The Benefits of Having your Own Online Shop vs Selling Through an Online Market Place
Have you recently thought of setting up your own online shop? Or are you currently optimizing your online shop? You’re not the only one. Many entrepreneurs have recently started focusing on online sales in order to complement their existing business or just simply out of sheer necessity. Very understandable in a time where online sales are skyrocketing as a result of masses staying at home.
For many entrepreneurs, increasing focus on online sales is a wise move. Many people choose the easy way, by offering their products on large, well-known platforms, such as Amazon or eBay. However, having your own shop, with your own name, offers many advantages as well. Still in doubt? We have listed the pros and cons for you.
An online shop is an investment, but preferably no larger than necessary. If you want to set up your own online shop, take into account the practical matters that cost money. Think of registering a domain name, hosting your online shop through a hosting provider, and building the layout of your online shop. You could either have the latter be done by someone else or try it by yourself through ready-made online shop software. Often there are many great offers available to purchase an online shop. Just take a look at our website and you will find many registrars who provide this kind of service. Once your online shop is up and running, it’s important you keep it running. Therefore, it is important that you invest time and money into your online shop. Things like managing inventory and keeping your website content up to date. .
But selling through large platforms or “marketplaces” is also not necessarily free. In addition to subscription costs, some parties also charge sales commissions, and this amount can regularly change. Eventually, this means smaller margins on your product sales and thus less profit. Also, keep in mind that your products are not always easy to find, unless you have added ads. Some platforms base the ranking of your products on the number of sales or reviews. If you are just starting out as a seller, you will sometimes have to sponsor products to get to the top of the search results.
As a seller, you want to offer your customers the best service. This not only applies to product information, options for tracking orders and returning products, but also to customer service through social media, live chat, or Whatsapp. With your own online shop, you have full control over the customer’s experience. And now, since businesses are increasingly starting to sell online, you want to distinguish yourself with excellent service.
If you sell through a marketplace, your customer experience will always depend on the platform. No wonder Nike retired as a seller on Amazon in 2019. The brand wanted to offer customers a better experience when buying their products and that was not possible through Amazon. Be aware that the customers will always link their buying experience to these types of platforms, rather than to your brand or company, which is a shame if you try your hardest to distinguish yourself from others with your service.
Building a Brand
Of course, you not only want customers to link their (positive) buying experience to your brand. You also want to create a brand identity. Having your own online shop gives you more options to do this. It gives you the freedom to set up your own product and service pages, with clear descriptions, images, and easy-to-find contact information. You can also adapt things such as colors, fonts, and the layout which are standardized on large platforms.
For many entrepreneurs, brand building is a long-term goal, while in the short term the focus may be on promoting and selling your products. When selling through a marketplace such as Amazon or eBay, you can take advantage of their worldwide recognition and enormous market reach. This way you reach many potential customers, which can make a big difference, especially in the initial starting phase of your online shop. It might be worth considering a combination of your own online shop and sales through online marketplaces.
Finally, with your own online shop, you have the freedom to choose a specific domain extension. Very important, because a clear and recognizable domain name is more memorable to your target audience. This also increases the chance that customers will find your website. And that extension? That is a Top Level Domain (TLD), which is the addition behind the dot in website addresses. Think of .de or .com. Did you know that you can also combine your domain name with a .shop extension? This offers several advantages. It is short, easy to remember, and is international. More importantly, more customers immediately see that they are visiting an online shop.