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Why You Should Stop Hankering After Your Own Web Store

By Andy Geldman

There are many differences between selling on marketplaces, and selling through your own store. Marketplaces have the advantage in almost all of them.

Why You Should Stop Hankering After Your Own Web Store

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Trevor Ginn

I think that web stores don’t make sense for a lot of online retailers. However for retailers who are looking to grow beyond marketplaces sellers they are essential. eBay and Amazon are an enormous part of the ecommerce landscape, but they are only part of it. If a seller can develop a good website experience they can access sellers who are searching for products on platforms such as Google. Being a marketplaces only seller also exposes the seller to the risk that they may be ejected from the marketplace and lose a significant proportion of their business. This is unlikely… Read more »

Brian Arkton

Replying to Trevor Ginn

To add on, there’s a massive fundamental aspect one must look at. When selling on the marketplaces of eBay and Amazon, it will be run along the lines of eBay’s and Amazon’s interests. Sometimes policy changes will not align with your own interests and you’ll be forced accomodate or lose your ability to sell. If you’re a seller on Amazon, it is most wise to use the success in that marketplace to expand your business into other marketplaces and perhaps even major retailers. Tapping into a major retailers marketplace will not only provide you with a more specialized relationship with… Read more »

Patricia Beattie

I am so glad I read your article Andy. There is much pressure to have a web store with little thought of how to manage one – assuming you can get people to buy in the first place. I am a sole trader and haven’t the time to devote to two ‘shops’ or to co-ordinate stock between one and the other. I am now going to use my time to try and increase traffic to my eBay shop through email, and concentrate on doing one thing well instead of two things badly. I have bought a couple of Domains for… Read more »

Neil Waterhouse

Great article Andy. We have a matching website for every eBay store and sell 8% more on the websites than eBay however… we buy a lot of traffic from Google, Bing and comparison shopping engines. We do also spend a lot of time optimizing the sites and listings for SEO (search engine optimization) however over 90% of the converting traffic on the website comes from paid advertising. I think many sellers feel eBay and Amazon fees are expensive and think having a website is a much cheaper method of getting sales however…. from our experience buying traffic is the only… Read more »

Jack Phillips

Replying to Neil Waterhouse

Excellent points Neil. I look as the costs of the various marketplaces as customer acquisition expense. You are going to pay to acquire customers on the websites also. In fact, there fees provide a good estimate of what to budget when creating your own marketing plan.

Jack Phillips

I think there could be a lot of reasons for having an independent web store. However, I am going to stick with the most compelling reason, as well as the simplest to illustrate. The fact is, most people DO NOT shop on marketplaces. I did a quick search for 2012 numbers and a little quick math found the following: 2012 B to C revenue on the internet: ~ 1 TRILLION dollars worldwide 2012 Amazon Revenue: $61 Billion (~6.1%) 2012 eBay Marketplaces: $6.07 Billion (~0.61%) 2012 Rakuten ( and and more): $4.7 Billion (.047%) 2012 Alibaba: $157 Billion (15.7%) This… Read more »


I have my own webstore (3 in fact) but I still sell on ebay – I use ebay to get customers to come back and buy more from my webstores – I have a lot of repeat customers this way – who often come back and buy in bulk from my webstore. If a few years ago I sold mainly on ebay – now it is about 60% ebay and 40% my own stores – and the amount I sell on both has increased in total.

Bernard McNamee

Great article and interesting discussion sparked….

Seamus Breslin

Excellent article Andy.

Mark Hetherington

Absolute rubbish. There are millions of buyers who do not trust ebay, and less so but increasingly so, amazon because of the high number of scammers on those sites. It is difficult to find anybody from those who buy regularly on ebay who has purchased something and not been ripped off, although now ebay and Paypal have cleaned up their act a little it is sellers rather than buyers who are ripped off the most, particularly from false claims. You stated yourself, “I hadn’t created a compelling reason for them to buy from me instead of someone else.” – so… Read more »

Mark Hetherington

I don’t disagree with any of that but the general theme of the thread, that you are wasting your time if you want to take on ebay/amazon et al is rubbish. There are ways of building and promoting your website and climbing up the rankings, as well as building trust. I know because I have done it. I just think it is wrong for people to get the impression that it isn’t possible. Frankly there isn’t much you can sell on ebay and amazon that you could not sell on your own site, and in fact you are not subject… Read more »

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