Marketplace VS. your own store?
Not sure you’re ready to jump straight in to having your own e-commerce website? Then selling on a third-party marketplace website, such as Amazon, Ebay or Etsy, may be a good place to start. The main benefit of selling through one of these channels is that it’s pretty quick and easy to get setup and start selling. Marketplace sites also have the benefit of bigger marketing budgets to attract people to their platform, however, not necessarily to you and your products which are likely to end up sitting on a page alongside those of your competitors.
The main disadvantage of selling through a marketplace site are the fees they charge; many taking a percentage of each sale you make (and some even take a percentage of any shipping fees, too, which could potentially leave you out of pocket). You also have limited control over how your products are presented and marketed. And it’s also worth remembering that any negative PR surrounding the marketplace platform, could also reflect badly on you and your products, simply by association.
The most obvious benefit of having your own e-commerce website is that you’re in control. You can choose how it’s designed, how you market it, how your products are displayed and priced, and you don’t have to pay sales commission. Your own site can also grow and adapt with you, allowing you to expand your products as your customer-base grows.
The downsides of setting up your own online shop are the initial time and cost commitment required to get it up and running, but in the long run it can prove much more cost-effective. You’ll also be responsible for attracting potential customers to your site and your products yourself. Take a look at the ‘shout about it’ section below for more information on promoting your site.
But you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, you can do both. Whilst you’re building your own digital presence you can also sell through a marketplace. This will help you to start growing your online customer base, who you can then make aware of your own website by including your URL in your order confirmations emails and packing slips.