Whether you have a retail brick-and-mortar, run your own small business and are looking for supplemental income, or looking for a way to monetize your hobbies, more and more people are leveraging online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Jet to create more revenue streams.
The reality is that people are turning to these online marketplaces in the place of going into retail locations, so if you put your products where the customers are, you heighten your chances of selling.
Here’s how these online marketplaces can work for you.
The Online Environment Is Where People Are Shopping
According to figures gathered by Adobe’s CMO, online retail sales are predicted to grow to $370 billion by 2017. Among the Millennials demographic, 72 percent are using their smartphones to research product purchases and often end up buying using their phones, over visiting a shopping mall.
Two-thirds of those, ages 50 and older, have now opted for online shopping. Many like the flexible options provided by online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay because they are able to garner access to products they would never find at their local retailers.
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You’ll Reach New Audiences That Your Physical Business Would Have Never Done
With these new numbers of online shoppers, you’ll be reaching out to those consumers outside of your regular selling arena. In research gathered by Shopify, “The chief draw of selling on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay is the scale of their online presence. Amazon alone draws nearly 85 million unique monthly visitors. That’s a heck of a lot of eyeballs. And those eyeballs can translate into higher sales volumes.”
According to an Amazon executive quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, sellers report an average 50 percent increase in sales after becoming a member of the Amazon Marketplace.
Adding an additional channel for transactions that you would not have if you merely stick with your physical retail location. These online marketplaces open you up to a world of opportunity to serve customers from all over the world, particularly when using eBay, which attracts an international audience, while Amazon users generally tend to stick to a more limited geographical territory within the states.
You Have a Built-in Marketing System
These online marketplaces make marketing their specialty so you don’t have to spend your own hard earned dollars on this part of your business. This effort includes showcasing your products online through keyword searches, product features, and direct links to your social media pages if you have set those up.
There is no need for you to put together an entire marketing strategy with search engines, content, and social media marketing tactics. These online marketplaces have built-in search engines to help get you connected to your target customer. You can essentially start making money as soon as you post your products on eBay as an auction or Buy-it-Now format, or through your Amazon storefront.
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Some Online Marketplaces Do the Heavy Lifting
Both eBay and Amazon offer numerous selling tools and online storefronts. Amazon goes a step further than eBay in terms of offering logistical support, including warehousing.
For example, "Fulfillment by Amazon" handles order processing, warehousing, and dispatch while eBay leaves these areas of the business up to you.
Although Amazon may involve a bigger upfront investment for you, it essentially sets up an entire business for you, over eBay where it can be more of a part-time, side business. (Although, many selling on eBay are certainly full-time.) Using Amazon has the benefit of not having to do much of the time-consuming work of a business.
It provides a way to focus on continuing to make money at your main job or gives you the extra time you would not have had to add more product lines to your online marketplace business. While there are fees incurred for this type of support, they are well worth the trade-off giving you more time to continue making money and generating more sales.
Further Tips to Make Money Through Online Marketplaces
To ensure you create the most profitable online marketplace business possible, here are a few tips:
1. Don’t try to set up shop on every online marketplace out there. Even attempting eBay and Amazon might be too much to start with even if you have the experience of handling online selling and shipping. Take a good look at your product, your available time, and the requirements of each marketplace.
You don't want to get all of your products listed online to sell, only to run out of product or find you don't have the time or manpower to get the product out the door within the required 24 hours.
Do your research first and look at what compulsory rules go into starting your online selling business. Check with each different type or name of the online marketplaces to determine which one has features that best fit your current availability, budget and revenue objectives.
2. Both Amazon and eBay offer tools to help you get started with your online store, but they are, for the most part, all on you to set up. If you're ready and raring to go, but don't quite have the time to do everything, there are companies that specialize in helping you manage these online marketplace businesses.
Many take a percentage of your total revenue to help you oversee operations. This may be something to consider if you already have a full-time job and are looking for supplemental income.
3. You may not be prepared for the type of response you get on your online marketplace store, so you will need to have a strategy for ensuring that you can maintain an inventory that is in sync with demand.
While Amazon may offer some tools, others like eBay leave this responsibility solely on you to manage. Just be sure you study up on how to maintain an inventory that matches your new audience’s needs.
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Get Ready to Sell
Having worked for eBay for several years, and sold on both marketplaces, I know from personal experience both the pains and the joys of online selling.
Plan ahead, research which marketplace would be the best to offer your products, and consider the requirements each channel has and how you are able to fulfill them.
When you have done your homework and prepared in depth for your plan of attack, then you can get started making the most of these online sales markets and gain that extra bit of revenue. Good luck!