|Tue May 11 2010 21:54:34|
To Be or Not to Be,...an Etsy or eBay Store Owner
By: Ina Steiner
Between 2004 and 2006, small sellers on eBay were excited about the ability to set up a storefront right on the eBay marketplace with their own branding and promotional features. eBay rewarded them for driving traffic to their Stores, and consultants who helped them set up and design Stores flourished. Fast forward to 2010, and eBay Stores no longer give entrepreneurial sellers much reason to feel excited about hanging their shingles on the site.
When eBay announced yesterday that it would remove the Stores tab from the navigation header, the reaction was ho-hum. eBay eliminated Store inventory format so now all listings show up in core, and the decision to set up an eBay Store is more about listing fees than creative entrepreneurship.
Crafters also felt a similar excitement in being able to set up their own shop on Etsy, but it seems they too are getting disillusioned by some of the marketplace practices. When Etsy announced on Monday a new feature that promotes Shops to visitors using personalized recommendations, the reaction was mixed.
One Etsy Shop owner explained in email, "I think it might be more like the Ebay cross-marketing thing but with no opt-out: sellers bring in the buyers and Etsy hands them to our competitors."
Small online sellers have sought other services that give them the ease of use of an eBay Store with more independence from marketplace constraints. Sellers have flocked to try out Bonanzle Booths, eCrater Stores, Ruby Lane Shops or storefront services such as those from Auctiva and Vendio. Those sellers willing to invest more time and money have launched their own websites.
The EveryPlaceISell.com merchant directory is a testament to the trend of multi-channel selling among even the smallest sellers. Marketplace versus multi-channel is no longer an either-or proposition. Sellers are finding they benefit from marketplace traffic, while they generate repeat business on their own storefronts and ecommerce-enabled websites. And with the proliferation of services that allow sellers to promote listings on social networking sites, small sellers can benefit from the same kinds of exposure larger companies are able to create on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
Some may pine for the old days when they were excited to drive traffic to their Stores on eBay, but times have changed and sellers have learned that driving traffic to their own shop may be the best marketing investment they can make.
See Tuesday's news stories:
eBay Quits Sending Traffic to Stores
New Etsy Feature Sends More Traffic to Shops