The trend for online selling over the past 15 years spans well beyond high street names and multi-national online retailers. Just as Amazon started out as a living room business, many others have found that ecommerce opens many doors to vast untapped markets and as a result are experiencing great success.
Online marketplaces have been the key driving force behind this trend, allowing anybody to set up a store for free. But with marketplaces like eBay, Etsy and Amazon constantly growing in size, there comes a time when a marketplace seller needs to go it alone.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to taking those first steps, ranging from platforms that will simply allow you to replicate the functionality available on marketplaces, to platforms that offer a full range of bespoke features and designs. Of course, as with any business, it is important to know what you need but also to be realistic, starting small and expanding when business picks up. The platform most adept for this journey is Magento.
Making the Transition
Magento is a sensible investment when it comes to taking an ecommerce business to the next level. Its integration with Etsy, eBay and others means it is very simple to transition from one to another, whether you intend to use both or just your new site. You can simply migrate all of the information and images from your marketplace to Magento.
Magento works seamlessly alongside many existing marketplaces too, offering a central database from which to manage all sales channels, so there’s no need to suddenly close down your existing marketplace, more than likely losing loyal customers at the same time, or spend hours having to manage both individually.
One thing that puts many small businesses off moving away from online marketplaces is cost. Here, Magento works with every budget. The platform itself is free and although you’ll need to hire a Magento Developer in some capacity, the site can be customised as much or as little as your budget will allow.
More often than not, one of the first things people consider is the design of their store. With online marketplaces, shop designs are rigid with little room for branding, individuality or customisation. Magento has three levels of design offerings, providing options for businesses of all sizes and budgets. There is an out-of-the-box theme, an out-of-the-box theme with some customisation or the option for a completely bespoke design, fully customisable to your tastes and stakeholder requirements. There is also a range of themes available which can be used to ‘skin’ your website.
SEO is something which isn’t easy to master on a marketplace, however Magento is 100% search engine optimisable and gives a sound basis for further SEO work with it’s built in Google sitemap, search engine friendly code, URLs and meta data for products, categories and pages.
As your company evolves Magento will evolve with it. The simplicity of the platform means your site can easily be changed and developed to cope with growing demand, new technologies or customer requests. Regardless of the size or product range your company offers, the variety of Magento extensions mean your website will always be up-to-date and fresh.
As demand for your website is also of paramount importance,you will also want to consider Magento optimised managed hosting. This makes the platform even more powerful by using specifically optimised servers, significantly reducing the chance of a slow-running website and downtime, which ultimately ensures your ecommerce offering is delivering maximum return on investment.