People often have the impetus to start an online store, around January time when there is a big buzz about online sales, especially over the period when physical shops are closed.
Last years online winter sales in the UK were at £ 74 billion. This is reflection of the practicalities to the consumer of shopping online. As online stores do not have overheads such as rent, salespeople and utilities they can afford to offer products at more competitive prices. In addition to this, the shopper can purchase items in the comfort of his own home rather than braving the elements to travel into town, to cram himself into a crowded shop and possibly leave empty handed.
If you have a physical store, you will be looking at the online statistics and imagine how many sales you must be missing out on, by not having an online store.
An alternative to building your own ecommerce site is selling your products in a ready self-contained marketplace such as Amazon or Ebay.
So which should you choose, Amazon, Ebay or create your own site? and what are the considerations?
First of all consider what your goals are. Will you be opening an online store as a full time business or as a part time business to earn some money on the side?
Building your own Ecommerce Site is the more expensive option. Also one shouldn’t forget that websites need to be marketed like physical stores do and marketing can cost real money. All websites particularly ecommerce sites need brand recognition and marketing to build credibility get users to pick them out of the already overcrowded online market.
Successful ecommerce sites rely on Search Engine Marketing otherwise known as SEO as the main source of customers. SEO, whilst producing results if done properly, can cost at least a few hundred pounds a month. One should not dismiss the fact that websites can be marketed using conventional marketing methods too such as newspaper, billboard or radio advertising. Sometimes all that is needed is a regular placing of a small advert with the web address in a popular newspaper.
One thing you will need to invest in whatever route you take, is the actual stock to populate the site so that items are available and ready for shipping .
Besides investing money the other commodity you will need is time. Time to upload your products, time to create images for the site, write descriptions and time to manage the delivery process.
Ebay and Amazon Stores are easier to set up as most things are already in place for you to start trading. If you are working full time and you don’t have the time to put into your site then Ebay or Amazon are better choices that having your own site, and Ebay is the easier one to start off.
The downside of Ebay and Amazon is the large percentage fee that they take on each transaction. 15% for Ebay and Amazon have different fees for different products from 7% to 25% and other fixed fees.
Ebay in particular have many rules and one can transgress unwittingly and with that you can lose your whole business you have invested time in. Amazon is actually even stricter and easier to ban your account.
You might consider to go for all three, An Ebay, Amazon and online store so that you can spread your risks and tap into 3 markets.
A consideration to opt for your own site rather than Ebay or Amazon could be because you are building a brand and today an online version of your offline presence is a must for brand recognition . You might also choose to you’re your own site because your product is a high end product and the pricing model does not lend itself to be sold on Amazon or Ebay.
Whatever your reason to create an online store, don’t just go or the cheapest provider, select a provider you trust. Your provider will hopefully guide you through the range of options and then build a solution that works and loads fast , as well as a comeback