online shoppers’ expectations and desires, small businesses will increasingly need to turn to a multi-channel approach to drive sales.