E-Commerce Marketplaces Or Custom Website: Which Is Ideal For Your B2B Business?
The revelation that 76% of Amazon sellers were profitable to start 2022 is convincing enough to sign up with an e-commerce platform. You should pause to ask if that is right for your business-to-business company or if you are better off without it. How about starting your e-commerce website and optimizing it for visibility and online shopping?
It is common to jump over this essential decision and start scouring for marketing tactics to gain visibility for your business. You should find out which platform the sales will ultimately happen when a shopper clicks your ad. This simple but vital move takes us to what many companies struggle with when gaining momentum.
E-commerce marketplaces present benefits if you use them to sell your products. However, they have limitations that having a proprietary website for your business solves excellently. We’ll flip the coin on this one and see which approach is best for you, including its limitations and best use-case scenarios.
Why You Should Pick an E-Commerce Marketplace
There is a reason why e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon, Shopify, Walmart, eBay, Aliexpress, etc. flourish in online selling. In 2021, over 2 billion people worldwide made purchases as digital buyers, raking billions into the industry.
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Here are the benefits that come with it getting an online store with an e-commerce marketplace.
Your new business might not be reputable when starting. Conversely, e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon, Shopify, eBay, etc. are well-known sites. Although rip-offs still occur, buyers generally consider them safe.
These platforms offer security features and have policies to screen out scams and fraudulent sellers. We can’t say the efforts have been 100% successful. However, you immediately wear the marketplace's reputation once a buyer sights a product in your catalog.
There are other things to consider, like reviews, ratings, etc. Once you get it up and running, these metrics are easy to get for your store. Moreover, consumers are more willing to buy from a reputable platform if your ad redirects them there.
Businesses ultimately need integrations to sell their products or render their services online. That covers everything from financial institutions to casinos for crypto betting, which introduce cryptocurrency integrations for deposits, on the other end. The purpose behind such advancements lies in the optimization of transactions, allowing users to deposit their funds securely while taking advantage of crypto-exclusive rewards.
These integrations include:
- payment systems
- emailing management software
- Accounting software
- Social media management software
- Customer relationship management systems
Hosting your products on an e-commerce store gives you access to hundreds of integrations. Hence, you don’t spend time and resources developing your own systems or integrating APIs.
Some third-party apps optimize their integrations with these platforms, giving you the best experience.
Shipping and Logistics
Platforms like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc. offer shipping and logistics. All you have to worry about is getting your products to their warehouses. Afterward, they will deliver them to your buyers.
These platforms also run fulfillment centers for even better service. Selling through them takes this load off your shoulders. If not, you would worry about getting trucks, renting a warehouse, hiring drivers to deliver your products, etc.
Why You Should Pick a Custom Website
Building a custom website is still viable despite the many advantages of using e-commerce platforms. It is ideal if you want to grow your brand and maintain exclusivity. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get lost in the sea of online sellers on e-commerce marketplaces.
Here are the benefits that come with owning a custom website for your B2B business:
You can build your site to whatever standards you want. With an e-commerce marketplace, your business is forced to adapt to the available options.
Don’t get us wrong. Many marketplaces have evolved to provide as much flexibility as possible. Nevertheless, they can’t beat calling your website developer to add certain features or remove some.
You are in complete control of how to operate your website, which features to add, and which domain to host it on. These aspects can prove helpful in separating you from the crowd and distinguishing your business.
Fewer Product Restrictions
With a custom website, the only product limitations you will have are those the law prohibits. E-commerce marketplaces often have product restrictions and stringent conditions for approving your listings.
These platforms include these conditions to protect customers and make the description compatible with their search engines. Hence, you have to follow pre-set formats to write your product listings.
There are no limitations when listing products on your website. You can describe them the way you see fit. However, you should still adopt best practices that make it easier for web crawl bots.
What happens when your business grows beyond selling products? You could include things like after-service contracts, consultations, etc.
Marketplaces allow you to list thousands, if not millions, of products. However, they are not ideal for expanding your business.
The scenarios we mentioned above are typical for growing businesses. You can quickly adapt your custom website to fit your new business needs.
Comparing E-Commerce Platforms with Custom Websites
Here is a direct comparison of both platforms. You’ll learn which one works best in certain aspects.
Here is how the two approaches stack up against each other:
Marketplaces offer quick startups to sellers. You don’t need to be a professional website designer; they have no-code tools to help you build your store. As a result, it is easy and quick to develop your platform.
You need design and coding skills to build a custom website. If you don’t have them, hiring professionals becomes the next option.
E-commerce marketplaces have plans for different price segments. Some even allow free use for a specific period to get you started. On the other hand, getting a custom website requires an upfront cost that is often higher than using e-commerce platforms.
You’ll spend time and resources customizing your website for your B2B business. Conversely, e-commerce platforms are already optimized for selling. They have the looks, themes, and features that facilitate buying and selling.
Your website can be optimized in the long run. However, that will require considerable resources from you.
Why Pick One When You Can Have Both?
You don’t have to pick an e-commerce marketplace over a custom website if you have the resources to manage them. Both can complement each other. For example, you can implement more marketing techniques like search engine optimization and content marketing on your website.
That will boost other advertising efforts to direct customers to your e-commerce store. However, pick a marketplace if you are tight on resources. It is easier and more affordable to start.