eBay Refugees – So You Want Your Own Website?

Posted on May 16, 2008. Filed under: Tips & Hints - Website Sales | Tags: , , , , , |

The internet buzz is that eBay sellers want to find a new home, a new place where they can pitch their tent and sell their wares.  Lots of folks exiting eBay have thought about creating their own website.  But before you pack your bags and head out to an open field to build your own house, I suggest you do some advance planning. 
* Why do you want to create your own website?
This seems like a simple enough question.  Of course I want to build my own website so that I can leave eBay, you say!  You should be asking yourself what will my own website give me that eBay is not giving me?  For me, the answer is that my own website will give me stability and security.  My own website will allow me to create a stable new “home” where I know what the rules and expectations are.  Sure, I imagine there will be site “upgrades” but I should be able to plan in advance so that the any remodeling will cause minimal interference with my business.  Next is that my own website will give me much greater security because I’ll be able to choose which payment methods I accept as well as make decisions about all other aspects of my business such as which shipping carrier I will use and how much I charge for shipping.  I don’t want to be completely dependent on one payment option, such as PayPal, and with my own website I can choose to accept “risky” payment methods such as Google Checkout. 
* If I build it, what will make them come?
Just because you create a great website with wonderful products at outstanding prices doesn’t mean that anyone will come.  You have to develop a plan to first get the customer through the door of your new home and once they come, you have to be able to convince them to buy from you.  Think like your buyers.  Why do your buyers purchase from you now?  They buy from you on eBay for many reasons.  One reason is that they are familiar with the eBay system and how it works; to learn how to navigate your website and to use your checkout system on your new website requires something of them.   Will your customers be willing to put forth the time and effort required to learn something new?  For me, the answer is that YES I think they will.  In my situation, one of the websites I plan on creating is for a product that is “consummable” meaning that my customers will return to my new website again and again and again because they will need the product not just once.  And because they plan on coming back to my new website several times, I think they will be willing to make the necessary investment to learn my new system.
* Just how much do I want my website to do for me?
The more “bells and whistles” you want, the more it’s gonna cost you!  When I created my first website 10+ years ago, most shopping cart systems had limited functionalities and I had to pay a programmer to add enhancements.  Today, there are many standard options available for website creation and shopping cart systems.  You need to ask yourself what you expect from your website.  Is it important that your customers be able to log in and track the status of their order and see a complete history of all purchases?  Do you need to have the ability to offer coupons or gift certificates that can be redeemed through your website?  Think about the experience you want to provide to you your potential buyer and how your website will need to achieve that for you.  That way, in your search to build a new home you can find the right tools you need to build it right the first time.  Rennovations after the fact aren’t cheap.  Don’t I know it!
Be sure to keep checking back often as we continue our Blog Series specifically for the eBay Refugee!

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