Ecommerce has empowered small businesses to reach customers around the world. With eBay, retailers may find an online marketplace that works for them.
While eBay began as what could be described as an online yard sale, it’s evolved into a valuable digital marketplace and ecommerce channel for many sellers. In fact, 80% of the merchandise sold on the site today is new, making eBay an ideal launching point for small business owners looking to expand their digital presence.
That doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all solution for small business owners, however. While eBay certainly has its strengths — from its large user base to its recognizable brand — it might come up short for some online retailers. To learn more about whether eBay is right for your ecommerce strategy, check out these pros and cons.
1) High Visibility
eBay is home to over 164 million active buyers, any of whom could find exactly what they’re looking for in your online store. For sellers hoping to expand their ecommerce footprint, serving a dedicated community of active buyers is essential to success. If you can successfully stand out from the rest of the pack, this large audience of consumers can be yours for the taking.
2) Ease of Use
eBay was one of the first online marketplaces on the scene, and with an improved checkout and payment process, the platform has only become more intuitive over time. While individual shop owners are in charge of their own customer service operations, they can also count on eBay’s online infrastructure for support should any problems arise. For example, with seller protection taken care of by eBay, small business owners can get their stores up and running in no time without worrying about too many loose ends.
3) Better Branding
eBay makes it easy for sellers to differentiate their online stores from other businesses on the site. For example, shop owners can add custom logos and branded elements to their shop that cue customers into who they’re actually doing business with. When mailing out products, sellers can even use their own custom packaging and shipping supplies. Since brand recognition is the name of the game in the age of ecommerce, these options are invaluable for small business owners operating on eBay.
1) Complex Fee Structure
Although selling products on eBay can help retailers build customer loyalty, the costs can add up — especially if you haven’t done the math ahead of time. Since most marketplace fees are deducted as part of each sale (and because fees can vary depending on category), it’s essential that you check what it’ll take for you to break even. Read through the seller guidelines before setting up shop to ensure that you’ll be making a sustainable profit.
2) Competing With eBay’s Own Branding
Although the online marketplace offers competitive branding opportunities, customers still might walk away from a transaction with the impression that they’re basically just shopping with eBay rather than doing business with your company. The platform itself — despite offering a system that supports small business owners — is still the focus of the shopping experience. Plus, it might be difficult to convince shoppers to come to your store directly rather than going through eBay should you ever choose to set up shop independently.
3) Time and Attention
Running a business can be time-consuming under the best conditions, but relying on eBay requires dogged engagement at all hours of the day. Whether you’re answering questions about products, providing feedback to eBay itself, or monitoring auction items, expect to be consistently on call. After all, you’re still the shop owner, and you still have a responsibility to your customers — especially if you want to turn them into brand devotees.