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Mon Feb 16 2009 18:19:22

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

By: David Steiner

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As promised in the previous blog post, we will be periodically posting information we aggregate from the EPIS Merchant Directory. While we touched on how many sites sellers sold on, and which marketplaces they were using, we left off one important venue from the results: A merchant's own retail site. We did this purposefully, because we would like to hear your experiences with your sites.
 
Of the approximately 2,600 merchants who have set up a listing on EPIS, 1,025 run and maintain their own retail web site. That's nearly 40% of EPIS merchants who have taken the time to investigate platforms, think of a domain name, create logos and graphics, load inventory, presumably market and do SEO for their sites, search for shopping cart solutions...on and on and on.

So tell us about your site. What solution did you use as a platform, what types of payment methods do you accept? How complicated was it to set up, and how long did it take? Is your own site becoming a bigger slice of your revenue stream? Was it worth it and at what point would your recommend that an online merchant consider carving out their own ecommerce presence?
 
The floor is yours - tell us the good, the bad and the ugly of running your own ecommerce web site.
 






Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Claypipe

Mon Feb 16 19:23:19 2009

OK here goes....our website is

www.scriptorical.com

We sell ephemera and old documents, letters, etc.
We stopped selling on eBay in the summer of 2008 and started working on our site. To be perfectly honest with you our site was a school project for my Daughters boyfriend Jeff. One thing lead to another and scriptorical was born. We saved a vulgar amount of emails from when we sold on eBay and sent out notification when the site went live which took more time then we wanted, but we wanted make sure it was done right, easy to navigate, and safe.

We have sold several items however advertising is expensive ask Ina, and we are learning the ropes as we go. We also sell on Bonanzle and have a link to our booth on our site. Bonanzle allows us to link our website to our profile page which is good. We are currently working on meta data to move us up in search; and we are looking at finding more economical ways to advertise. Anyway you are welcome to look at scriptorical and tell us what you think. We are tweeking the registry page to include a window that allows buyers to tell us what they collect, and we are also working on a feedback link for buyers who purchase from us. Since eBay tried to force pay-pal on us we decided to add Google checkout, as well as an American institution of paper payments like checks or money orders. Thank You all for looking

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Jim S.

Mon Feb 16 19:33:26 2009

I opened my web store in November, 2008, using ProStores through IntuitSolutions.net who designed the initial site and is hosting it. It took aboout 6 weeks to be 100% up and running.

I had started with eBay ProStores and found myself bogged down trying to design it while running my eBay business. Something I feared would happen. I can't say enough good about IntuitSolutions support and services. And, not one minute of server downtime in 4 months.

Sales have picked up monthly and now some days I sell more through the web site than eBay. And my profit margins are better.

Running your own web site is not as easy as some would make it out to be. While I certainly save eBay listing and FVF expenses, there were startup costs and I spend a fair amount on SEO & CPC advertising, even though I also use GoogleBase.

I'm now to the point that the website is pretty much on auto pilot with automated daily inventory updates and with ProStres there is the ability to send listings to eBay from the website.

My motivation for opening my own website was greater control and to have a fall back position should eBay no longer be viable. So far, I'm happy with the way it's working out.

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Claypipe

Mon Feb 16 19:35:47 2009

I should ad our site is run off our own server. We have also purchased a rack server to which we will integrate in the future, and when I mentioned "school project" I mean to say a college project for Jeff. My daughter did the graphics for the site, and her link is at the bottom of our website. Jeff is one of the most intelligent young men I have had the honor to know. We tested Scriptorical every way to Sunday before going live. We are more then comfortable with the way it operates.

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Jim S.

Mon Feb 16 19:36:05 2009

PS. My website is www.jimsmodeltrains.com, and I am using PayPal merchant services.

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: 594485

Mon Feb 16 22:27:06 2009

Tried to check out www.scriptorical.com but it didn't load.

error message "The server at www.scriptorical.com is taking too long to respond."

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Mike Frigerio

Mon Feb 16 23:57:41 2009

My website is www.nuclearjackalope.com and we sell Wrestling masks & goods, records, VHS, CD, DVD & collectible toys & advertising. I used to sell fulltime on Ebay, but the events of the past year have caused us to focus more on our site, and other venues, as listed on EPIS. I find in wrestling masks, I actually have beaten Ebay numerous times in page placement on google & the first Ebay result used to be my guide to masks, before I got tired of Ebay giving my competition better page placement and pulled the guide. I don't spend anything advertising right now, but luckily, my goods are unique enough& my customers follow us from Ebay. I also run sites for wrestlers, and manage to get top page placement on those too:)It's hard, but enjoying building a site where I pay less than $15 a month, and with no outside interference or fees. Yes we accept PP, but are looking into GCO. I also write various articles to get my name out there, we just had a feature in Ina's collector's corner in the new AB newsletter!!

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Keith

Tue Feb 17 06:58:52 2009

If folks wouldn't mind please post what you spent to develop your site, time involved and monthly recurring fees.

Has anyone used Godaddy.com website tools (website tonight, shopping cart etc)?

What about the high cost of a merchant account?

Thank you

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Keith

Tue Feb 17 07:33:13 2009

Jim Nice website.  Do you have all of the items shown in stock?  Seems like an expensive proposition.  Are you a one man show? What was the cost to build and the monthly recurring to host?

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Tue Feb 17 07:50:49 2009

Isn't there anyone else out there who is completely free of eBay?  Using Prostores does not count as having your own stand-alone site, as eBay can at any moment change anything and everything they want without notice.  And if you're trying to get away from eBay, why continue using Paypal?

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: AC

Tue Feb 17 11:14:47 2009

I set up my own website with Shoppe Pro.  Pretty easy and inexpensive.  If you need help, you get quick answers from the forum.  Wish I had started on this years ago.
www.thelinenlavoir.com

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Patricia

Tue Feb 17 13:00:53 2009

On my website I sell my own original artwork, magnets, handmade jewelry and tatting supplies and patterns.  The site has been up and running since 1996 and it now has three large sections:  one for original artwork, one for tatting and one for everything else.  I use Google Base religiously.  Try adwords from time to time but basically my site sells by customer referrals and word of mouth.  Right now, my website outsells Ebay, Bonanzle and Etsy combined.  It wasn't that way a year ago...then it was Ebay first, website second.  Ebay has lost a LOT - don't let them tell you different - its not the economy...its them!

http://www.watercolorsbypatricia.com

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Patricia

Tue Feb 17 13:05:21 2009

Forgot this part.  My site is huge and costs me less then 5.00 a month because I bought 3 years worth of hosting from Godaddy.  I am my own webmaster - the whole site is in simple HTML that I can change around myself.  I put in a Paypal shopping cart but will probably change to Google in the future.  It takes a LOT of work to keep the site fresh and current and to keep marketing it.  You don't just put up a website and take orders.  Without marketing...nobody will know you're there no matter how fancy your website is or how much you paid for it.

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: www.nuclearjackalope.com

Tue Feb 17 14:36:41 2009

Yes I want to add a shopping cart soon, that's why I'm checking out GCO, tired of Preypal, and interested in seeing if the $50 in free adwords helps any. We used Adobe Pagemill, and learned everything on our own by looking at HTML code & finding cool widgets online. Trying to keep it simple, too much carp turns customers off & we want a fast loading page. Also registering with DMOZ seemed to help for free advertising. I also created a number of free pages years ago on Geocities, and they still drive us traffic even if not up to date.I use Yahoo as my provider, and have so much storage we run our Ebay auction images there too, with the bonus if you scroll over my pics you will see my site name in the toolbar;)

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Noneya

Tue Feb 17 17:17:59 2009


Our store website has been live online since 2004 however since completely walking away from both Ebay and PayPal this summer(2008), we've increased our presence through Adwords and blog posts. We post to blogs that focus on the types of collectible items we sell.

It's not cheap but it's a lot cheaper than what we were spending to deal with the constant and consistent hassle of Ebay.
NO MAS EBAY!

While I'd rather not give out $ amounts on what we are spending, I can say that it is less than the fees associated with an avg seller making 6k a month on Ebay. Our most expensive monthly expense is AdWords at 150. a month, but it's worth it.

We have not integrated a cart yet as all our items are OOAK, and all the carts we've seen will allow multiple items to sell whether you have multiples avail to sell or not.  
We're doing well enough that we have no desire to return to Ebay ever.

And while PayPal is more prevalent than Google Checkout, we simply tell our buyers that we do not take Paypal - Period.
And in our opinion we feel that GC is safer and more secure than PP.
At least we feel it is for us. After the hassles of dealing with Paypal via Ebay, I would rather accept IOUs on banana leaves than ever accept PayPal again.

We've said it before, when signing up for an online merchant account, make sure PayPal isn't your intermediary provider.
Repeat after me: Ebay and Paypal Suhhuuck!! I will stop paying them to be involved in my business!

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Claypipe

Tue Feb 17 23:23:31 2009

@@@ 594485....

Sorry the site didn't load. It is working fine now. I had mentioned one of the things we were working on was tweaking the registration form to allow new registers to tell us what they collect. The site went off line for a bit last night so we could update that page. The registration form now includes a window that allows people to tell us their collecting preferences. Check it out.

www.scriptorical.com

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Tue Feb 17 23:24:31 2009

I stopped selling on ebay the day the first announcement came out over a year ago. Not one sale, there, since. I have 2 "live" booths that have been in existence for around 15 years. I started in one that as my parents, they passed away in 1998 and 2002, since then, I set up a second one, and still have the first (original) booth in Frederick Md. I just listed my first 3 listings in GoAntiques! It took me a whole day to get started, but I think I finally have it figured out. It takes me a while to get going when in a new techno mode!LOL!  have booths in both Bonanzle and Etsy which will be stocked as soon as I figure them out too, LOL!

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: claypipe

Wed Feb 18 10:03:51 2009

@ David Steiner

David, have you had the opportunity to look over our websites to date, and give us your opinion.  

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: dcsbodyjewelry

Wed Feb 18 12:14:52 2009

From 2003 thru mid 2008, the only online presence our company had was an Ebay store along with our daily auction listings. We closed our Ebay store back in Oct. 2008 after getting or website up and operational. We also have a storefront at Ioffer, a booth we are working on at Bonanzle and a new store in the works at auctiva commerce.

Social netorking on sites like myspace and yahoo 360 has paid off handsomely for driving shoppers to our website, and we are now learning how to take advantage of sites like squidoo, twitter, facebook, youtube along with blogging to help market ourselves and our products.

When we realized that The "NEW" Ebay was killing our business with Best Match, we also got vendor's licenses for N.H., VT, Mass. & Conn. and now have our jewelry displayed for sale in 63 high traffic convenience stores which in a very short time is already yeilding nearly 3 times more monthly profit than our ebay store ever did spending $1000s in fees and commissions.

Once We get all our storesfronts fully up and runing, we'll be adding all of them to the EPIS directory.




More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: 594485

Wed Feb 18 12:31:46 2009

@Claypipe
I checked out your site...loads fine- thanks for the update. I personally feel inspired to create my own now. I thought your site was clean, easy to use and looked professional. Thank you for sharing, it is more helpful then you realize!

www.scriptorical.com

More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites   More Data from EveryPlaceISell.com - Merchants' own Retail Sites

by: Claypipe

Wed Feb 18 12:35:39 2009

@@ 594485

Thanks for the feedback on ours and best of luck with yours.

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