Selling on your website Vs a marketplace; which is better? 🛒

If you’re interested in selling items online you’ll need to decide where to effectively list and promote products. Do I promote my own website, or do I list on an existing digital marketplace (like eBay or Facebook)?

Recently I came across a YouTube channel (Daniel Inskeep) where they shared their experience trying to build a brand on two separate occasions; once without relying on an existing marketplace, and a second with. The results are pretty clear, and a great example for those starting an online business.

The theoretical factors for deciding 🧐

If you’re starting a brand and potentially want to sell it to a company in the future, selling directly through your own website greatly elevates the worth of that brand.

This is for a few good reasons:

  1. Selling via a marketplace means you have less control of how your products are viewed, and (in the case of Amazon) you may find the marketplace pushing your listings aside for their own product or a partner brand’s listings in the future.
  2. If customers are buying directly from your store you’ll have more in-depth data on your users and how they interact with the brand.
  3. Selling via your own website means people recognise and trust the brand on its own (which is very promising); if you only sell through eBay or Amazon people probably won’t pay attention to the “Sold by”, they’ll just say “it was from eBay/Amazon”.

Whilst this is great, I don’t think these factors should influence your decision when deciding where to sell. It’s very difficult to build a successful online shop, let alone get it to a point where you can sell for mega-bucks.

What happened in the YouTube videos? 💰

Daniel Inskeep on two occasions this year attempted to sell print on demand clothing. The first time he tried via a website he built and promoted using digital marketing. The second time he simply posted designs on Redbubble which he based on trending topics.

So, what was the result?

Selling on his own website 🖥

The website was titled “Get Nostalgic”, and he was selling clothing featuring branding from 90’s pop culture with his own brand integrated within it.

After creating a decent Shopify website, Daniel attempted to run some adverts using Facebook Ads. Unfortunately he lost around $50 because he was only able to generated 2 sales with an $80 budget.

He then attempted to use influencer marketing. He spent around $110 on posts, but generate no sales.

Keep in mind; the website was nice, the promotional material was professional, and the product was decent. Despite this, he made a loss.

Watch the video by clicking here.

Selling through a pre-existing marketplace 🏬

This time Daniel was banking on the organic traffic that already exists within the Redbubble website. He would make witty designs for a trending topic, and hoped that it would translate into sales.

Luckily this was around when the infamous “Four Seasons” fiasco happened with the Trump presidential campaign (they went to the wrong Four Seasons), so he based his designs on this topic. Timing was important, as being one of the first to make a design was vital for organic reach.

In one week he managed to generate 90 sales. Which is around $285 in profit. Note that is profit, he doesn’t actually mention the total revenue.

Also worth mentioning he only had to spend a couple of hours working on the designs and uploading them, whereas when creating his website and brand from scratch would have been much more time consuming.

Watch the video by clicking here.

So, what does this tell us? 👨🏻‍💻

Conclusively, that selling on an existing marketplace is easier and often more profitable than creating a brand from scratch. This is because the marketplace already is trusted and has a customer base.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore building your own website; it just means that you should utilise existing marketplaces early into your brand creation to help generate revenue (so you can invest in your own brand) and better gage what products customers are most interested in buying.

Realistically, though, if you’re just looking for a good side-hustle, there’s no point reinvesting in your own website. Stick to what’s easiest (and cheapest), and hope that you can make some extra money.

Selling with website vs marketplace

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