Buying products online seems to be a growing trend especially after the lockdown rules due to COVID-19. People find it easier and more convenient to shop online for everything. Even if some still prefer to physically go to a store and do their shopping, they will do their search online, compare products, read reviews and then make the decision to buy.
Are you thinking of selling products online and not sure where to start? In this article, we’ll help you make an informative decision on how to start and where to market your products and sell.
Build a Website vs. Social Marketplace
When you already know what to sell, supplier and stock are both sorted, it’s time to make the biggest decision of all. Where shall I showcase my products? Shall I build an ecommerce website to sell? Or would social marketplaces be good enough for me?
Let’s run a quick refresher first:
- Selling on an ecommerce website means that you will be listing and selling your products on a domain you own and would require hosting and a developer to build that website for you. You will also need a marketing strategy to promote your products such as SEO or social media marketing.
- Selling on a marketplace would require knowledge to utilise the platform’s selling capacities to show your products more often to potential customers. In 2020 Facebook introduced Shops to make it easier for businesses to buy products online due to lockdown restrictions.
Both options definitely have their pros and cons, the question is which one is better for you?
Let’s drill down a bit and see the difference between selling on social marketplaces vs. ecommerce store:
- When it comes to adding your products, both options will give you the ability to easily upload information and images of your products using bulk upload, especially if you’re using a platform similar to WooCommerce where it gives you lots of freedom and flexibility to upload your data. And the same goes for Facebook Shops. With Facebook Shops, you can either bulk upload using a Google spreadsheet or even use a Pixel that will get the information off your website (but obviously you need to have a website for this option!)
- When you have an ecommerce website, it helps improve your business credibility as recent surveys show that almost 80% of users would prefer to buy products from a legitimate website where they can see business information such as ABN number, address, local contact details, etc. However, when it comes to social marketplace, you need to have enough information on your page and enough reviews to build that social proof. Selling on a social marketplace will only work well when you have enough posts and engagement on your Facebook/Instagram page.
- If you have an ecommerce website, you have full control over what you want to do with your business. Owning your own website gives you the freedom to do whatever you like. You can highlight certain products, add features, sale, VIP offers to specific target audiences, get contact information... you name it. Whereas with Facebook Shops, you are kind of limited to the existing structure and it will be harder to highlight or understand where the traffic is going to and what they’re browsing since the traffic belongs to Facebook really and not to your business.
- As for marketing, with Facebook Shops it’s easier since you’re on the platform, people already visit your page and engage with it. You can always run ads and target lookalike audiences or audiences who have already engaged with your page. Whereas with an ecommerce website, although you are not limited to one platform when it comes to marketing, but you will need to put the extra effort in order to start showing on the first page of Google search results using SEO techniques and you might want to pay for ads if you decide to go with Google Ads or Facebook/Instagram ads.
- If you ever have technical difficulties, with social marketplaces, you need to depend on third-party customer support however, with your own website, you can always go back to your web development company who usually offer maintenance packages and will be quicker in getting back to you with a fix.
- Both social marketplaces or payment gateways used on ecommerce websites (such as Stripe or Paypal) will charge you a fee for using their services. Read more about the fees on the links: Facebook, Stripe, Paypal.
So do we have a verdict? Well the decision is yours really. As you saw, there are pros and cons for each option. The ultimate and ideal solution would be starting out with a website that represents your brand and business and allows people to know who you are and what you do. Then as a bigger marketing strategy, it only makes sense to retarget your audience using a service like Facebook Shops to increase the size of your audience and build your social proof.
Still have questions on either option? Get in touch with us and we’ll guide you through the best solution for your business!