By now, it’s clear that digital is the only way forward. The ongoing pandemic has left a huge dent in an already fragmented ecosystem, which makes moving online all the more crucial. 

But in an increasingly saturated landscape, it can be overwhelming for sellers new to the business, especially in deciding where to sell online. In fact, the ongoing debate on e-commerce vs. online marketplaces is still unresolved – which is the better option? 

Your Own E-commerce Store vs. Online Marketplaces

This is a common dilemma that many sellers face – and one that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. 


Because both platforms have solutions that cater to different needs, the choice you make will depend on your business goals. 

Before we dive into what both platforms can offer, let’s first look closer at what each means.

E-commerce Store

An e-commerce website is an independent platform where multiple buyers purchase from a single seller. 

It is your own website, and there is no other competition on the platform – only your goods or services are available on display. This means you have total control over every aspect of the website, including the setup process… which can be time-consuming. This is especially true if you opt to build your own e-commerce website from scratch. 

However, most websites today are built on third-party platforms with simple user interfaces, such as WooCommerce, Shopify and Dropee Direct. In other words, you don’t need any coding experience to set up a website these days! 

You would also be responsible for maintaining the website, which includes driving traffic and conversions, which equate to your profit margin.

Online Marketplaces

An online marketplace is a platform of product listings from multiple sellers – and often, the setup process is also relatively easy. Setting up on Dropee Marketplace, for example, only requires a few clicks

The categories offered can vary, depending on the nature of the business. Some only cater to fashion, others focus primarily on home & living products or electronics. 

Typically, a marketplace attracts a higher volume of visitors, but this also means that you’d be competing with hundreds and thousands of sellers. 

Here’s a quick summary:

E-commerce vs. Online Marketplaces: Overview 

Now that you know the key differences between e-commerce vs marketplaces, let’s return to the dilemma: which option should you choose? 

Most business owners new to the e-commerce landscape would typically opt for marketplaces, as it severely cuts down on resources and the time needed to go online. It’s also a means of testing the waters without heavy investment at the start. 

Meanwhile, other sellers prioritise exclusivity, and want to establish the branding first through an e-commerce website. 

But in today’s competitive landscape, most businesses are on both platforms simultaneously.

Best of Both Worlds: Why Both Platforms Are Crucial

In your own e-commerce website, you can create more personalised experiences – something customers are continuously looking for in a post-Covid-19 world. Values are increasingly important today, and sellers can better engage with their customers through their own platform. 

On the other hand, having access to marketplaces means opening up the funnel.

More leads mean higher chances of conversions, which translates to more sales. Often, sellers immediately establish a rapport with new customers to increase repeated orders. 

With both platforms, you can easily tap into the best of both worlds. Build your e-commerce website, then get access to a wider audience by signing on to a marketplace.

After building a closer relationship with them, you can then funnel them into your own e-commerce platform.

How It Works with Dropee

With Dropee Direct, you get to create your own e-commerce platform easily, allowing easy customisation of products, pricing, and promotions. You also get instant access to actionable insights & analytics on customers’ purchasing behaviours.

Having your products on Dropee Marketplace attracts more new leads, which you can funnel towards your Dropee Direct platform.


Your Choice to Make

Settling the debate of e-commerce vs marketplaces is entirely dependent on the goals you want to achieve. While moving online is top priority, the next step is to identify new ways to not just survive in the business, but to thrive as well. 

The debate, then, isn’t so much about e-commerce vs marketplace, but rather, using both as a tool to reach greater heights. 

For businesses across Malaysia, Dropee is an e-commerce solutions provider that seeks to support our local B2B entities by providing them with a platform to help them streamline and manage their customers and inventories with efficiency and ease. We also help to connect businesses with one another via an online marketplace where they can reach out to more people in a fuss-free space.

To learn more about what we do, reach out to us for a free consultation with our team and get a headstart in digitising your business today! 


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