If you are self-employed or have an SME you should consider the possibility of sell your products on Amazon, eBay and the rest of the large Marketplaces available on the Internet. Now, as you can imagine, using these platforms to benefit your business requires some effort and is not necessarily an easy process, no matter how much these online sales giants insist on stating it. Of course, opening an account and creating an online store on Amazon or eBay won't take you too much time and they will make it quite easy for you. However, what is really important is to get sales and make them profitable for your business. Likewise, you must take into account that Amazon and eBay are fundamentally focused on the sale of physical productsso if that is not the nature of your business, these platforms may not be the best option for you.

Main advantages of selling products on Amazon and eBay

Internationalization of the business and potential increase in sales

The logistical difficulties posed by the sale of products internationally are considerably minimized on this type of platforms, especially on Amazon, which has a highly effective logistics service, which will allow you simplify shipping products to other countries. However, depending on the destination and the type of platform, it may be the case that you or your company must take care of said shipment entirely, as is currently the case on eBay. Be that as it may, and always according to the figures published by the aforementioned Marketplaces themselves, those businesses that create a store with them see their sales noticeably increase in the following months, thanks to exposure to other markets. Amazon managed to increase its international sales by 300% throughout 2014, and 40% of the sales of Spanish SMEs were destined for a country other than Spain.
On the other hand, according to eBay data, 95% of Spanish SMEs that operate on this platform sell their products in more than 15 countries, and their number has increased by 213% during the last year. In relation to this advantage, it is worth mentioning that platforms such as Amazon provide a customer service in the market's native language where the product is sold; That is, you as a seller will be assisted in Spanish, while the buyer will be assisted in his own language. This is another very important factor, which contributes to making the use of these platforms more attractive.

Greater online exposure and trust

One of the great limitations of having your own online store is the difficulty and need to position yourself in search engines like Google, either through (SEO) organic positioning or SEM (paid positioning, that is, advertising). In addition, both SEO and SEM require adequate segmentation of the public that searches for your products on the Internet, to ensure that they are interested in purchasing them. When selling your products on Amazon or eBay has the guarantee that the people who visit your store on these platforms have a real purchase intention. Furthermore, these Marketplaces enjoy a excellent positioning in Internet search engines, so those people who are interested in the products you sell have a good chance of ending up visiting Amazon or eBay. Furthermore, these platforms They enjoy an excellent reputation and guarantee the safe completion of transactions, which will help significantly increase the level of confidence of the potential client. Finally, you should not forget that your profile on the aforementioned platforms may include links to your own website or ecommerce store, thanks to which you will be able to direct traffic to it directly from the Marketplace where you operate, offering some type of incentive such as discounts or other products that you are not selling on said platforms. However, you should not forget that the level of exposure that your profile has on platforms such as Amazon and eBay will depend on the results returned by your search algorithmwhich will assess aspects such as the score given by your customers after a sale, response speed, sales rates, etc.

Main disadvantages of selling products on Amazon and eBay

Commissions and margin reduction

The business of online Marketplaces like Amazon and, especially eBay (Amazon has greatly diversified its business lines) is the charging commissions to product sellers. In the case of eBay, it is necessary to pay for each product advertisement (whether in auction format or “Buy It Now” format). In the case of Amazon, you can choose to pay for each published product or pay a monthly fee. To these costs derived from the publication of the productswe must add the commissions charged for each transaction. Obviously, this means a notable reduction in margins for each product you sell, and is one of the reasons why these platforms favor businesses with a high sales volume capacity, with the exception of rare or collector's products.

High competition and danger of becoming a commodity

When you create a profile or store to sell products on Amazon and eBay you will have to face the comparison with many other competitors, selling your same products. Platforms like Amazon tend to present the cheapest products first (and those they sell themselves) in the search results. This may mean that your products become a commodity, that is, an object of consumption, the choice of which by the customer is limited to the lowest price. It is recommended have a very careful profile, with quality photographs and an excellent reputation but, without a doubt, the price is going to be the most important factor in the purchase decision. If you are not trained for that battle, these platforms may not be your best option.

Need for leverage

One of the factors that is least talked about is the need for leverage to operate on Amazon and eBay. These platforms take a certain period of time to deposit the money from the sale, which can take several weeks. This process may involve part or all of the purchase value is retained as a guarantee fund to deal with returns or other incidents.

Compete against the platform itself

It is common knowledge that Amazon sells its own products using unfair competition practices. On the one hand, you must keep in mind that those people who buy your products are not your direct customers, but rather Your data belongs to the Marketplace where you operate. This gives them great power over your business, since they can analyze sales levels, prohibit you from selling certain products, limit your exposure, etc. The reputation gained thanks to your clients' reviews is a very delicate factor, since it is sometimes used as an extortion mechanism by them to obtain preferential treatment or better conditions. However, Amazon, for example, No allows the evaluation of those products that they themselves sell. Furthermore, if they detect that a certain product is particularly successful in the market, They will soon include it in their own inventory and, given their stock and purchasing capacity, they will probably be able to sell it at more competitive prices. In that sense, it is important to highlight that this platform is famously known for selling a large number of products at a loss of money. As you have seen, sell your products on Amazon and eBay It implies both advantages and disadvantages for your business. If you are considering taking the step, it is recommended that you carry out a soft landing strategy for your business to avoid unnecessary expenses and check the acceptance of your products and your management capacity.

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