eBay Shop or Amazon Seller
Having decided to sell online, it might well be that it is better to sell through eBay or Amazon, rather than building your own Shop. What I want to do in this section is clarify the differences between having your own Shop as opposed to having a shop inside eBay or Amazon. Now when I say eBay or Amazon, I’m talk about the two most popular at this point in time, but there are many other options which may be more suitable depending on your product. Essentially I’m referring to having a Shop within somebody else’s Shopping Centre because that is the best way to explain it.
If you were going to go and open a new shop today, as in a physical, bricks and mortar Shop, where would you like to have that shop? I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to have it stuck out on the edge of town where nobody knows where it is. If you did that, you would need to put in a lot of work simply to attract people to your shop.
When you look at things like eBay and Amazon, it’s like being right in the middle of the shopping centre. They already have footfall. People are going to walk past your shop window every minute of the day from the minute you open the door. That’s very difficult to achieve if you have your stand-alone, bricks and mortar shop out on the edge of town.
Having said that, you generate your own audience and you’re not lined up right next to the competition. So if you sell sweets in the shopping centre along with another shop two doors down, it’s easy for people to choose whether to go to your shop or the other. If they’re out of town and found you, then they’re not really shopping around as there’s too much effort to find an alternative. So there are pros and cons, but I would say that there’s a big pro about having your Shop inside eBay and Amazon because of the immediate footfall.
Not only are they bringing you a lot of people for far less money than through Search Engine Optimization and Social Media (which will be covered later), it’s also less expensive to use their system. Now, on the flip side, you will be restricted on what you can do. However, at least when you are starting out with online sales, using eBay or Amazon could be a good way for you to test whether there is any need for you to have a Shop. If it becomes really successful, you will have generated the income and therefore the profits to spend on all the functions you need and want when building your own Shop. So think about this as a possible strategy.
Let’s have a look at some other things that you would find with an eBay or an Amazon shop. First of all, I’ve spoken about how they are “The Shopping Centre”. To me, being inside the Shopping Centre is the top benefit, but what else do they offer? As shoppers we have a familiarity and trust in those brands, so in selling there you can benefit from that. So that’s got to be a plus point, because when you start a new Shop, you’ve got to build up that level of trust.
They also have established processes and systems in place to really make buyers feel at ease. For example, you’ll have seen the Power Sellers, or the “A++”on eBay and Amazon have got the exact same kind of scoring mechanism. This makes it easy for you to start building up a good online reputation.
So eBay and Amazon have the in-built trust, so you’ve got a way to build up your own level of trust within their anyway and it’s definitely easier and cheaper to set up. Then on top of that, they are going to have traffic already coming through, meaning you’re really onto a winner.
So, there are a lot of pros when using Amazon and eBay. However, if it’s all that positive then what’s wrong with using one of those systems? As I mentioned earlier, one downside is you will be restricted to selling through their particular systems, so it won’t be exactly how you want it to be.
The other key consideration, is now you are going to be typically selling on price, and as general business advice, I would try and steer you away from selling on price. If you’ve got a particular brand, a “T-shirt” for example, and one of your competitors has exactly the same branded “T-shirt”, then you are going to be competing on price because it’s just a commodity. In fact, people are easily able to sort the results by price.
So what does this mean? It means if you can find a supply of the particular product, at a very cost-effective price, it means you’re on to a winner. If somebody else gets most of their identical products in at a cheaper price, or is willing to take less profit, then it’s not going to work so well for you. You will always need to be price sensitive and undertaking competitor research to ensure you are providing the best price for buyers.
So, on the pro side of having a shop on eBay or Amazon; you’re instantly going to get footfall and people’s trust. It’s also cheaper and a lot easier to set up than building your own site. On the con side; you will be restricted to building a shop in their style, you won’t get 100% control over everything. You are likely to end up competing on price if you’re selling commodity items; things that are available through a variety of suppliers. The key is to find your own niche products with unique services to sell through these two stores.
What I want you to do now is spend some time thinking about “Do I need my own e-Commerce system?”, “Could I be selling through eBay and/or Amazon?” or “Do I start through eBay and/or Amazon and build up to an e-Commerce Site?”