eCommerce is going to grow from $2.3 trillion in 2017 to $4.88 trillion by 2021, and although most of that is going to come from popular marketplaces, there is no lack of potential for your own owned online store.
At the very least, having your own website diversifies your online presence and protects your brand from being at the mercy of any single marketplace, and their changing rules. At best, a website is an owned channel that allows eCommerce sellers to increase profit margins and conversions.
Your store can earn trust on large marketplaces with huge customer bases, but once you’ve grown to a certain stage, it’s time to create your own website.
8 Reasons sellers should have their own eCommerce website
Migrating to other platforms, including your own, is a natural and important step for growth. It enables you to take ownership of your brand and protect it from platform rules and suspension, even as those platforms change.
Here are a few reasons every successful eCommerce seller should invest in their own website.
1) Owning your brand means owning the customer
Moving away from selling as a third-party seller on Amazon or eBay means taking more control of your brand as you spread to new platforms. When you solidify that brand on your own website, you’re telling customers that they’re buying from you, not an eCommerce platform. This gives you more opportunities to drive brand loyalty because you own the sale, and therefore the customer.
When you make a sale through your website, the customer is buying directly from you and they know your website. However, when they purchase from your store on Amazon or eBay or Walmart, you can also brand your products, drive customers to your original website, and stay in control as the brand behind the sale.
- Brand your products and boxes wherever it doesn’t conflict with Terms of Service to drive customers to your website.
- Add your website URL to your pages and logo wherever possible when it doesn’t conflict with platform ToS.
- Connect with customers as your brand rather than as an individual.
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Branding your store allows you to build a customer base of people who know and trust you, who expect certain levels of service or quality from you, and who will tell their friends and family about you. Having your own website makes branding easier and more reliable because you have a concrete, well-defined, and focused online presence to direct customers to.
2) Diversity: Give Omni-Channel experience with reduced risk
If your entire brand is invested in one platform, you could lose that brand at any time. For example, Amazon sometimes suspends even healthy accounts with no red flags, and while those accounts do often go back up, the business still loses money and customers while offline. It becomes essential for brands to move away from single channel to omni-channel model.
Moving your eCommerce business multi-channel helps you spread risk around, so if something goes wrong, your business is still protected and you are still generating revenue. Plus, if your existing marketplace customers know your brand name, they can find your website and go directly to you to make a purchase. Owning your store opens up multiple touchpoints for customer to reach your business.
3) Encourage loyalty and brand recognition
Repeat sales are one of the primary factors behind eCommerce growth, simply because selling to an existing customer is easier and approximately 20% more cost-efficient than going after new business. Selling from your own website gives you more opportunities to create new customer touchpoints and repeat business, because you can establish your own eCommerce store as the source of the customer’s satisfaction and value.
A web store allows you to:
- Sign customers up via email for repeat contact
- Drive customers to social media pages to continue engagement
- Connect and offer value through content like video and blogs surrounding products
- Market a branded line of products which will hopefully drive the same consumer trust as your original product to encourage repeat sales
- Use package inserts and coupons to drive return business or ordering accessories/refills
Each of these tactics can greatly increase your ability to drive sales because studies indicate that about 65% of all brand sales come from repeat customers. However, customer contact often isn’t allowed on a platform like Amazon, where you’re not actually allowed to use branded package inserts or to send emails beyond what is necessary to offer a quality customer experience.
4) Increased marketing opportunities
Cross-promotional marketing, powered by your own website can boost revenue.
For example, if you sell coffee filters, you could work with a brand selling coffee machines to give their customers a 25% off discount on their first purchase of filters. This would drive value for both your brand, your partners, as well as your customers.
This type of promotional marketing opportunity won’t work if you’re only on a platform like Amazon, because you have to rely on the platform’s capabilities, their policies, and the customer’s willingness to purchase through that platform again.
5) Reduce cost per sale with your own store
Any marketplace you sell on will charge a percentage for the use of their platform. While building and managing your own online store is expensive, you may quickly find that it reduces costs or pays for itself once you drive a higher volume of sales through it.
If you can reach a customer directly through your own website, you’ll save on seller marketplace fees, and be able to reduce your average cost per sale across all channels.
6) Improved search marketing
Owning a website allows you to use a range of marketing that you can’t do through a platform.
For example, SEO and SEM can both drive traffic and customers to your store. On your own website, you can optimize for search in a search engine, versus having to optimize for search within a marketplace. Optimizing marketplace listings for search will only go so far on a website that hosts millions of other listings.
Launching your own eCommerce store also allows you to utilize blogs and video to drive traffic and create leads and build relationships with existing customers. These activities all have the potential to drive massive revenue over time.
7) Start private labeling
Private labeling is on the rise for eCommerce sellers, and if you own your own brand and channels, you can sell what you want. Even if you branch into generic products, branding them and selling them across your platform and your sales channels will give you more opportunities to build trust and recurring business.
More importantly, as a private-label, you’ll have more opportunities to collect customer data, which will give you the ability to develop better products over time and ample opportunities to customize the services/products for your customers
8) Gain the freedom to sell where the customers are
Any eCommerce platform will have limitations, restrictions, and often tough requirements that take time and money to meet. Your own store gives you more tools to sell how and what you want.
A website also enables you to sell wherever you want. You can drive sales with popup stores or brick and mortar stores like Anker and Bonobos. You can offer customers a store pick-up option, and you can actively get involved with customers in ways that eCommerce platforms would never allow or support.
Owning your store allows you to explore independent logistics options and maintain consistency in shipping wherever you want to. In the competitive market, shipping quality and coverage plays a significant part in deciding the success of any eCommerce seller.
Every eCommerce seller should have their own website, even if they’re just resellers. With the right strategy in place and potential for private label products in the future, you’ll be able to drive additional sales, improve branding, and lower cost per sale.
Most importantly, profit from your website won’t just be realized in sales. Your website will drive trust and consumer awareness, encourage loyalty and retention, help buyers make better decisions, and will work to push sales across all your existing platforms.