E-commerce, marketplace or social networks: how to make sales online?
Everyone who thinks about entrepreneurship selling on the internet, at some point, needs to decide by what means they will do it. Among so many possibilities, how to have an e-commerce, sell through marketplaces or on social networks, how to make sales online and earn money over the internet?
If you have that doubt, don't worry. Let's bring down some of the pros and cons of selling products through your own virtual store, on marketplaces or on social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram. Come on?
One of the options for making online sales is to create your own online store. This means that you will create a website of your brand to market your articles, even allowing you to work from home.
Your virtual store can be created either from scratch, with the help of a developer, or from e-commerce platforms, for which you pay a monthly fee in exchange for using your technology to create your website. With these platforms, it is possible to integrate it with payment and shipping methods, even without any experience.
Having your own e-commerce is a way for you to have a virtual space of your own. This means that your store may have the layout you choose, in addition to many other requirements that will depend only on your strategy.
In addition, compared to marketplaces, for example, you will not have the fees to sell in that environment and you will not depend on another business model to survive. This means that you are not at risk, for example, that the marketplace fee will increase dramatically from one moment to the next or that there will be any relevant policy changes for sellers.
Another positive point of having your own online store is that you will be able to gain brand recognition much more easily. On your website, the logo and visual identity will be present at all times and customers will know which company they are buying from.
When you choose to create your e-commerce to sell over the internet, you will be creating something practically from scratch. Therefore, it will be up to you to build your website's audience so that people start accessing your online store.
The results can sometimes take a while to start showing, since the public will still need to know your site and feel safe to buy from your store.
Therefore, the initial expenses with digital marketing in your e-commerce may be slightly higher than if you chose to sell in a better known marketplace, for example.
Marketplaces are like virtual shopping centers. There, several shopkeepers sell their products, upon payment of a fee per product sold so that they can be in that virtual environment.
As well as creating an e-commerce through a platform, in the marketplace you will also have means of payment and shipping integrated into the system.
As many of the marketplaces are already well known by Internet users, the initial traffic to the site you will be selling on will already be higher. That way, it’s easier to have online sales
In addition, you will have all the convenience of being on a platform, many times, already well established. Thus, it is possible that you do not need to spend that much on the promotion of your products in that first moment.
When choosing to sell through marketplaces, you need to be aware that your business will depend entirely on another company. This means that if, in a very fatalistic example, this marketplace decides to close its doors overnight, your store will also end.
In addition, generally, the fees charged for product sold on marketplaces are usually quite high, sometimes reaching close to 20%. If you are unable to negotiate the values with your suppliers, it can be difficult to offer competitive prices and still make a profit.
Finally, you should be aware that when selling on marketplaces, your brand will be a supporting one. It will be very difficult to differentiate your identity among so many competing products. Just remember, if you bought through this channel: do you remember more the name of the store that sold you or the marketplace where you purchased the product?
Social networks are a real fever, especially in Brazil. And, although they were not created for this purpose, they are usually a rich environment for the commercialization of products.
Therefore, many tools have been developed by these platforms to facilitate trade. Among them are, for example, the Facebook product catalog and Instagram Shopping.
If you choose to sell on the internet through social networks, you will enjoy the chance to be found by millions of users who already have accounts on these sites. In addition, it is easier to use hashtags more used on Instagram and Twitter to participate in discussions in your industry, becoming recognized.
In addition, there are many other tools that you can use to make yourself present. Some examples are Facebook groups, Stories and IGTV, the video tool also from Instagram.
In addition, you will need very little to get started. By creating your brand account, you can now start your sales.
As with marketplaces, you will be subject to a business model totally unrelated to yours. This means that, for example, if the platform's algorithms change and your posts stop being seen by your audience, you will need to find a new way to appear. Often, the only way for you to make sales online is through paid ads.
Another point that you need to consider is that, if you choose to sell exclusively through social networks, you will not have integration with means of delivery and payment. It will be all up to you and you will have to agree with each customer how deliveries and payments will be made.
Another issue to be considered is that, for many social media selling features, you will need to have a website where you sell your products. Instagram Shopping, for example, needs to be linked to an online store.
Which one to choose to make sales online?
Now that you know some of the strengths and weaknesses of each channel, it’s easier to understand a little bit about how to make sales online. From each characteristic, you can assess what makes the most sense for the business model you have in mind for your brand.
In any case, it is worth emphasizing the importance of combining more than one of these forms, the ideal being that one of the options is your own virtual store. Thus, you will have a secure website and only you if the other environments undergo major changes that affect your company.
Another positive aspect among all these possibilities is that there are many forms of integration available between the different sales channels. There are platforms where you can even sell for all three and integrate all your sales in one panel of your online stores.
So, do you already know how to make sales online?
This article was written by Victoria Salemi, editor responsible for the content partnerships of Nuvemshop, the largest digital commerce platform in Latin America, with more than 30 thousand active stores. Graduated in Journalism, she loves to write and make complicated subjects accessible to everyone!