As a general rule, local businesses lack online sales because they meet our day-to-day needs. But things have changed, and small- and medium-sized businesses are now having to find ways to sell their products online. Depending on what they do, businesses have to choose the right way to do business online. 

Generally, smaller businesses have limited economic resources, so they tend to look for sales channels that require a minimal capital investment.

Primarily because of the investment involved in promoting a product, medium-sized businesses will invest more than small businesses. Regardless of the size, online sales strategies can be the same for small and medium-sized businesses, but applied in different ways. 


  • Marketplace

This online sales methods is most widely used by neighbourhood businesses mainly for two reasons: the low initial investment involved and its and its ability to reach the target audience.

The most influential marketplaces are Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping and AliExpress. Some social media outlets also have their own marketplaces, such as Facebook, so you can use marketplaces to combine online sales channels with social media. The main difference with your own website (ecommerce) that you have to be aware of is the high level of competition between companies.

This type of platform is highly appealing to customers who aren’t sure about the product they want to buy. This means that potential customers spend less time on each product because they will try to compare all possible options.

A marketplace has a much wider reach than an ecommerce site because they finance their advertising and offer more products from different sellers. Profits from online sales in a marketplace go to the seller, except for a commission that goes to the owner of the platform.

With the intention of boosting business in towns, some local councils have used the marketplace technique on their website to help their retailers sell online. With the intention of boosting business in towns, some local councils have used the marketplace technique on their website to help their retailers sell online. They hire a company specialised in designing this type of initiative and add businesses that are interested in selling their products online.

  • Social media

Social media is a very useful and simple online sales tool for small businesses, since there is little need for a major financial investment. This technique is used by both small- and medium-sized businesses, although in different ways.

Slightly more powerful companies invest more capital in advertising their brand through paid advertisements on these platforms.

Here, companies use social media as a basic way to promote their product or service. The most popular in order of user preference are Facebook, Instagram (which has gained major ground) and LinkedIn, just to name a few.

Companies today, besides the goal of online sales, use their content on social media to educate their customers about how their products can solve problems.

Using social media promotion, the company generally directs the customer to the website to purchase the product or service being offered.

However, another option that requires less investment, such as the design and launch of a website, is to accept orders directly through social media. This online sales technique is used by very small companies.



  • Ecommerce or website

This involves businesses selling their products or services online through the use of electronic media like mobile apps and websites.

Most companies self-host their ecommerce site and therefore it requires a higher initial investment. This is why it’s a popular choice for medium-sized companies. In contrast to the marketplace, this method lets owners design the online store to suit their needs.

With no intermediaries, businesses that opt for ecommerce reap the full benefits of their sales. This method is best suited for a company that is looking for an omni-channel strategy, which involves pairing the brick-and-mortar location with a website, reaching out to a wider audience.

The complexity involved in creating a website from scratch is making it SEO or SEM friendly for a higher search result ranking.

Natural or organic positioning (SEO) means trying to reach the highest possible ranking in search engines. To do this, businesses need to be aware of search engine algorithms and penalties. SEM involves positioning the brand through paid advertising on search engines.

  • Social media 

The promotion strategies of medium-sized businesses on social media are usually through investments in paid advertising. Depending on the goal, they can opt for one or several platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) or for a different format (ad, photo, IGTV).

As we touched on in the previous section, the positioning method used by this type of business is SEM, a paid positioning method, The most popular platforms for investing in online sales through ads are Facebook ads and Instagram ads.

These platforms allow businesses to reach a large audience and while there is an investment to be made, the costs are reasonable. Social media marketing is easy to use, since the platforms provide the tools for measuring the reach of your campaigns.

paid advertising

Paid ads can appear in the form of Dynamic Product Ads (DPA), which are personalised ad templates displayed in a dynamic format that show the audience the products that most closely match their previous searches. Another method is the collection ad, which allows the customer to switch quickly from finding out about an unfamiliar page to an unplanned purchase.

Do you want to know how to boost local businesses with our comprehensive solution? Learn more about our turnkey marketplace solution here.

iUrban Marketplace: designed to boost local commerce in small- and medium-sized towns.

Why don't the local Amazon pick-up locations work? Because businesses don't have time to handle their deliveries, which is why we take care of the payment and the logistics.