Can eBay and Amazon help retail start-ups grow?
While starting a business online has definitely become easier than ever, it does take a lot of work and time, not to mention capital, as finance expert Camilla Gilbro points out
More and more sellers are finding their way to the online market, helped along by new technology making it easier to set up websites and implement online payment systems.
But the competition can be tough and the amount of competitors is becoming larger than ever, according to Camilla Gilbro, community manager for e-commerce financial services provider iwoca.
Making sound investments
For this reason, she said it can be quite risky to spend all an e-commerce start-up’s money on stock and building a website, only then to realise the products won’t sell. “More than that, it can be difficult to drive traffic to your website,” she explained. “And lastly, you may realise you don’t even like selling your chosen product. Therefore, it can be valuable to look to eBay and Amazon when you want to start a business.”
Gilbro listed the several reasons why using eBay and Amazon can be advantageous to start-ups:
“Using these sites allow you to investigate a market fairly easily. You can check whether or not your preferred product will sell and even if you really enjoy selling that specific product. When you sell via eBay and Amazon you won’t have to spend time and money building a website which may then turn out to be useless.”
She continued: “eBay and Amazon have access to many buyers that you will never get access to with your own website, especially when you’re completely unknown to the market. As long as you learn how to use the right keywords you will be selling in no time.
“Using eBay and Amazon will provide you with a great insight into the world of e-commerce and selling online. It’s a great way to understand the industry and learn the ups and downs of it, including what season is better and what retailer you should use.
Building transferable loyalty
“Once you have loyal customers on eBay or Amazon there is absolutely no reason why you can’t bring those customers to your own website if that is what you want. Now Amazon has even launched a new feature that you can use to lead your customers directly to your website.
“For some it seems like a lot of work selling on several different channels, especially if you’re new to it,” said Gilbro. “How do you keep track of your stock and should you divide it, so you only sell some on certain channels? Probably not. There are several multichannel companies out there and you can often get the product your need for little money. They will help you manage your stock and make sure you don’t sell more than you have.”
Though Glibro said trading on eBay and Amazon is not always a bed of roses, it can be a great way of promoting an e-commerce business and building on a marketplace that offers access to millions of buyers.
“More than that, it shouldn’t be forgotten that many people have huge success selling their products via these market laces and some have managed to build million-dollar businesses for themselves,” she concluded. “Many of our customers tell us that they ‘started out’ on eBay or Amazon and then simply never left.”
Iwoca provides small business loans dedicated to online sellers.