Marketing Center

Ready to build an e-commerce website?

Is it time to move your products from a third-party platform to your own e-commerce site?

With worldwide online retail sales over 22 trillion dollars annually1, e-commerce is no longer an unpredictable web trend. Rather, it’s an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to expand their product distribution strategy to a larger market. If your business is already successfully capitalizing on the exponential growth of internet sales through an online marketplace, you might consider creating your own online store to further develop your footprint.

In fact, if you’re generating sales on a third-party platform like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, you should consider opening your own e-commerce site, according to Ezra Firestone, founder of Smart Marketer, a creator and publisher of e-commerce digital training programs.

Once you’re earning thousands of dollars or more a month on a third-party site, it may be time to expand, he says. “If you’re making that kind of money, you may have enough money to build your own brand.”

There are several benefits to having your own e-commerce site. Here are a few:

Customer information

When you operate your own e-commerce site, you can collect your customers’ data — whereas on a third-party platform, the marketplace owns and retains that information.

At the end of the day, the ability to save and use your customers’ contact information is everything, Firestone says. “With data, you can email, remarket, upsell, and communicate with your customers,” he says.

Minimize competition in your selling space

With your own online store, you won’t have to worry about competitors vying for your customers’ attention on the same site. The less distracted shoppers are by competing options, the more likely they are to buy from you. However, it may mean you need to spend more on marketing your own site.

Increased business value

Owning your business’s domain can also be a strong selling point. Should you ever decide to sell your business, you’ll likely be able to ask a higher selling price when you own your e-commerce site, Firestone says. “You have no control over what a third-party platform might do.” Owning a substantial amount of property — including digital property — can increase the value of your business.

The cost of e-commerce

At the same time, building and managing your own site comes at a cost. The financial cost includes buying the domain name, hosting the site, and your e-commerce software or platform, which could significantly vary in price depending on the platform and the complexity of your business needs.

“You want to spend as much as you can afford, but there’s no one-size-fits-all price for building your own site,” Firestone says.

Investing your time

Your own website also comes with a substantial time investment — building your own pages, photographing your products, producing videos, managing your inventory, writing product copy, marketing your site, and executing other tasks that may not result in immediate sales. Of course, you can hire someone or contract a freelancer to help with some of these tasks, but it will increase your initial start-up cost.

Because of the time and monetary investments, many businesses sell their products on both third-party platforms as well as their own sites, according to Firestone. If it’s a choice of one or the other, he recommends creating your own website.

“You should take advantage of any sort of visibility option your brand has. But if you were going to focus on one business model, it should be your own platform,” he says. “However, If people can’t find your e-commerce site when they Google your business name, they’ll move on to someone else.” So you’ll need to ensure your site ranks highly in search results.

If you’re looking for additional ways to leverage your products, consider these tips for building your product distribution strategy.

1Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales: The eMarketer Forecast for 2016.” 2016. eMarketer.