Business tips

Making the move from eBay to your own e-commerce site

Thousands of Australians earn an income through selling products on eBay. We find out when you should start to consider setting up your own e-commerce shop and how it can link to your existing eBay shop and customers.

If you are one of the 52,000 Australians making an income through eBay sales, you may be ready to consider starting your own e-commerce site to complement your eBay store. It’s a good way to build your own base of loyal customers, avoid paying eBay’s listing fees and offer your customers more flexibility of payment options.

Depending on how many products you have to sell, you can start your own online store for less than the cost of a coffee a day with e-commerce solutions such as Australia Post’s My Online Shop. “It doesn’t matter what size you are,” says John Debrincat, Managing Director of eCorner, a provider of e-commerce solutions and Master Distributor of ePages . “There are customers around Australia successfully selling out of their kitchen with their own online stores many using the Australia Post My Online Shop system.”

Linking eBay to your online store

Linking your eBay account to your own e-commerce site is simple. You first add your eBay account to your online store and then authenticate it. Then just log in to your eBay account and confirm that you wish to link it to your site. You can then create default settings in your online shop for your eBay listings – for example, for each product you have in your shop, you can click a button to confirm if you also want to sell it on eBay and whether you want to sell it for the same price. You can sell through your normal eBay seller account or through your eBay store.

You can also promote your own online site by placing a link on your website’s ‘About Me’ page, which can be found through your eBay sales page. “If people are getting new customers through eBay and servicing return customers through their own store, people are still spending money through eBay, so it’s not seen as negative at all,” says Debrincat.

Attracting your own online customers

Once you have your own e-commerce site, how can you encourage your eBay customers to visit it? One way is to create incentives for your eBay customers to shop directly with you.

“After you’ve made the sale on eBay, you can send the customer a email that says ‘thanks for ordering from me and because you ordered from me, here’s a $10 gift voucher if you come to my online store directly to make a purchase’,” says Debrincat.

Debrincat adds you can also start to build and reward customer loyalty. “You can put them into different customer groups – platinum, gold, silver – and those loyalty groups can receive different pricing than what a normal customer might receive,” he says. “Once you start to communicate with your customers you can see what their interests are and you can invite them to become a gold customer. It’s about using better market intelligence and better segregation because you can see better what your customer is doing. All these are standard features in the My Online Shop system. Australia Post is the first provider to deliver a complete ecommerce solution; including shipping, payments and even eBay connectivity to the Australian marketplace.”

Best of both worlds: eBay and your e-commerce store

Online marketplace eBay is one of the world’s most visited websites, with around five million registered members. This also represents a lot of competition for sales. “You’re competing with a wide variety of sellers who might be selling exactly the same as you and then it comes down to either price, availability or location,” says Debrincat.

Depending on your business model, you may choose to limit your eBay sales to best-seller or quick turnover products and once you make a connection with new buyers, you can offer them a wider variety through your own site.

The reach of eBay makes it a valuable sales platform to find new customers and attract them to make their next purchase through your standalone store. “But then when you want to have the loyalty factor and get those repeat customers, its better to do that through your own online store where you have a better capability of communicating with them and offering them what they need, and it is all taken care of by the My Online Shop system.” says Debrincat.

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