AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Thu Oct 7 2010 20:07:15

No Store? What's Holding You Back?

By: David Steiner

Sponsored Link

I was doing a little database housekeeping on the EveryPlaceISell.com Merchant Directory today, and ran across an interesting little factoid. Over 5,000 online merchants have set up an EPIS listing in the directory since it started. Of those 5,000+ merchants, fewer than 38% had built their own independent, branded online store. Frankly, that number surprised me, since EPIS is geared towards multi-channel merchants.

Even though most merchants include more than one venue in their EPIS listing (80%), the number of sellers who have their own ecommerce-enabled store disappointed me a bit. Especially since so many people who frequent OAI blogs frequently encourage others to build their own sites.

So, what's the hold up? Is it building the site? Learning HTML? Finding a shopping cart? Figuring out how to drive traffic? Inertia? Help me out here - and in the process, help yourself out too! Maybe if we share some of the obstacles, sellers who have already gotten over those humps will share their wisdom.




Comments (57) | Permalink

Readers Comments

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: John

Thu Oct 7 20:30:26 2010

Why don't I have my own store? I do - an eBay store. Why? Because eBay does it so much better than I could, and drives traffic to my listings. I've been selling on eBay for almost 10 years, and yes there have been highs and lows, but overall it's been profitable.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Gary Overton
Web Site

Thu Oct 7 20:34:34 2010

I am one of those without a separate store. I have almost 20,000 items on eBay and have hundreds still to go. I just do not feel I have the time to have a separate store. I actually have done html since the mid-90's and have looked at several options on opening an independent site.
I have yet found one that I felt fit my needs and could be developed without hurting my other online sales. I still think the answer to more sales is to list more. Would be interested in other sellers results. How many of the folks that have a separate store actually make a living at it?

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Changes we CAN'T believe in

Thu Oct 7 20:54:21 2010

Here is what holds me back, I am sick and tired of ebay running my business or punishing me, or allowing buyers to punish me so easily. Here is something they are telling sellers about giving buyers what they want this Holiday:

Offer the services buyers want: free shipping, expedited shipping with 1-day handling and returns accepted past the holidays. Starting November 1, buyers will be able to search for listings with these services and we’ll make them stand out in search results

EBAY DOES NOT GET IT ! EBAY PRICES ARE NOT RETAIL AFTER FEES, STINGY BUYERS/BIDDERS ETC.

How about giving them the item FREE ( buyer protection ) also JD, you forgot that !

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: crackersplace This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Oct 7 21:09:48 2010

I actually go about it a little differently.  I have a website, but use as a central point to all of my online stores.  I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket.  Everyone shops differently, and they shop on different websites so I wanted to try this method.  So far it has been successful.  

Some day I may open a store, but this is a work in progress as I find the best suppliers, and products to sell.  Ebay, Ecrater, Blujay, Bonanza, and Amazon are great to sell on when you have a large variety of items to sell.  An online store is great when you have one category or type of product.  

So David maybe that is the reason for the low % of stores...  Maybe sellers have such a hodge-podge of items (like I do) that it is easier for them to use the SEO leverage of the existing sites to draw people in.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: LD

Thu Oct 7 21:12:07 2010

David, I think most of your commenters are just full of bluster. They talk the talk, but fall down on the walking part. They come here to rant and rave about eBay, but offer no constructive solutions. (Psssst previous poster - this ain't about eBay)

Now as to your question. I have stores on eBay, Amazon, eCrater and I've been developing my own site over the past year. Haven't even gotten to the marketing part, I've been trying to find a good shopping cart solution, and my developer is sloooowwwww. Wish I had learned programming when I was younger!

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: look around

Thu Oct 7 21:16:41 2010

I don't need a website or store. Ebay serves me just fine. I have a store there with over 15,000 items. Nope don't need another place to sell on. I like to get some sleep sometime during the day.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Funky Home Finds
Web Site

Thu Oct 7 22:00:24 2010

I can list a few:

1. Fear: it costs a decent amount of upfront funds to start your own website, with no guarantee you'll be in the black for perhaps months.
2. Who to use: there are so many hosting sites to choose from, "paralysis by analysis" is not a rare problem.
3. Design: most canned storefront designs are horrible, but it takes html knowledge and a lot of people don't know a lot of html syntax.
There are others, but these are at least some of the ones I can come up with now.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Digby
Web Site

Thu Oct 7 22:29:43 2010

I think it depends on what you are selling.

I have one product and really do not want to sell it on auction sites, but I do in a small way.

But if you have lots of various products you cannot really put them on a website. ''Come and look at my clearout junk R US.

The other thing is the cost of getting a web designer. And the need to drive traffic to your site which is incredibly hard.

Google Adwords etc is very expensive and you need to be a full time SEO specialist.

And you may be up against the big boys eg some of the top 500 websites, who may also have bricks and mortar chains.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: New to eBay

Thu Oct 7 22:55:16 2010

I'm a newbie and I've been selling on eBay for the last 18 months. I spend the free time that I have listing on eBay and just don't have the time to set up and maintain my own website.

I also list some of the more expensive/niche items I have for sale on the classified sections of some specific chat forums. I've had some good luck with sales and the fee is an honor payment of 1%.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Kelly

Thu Oct 7 23:50:55 2010

I'm just going to attest to the headache of creating a website from the ground up.  From button location to how to implement shipping to payment processing, a two month timeline is now stretching to the five months.  I've never made more decisions in my life.  I can see why the average seller shies away from creating their own website.  

That said, I'm paying about 14% to ebay/paypal to make a sale which if the buyer issues a complaint, I lose 100%.  On my website, I don't have that problem.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 8 00:02:54 2010

the same reasons as Funky Home Finds, and that i would then have to drive traffic to the website.  just because you build it doesn't mean they will come and i don't think that they would come in numbers to make it competitive with my selling on ebay and amazon.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: nobody

Fri Oct 8 00:14:30 2010

If anyone is interested in just sort of getting their feet wet as far as HTML, you could "practice" on a site like blujay while listing items for free (no FVF either)... they support HTML and honestly they remind of the old ebay back in 1997... not auctions though, fixed price, but with a direct URL to your store as well as being in the main search, just like ecrater (except ecrater doesn't support HTML)... you can find HTML books up the wazoo at the thrift stores or borrow one or a few from your library...

Once you get comfortable with using HTML tags, then move on to the next steps, one by one... go easy on yourself... it doesn't have to be done overnight...

If any of you use an HTML editor, like if you list through inkfrog or auctiva, you can view the HTML source code... even copy and paste it to wordpad and just look at it... opening and closing tags, image tags, hyperlinks, etc... just start to get a feel for it... like what does what... start slow... have fun and don't let it make you crazy...

I took several adult ed computer classes in the mid-90's, it was in a work-at-your-own-pace lab setting and it was really fun! No pressure, just learning at your own comfortable pace... instructors there if you needed them...

If you've been thinking of doing it, may as well just start playing around with it :)

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: harting126

Fri Oct 8 00:15:29 2010

No offense, but setting up a website is really quite easy!  
1. Select a hosting service (GoDaddy, HostGator, etc)
2. Register a domain name (Go more than 1 year, and autorenew to prevent it from being lost)
3. Get a licensed shopping cart (some are as low as 200 bucks, with full features!) or get a FREE cart like OS Commerce or ZenCart.  I recommend a licensed cart with a support staff, not a support forum.
4. Build your store  - yes, it takes time, but benefit from duplicating like items, importing from a spreadsheet/CSV, etc.  
5. Brand your store - logo, custom photography of products (and yes, watermark the images!) and custom policy/about us/FAQ pages aimed at your audience.
6.  List with Google Product Search and submit a sitemap to Google, Yahoo and Bing.
7. Offer payments other than/in addition to PayPal!
8. Add a blog - but one with a different domain.  
9. Create a facebook page to promote your products and website.
10. Reap rewards!

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: nobody

Fri Oct 8 00:19:42 2010

P.S. If you don't want to use a site and actually list anything, you can write up your "page" in wordpad and just save it in HTML format, then open it in explorer or whatever from the file you save it to on your computer... it won't hurt anything and is another fun way to practice without the added stress of an item for sale being involved.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: gonefromebay

Fri Oct 8 00:25:41 2010

Mainly because I don't need one.  My items are selling well on Bonanza.

I've researched the idea of an independent site but the costs and time involved outweigh the benefits for a seller working alone.  I'd rather find, research, and sell interesting hard-to-find items and let the site deal with HTML, search engines, shopping carts, etc.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Paul

Fri Oct 8 00:28:11 2010

Two reasons:
1.  Doubtful that my own online store would be profitable.
2.  Two eBay stores and an eCrater store take enough of my time and do provide some income.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: uncle rico

Fri Oct 8 00:30:28 2010

The main reason I don't have my own website is that I don't have time for one. eBay keeps me busy, and it's still viable so I have little reason to leave. I also sell on eCrater, Bonanza, Atomic Mall and iOffer with varying success.

For people who have just 10 things to sell, it's a completely different situation. But for us sellers with hundreds of listings or more, we generally stay pretty busy. And, of course, there is the need for sleep and a life away from the computer..
If only there were more hours in the day.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: summer in the city

Fri Oct 8 02:41:04 2010

Good topic.

I assume you're not talking about ready-to-go stores like those from Yahoo or Amazon?

http://webstore.amazon.com/

The newer venues like Bonanza and Etsy are apparently reluctant to spend a dime on advertising, so sellers might think, ''Why should I bust my fanny promoting their sites when I could be promoting my own?''

As Paypal continues to turn the screws on sellers, I think there will be an uptick in independent webstores. Once again, Genius Johnny drives thousands of sellers away from Ebay/Paypal: something will fill that hole in the water after the Titanic sinks!

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: Kitty

Fri Oct 8 08:53:30 2010

Why don't I have a store?

Well officially those of us listing in many spots do have stores, many stores.

Think of them as ''pop-up stores'', now all the rage in cities to fill those empty storefronts.

I have no time or patience to maintain a stand alone website for my strange assortment of ever changing items.

Independent website stores may work for some, but not for me right now.

No Store? What's Holding You Back?   No Store? What's Holding You Back?

by: countryjoe This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Oct 8 08:57:41 2010

Many of the reasons for not having your own website sound good but many sound like an excuse. You can get an e-commerce shopping cart and hosting for $30.00 a month and up depending on how many extras you want. I personally spend about $80 a month but have lots of bells and whistles. I've used Bizland.com years ago and currently am using Pair.com. They both have store templates, Google product, hookups for PayPal, Google Checkout etc. and lots of other features. Sure it takes a little work to get rolling but so does any other business you start.
See ya, Country Joe

Click to view more comments
1 2 3  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.