Are you an online product creator? Then you need to own your own e-shop. That’s how ecommerce can work for you and everybody maximally. You’re trying to make money for yourself, not Jeff Bezos and his shareholders.
Remember, whatever it is you create; you’ll need to put some thoughts, time and efforts into it. If you’re going to be successful you can’t do anything less these. This might be your secondary source of income but you have to give it a primary attention and efforts and one way you can give it a primary attention and effort is to have your own ecommerce store.
1. In your own e-store, you won’t close
OK, its unlikely Amazon is going to close down shop and leave you high and dry. However, Amazon does change their policies and algorithms all the time. There was a time when their KDP Select program was a great way to give away your book and then rake in the cash. Some people made big money this way. But then Amazon changed things and now it doesn’t work nearly as well.
If you’re relying on Amazon to sell your stuff and make you money, well, Amazon isn’t looking out for you. That’s a good way to put all your eggs in one basket, and if anything ever goes awry, you’re in trouble.
Put your eggs in multiple baskets and keep things safe. There’s no reason to be exclusive. And definitely make sure you own one of those baskets so no matter what anyone else is doing, you can always keep your own lights on.
Yes, you should own your own shop. That’s the way to go! However, there are two exceptions when it might make sense to put your stuff on someone else’s site.
2. In your own e-store, you keep the most money
When you sell an ebook on Amazon, the best royalty rate you can get is 70%. Amazon keeps 30% of your money. And if you want to charge more than $9.99, Amazon keeps 65% of your money.
When you sell a book on your own site using a third party processor, the average transaction fee is 2.9% plus 30 cents (and if you go with a traditional merchant account you’ll get an even better rate).
So a book you sell on Amazon for $2.99 means you get $2.09. But a book you sell on your own site for $2.99 means you get $2.60. 51 cents more. And that difference only becomes more pronounced when you charge more for your products. For a $9.99 ebook you’d pocket $2.41 more if you sold it yourself.
That’s just ebooks. You’ll find similar math on every other marketplace out there. In some cases the math is closer, but you’ll still make more selling it yourself. Plus, you’re building your brand.
3. In your own e-store, you set the rules
When you’re in someone else’s store, you play by their rules. They get all the control and make all the decisions. Sometimes that even means the prices you set. Amazon has strict rules for pricing, even changing their royalty rate for different pricing tiers.
You also can’t offer your book cheaper anywhere else or they’ll match it. Want to send a discount to your email list? Nope. Want to drop the price for a few days? OK, but they’ll get around to lowering the price when they feel like it.
When it’s your shop you can do whatever you want. Offer discounts for buying multiple products or a multi-copy discount for organizations. You can have extreme prices if you want, giving it away for free or charging hundreds of dollars (Amazon won’t let you charge more than $200, and that’s at the miserable 35% royalty rate).
Want to release a new product tomorrow? You can’t do that with shops that require approval, like Apple’s Mac App Store. Their current average approval time is about six days, but a year ago it was 16 days.
When you use someone else’s service you’re stuck with their rules, their process, the way they think it should work. That doesn’t work for everybody.
4. In your own e-store, you build your brand
When you run your own site the entire sales process is part of your site and helps build your brand. You’re not sending people to Amazon, Etsy, iTunes or anywhere else.
That means you can forge a deeper connection with your audience. You can let them opt in to your email list. You can follow up with them.
You want to form a long-term connection with your fans, and that happens best when you control the entire brand experience. You want them to remember you, not forget your name as they go back to Amazon.
This is especially true for freelancers and services. Online billing is a way to make it easier and forge a stronger connection. You don’t get that if you outsource your billing to some third party service.
You lose control of a major part of your relationship. That transaction can be a powerful way to build your brand, so don’t squander it by letting someone else do it.