If you have an existing business that you’re looking to scale or want to start a new one, invest in an e-commerce store.
Because the majority of your customers are online.
In fact, an estimated 2.14 billion people are shopping online as of 2021. That’s an impressive number, and it is only expected to grow in the coming years. In fact, the pandemic has boosted e-commerce’s already prolific growth in the retail sector.
Are you still wondering why it’s more viable to invest in an e-commerce store?
E-commerce stores allow you to:
- Sell from anywhere, including the comfort of your home.
- Start your business with lower upfront investments.
- Access a large and unrestricted customer base.
- Sell your products round the clock.
- Offer maximum convenience to your customers, including bespoke customer service.
- Gain valuable customer insights to scale your business.
To sum it up, e-commerce stores make your business accessible, highly discoverable, and scalable.
But where can you start your e-commerce store?
You can create your own e-commerce site or join an established online marketplace. Let’s discuss how to go about each option.
Start Your Own E-commerce Store with WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular website builders of all time.
Did you know that WordPress currently powers 30% of all websites? So, if you already have your own site on this trusted content management system, you can build your e-commerce store with ease.
Why should you choose WordPress? Here’s everything you need to know.
One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress is that it’s free. In addition, this open-source content management system comes equipped with an e-commerce specific plugin called WooCommerce (also free) to enable first-time users to create and run their e-commerce stores.
- Easy to Use
While migrating to digital platforms has become a necessity in our times, not all business owners are tech-savvy. For them, WordPress opens up a world of opportunities. It offers a straightforward and hassle-free installation process that you can learn by watching a few YouTube videos.
WordPress offers storefront customizations, bespoke themes, and additional plugins to tailor your online store to your and your customer’s requirements. It’s easy and effortless!
- Hassle-free Inventory Management
WooCommerce has a very simple user interface (UI). This plugin allows you to add new products and update old ones as per availability. Using plugins, you can also manage your inventory, print USPS and DHS labels from your dashboard, track the purchase cycle, and check order fulfillment statuses.
- Multiple Payment Gateways & Currencies
WooCommerce has geolocation support to identify currencies depending upon the country of purchase. It also supports many different payment and shipping options. So, no matter where you are, you can reach out to customers from around the world and sell your product to them.
- Web Analytics and SEO Support
Data is key to running a successful business. WordPress offers a WooCommerce Google Analytics plugin to help you understand your website’s performance and user activity.
With Yoast SEO, WordPress also lets you develop an SEO-friendly e-commerce store that can improve your page ranking.
While WordPress offers plenty of support and various plugins, there are also some disadvantages to using WordPress. Let’s take a look at these.
- Restrictive Support
The WooCommerce plugin is a requirement to run your e-commerce store on WordPress. However, occasionally this plugin runs into trouble. In such instances, you need to seek help from third-party service providers.
There is also no option to add advanced features or extra capabilities to your storefront.
- Security Concerns
Because of its immense popularity, WordPress regularly suffers from hacker attacks. WordPress releases regular updates to combat such issues, but you will need to maintain stringent checks to prevent major threats to your storefront and consumer data.
- Unsafe Plugins and Themes
WordPress allows you to customize your e-commerce store with many additional plugins and themes. However, not all sources are secure. Most free sources do not provide the necessary security support, which makes adding these options risky.
Selling on Amazon – A Brief Guide
Now, let’s look at how you can build your e-commerce storefront on one of the biggest online marketplaces, Amazon, and what it offers to sellers.
As a widely recognized name in online retail, selling on Amazon gives you instant credibility. Your customers will trust your products because you’re selling on an already established and well-known platform.
- Sales and Related Support
If you abide by Amazon’s guidelines, you can sell your products in no time. In addition, there are many features that the online giant offers to boost sales, including Pay Per Click advertising, Sponsored Products, and more to ensure that customers notice your product.
You can also read different blog articles to find low competition but high demand products to get your business off the ground. You can find a good example of such an article here.
Amazon also offers excellent seller support. You get access to self-service tools along with expert guidance to resolve most of your issues.
- Extensive Outreach
Amazon attracts 197 million visitors every month. It has an incredibly diverse and large customer base. Selling on Amazon allows you to reach a global audience. It provides you with an opportunity to sell to newer markets and even go international.
- Shipping and Logistics Support
You can choose between Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) or Easy Ship to get your products easily shipped or returned anywhere in the world. It requires no extra effort and no worry or planning on your part.
- Top Notch Security
Not only is your customer data safe, but you also get weekly payments into your bank account no matter what mode of payment you choose. Amazon’s security is encrypted and one of the safest for business owners and customers alike.
However, as with WordPress, there’s a flip side to selling on Amazon.
Selling on the biggest online marketplace comes with its fair share of competition. So you will need to have a foolproof business strategy in place to crack Amazon’s algorithm and stand out in a cluttered marketplace with intense competition.
Amazon provides a full suite of services and tools to amplify your business. However, it comes at a steep cost. It offers two selling plans, one that does not have a per-item fee and the other that charges you for every item sold, but neither of these options comes cheap.
- Amazon Feed
To stand out from the other sellers on Amazon, you need to keep feeding Amazon’s algorithms constantly. You also have to update your product data very frequently – and by that, we mean every day! That can be taxing, especially for new sellers who may not have the capacity to do this or those with a large portfolio of products.
- Time and Effort Intensive
Amazon requires you to follow a lot of procedures to list your products and make them discoverable. You’ll have to keep at it regularly to be on top of the search results. If you’re a small business owner single-handedly managing all of the aspects of your business, this could be difficult to manage in the long run.
Amazon or WordPress – What’s Better for Your E-commerce Store?
Now that you have a fair idea of these two platforms’ pros and cons let’s do a comparative study and figure out which option works better for your business.
WordPress offers three plans for e-commerce storefronts, each with a different set of functionalities, ranging from approx $5 to $20 a month. These packages are billed to you annually.
Amazon has two plans. The Professional one is priced at $39.99 per month irrespective of how many units you sell. The Individual plan charges the seller $0.99 per unit of product sold.
WordPress’s WooCommerce plugin offers decent inventory management services that you can further enhance by integrating with other platforms, including FBA.
Amazon has its own cloud-based Warehouse Management System aimed at simplifying inventory management for sellers. It is powerful, self-sufficient, and easy to use.
WooCommerce lets sellers advertise their products on Facebook, Google, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon.
Amazon has two in-house solutions for advertising. It offers Sponsored Products and Pay Per Click Ads to sellers to market their products. Both are equipped to help with product positioning, discovery, and upselling.
Amazon wins over WordPress when it comes to user data safety and overall security. You have to constantly monitor and update your storefront on WordPress to keep it safe, but Amazon safeguards seller data and user information every step of the way.
Amazon has a detailed seller support program, whereas, with WordPress, you have to rely on plugin providers and their support teams.
Can You Sell on Your WordPress Site and Amazon?
As an e-commerce business, you can sell your products on multiple platforms. This includes your own site created using a CMS like WordPress and an online marketplace like Amazon.
Both have their pros and cons, as discussed above. However, no matter which option you go with, you will experience the many benefits of selling online. The burgeoning popularity of e-commerce and its many measurable advantages should be your main motivation to shift to online retail.
The platform you choose to go with largely depends on your business goals and your financial situation. Just remember to play by the rules to maximize your reach. As the popular marketer Seth Godin puts it, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
So, no matter where you sell, remember to impress your customers and give them exactly what they want. Success will follow.
If you think you’ll build your eCommerce store with WordPress, then you should follow these steps next:
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