E-commerce continues to be big business. In the last year, total e-commerce sales jumped 16 percent to end 2017 at $453.5 billion in annual sales. While all of us anecdotally may have experiences buying everything from electronics to paper towels online, how does someone build a business with a strong e-commerce component?
Taking a look at the Fiverr marketplace, we can make some pretty strong statements about the kind of services you’ll need to succeed, as well as understand the pros and cons of the various platforms out there to bring your business to life.
Where should I start?
The decision to build an e-commerce business begins with a recognition of the major players in the space for small businesses. Overwhelmingly the Fiverr community ends up in one of two places–either selling services on the Amazon marketplace or building their own experience through a platform like Shopify.
Interestingly enough, Fiverr community members rarely do both. That has everything to do with resources, as it’s difficult enough to start one business, let alone two. After all, as a small business, every new sales channel means more marketing dollars and staff, leaving many to choose rather than experiment with both.
What do I need to succeed?
Because the two platforms cater to different e-commerce needs, the services that you’ll need to get up and running differ dramatically.
As an Amazon merchant, you can count on tapping into Amazon’s massive traffic and it’s one of the easier ways to ramp up and get selling, but recognize that you won’t be the only one. You’re likely to end up next to tons of similar products with limited brand recognition. Because of Amazon’s “plug and play” marketplace, small businesses really just need eye-catching images and snappy copy to make a page complete. That’s why nearly 17 percent of all Amazon orders made on Fiverr were for photoshop editing services, and 16 percent were focused on business copywriting.
Creating an e-commerce experience through a Shopify-built site offers a platform and outlet to express a brand and its business in a more complete way, all without dealing with payment infrastructures. While that upside may appeal to quite a few budding businesses, it comes with a major caveat; you have to create your Shopify site and work hard to gain traction, traffic, and notoriety. To have success on Shopify, you will need a far more complete suite of services including website development, social media marketing services, business copywriting and SEO. On Fiverr, that translates to 60 percent of Shopify orders falling in the Programming and Tech category to solve that major development problem. Digital marketing and SEO services also make up a significant percentage of Shopify service purchases, as small businesses must first build a storefront and then drum up interest.
So how do I decide which platform is best for me?
Both Amazon and Shopify provide great opportunities to launch and grow an e-commerce business, but there are significant differences in the approach and the services you’ll need to build them.
Amazon may be the right fit for you if…
- You don’t want to spend time handling fulfillment.
- You want exposure to the largest amount of buyers in one place on the planet.
- You are fine competing alongside other sellers of similar products.
- You are comfortable “building your business on someone else’s platform.” Just remember that you have to play by their rules.
- You have an easy-to-understand product that people are willing to purchase without much consultation.
- You want a clear idea of advertising attribution, with ad products directly tied to the in-store experience.
Shopify may be right for you if…
- You consider branding an important aspect of what is going to make you successful.
- You want to protect your margins.
- You need to have a more personalized delivery beyond a cardboard box and you’re capable of handling fulfillment.
- You don’t want to enable side by side comparisons and value shopping.
- You want to provide a more advanced shopping experience.
- You have some creative marketing concepts (like landing pages, social media marketing campaigns, etc.) you would like to deploy in order to drive traffic to your products and pages.
No matter which e-commerce platform best fits your business model, there’s a Fiverr Pro ready to help you build it.
Which e-commerce platform worked for you? Tell us in the comments below!