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What is the best platform to use when going digital/ online?


Kiana
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Now that more and more retail businesses are going online to cope up with the New Normal, what are the best online platforms to use for my retail shop?

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For an entrepreneur who would to use the online platform for their business, there are three most popular avenues to utilize to operate and manage your shop online:

Online marketplaces- an online platform that allows third-party sellers to operate, market and sell their products on their website. Sellers of different products, brands and categories gather here to run, promote and sell while only paying a minimal fee for operations on the platform, making this an exciting carnival for both sellers and buyers. 

Setting up your shop in a marketplace will just take you a day or less. In this platform, as everything remains ready on the site, all you have to do as the seller is register, list, and sell without spending much time and breaking the bank. With an online marketplace, you do not have all of the extra costs in order to run a website, but you also do not have complete control over your online shop platform. Here, you cannot customize modules or tailor forms specifically for your business. Attracting traffic and appealing to a bigger number of audience to your shop in an online marketplace is a walk in the park only because of the site’s wide array of choices when it comes to shops, products, services offered in different categories. If you have opened an online shop on a marketplace, the site itself has your back in terms of your marketing efforts by attracting, supporting and engaging leads on the site.  When it comes to competition, it is no doubt that online marketplaces have a more aggressive business environment given the fact that your online shop will be just one among hundreds of other shops on the platform, most probably selling if not similar, the same products and services like yours. As discussed above, most marketplaces charge merchants for a commission or referral fee, usually ranging between 5-15%. There are some that charge a minimal fee for the listing and some that charge for membership to the site. They may usually vary from low to no-cost at all upon set up, depending on the marketplace of your choice.

 

E-commerce websites- e-commerce websites are either a single brand or multi-brand store where a particular brand promotes and sells its own products on its website. Unlike the online marketplace, the inventory is owned, and operations are run by only the website owner. In addition, the website owner also charges their customers and accounts for the taxes. To summarize, an e-commerce website is also referred to as the single-vendor website, where only one store owner operates for selling goods. You set up the entire site yourself. Complete control over your preferred layout, graphics, images, videos, coding, and content. Challenge in attracting traffic since owners have to run their own promotions and ads. Limited and specific target audience and brand customers. No competition once the target audience enters the site. Require a bigger initial investment to create the site and more money to maintain it. Seller, who is also the owner of the site, pays for hosting/maintaining the site online.

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Social media pages- Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all to reach a wide range of prospects and customers. A lot of customers nowadays learn about and interact with brands through social media, and it is greatly advisable nowadays to communicate and promote directly with your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to businesses, creating loyal brand advocates and even driving leads on SEOs and sales.

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