The bottom line of selling online is that the more venues your products are available through, the more sales you will have the opportunity of making and ultimately this means more profit for you.
With multiple venues comes a small dilemma though, and that is one of pricing issues. I often receive emails from people asking how they should set their prices – should they sell their goods for the same price across all venues including their website or should pricing and postage charges differ according to where they are selling?
Let’s think about this for a minute. If you are selling on eBay then it’s likely that your prices are very much driven by your competition. I’m constantly astonished by the number of sellers who complain about their competitors undercutting them on eBay, yet these very same people are at the same time, driving traffic to their own websites via eBay where their prices are much cheaper. This is exactly the same thing as undercutting on eBay, just at a different venue that’s all!
Over on Amazon, prices are often higher per item compared to eBay, but it’s very tempting to price match or undercut as you haven’t got the opportunity to really sell your product within your description on Amazon like you have on eBay or indeed your own website. Nine times out of ten the item you want to sell will already have been added to Amazon’s catalogue and it’s a case of you having to go with the description and images that are already on the site.
The thing is, my attitude is and has always been to make as much profit as possible from a product, and surely this is the same for everyone – that’s the whole idea of business – so, wherever you are selling, why sell cheap?
I’ve said it many times before; eBay selling is actually not always about being the cheapest seller, but this is still how most sellers – even many Premium Sellers – view things. So, most sellers are always aiming to be the cheapest, which simply eats into potential profits and more often than not creates a pricing war, which really doesn’t help anyone.
Over on your own website of course you won’t have the direct competition that eBay and Amazon has, so doesn’t it makes sense to sell at a higher price on your website? Plus you can offer postage options such as Special Delivery that are sometimes unfeasible on eBay due to the costs to the buyer and again the fact that you do need to remain within competitive boundaries. So there’s an immediate advantage – you’ll be offering a more efficient service from your website and you are absolutely entitled to charge a premium for that.
But what about the excuse that without any eBay or Amazon fees to pay each month you can afford to offer lower prices on your website? Well, in reality there is always a cost involved even with your own website. Don’t forget that you’ll be paying website hosting fees, you may have invested in website design software or paid for your site to be professionally designed plus you’ll have shopping cart and auto-responder fees to pay, plus possibly the cost of driving traffic to your website via pay per click ads. All costs that are easily forgotten once you have paid them initially. So you will have invested money and time already.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing – setting up a professional website does require a little bit of capital - and you should most definitely have a website as I’ve explained in some of my previous articles, but what I’m getting at here is that many people forget about the costs involved with a website and therefore think they are being smart by setting their prices low, when in fact the truth is, your website prices should in my opinion actually be higher – and even if you don’t want to set your initial price per item at a higher amount, at least cover your postage – don’t miss out on something like that! People are more prepared to pay for postage when ordering from a website – much more so than from eBay and Amazon, so always add a postage charge or at least combine it with your price per item and then counteract this by offering ‘free’ postage!
Sell at premium prices on your own website, and offer extra value by way of special postage, customer service, gift wrapping and so on to justify the higher purchase price.
What’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps a potential customer will go back to your eBay listing and purchase the item there instead. It’s still your sale; you’ve just opened up the options. Alternatively, they may purchase one product from your website and another from your eBay listing.
And remember that once someone purchases from you on eBay or Amazon, you will in effect ‘own’ that customer which gives you the right to contact them later with further offers and deals. There are endless possibilities here and the profits are far greater than just selling on eBay or Amazon.
Another advantage of selling from your website is that when a buyer purchases, your overall customer service is less important than when you are selling on eBay or Amazon. That’s not to say that you should slacken off – customer service should be excellent at all times, but if an order is posted in a few days rather than the same day or you don’t get back to a customer within 2 hours or your postage charges are higher, you know you’re not going to damage your reputation through negative feedback - which can happen on eBay.
You may already be diverting people from eBay or Amazon to your website. If you aren’t aware of this here’s a tip. eBay do allow you to link from your ‘About Me’ page to your own website. The key to getting people to look at your ‘About Me’ page is to place a clickable link to your ‘About Me’ page within your listing description. Just add the sentence: “Please visit my About Me page where you can see my other products and learn more about me” and make it into a hyperlink.
You’ll then have a link within your ‘About Me’ page which goes to your website which completes the chain. You’ll find that curious people will simply click on your links, arrive at your website and after browsing, place an order directly rather than going back and buying from eBay. So it’s your job to keep potential buyers at your website once they arrive there. Don’t worry about higher prices putting them off – shout about your service, free gifts, fast postage and so on – whatever it takes to hook your potential buyer.
The immediate advantage of this as I’ve said, is that people will also be able to view your other products all in one place and make a multiple order.
eBay and Amazon are great venues for generating potential sales and the fees you pay are relevant to the number of customers they provide you with. Think of it like an agency fee and you’ll understand that it is worth paying these fees for the amount of potential business you achieve. On your own website though, it’s entirely up to you to generate your business so please don’t lower your prices because in effect you’ll be undercutting yourself. Not an ideal business plan!
Your website is your opportunity to break out of the pricing wars and advertise at a price that is guaranteed to make you a profit. Don’t forget that it’s easy to flick from seller to seller on eBay and Amazon checking out prices so the competition is plain to see. With your website you’re competing against other websites which requires more research on the part of your customer. That’s why, once you’ve got a potential buyer’s attention over on your website, you need to keep it!
So to sum up, my advice is to use your website to offer a more exclusive service with higher prices and try and keep your lower prices, special offers and weekly deals purely for the eBay and Amazon markets where you’ll always have a steady stream of customers that you haven’t had to find yourself.