Integrating your own online store with the giant eCommerce players, such as Amazon or eBay, can actually serve to drastically increase the sales potential of your own eCommerce website, many times over. In order to achieve successful integration between your own online store’s website and industry behemoths like Amazon, eBay, and others, there exists specific software which has been designed for this purpose. However, before you begin looking into the methods and means available for integrating your own site with such third-party players, an online store operator must decide which third-party eCommerce business is right for them. This can be a confusing task — hopefully this article will help you in formulating your decision.
Here, in fairly general terms, are some of the advantages and disadvantages that come from both companies:
Amazon (top advantages)
- Web traffic — As it stands, at the time of this writing, Amazon.Com ranks at number five in list of most visited websites in the US. Only Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter outrank it — making Amazon the highest trafficked online shopping site there is. For this reason, of course, integrating your online store with Amazon will put you at greater odds for increased exposure. It should be kept in mind, however, that Amazon, along with it’s very high visitor numbers, also claims a very high population of active merchants. With Amazon, you’ll stand to gain more exposure, but with that will come more competition as well. Extra effort will likely need to be put forth to keep from being lost in the noise of the wealth of merchants Amazon boasts.
- Reliability — The platform that Amazon provides to its merchants is tried, tested and true — perhaps as much as no other. It has been proven to be rock-solid in its ability to minimize fraud, secure a customer’s safety during the ordering process, and thus, ensuring a customer’s confidence in making a purchase. Your sales will benefit from the confidence that people associate with Amazon name.
Amazon (top dis-advantages)
- Competition — As mentioned above, Amazon boasts a ridiculous wealth of merchants selling through the Amazon site. Each of these will be competing with you for the attention of visitors searching through Amazon listings. More such competition means a greater need for greater effort in trying to stand out from the crowd.
- Withholding terms — Due to their TOU agreement which sellers must enter into, Amazon can withhold revenues from merchants for up to 90 days under most conditions. Under some specialized conditions, for even longer. This can present some fairly major concerns for smaller sellers who might not have the operating capital to get through until Amazon’s next pay-out.
- Getting shut-down — Amazon has a bit of a notorious reputation for shutting-down sellers, at their whim, for the most minor of what are really unavoidable infractions. Cases are known in which Amazon decided to pull the plug on sellers due to a relatively small number of unverified complaints from customers. It would seem that being ensured of a continuing, stable relationship with Amazon is not a possibility, short of being sure that you can absolutely please every customer 100% of the time. And, as all successful business owners will tell you, this is just not a realistic possibility. You’ll just never be able to please absolutely everyone. If you’re doing business, you WILL get unsatisfied customers — there’s no way around it.
eBay (top advantages)
- Web traffic — While not quite as frequented as Amazon, eBay is still a giant. At the time of this writing eBay currently sits at number 7 on the list of most visited web-pages, ranking only under the same sites mentioned above, plus Amazon itself and Wikipedia. This, of course, makes eBay the second most highly visited eCommerce site on the internet. While falling just a little shy of the exposure potential that Amazon offers, eBay still carries the attraction of truly massive exposure potential for your online business.
- eBay Auctions — Of course, eBay is famous for a feature that Amazon doesn’t have: The eBay auction. Of special attraction to merchants selling rare or highly unique items, the eBay auction system can prove to be a powerful advantage over Amazon’s service.
- Customer confidence — As with Amazon, the eBay brand is highly trusted by the average consumer. They are widely known to deal efficiently with attempted incidences of fraud — keeping the occurrence of such incidences low. An association between your business and the eBay brand will bring with it customer trust which will help to increase sales.
eBay (top dis-advantages)
- Paypal Exclusivity — eBay currently requires that all transactions be executed through Paypal (eBay actually owns Paypal, so no surprise there) This can be seen as somewhat of limitation. Paypal is, indeed, a reliable and very secure system, but there is no small number of people who, for whatever reason, prefer not to use it. And, if disputes occur, it is known than monies can be held for exceedingly extended periods of time. Along with this, merchants have run into problems in the past with having their accounts suspended, and significant balances frozen, for relatively minor transgressions of Paypal’s terms. If a customer wishes to give you money for your product in ANY way other than through Paypal, eBay will simply not allow it.
- The eBay Auction — Yes, I know I listed the eBay auction as one of eBay’s top advantages, but it deserves a place here too. The attraction of the eBay auction system to merchants doing business through eBay can sometimes be a real pitfall. If used and approached correctly, selling your wares through auction can carry a significant advantage. But, profiting regularly through selling at auction is something of skill — it takes a certain amount of wisdom and know-how in order to maximize gains. And, that skill is a whole different animal compared to selling via direct retail. Many merchants simply see it as nothing more than another sales channel and dive in. The result is that they end up losing money. So, while the eBay auction system can be a great advantage to your business, it must be used correctly. It must be utilized with careful consideration and a merchant must avoid the temptation to blindly dive in and begin hocking their merchandise through auction without a mind as to how to leverage it to their full advantage.
Along with your considerations of integrating your online store sales efforts with Amazon or eBay, one might also wish to consider running an online store through Facebook, via the implementation of a very simple, yet extremely ingenious app. Click this link for more information on how to do so.