So, you've decided it's time to expand beyond eBay sales and build your own online store.
This is a great idea — your eCommerce website will serve as your unique presence on the internet, which opens up tons of new ways to establish your brand and enter the public consciousness.
Having your own online store provides you with several business advantages. And we'll cover them in this article.
- Selling without eBay fees
Every eBay seller has some experience with fees. Of course, eBay charges these fees as a way of making money to keep their services online, but many users find eBay's fee structure confusing and are often surprised by the amount. Having your own online store has its own expenses, but can be much cheaper — plus, your expenses will be a lot more consistent, making it easier for you to budget.
- Total control over your branding
As an eBay seller, you are one of millions. In order to keep eBay consistent (and to enforce eBay's own brand identity), you're only allowed minimal customization to your eBay storefront. But an online store of your own gives you the freedom to design it exactly as you envision.
- The freedom to set your own policies
In order to create a fair and safe buying and selling environment, eBay enforces a long set of rules covering everything from the items you can sell, to the payment methods you can accept, to the return policies you must offer. When you have your own online store, you can decide all this for yourself, with no restrictions except your local laws and the capabilities of your eCommerce software.
- Greater ability to enhance the customer experience
When selling on eBay, you're working through eBay's system and only have access to the tools that are provided to you. You can only do so much with eBay's promotion tools, but with your own online store, you can offer everything from a one-time-use personalized coupon to store credits for the customer's next purchase. Things like this make customers feel appreciated, and more likely to shop with you again.
- More personal contact to build customer relationships
Your eBay buyers are eBay's customers first, and your customers second. eBay supports only limited interactions between buyers and sellers — again, because they're trying to offer a fair playing field. With your own online store, you can use a wealth of features eBay doesn't provide, like email newsletters, personalized service, and one-on-one communication without the shadow of eBay standing over you. Plus, you can use a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to keep track of it all.
- More power over how you run your business
When you have your own online store, you're not operating within the limitations set by an eBay account. You'll find that while working with eCommerce software to sell online, you'll have access to more options for every aspect of your business, even beyond what's listed above.
Despite all the positives, you might still be hesitant to start an online store of your very own. Up till now, you've been relying on eBay to handle the technical details for you, and you might worry about the potential difficulties of taking on those kinds of responsibilities.
But don't let those uncertainties get to you — with the right eCommerce platform on your side, the entire process of transitioning, synchronizing, and managing your eCommerce website and eBay sales will be a lot easier, and even fun.
Should you Leave eBay?
The benefits of selling on your own online store may tempt you to leave eBay entirely, but you definitely shouldn't.
Your eBay account is a valuable tool for your business, and as an established eBay seller, you can continue to gain more customers and make sales on both channels. You can even draw your eBay customers over to your online store. In short, don't abandon eBay. Instead, sell on both!
How to Make the Transition from eBay to your own Store
Your first step will be to choose an eCommerce platform that will meet your needs as an established eBay seller. While evaluating platforms, there are some features you should look out for.
A strong eBay integration includes the ability to import your eBay items into your online store, which helps you set it up very quickly. An export feature, to list items on eBay directly from your online store, is also very helpful.
Check out the payment methods offered by the eCommerce platform you're considering. You should be able to take credit cards, PayPal, and any other alternate payments you feel are right for your business and customers. Since you're coming from eBay and some of your customers are going to follow you, make sure they have the option pay the same way they did when they bought from you on eBay.
3dcart is an example of an eCommerce platform that provides you with the tools to integrate your online store with your eBay account. Once you've made this connection, you can use 3dcart to sell more on eBay while also maintaining your online store and managing it all from one place, with the import and export mentioned above. This will save you a lot of time and trouble.
Switching to an online store is easy. Once you've signed up for your 3dcart account, you can import all your eBay products into your new store. This will carry over your products' names, prices, description, quantity, and image URLs.
Once you've completed the import, you can fine-tune your products through the 3dcart interface or through uploading a .csv spreadsheet file. You can find detailed instructions in the 3dcart Knowledgebase, where everything is laid out step by step.
When your online store is ready to go, you can draw your eBay customers to it in a number of ways.
First, make sure you add a link to it in the "About Me" section of your eBay profile — the only place eBay permits you to place such a link. Next, when you sell an item on eBay, include an informational card with the URL and description of your online store, perhaps with a coupon code to encourage your customer to make their next purchase from you directly.
You can also offer promotions that aren't available on your eBay sales, to further entice customers toward buying straight from your online store. You have the freedom to experiment and discover your most profitable sales techniques!
To learn more about the benefits of selling on eBay alongside your 3dcart store, and how you can use both platforms together to your best advantage, check out our free ebook below. Happy selling!