Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Starting a Website - Should You Sell on Your Own?


Many of my clients and readers ask if they should start their own website and sell beyond eBay. I want share my experience with you because I did not find the success I had hoped for when I started my own site.

People find safety, security, and a sense of protection in buying from eBay, Amazon, Overstock.com, Bonanzle, and other large sites because there are systems in place for recourse if the buyer is not satisfied or if there is a problem with the transaction. Starting your own website not only involves a great deal of time and work in establishing the site and moving up in the Google rankings to get traffic, but buyers simply are not comfortable buying from John Doe online who they do not know.

Last year I thought starting a website to sell American health and beauty products was a good idea – I promoted my website to my international customers (300+ a month and many repeat customers) and they continued to purchase the items from eBay. I asked my customers why they were not buying from my site. They stated that they were just more comfortable buying from a large site like eBay that offers buyer protection. Even if they had to pay a little bit more, they still bought from eBay. I had 3 sales within 6 months (and my products only cost $10-$20 each) so I shut down the site. Definitely a learning experience.

I understand the concern with paying eBay fees, but you will be spending money on your own website for domain name registration, hosting fees, web design, marketing, and spending a lot of valuable time on this venture. eBay fees may be the most cost effective and time efficient way to go.

You may not be able to sell anything on your own website, even after all the work. You may want to focus on optimizing your efforts on eBay and other sites along with affiliate marketing, writing articles, and blogging. eBay has millions of buyers congregated in one place ready to buy. You won’t find that with your own website. eBay fees are a small price to pay for access to millions of buyers.
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