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5 Reasons to Venture Beyond eBay

Freedom, predictable costs of an online store make this route appealing to sellers.

When you sell on your own online store, you’re in charge. You can set up store policies that suit you, you can customize your store to look the way you want it to—and you can make changes when you want, at your pace. These are just a few of the reasons to venture beyond eBay.

In 5 Reasons to Sell on eBay, we discussed five reasons eBay is a good place to sell your products. But while eBay has plenty to offer many online sellers, it’s not for everyone.

With this in mind, let’s explore five reasons you may want to venture beyond the eBay marketplace and build your own online store. A recurring theme we discovered: freedom. Read on to see what we mean.

Reason No. 1: Set your own policies

As we mentioned, when you open an online store, you’re the boss. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. You decide your sales and returns policies. You don’t have to worry about unexpected policy changes that marketplaces, like eBay, often make.

eBay releases two seller updates, or policy changes, every year. These can impact return policies, listing practices, photos and more—and they can cause an uproar among sellers who have to update their listings to comply with the new rules. Merchants who don’t comply may have their listings flagged and taken down.

There’s no need to worry about this happening when you create your own store. You get to decide your policies, if you’ll change them and, if you do, how much time you will give yourself to follow through. No one besides you sets deadlines.

Having control over your own destiny, so to speak, is a benefit that many sellers might take the leap for

“Having control over your own destiny, so to speak, is a benefit that many sellers might take the leap for,” says Rebecca Miller, an eBay seller of more than 13 years. “You can make your own rules without Big Brother watching your every move.”

See what we mean about freedom?

Reason No. 2: Build brand recognition

Another nice aspect of having your own online store is that you can really build your brand. You can post your logo throughout your website and include links to your blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, or other sites where you might have a presence. You aren’t limited to one About page, so you can really give your buyers a sense of who you and your business are.

And when shoppers make a purchase on your site, they know they are buying from you and not a marketplace.

Cindy O’Neill, the owner of YesterYear Soap Company, has multiple pages dedicated to telling customers about her business. Her company’s logo appears at the top of every page. She also has a page where she talks about the soap her company sells, a page where she talks about the business and its history, another page where she provides customer reviews, and yet another where she tells customers about her company’s charitable program that donates soap to women’s shelters.

This allows her to tell customers a lot about herself in shorter, easily readable snippets that let customers feel more connected to her, rather than bogging visitors down with one very long page.

O’Neill also uses inSparq to provide social media and email icons, giving shoppers an avenue to easily share their finds with friends, family and anyone else they think might like her items, which could lead to a sale. According to a recent Bizrate Insights study, 32 percent of buyers in North America have bought an item they saw on the popular curation site Pinterest.

Reason No. 3: Predictable selling costs

Selling on your own store also means you’ll know upfront what you’ll pay in fees before you sell an item. Some shopping carts, like Auctiva Commerce, for instance, charge only a flat monthly rate. Others like Shopify, charge a monthly rate plus transaction fees.

That’s not the case on eBay. There you’ll pay insertion fees, which may differ depending on listing format, starting price or store subscription level, final value fees based on the selling price plus shipping charges, extra charges for listing add-ons like adding International visibility or making your title bold, or even providing the Buy It Now option on an auction.

All these variables can add up and, if an item doesn’t sell right away, many of the upfront fees repeat—making it tough to know exactly what you’ll pay for selling an item and what your profit will be. That can be very frustrating for sellers. But you don’t have to worry about this with your own store.

Reason No. 4: You decide your payment options

While PayPal is one of the most popular ways to pay for items, you might want to offer buyers more choice of payment options

The freedom having your own store provides continues with payment options. eBay requires sellers to offer PayPal. And while PayPal is one of the most popular ways to pay for items today—both on and offline—you might want to offer buyers more choice of payment options, such as credit cards, money orders, checks, or even other online payment processors.

eBay allows various payment options in some categories, but not all. Now, we know that the payment options you have access to will depend on the software on which you build your online store, but odds are you’ll have more choices.

On Auctiva Commerce, for example, you can accept credit cards, PayPal payments and Google Checkout. eBay doesn’t permit Google Checkout.

Reason No. 5: More flexibility with price

Now let’s talk sales and profits. Since you have a better idea what it will cost you to sell each of your items, and less direct competition from other eBay marketplace sellers, you may be able to increase your average selling price—and thus your profit margin—by opening your own online store.

David Force, the owner of RV Cooling Unit Warehouse, says he was able to do this, and that it didn’t stop customers from buying from his stand-alone store.

On the other hand, Miller points out that many sellers who move off eBay are actually able to reduce their prices when they go to their own site, without eating into profits, because they no longer have to pay insertion and final value fees to a marketplace. They reason that offering lower prices will draw in more buyers, and it just might.

However, Miller cautions that merchants should be aware of additional costs that may come with owning your own online store, like advertising to drive traffic to your site.

Still, the freedom to make their own way and set their own rules may be worth it for some online sellers. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Olga. Thanks for the review. I am always looking for ways to increase sales. I tried my own site for two years. I had professional help setting it up. The sales were so bad I just discontinued it (closed the site). I tried to set up an Auctiva commerce site twice over the last four years. (their Free 30 day trial). I found the site to be so complicated I gave up before I even got it going. The help was good at first but petered out near the end. I expect I would get more sales on Auctiva so I will likely try it again sometime but for now I will stay with eBay even though the cost is high. 20% to 25% of sales.

  • Russ

    The biggest problem is in driving traffic to your site. I’ve set up Auctiva sites, Core COmmerce and Prestashop sites. Each has there own level of complexity. But the problem is how to get found in the search engines. I would like to hear comments from people who have mastered this issue.

  • LRCOINS

    I too would be interested in how businesses get found on the web. also a good web developer who can take my ideas and build an e-commerce site for me at a reasonable price.

  • I’ve had success with my own site (http://theuglysweatershop.com) by using Pinterest, Wanelo, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. It helps that I have a product that is fun to market 🙂



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