Knowing whether to sell on Amazon or start up your own eCommerce website can be a difficult decision, especially when you’ve never experienced either to know the difference. When making this decision there are a lot of variables to consider such as your budget, planned business size and how much time you actually have available to put into either investment. Both routes will end up costing you money, but when done right they should be able to make it back for you in a reasonable amount of time. However it’s not only budget that should determine your decision, functionality and accessibility of each option should also be taken into account, as you may end up with less control over your project or business than you first intended. If none of the above helped you get any closer to making a decision, hopefully the information below will get you on your way to starting up your store the way you want it to be.
Why selling on your own website is beneficial
Selling on your own website has many benefits over channels such as Amazon. One of the biggest being that you have no worries about competitors items appearing right next to your own as you have full control of what is on your website and better yet, what is shown together. This is beneficial because it means you’re not fighting for the top stop with your listings, what you put up is what your audience sees, not what you’ve put up and anything related that another company has to offer too. On top of this your listings are 100% free! You would not have to pay any extra listing or sales fees, all you pay for is your item and shipping (depending on your shipping options) But saving and making money aren’t the only benefits of your own website.
This is because your store can be completely personalised from your homepage to your product listings. Having this kind of personalised presence can greatly boost your brand image and make your business look more professional. A good brand image is crucial for being noted on your products, your name will be the one on your customers lips if you show it to them enough and offer an amazing product at the same time. With your own website your brand image can be utilised and boosted even further through advertising as you would be able to create banners that are not only in keeping with your website’s theme, but also link straight to a specially designed landing page of your choice. Of course this kind of design isn’t always about your company, but also your customers. Having this kind of control over your store and its listings also means you can utilise shopping channels alongside it like the ones we offer here at SKU Feeds When you have this much control over the appearance and functionality over your store, not creating it to best suit your customers can put your brand at a huge disadvantage. However doing it well can build you a good name as a website that cares about its customers.
Why selling on amazon is beneficial
As you probably know, Amazon is a monster of a company. It has influences in so many different industries and even countries that it can be hard to find a place that does not utilise the brands services in some way. If you are looking to rival them, you may find yourself surrendering rather quickly but if you are looking to utilise their massive presence it may be the best thing you ever did. Their well known name means that they are already known about and widely used for finding any kind of product. This means that it already has a large existing audience in all categories and genre of product just waiting for you to join them. Alongside this is their longstanding trust that has built between Amazon and its customers over the years, trust that you will automatically gain by selling through them but would find difficult to obtain on your own. This trust transferred to you for the simple reason that shoppers trust Amazon as a whole and the likelihood of your singular store being personally scrutinised is incredibly low.
Amazon’s trust between it and its customers partly comes from the fact that it successfully caters for so many. You can use the store to buy items that have no relevance to each other but would of have to of been bought separately from different stores. This is due to its huge amount of categories and stock, you could buy some plant seeds alongside an evening dress, it just depends what a shopper is looking for. Add together this huge audience and the ease of shopping and you have quite a lot of sales from the offset, assuming that you are selling something people actually want to buy. Your products will be easily found by anyone who wants to find them as you don’t have to spend money investing in becoming the top search result. The relevance of the shoppers search to your items is what will drive your sales.
Why selling on your own website is a disadvantage
As great as having your own website may seem, as with everything it has its downfalls. The largest for new companies is the severe lack of traffic. This is because no one knows who you are, noone will search for your brand because they have no idea you exist and when they search for products you may sell, due to lack of online presence you are severely unlikely to come up within the first few pages of suggestions for them to find you by chance. Unfortunately for those who were hoping to focus all their energy and resources on their website this lack of traffic leads to a large need for advertising. Placing banners, writing guest articles and utilising SEO can be incredibly time consuming and expensive. You may even be investing more in adverts and social media than in your website, or even more than you are actually earning from it. Losing money at the start is bearable if you know you will definitely make it back when your business takes off. When, not if, so you have to be 100% sure of your investments before you make them.
However much advertising you do remember it will be tough, customers not knowing you is not your only concern. Every business has competition and it’s likely that your competition has a website of its own, a website that already has a steady stream of traffic and income. It’s also likely that their traffic are buyers who are happy with the products and service they are receiving and are not interested in moving to a new company, especially one they do not know. But bringing traffic to your website and advertising is useless if your website isn’t attractive and easily navigated and that kind of website can be expensive. On top of your advertising costs once the website is complete you also have to consider what you would’ve spent to get there in the first place. Websites can be expensive, especially when you hire the services of an external developing team. You will have to pay for not only the website build and developers time, but also for any changes or tweaks you would like to get it perfect, of which there can be a lot when you’re trying to build up a good website. However the expenses do not stop there, you will even have to pay for any updates, changes or bug fixes you may need in the future, spreading your website build cost further than just creation and into maintenance. The best thing to do to save money is to have a maintenance contract with a developer, but even this will not come cheap as they are still a company completing your work just the same.
Why selling on Amazon is a disadvantage
Your own website seems daunting now right? Don’t let it be, there are downsides to every kind of online selling, you just have to make the most of it. Amazon has its downfalls too, its biggest is the huge amount of competition that you face on there. It is different from having competitor websites because rather than having your rivals products shown on an entirely different website to your own, they will show up right next to yours. This means that not only will your customers not have to look very far to get taken away from your store but also if your competitor has a better price, shoppers will know immediately. On top of this, whenever shoppers are actually on a product listing from your store, it will be difficult for them to determine whose store they are actually on as you brand name will only be shown in small letters amongst other text. Meaning that not only will your products be lined up with countless others, you probably won’t even get credit for the quality if you do make a sale.
Then there are fees. Whilst the fees of Amazon are significantly smaller than running your own site they are ongoing. You will have to pay a monthly store charge just for being registered with them and also a percentage of every sale you make will be taken by them too. To put it simply, you will always be losing some amount of money to your Amazon store, no matter how much you make. These kinds of charges make selling small items far less worth a business’s time, so unless you are confident that you will sell large amounts of your smaller items or plan on making up the profits with larger products this kind of store may take some large consideration before setting up.