Do you really own your online business?
‘Building on borrowed land’ is a term often used to describe setting up your business on Etsy, Facebook or Amazon. These days it’s so easy to set up on one of the major platforms and start selling. It is straight forward (although an take a little longer to set up than we might anticipate) and on the whole its easy.
We just have to accept that they have a few rules and they will take a bit of commission. After all, you’ve read their terms & conditions and it all seems reasonable right? Or did you just click “I agree” as we so often do?
That is often the one thing we overlook. The Ts & Cs. They can change over time – eBay, Etsy, Amazon and other major players all update their terms periodically. Often we don’t even read the first version.
How many of us actually bother to find out what is new or how it might affect us if they notify us of changes?
Occasionally it is these changes that catch us out and we find ourselves in hot water (perhaps a suspension of services) or we lose out means of business completely when it gets shut down.
As attractive as the big giants are, an ecommerce website as an alternative is well worth looking at. It’s far more empowering than you think.
Using their web platforms
The big pull toward the larger platforms is the benefits they offer from the start:
- a short set up time (supposedly)
- a good internal support system (onboarding)
- useful internal marketing tools
- promotional avenues within the system through adverts and sponsorted products
All these benefits don’t really make up for the fact that they control your business.
- their servers – how sure are you that you will always have access to them?
- they control your account – can they prevent you from accessing your account?
- they set your commission rate – what if they halved your commission rate?
- the visibility of your product or service is managed by them
- they potentially access to your analytics and sales and could, if so inclined, decide to sell a similar product. Undercutting you.
- organic reach on rented platforms is getting smaller.
Build your own online shop
This may seem like a heavy initial outlay but the the long-term benefits far outweigh the precarious dependancy on systems you don’t and can’t control.
With a custom ecommerce website, you’ll get a host of benefits:
- the design is tailored to your business – echoing the feel and culture
- you control the info and can post what you want. You control the message and the communication.
- your website helps to grow your email list, which is another thing you control
- as long as you pay your hosting bill, your content won’t be restricted
- you are free to add functionality – lose the features you don’t need and keep or add the ones you do
- you can connect with other services and collaborate without restriction – CRMs, sales funnels, chat
Your e-shop or website is the hub of your online world and should be directly under your control. Support your website by using platforms like Facebook etc. They should be the ones directing people to your site where they can be introduced to your products and services. The support you’d get from your design house is far more personal and often way faster should you need any help.
Owning your own website, designed to your specification, is all about control. Having a say in where your business will head next, without the worry of it being shutdown or the terms changing. You have access to all parts of the system. Some of our clients have their own site set up as the primary shop, the stock is then also listed on other platforms as additional outlets for their products.