Over the last ten years online selling portals have adapted and attuned themselves to the needs of the market and are ready to explode. The online marketplace offers sellers the same promise as the brick-and-mortar version: the opportunity to see your products fly off the shelf. The difference is its vast and instant reach and the simplicity of exploring newer markets without large marketing outlays. For small businesses, and even the really tiny home-based one-man-shows, this is good news for it spells cost-effective growth.

Smart sellers are increasingly taking their business to online marketplaces too, where they can explore e-commerce, and tap into a wealth of geographically dispersed consumers. Offline retailers who have also embraced the online route have accrued remarkable gains. In a 2015 survey by Spire Research and Consulting, over 54 percent of Indian retailers reported over 20 percent sales growth after going online. Those figures alone should have you feeling bearish about e-marketplaces!

Why Should SMBs Sell Online

Selling online, the B2B way!
The Indian e-commerce market is currently dominated by B2C players, however B2B firms too are making their strong presence felt in online marketplaces—and quicker than we can imagine. From selling raw materials to providing equipment such as agricultural machineries, hand tools, industrial tools and more, B2B firms are doing it all and delivering brilliant B2C-like services to their customers. And the B2B market is growing bigger and better. A 2015 report by Ahmedabad-based consultant firm Ecumen.in. reveals that by 2020, the B2B segment of the e-commerce industry in India will grow by 2.5 times to touch INR 45 lakh crore.

Today we witness the emergence of a new wave of Indian B2B players that are focused on improving their Return of Investment (ROI) and strengthening the buyer-seller relationship through online marketplaces. B2B players benefit from online marketplaces as these cut through middlemen and directly connect buyers and sellers. The benefits are manifold. Interestingly, angel investors and venture capitalists are increasingly pumping money into the B2B companies.

The B2B marketplace model is increasingly being embraced by many B2C players who have widened their footprint in the e-commerce domain and are racking up revenues like never before.

The trend is clear—The future is B2B e-commerce and online marketplaces will be awash with B2B startups and small businesses in the days to come.

Why should SMBs sell online?
Virtual marketplaces holds huge potential for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and India’s SMBs are increasingly looking at online marketplaces as an innovative tool to build their businesses as e-marketplaces offer numerous benefits. E-commerce platforms enable SMBs to reach a larger customer base without investing in infrastructure. Moreover, businesses that sell on online marketplaces have witnessed increased growth over the years. By connecting small businesses to a national and global locations, online marketplaces can help generate a new class of entrepreneurs and create employment opportunities for millions of Indians.

Here are some of the top benefits of selling online:

More for Less
Selling on e-marketplaces has become easier than ever as many of them offer assistance by way of cataloguing products etc. in setting up your online presence. As an online seller your initial investment is only a fraction of the cost of a physical setup. Nor do you have to spend an extra rupee on hiring manpower if you’re associating with an e-commerce brand that has a robust shipping and logistics network. The combined power of a shop and an online presence makes your business highly visible – which is key to attracting customers.

Boost your sales
As a small business owner, your topmost challenge is how to boost profitability and augment your sales on a limited budget. E-marketplaces can be an incredible route to achieve a larger sales volume, raise your operating profits and grow your business. And once you’ve got the cash registers ringing, you could buy larger quantities of stock, get a better price from suppliers, and further augment your profit margins.

Connect to millions of potential customers
Building a loyal customer base can be a time-consuming process. With online marketplaces, you get access to a whole new set of markets and customersin very short time!  Once you have the potential buyers on board, you have the chance to turn them into regular customers by focusing on refining your value proposition.

Catch the after-hours shopper
Your store may operate 9 to 5, but today’s 24×7 customers continue to shop after hours – online! If you are an online seller, customers can check out your products anywhere, anytime at their convenience. With online marketplaces, you can tap into the after-hours shoppers.

Socialise your brand
As a small retailer, enhancing your brand visibility with a limited budget can be a daunting task. Partnering with an e-commerce firm is one of the great strategies to build your brand awareness online.  This is especially true when you become part of their special season or event-based promotions.

Sell beyond borders
Online marketplaces give you an opportunity to sell your products to a global audience without the hassle of shipping and logistics, which are often taken care of by e-marketplaces. This works for e-tailers as well, as adding niche products to their offerings boosts their brand value as a reliable one-stop shop.

Almost all businesses today – large and small – are looking at having an online presence. Being a part of virtual retail means augmenting your in-store sales as well as broadening your reach and enhancing your portfolio of products and services. It offers you a chance to explore new business opportunities in remote geographies, build brand value, and learn new ways of conducting your business.

– An article by Power2SME

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