Online marketplaces such as Etsy, eBay, and Amazon Marketplace helped to create and then boost an online shopping environment. There’s no denying that online marketplaces—something like a flea market for the internet—have been useful to thousands of startup ecommerce companies.
At some point, however, you have to leave the flea market behind and start your own endeavor. If you’re still bringing in plenty of money as a vendor through one of these marketplaces, the idea of moving on may seem ludicrous. Why shake up a good thing? Why risk everything you have while reaching for more? Well, here’s why.
Get More for Your Money
Whether you plan to sell a little or a lot on Amazon, you’ll have to pay fees either way. You can choose unlimited sales for around $40 per month, or just pay a $0.99 transaction fee for individual sales. Then, you’ll pay other fees on top of that. Etsy isn’t a lot better. They’ll take 3.5% of every sale you make.
“But I’d have to pay for my own online store,” you say. And that might be true. There are many options out there for online stores, like Shopify and 3dcart. Both offer basic point-of-sale services for around $9-10 per month. For a basic online store, you’ll pay more—somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 per month. You get a lot for those fees, though. How about a fully functional website, with room for all the content you can create?
Of course, there are also some free options available, too. Wix and Spaces both provide ecommerce solutions for small businesses, and both are incredibly easy to use. You’ll also have the space and freedom you need to build your brand, though features may not be as plentiful as they would for paid platforms.
Why keep paying service fees to a marketplace when you could do everything on your own?
Build Your Own Brand
When you use marketplaces, you do get the benefit of those brand names. After all, most people know what Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are. You don’t need to campaign to get people onto the website, that’s for sure.
These marketplaces may bring you more customers that your online store can. After all, visitors to Amazon, Etsy, and eBay may search for specific products that your little shop sells. When they do make a purchase from you, it’s one that may not have happened otherwise. However, when that customer tells someone where they bought their amazing new [thing you sell], do you think they’ll name your company? Nope. They’ll say Amazon/Etsy/eBay.
Without the ability to create your own content and build your own brand, you’re just a needle in a haystack. In fact, you’re continuing to build someone else’s brand when you sell within the online marketplaces. Amazon and Etsy just keep getting bigger and bigger, while your little store is just one of millions.
Market Your Company…Not Someone Else’s
If you do create content outside of your marketplace “stall,” then congratulations! Perhaps you use social marketing and a free blog site to point potential customers toward your little store. Just remember that the marketplace you’re using won’t be doing the same to help you out. They’re more concerned with sharing the products you sell than the name of your company. In other words, you make them look good.
With your own online store, everything you do to market your brand, your products, and your company serves to elevate only you. No other company will receive benefits from the blogs you write, the social media posts you share, or the tutorials you post to YouTube.
The road is long and bumpy, but at the end, you have your own ecommerce company, independent of the behemoth online marketplaces. Your work goes to support your company. Your income goes right back into your pocket or business. Your brand grows and becomes familiar. Isn’t that worth making the leap if you haven't already?
Originally published Feb 12, 2016 10:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017