Is your shop system important any longer…?

I recently had an interesting discussion with amerchant customer. Regarding an option that would make his online shop available in an optimized version for tablets and mobiles, he argued, that he think it’s nice, but not so important for him, since he sells most of his stuff via other channels.
The merchant explained to me that he makes most of his turnover – around 90% – via eBay, Amazon and little of that on some other market places. The ecommerce shop was for him just a kind of addition to the existing channels with its 10% turnover. Therefore he deemed the stuff I was discussing with him unimportant (I wrote my opinion on that in my post last week). I was quite surprised, because in my view the shop system still is kind of the home for a merchant and his shop.

Sure, the marketplaces – especially the big ones – developed as an important channel for the merchants, in many cases with more turnover than the original shop. And it’s also important to spread your offerings as broadly as possible to reach as many customers as possible. But I’m still kind of stunned about this point of view. So is the classical shop as we know it an old model that will become obsolete for small and medium sized merchant?

I still think that it makes sense to have your own shopping cart system if you sell stuff for a living (“to have” includes self-hosted and SaaS here). The shop displays your corporate identity. All of your product range. Your service information. The shop is the homebase for you as a merchant. Your showroom to the world. Anyway, you link back there from the marketplaces if allowed. People that love the stuff you sell or how you sell it will find it and buy directly instead of buing via the marketplace (if you have attractive conditions there). Also your own shop means independence to a certain degree. Sure, a lot of the smaller merchants can’t live without eBay or Amazon today. But what happens if they change their conditions and you have to quit? If you do not have your own shop – you have nothing left. Anyway in most cases you need your shopping system to maintain your product assortment and the orders. So if you think like that merchant, you may be should think again. Your shopping system is not a burden or an add-on to the channels you work with. It’s the base for all the things you do. Simply your home as a merchant. What do you think?

Picture by Dave_B_

5 Responses to Is your shop system important any longer…?

  1. tillhess says:

    I think in long term view it’s really important for all COMPANIES to build its own ecosystem/brand/customer base offside from all these big platforms. Collect your own Data. Data is your biggest value ;-)

  2. Olaf says:

    I think thesituation goes more and more to fewer larger names when it comes to ecommerce for consumers. This means there will be a few large market places, that cover 90% of the market and a few medium size ones, that fight for the other 10%. Yes there will be lots of smaller shops too, but they will simply don’t get enough customers. If you by the product from the same vendor via Amazon or directly, people will (I would even say they do alredy) chose the way via Amazon, because they trust the brand more.

    So it is clear that for your client it doesn’t make so much sence to invest alot in add-ons that might attrack 4% a little nicer. Yes the market places are a problem if they become too powerful (Amazon and Ebay are already), but finding everything everywhere is also a chance for other market places to get there share. If you can get the same product (even from the same merchant) on Amazon, Ebay, Rakuten and so on, _you_ actually can decide where to buy – the merchant gets it anyway. But just a few merchants can spend lot of media costs to become a household name.

    • Kai says:

      Thanks for your brilliant comment! The interesting thing was that we were talking about an add-on that only costs a few bucks. So really far, far away from a lot of money. I still think that it’s important to have your own identity, since the marketplaces in most cases allow only for very limited branding. So if you are on marketplaces (where you have to be) you are exchangeable…

  3. Ed says:

    Interesting article. While I agree that having your own storefront allows you to maintain your brand, a degree of independence and security, and importantly (@tillhess) some proprietry data about your customers and their shopping habits, many small retailers are effectively becoming channel agnostic and using feed services like Lengow and Fusepump to distribute their product feeds to as many channels as possible. The cost of selling through these channels is usually less than the cost of acquisition for an ‘owned’ site.

  4. Pingback: NEW MEDIA BUSINNES SOLUTIONS Is your shop system important any longer…?

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