Having a small business or new start-up which can’t afford to pay monthly fees to tools like ChannelAdvisor, SolidCommerce or Linnworks, yet want to sell products on multiple marketplaces?
Well, there’s one more way which you can use to create your own multi-channel e-commerce solution for free, paying one-time development costs.
If you are new sellers, you may think to invest little as possible and first see the impact of sales each marketplace can drive before involving into such costly tools which require monthly subscription fees.
With the use of open source technology, now you can create your own multi-channel e-commerce tool with which you can manage your sales operation on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.
Here’s the step by step procedure:
Buy Domain and Hosting:
Lots of sellers don’t know, when you are using third-party tools to list your products on marketplaces, they store product images, CSS and other product information in their own hosting server. So, they have control over your product images and other data.
In future, if you don’t want to use that tool, first you need to move all listing to other tools or have to take a backup before discontinuing their services.
So, we always advise getting a domain and your own hosting space so you can store product images and other important files on your own server and can have complete access to whenever you need.
Buying domain also secures your website URL which may be similar to your business name, so you can use the same domain in future to launch your own e-commerce website.
Make Sure, the hosting you purchase is capable of installing Magento environment. Make sure its Linux based hosting and have ample of space to run Magento server.
You may like to read our last blog Things You Need to Know Setting Multi-Channel E-commerce Setup which pretty much explains the basic needs and efforts you need.
Install Magento & M2E PRO
Now, it’s the case where you may need a help of a person with knowledge of Magento framework and M2E PRO. Magento and M2E PRO both are open sources and available to the public which you can install it on your server and domain without any additional cost of software.
Here, we haven’t asked you to install Magento to develop your e-commerce website, but we have suggested you to use Magento to create admin backend that you can use to connect with your eBay account with use of M2E PRO to list products on eBay.
Create a Product Database, Configuring M2E PRO and Start Listing
Here’s the trickiest part of the process. As your website isn’t built yet, you just need to create a product database within Magento which stores all the necessary information that you want to pass to eBay for listing products successfully.
That means the database should have all the fields which can store product title, images, price, color variation, custom variables, product description and other important data that is necessary for listing products on eBay.
If you aren’t clear on what to start with, first try to list one product manually on eBay and follow their guideline and notes all the fields and data you input to eBay for creating your listing. This way, you would have a rough idea on all the fields you may need to store in Magento product database.
Off course, you would need the help of Magento developer to perform all these tasks yet from your end, you should be clear on what kind of products you want to sell, all product attributes that you need to store a value of and listing style (fixed price, auction-style or multi-variation).
Configure M2E PRO
Once you create product database and basic environment where you can store product information, it’s time to configure M2E PRO for connecting your eBay account.
Key Tasks You Need to Do
- Install M2E PRO
- Connect Your eBay Account ( Can connect Multiple eBay Accounts as Well)
- Create a Profile for Each Type of Listing (Fixed Price, Auction )
- Customize Your Description Policy(if you have custom listing template)
- Configure Your eBay Synchronization Policy
- Configure your Shipping, Return and Payment Policy
You can view more information about M2E PRO by vising our page on M2E PRO Integration.
Regardless of the marketplace, you want to sell your products on, above configurations need to be carried out correctly to list products without any errors.
Each step requires sound knowledge & experience listing on eBay and strong fundamental knowledge of rules of marketplaces.
So, it is better to consult someone who has actually done it before to create successful integration with eBay and Amazon.
Add Products & Start Listing
Now, everything is configured as required, the first thing you need to do is to add products data into Magento so you can add those products to eBay through M2E PRO.
So the basic process is, first add products to your Magento database and then use that product data to list products on eBay and Amazon.
If your developer has created a custom module or some sort of user interface to add products into Magneto, you can add all products manually one by one.
If not, you need to upload product data with use of CSV or XLS format which complies with Magento. Ask your developer to prepare a one CSV template according to attributes you have in Magento to upload all product data in bulk.
Be careful, you need to crosscheck all data you entered into CSV for bulk uploading as the same value will pass to eBay for creating a listing.
Estimated Cost for Each:
Domain and Raliable Secure Hosting -$50-$80 Per Year
Magento Installation & M2E Pro Set-up – $400-600 One Time Set-up Fees
Custom eBay Store & Listing Template- $300-$400 One time fees (Optional)
Benefits of Multi-Channel Ecommerce System With Use of M2E PRO
- It’s open source, so don’t need to pay for installation
- You keep the product images with full control over all assets
- One time Set-up fees which works for lifetime
- All pretty exciting functions that is also available with Magento like creating shipment, uploading tracking no, >Processing orders, communication with customers etc
- Easier to use, once set-up correctly
- Less or little help required for Managing your account
- Low cost yearly upgradation needed by developer
- Can create automated rules for pricing and inventory management
- Automate relisting of products based on your predefined rules
- Can use the same product database for your ecommerce website as well
- Manage everything from Magento
Limitation of M2E PRO:
- Strong fundamental knowledge of Magento and M2E PRO is required to set-up correctly
- As of now only limited marketplaces are supported which are eBay, Amazon and Rakuten
- Yearly maintenance required by developer to Upgrade the system and plug-ins
- Some features like Automate re-pricing or eBay research is not supported which may be supported by other third party tools
Thus, you just need to pay for Magento consultation to implement such an environment that allows you to list products on marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Rakuten instead of paying monthly subscription fees to third-party listing tools.
Let us know your comments and feedback.