Amazon, Alibab, and eBay are monsters of the online shopping world. More traffic go through these three sites than anyone else. Their cut is respective of that. Is there value, then, in creating your own online store? Let’s look at the benefits and costs.
Get More of (your) Money
You are going to pay for the privilege of selling, no matter the marketplace. Between fees and commissions, you can expect 3-5% of any sales to go back to merchants like Etsy. That goes to pay for hosting, payment processing, marketing (of the platform, not your channel per se) and security.
If you want to host your own site, you’ll need to find a payment processor that doesn’t rake you too hard in fees. Shopify and 3DCart are two options that are around $10 USD/month. The less you pay up-front, generally speaking, the less functionality you’ll have on the back-end.
Build a Brand
As mentioned, your fees are generally going to build the brands of the hosting companies. By using your established customer list to generate new business at your own site, you will have a great way to jump-start a brand. Further, building a social media presence before launch will help expedite the transition.
All of the work you’re already doing to benefit your product will now apply also to your brand rather than someone else’s.
Be More than a Stall, Shop, or Store
Big companies that survived the digital revolution know that they can’t simply be transactional anymore. People can buy a product from anywhere. They’ll trust a brand because they provide more than just a package. They provide information, community, and support.
By creating your own space, you can be whatever you want. You can react to the needs of your customers to provide a brilliant experience that goes beyond the norm.
Even 5 years ago, setting up and maintaining a commercial website was a challenge. Today, companies like SquareSpace are focused on making things at turnkey as possible to help you get up-and-running as quickly as possible.
Have you made the transition to running your own digital business? What are some challenges you faced? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Social & Digital Marketing
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