Collectible dealers are understandably concerned about eBay’s upcoming split with the majority breadwinner PayPal. The site, which used to be the be all and end all for buyers and sellers, has slowly fallen out of favor thanks to a decline in traffic, a drop in Google search visibly, and some questionable changes in how they do business.
All of this has left many dealers looking for an alternative and we have one; IndieMade.
When you look around here, it seems like IndieMade is only for artists and crafters but the platform works for anyone with product to sell, especially one-off products like collectibles.
One of the biggest differences between selling on eBay and selling on your own IndieMade site are the fees. eBay’s fee structure is a complex stack that grows with each on-site action. There are listing fees, store fees, and fees for listing add-ons such as bold and scheduling auctions a head of time. Once your item sells, eBay charges a final value fee which is a percentage of the total sale – that includes what the buyer paid for shipping.
Given the popularity of eBay, the fees they charge are completely reasonable – if you’re a pro. If you’re still trying to find your audience or you’re not well-versed in the ins and outs of how the site works, you could be losing money every month.
IndieMade store owners pay a flat fee per month, ranging from $4.95 a month to $19.95 a month depending on your needs. Doesn’t matter if you sell 10 items or 100 items in a month, the fee remains the same. This equals huge savings on final value fees if you’re selling high-dollar items.
Hide and Seek
Even though eBay has recently had a rough time pulling in new buyers, the site is still the most well-known second-hand marketplace in the world. When you sell on eBay, they take care of the marketing for you. There are pros who say you need to do your own social media marketing as well, but there are plenty of successful eBay sellers who don’t bother. They simply list the best items they can find with good photos, good descriptions and keywords then they move on to the next listing. That’s it.
When you have your own, stand-alone, ecommerce store, you have to do your own marketing. Good descriptions and keywords will help you rank higher on the Google search – maybe even higher than you’d get with a good eBay listing – but you can’t count on SEO alone. You must actively solicit new customers and sell to the ones you have. Social media, display advertising, blogging, giveaways, guest posting; marketing your business is as important as buying and listing the right items. For some people, having to do their own marketing is a deal breaker. Others understand that being responsible for your own marketing means you have control over the growth and success of your business. Which leads us beautifully into the third difference between selling on eBay and selling on IndieMade. . .
Controlling Your Own Destiny
It may sound dramatic but it’s true; when you run your own ecommerce store, you’re completely in charge of your own destiny. You don’t have to worry about changes in the customer return policy or a shift in rules about what you can and can’t sell. You control the conversation with your customers and you never have to worry about getting shut down because of a glitch or misunderstanding.
Some time before the end of this year, eBay is going to split from PayPal leaving the company open to a buy-out. No one knows for sure what will happen, but it’s likely that eBay will change in some way. It might go back to being more of a collectible auction site as it was in the early days. It might become more of a traditional retail marketplace like Amazon. It might change in a way that will drive away current customer or it could change in a way that brings a new burst of traffic.
The point is, it’s going to change and if you’re entirely dependent on eBay for your income, you’re going to be sweating out the next few months.
For now, there’s no need to cut the cord entirely. You can list the same items on both your IndieMade store and eBay, just remember to remove the item from one site when it sells on the other.
In this way, you can build up your mailing list and increase your store’s visibility without losing the eBay audience. Then, if eBay does make a drastic shift in the way they do business, you won’t be left holding an empty money bag.
Collectibles, memorabilia, vintage items, toys, clothes, books or DVDs, if you can sell it on eBay, you can sell it on your own IndieMade website.