Selling your products on your own website
Updated 1st February 2018
I want to talk to you about why it’s important to sell your products on your own website and not just sell with an online marketplace. Selling your products with existing online marketplaces can be the simplest way to get your creations out there. They allow you to start selling your products quickly without needing to invest time and money in creating your own website. However, I’m going to share with you the pros and cons of solely focusing on a marketplace as your only source of income for your business, and why you might want to consider selling on your own website too.
The benefits of using an online marketplace
Competition is high in retail and getting your products found through organic searches is difficult. Popular online marketplaces, like Etsy, Not On The High Street and Amazon, carry a lot of authority and as such rank well for search keywords or phrases. Even if we ignore all the adverts!
Popular online marketplaces are known by most people who are shopping online and so are trusted by the consumer. They can be confident that their payments will be secure and should they have an issue they believe it can be resolved without a problem.
Online marketplaces have large budgets, and will often send effective emails to their mailing lists. They might also decide to do TV advertising campaigns, and attract even more customers to their website. Even though these emails or TV adverts may not contain your products, it will increase your chances of being seen.
It's likely that online marketplaces have good SEO features, and if used correctly and effectively can increase your chances of being found on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
8 reasons for selling on your own website too
1. Gain total control of your business
An online marketplace controls everything about the customer experience when they are buying your products. A negative experience for the customer, that might have nothing to do with your products, could reflect badly on you and your business. At any given time, the online marketplace could make an operational change that would render your business obsolete. You could be selling stationery and they could decide to purchase a stationery retailer and eliminate all 3rd party stationery listings. Or they could make a policy change that requires you to only sell certain types of products i.e. only personalised. Having an online shop of your own gives you total control over the customer experience. You decide on how the product pages look, you decide on when you have promotions, you decide on the terms and conditions and you can decide on how customers communicate with you.
2. No more commission
Online marketplaces are full of products. They have a large variety of products, but they may also have lots of products that are similar to yours. In a place where there are lots of similar products, reducing your prices to differentiate from competitors will only reduce your profits. And if the marketplace decides to increase their commission, this could have a serious impact on you. With your own online shop, you are free to decide on whatever prices you deem suitable and as there will be no commission fees to pay, you won’t have to give away a percentage of your profits. This leaves you with more control over what promotions you might decide to do or what percentage of profit you want to take.
3. Showing off your brand
It's hard to stand out on online marketplaces. All the pages have the same look and feel which means it is almost impossible for customers to remember your individual page. This means that customers could just continue to browse and find something else, which may be similar but perhaps cheaper. Having an online shop of your own, allows you to create an environment that shows of your brand and in turn shows off your products. This enables the customers to concentrate on the job of deciding which of your products to buy. It allows your customers to make better, informed decisions by eliminating the clutter and the confusion of so many products and having social media links with your products allows your customers to communicate with you, enhancing the quality of your brand.
4. Better control over SEO
Having your own online shop allows you to be in total control of your SEO! Whilst some online marketplaces offer some control over how your products will appear in search results, having your own online shop allows you to be in full control over all aspects of SEO. You can change titles, set keywords, add and edit descriptions, get detailed page analysis as you work and optimise your pages based on the live feedback.
5. Build your own mailing list
I’ve written a blog post about this before, you can read it here, but generating your own mailing list is really important. Online marketplaces may have mailing lists, but they use them to increase their own business, and that might not include yours. With your own mailing lists, you decide what you want to say to your customers, what products you want to tell them about and what promotions you might have on at the time.
6. No distractions
When someone visits one of your products on an online marketplace, not only will they see your product, but they will also see up to 20 similar products that are created by other businesses and that have different price points. That’s 20 opportunities for a potential customer to go somewhere else, even after they have landed on your product page. Having your own online shop stops this from happening. You can decide if the customer sees any other products on a product page. You decide what those products are, they're all yours and if the customer clicks on any of them, they are still on your website looking at your products. You also have the choice to take away all distractions and not have any product recommendations at all, leaving the customer to focus solely on the product in front of them!
7. Repeat customers
When a customer buys something from an online marketplace, they might have a nice experience and love the product, but will they remember the individual seller the bought from? So if a friend asks them where they got the product from, they may simply say, Etsy, Not On The High Street or Amazon. Selling your products from your own website makes it much easier for customers to remember you and your shop and so much more likely to mention your business when talking with their friends. Having your own online shop allows you to reward customers who have made purchases by offering them discounts on their next order. It allows you to know how many people might have left your shop at the checkout, so you can see where the issues might lie. It allows you to be in control of how you communicate with your customers and so be in the position of turning a disgruntled customer into a happy, returning customer through quality customer service.
8. Connect with your customers
Having your own online shop allows you to have multiple areas on your site where customers can connect with you and you with your customers. Having a clear contact form, a regular informative blog, links to your social media accounts on all pages and even an online chat facility, all contribute to you being able to connect better with your customers. Being active on social media can drive traffic to your site and increase the chance of people buying your products.
There is no doubt that quality online marketplaces offer great opportunities for small independent creative businesses, but in this modern competitive world, where brand awareness, trustworthyness and transparency are key, there is no substitute to having your own online shop as well.
Having your own online shop gives you the final say on what to do with the traffic that comes to your site, what to do with your prices, your story, your social media and your brand. If you want to build a brand that can grow, you need your own online shop that you have full control over.
Are you in need of a new website, do you own an online shop, or would just like to talk about how you can improve your current website? Please contact me here. http://cptcreative.com/contact/
If you have a comment or want to ask any questions about your own online shop or online marketplaces, please leave a message below.
Until next time…
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