How to Choose an E-Commerce Marketplace

So you’re ready to settle into the e-commerce market. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a newcomer, you need to decide which e-commerce marketplace to use. How do you choose the right online shopping cart for you?

Choosing a marketplace isn’t as simple as finding the highest-rated site and going for it. You need a platform that fits your needs, and each option has its pros and cons. Your decision will be easier as you answer these 5 big questions:

1. What am I selling and to whom?

Your product will determine which direction to take with your marketplace, and your target audience determines which type of site you will need. If your typical customer is a millennial, you may need a strong mobile site with captivating visuals and story-telling. It should be trendy, minimalist and styled, both rich and engaging, with polished branding. A website like that can cost more money and requires a sharp eye for visuals or—more commonly—a strong creative team.

On the other hand, if your target customer is older or less tech-savvy, you could focus on a straight-forward traditional shopping cart system. Keep it simple and don’t worry as much about chic visuals and a calculated or polished look. This route should cost less and require less design focus, but it will reach your customer better and help them through the traditional, simple e-commerce shopping experience.

2. How well does this marketplace integrate with my favorite systems?

Are you a PayPal diehard? Then be sure to choose a marketplace that integrates with PayPal. How about shipping platforms? If you use ShipCaddie shipping software, you’ll want to make sure you choose a tried-and-true marketplace that will allow you to continue shipping smoothly at the lowest rates. Same goes for any e-commerce solution you currently love and use. If you want to keep using it, verify that your future marketplace will play nicely with it!

3. How do I want to pay?

Some e-commerce marketplaces require yearly lump payments, some monthly, some per transaction, and others charge a percentage of your sales. How fast do you want to grow? If you plan on rapid growth, avoid percentage plans and stick with monthly fees. Many online shopping carts offer powerful software for a low subscription price, regardless of size. Although $29/month for an e-commerce site today might seem like a pain, in 6-months when you’re bringing in thousands in revenue per week, the monthly investment will have paid off.

4. How much control/customization do I want?

If you have a vision of the perfect online shopping experience, you’ll have to consider customization as you shop for a marketplace. While it’s a lot less hassle to sell on Amazon, for example (no website to worry about customizing!), you lose control over how your product is presented or your brand is displayed. Meanwhile with a WordPress site integrated with WooCommerce, you may find yourself with more options than you know what to do with.

5. How quickly do I want to get started?

On Amazon or eBay you could be selling in a matter of hours or days. On other sites, it could take months to prepare for launch, but you’ll own your content. Consider that your online store will need product photos and descriptions, branding (including logos, About me information, customer support), a payment gateway, an order management process, and a shipping management system. The e-commerce marketplace you choose will impact how much you’ll have to do in all these areas, and that will affect how long it will take to launch.

There is a lot to consider, but as you answer these five questions, you will be more prepared to evaluate the options and see how each aligns with your needs. And of course we’re always happy to offer guidance if you have further questions! Give us a call at 888.797.0929 and we’ll steer you in the right direction.