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These days, it’s pretty easy to setup an online store. In fact, you can do it in just a few steps. With a lot of eCommerce platforms like Ecwid, eBay, Etsy and Amazon, selling your products online is pretty much convenient.
But owning your own online store is usually more beneficial than selling on other marketplaces. There can be restrictions on type of products to upload or keywords to use in your product description, that is to say the least on policies you will find on online marketplaces.
Selling your products on these platforms isn’t a bad move, in-fact established online marketplaces like Amazon is advised, but you need a platform where you have complete control to how many products you can purchase without having to upgrade to a subscription plan, what type of product to upload, customize your store with no limitations to give your clients are better shopping experience.
Let us look at the top 5 benefits of having your own online store
You’re the boss, you make the rules
Having your own online store means you do not have to run by anyone’s set of rules. There are lots of restrictions on online marketplaces that doesn’t favour online sellers like you because these rules are mostly set to improve these marketplaces’ brand trust and reputation. Sometimes they do these to curb illegal activities but it also affects genuine sellers like you who have products to sell to people that needs it. This can pose a big problem in the long run if you are looking to expand in these products blacklisted by them.
There are no restrcitions to any kind products to upload and sell by having your own online store. Online marketplace such as Amazon bans selling of alcohol, so if you specialize in wine, whiskey etc, and intend to sell on the world’s largest online store, you wont be allowed to upload such products. You can also put up products of known brands and sell without having to show off your license to sell. Although many use this as an opportunity to sell fake brands, many also sell original products of known brands. Jumia will require you to submit a license from Gucci to sell their products before selling them, they do this to improve their brand reputation in most cases.
Also by having your own onlines store, all delivery, returns, refunds and order policies are set by you for your online shoppers convenient. Some online shoppers will take advantage of online marketplaces’ returns and refunds policies and will return a good after they have broken it even if they’ve been with it for a week or a month. This policies hardly favours online sellers like you selling on these platforms. By having your own online store, you set if a product can be returned or not based on the condition or duration after delivery. You also set the delivery date.
Access buyers' information, Store Analytics
Online marketplaces limits the amount of data you can have about your online customers, which is again caused by policies. Your customers on these online marketplaces can only leave reviews that shows their names and no contact information for you to follow-up and keep them as a returning customer. So a customer who made a purchase from you last week, may see good reviews on another vendor who sells the same products you do, on the same platform will want to go for the other vendor. It’s easy to loose customers if you can’t follow them up to keep them updated about your brand and products.
By having your own online store, You can collect information from mobile number to email address of your customers and send personalized emails to them with targeted mailing lists, create discounts that bring them back to your ecommerce website, and create automations that move interested customers into your sales funnel.
Having your own online store gives you full access to the activities on your website. When web analytics is integrated on your store, it gives you information about various information like traffic source ( where new visitors/new customers are coming from ), number of new visitors, website page speed performance, pages that gets more visits and pages that visitors stay on more.
With some of these metrics gathered on yout store, you can create and execute effective marketing strategies and create an effective sales funnel. You can retarget new visitors on your website. Retargeting is a marketing strategy that enables you to create ads that are tailor made for people who have visited your site previously. Individuals whom you reach through this advertising model have very high chances of making a purchase.
Control payments. No extra, hidden charges
Many online marketplaces, if not all will require your customer receives his/her
purchased products and even will have to make a confirmation in-app that the product(s) has been received before you are paid. So this means that some online marketplaces will have only “cash on delivery” as means of payment which may be an inconvenience to you, it doesn’t matter if it takes 1-4 weeks for your products to be delivered.
Meanwhile by having your own online store, you can add this as a means of payment in your online store, either customers pay before product delivery or they pay cash on delivery.
You will keep the 100% profit margin from your product price. The sole thing you have to share is the Gateway fees from payment gateway companies like paystack, flutterwave, paypal etc. There are no hidden or extra charges like listing fee, final sale, seller rights, warehousing, and transactional costs for you.
Customize your store to suit your brand
When you sell products from your own store, it’s amazing the number of options you have for customization: themes, layouts, colors, fonts. Having your own online store allows you to do so much more and customize it however you want it to look or feel like, this is essentially important to give your online shoppers a great customer experience.
Design matters. How you present your products shape your customer’s experience and enables you to build trust. The more the customer believes you, the higher their chances of making a purchase and coming back are. By having your own online store you will focus 100% on your brand, your niche and your customer
Online marketplace offers you a storefront with thay can house limited information and limits the design. These may seem irrelavant as customers want to just buy products, but these customers subconsciously do love a good store experience. You can setup automated online customer support that interacts with visitors to meet their needs or will redirect them to the right resource on your online store. You will be able to fuse in your brand’s color etc into your store, this keeps you in the mind of your customers even after they leave your website.
Customer loyalty and retention is improved
Marketplaces like Amazon, jumia, and konga can be difficult to stand out because there are a lot of other sellers trying to gain attention. The more sellers on any given platform the greater the competition. This can make it difficult for a seller to get repeat customers which is why having your own online store is beneficial.
Selling from your own online store gives you access to your customers information thereby giving you an opportunity to create a stronger connection with your customer.
You can introduce loyalty programs such as offering crazy discount offers for just existing customers, this will make them feel welcomed and it will increase sales and form a bond between them and your brand. Everyone do love a good deal.
If your business is growing and you are looking to ride that momentum for the next 5-10 years, it’s imperative you future-proof your business by creating an avenue that connects you directly with your customers.
Selling on third-party channels is also a great way for marketing, but your business will need more and the benefits the marketplaces offer wont be enough on the long run.