So you’ve decided that you want to start dropshipping. You’ve established your business, decided on your products and secured suppliers. Now you just need to decide how you’re going to reach your customers. You have a few different options, including using eBay or your own online storefront.
Most people have heard of eBay, and for good reason. It is the leader in auction sites for selling goods online. Here are a few pros and cons for using eBay in your dropshipping business.
Little to no marketing: The built in platform on eBay makes it easy to reach your customers with very little effort on your part. This saves you time and money, as you don’t need to pay for traffic or spend time worrying about SEO or marketing. Marketing is one of the biggest obstacles to starting a dropshipping business.
Easy to begin and use: You don’t have to worry about designing, hosting or paying for your own website. Simply sign up and start listing.
Automatic audience: With eBay, you have the advantage of a large number of people who already frequent the site, possibly looking for the items you are offering. Besides the large built-in audience, eBay is also a site people think of when they might be searching for the products you sell.
Fees: You may not have to pay for your own site to list on eBay, but each listing you put up and successfully sell comes with fees that can really eat into a dropshipper’s profits. These fees can cost up to ten percent or higher of the sale cost of your items.
No customization: It’s hard for you to sell exactly how you would want or need to sell your items because eBay requires a strict template for all listings.
Constant monitoring of items: Thanks to the auction style of the site, you need to constantly monitor and re-list your items. This takes time and energy and wouldn’t be an issue on your own personal site.
Fewer loyal customers: Thanks to the nature of the site, your service doesn’t matter as much as the products and the price. You will probably have fewer repeat customers regardless of how good your service is, the customers are more interested in who has the cheapest prices each time they search for products. The site itself doesn’t want to focus on individual merchants, just the products, so all features for customer service are limited.
No brand opportunities: When you make your own site and sell directly from your brand, you are creating brand value. Selling on eBay doesn’t allow you to build your brand, only sell your products.
Your Own eCommerce Store
Building your own virtual storefront has many advantages, especially when it comes to branding and getting your name out there. It can also have its disadvantages.
Control: If you want to have control over your brand, image and value, nothing beats your own personal website. You have complete say over everything on it, how it looks and how it can best display your products. You can customize it to your satisfaction.
Think long term: Using your own platform helps you create a brand that has a long term value. You have a home base with a unique feel to attract repeat customers. The value can also be translated into real world value if you wish to sell it later on.
Often easy to create: There are many resources out there to help you create the exact website you are imagining, from platforms such as Shopify to hiring a designer to the create the website of your dreams. There are options for every experience level and budget to get you and your business online fast.
Elevated mobile support: Even large websites such as eBay can be difficult to purchase from on a phone or tablet. If you use a good ecommerce platform, your website can be mobile-friendly and easy to shop. Almost a third of all online purchases are done through mobile, so you want to get into that market. Not only for shopping, a good ecommerce platform can assist you in running your entire business on the go on your mobile device.
No fees: By running your own site, you eliminate the middleman. You can list your products for free, and never have to give a portion of sales to your hosting site. This makes for a wider margin and higher profits.
Marketing: Without a larger site to drive traffic to your products, you’re forced to take on the role of marketer for your brand yourself. Worrying about advertising and SEO can eat into your profits and time.
More time consuming: Not only do you have to spend more time driving traffic to your store, you have to spend time making your listings. Unlike eBay with a standard template, you have to figure out how to best display your products to your advantage. Also, if you’re not going through a large ecommerce platform like Shopify, you have to figure everything out dealing with servers and software yourself.
Which selling strategy is right for you? You have to carefully consider your options and figure out which cons are a dealbreaker for you and which pros give you the best benefits.
With a new company, you might want to consider going with eBay or another established site at first. If your products are profitable enough to cover the fees, it can be a good way to start your business without a huge commitment. You can always branch out to your own store later.
If you’re ready to jump in with both feet and make the commitment, you might want to start out with your own site. This gives you control from the very beginning without a costly and confusing change to your setup later on.
Or, you can try both. Start selling on eBay while you work on your store. Even larger established brands sell on sites like eBay. There is no right or wrong answer here, only what is best for you and your business.
(ebay img via home.bt.com)
(header img via marketingland.com)
(online store img via fstoppers.com)