'Online only' merchants do not have the luxury of such complementing physical stores to draw crowds from. That is a real problem. Savvy merchants know that the more people see their products, the better their chances of making a sale. The online versions of physical / traditional malls are called online marketplaces and the big ones are eBay, Amazon, Walmart and to a lesser extent Etsy. Merchants sell on their own ecommerce websites but also upload their products to these marketplaces.
People who prefer to shop on eBay go to eBay, Amazon loyalists go to Amazon and so on. There they see the merchant's products and order via the marketplace. The merchant makes a sale, the marketplace a commission.
Why would merchants want to sell on marketplaces when they know the marketplace is going to charge a hefty commission? Because they get a customer that they wouldn't otherwise. And now that they have made a customer, they can entice him to buy directly from their website in the future and save them marketplace commissions.
This establishes the benefits of selling on marketplaces. To understand the challenges of selling on marketplaces and how to overcome them, read full article at http://bit.ly/ecommerce-headaches1
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