Monday, September 12, 2011

E-commerce without a website of your own Part one

So you want to sell online but you're not too sure you're ready for a website of your own? Products old or new can be listed on a number of websites, here are comparisons on 3 of the major players: can list on amazon for free as long as the product being listed is already part of the online catalog. Only Amazon's pro-listers can add to the catalog. Pro's pay a monthly fee that is prohibitively expensive to all but those who sell a big volume. Amazon collects money from the customer, takes Amazon's commission out and distributes the fee to the seller within a week or two of the sale. is set up mainly for hand crafted items. Exceptions to the handcrafted policy are vintage items (those that are over 20 years old) and craft supplies (not crafting tools). Etsy charges a minimal 20 cent fee to list, has a wonderful support network, good analytic tools, widgets for blogs and websites. When items are sold payments are immediately made to the seller, and the seller is invoiced for the fees by Etsy. has the strictest rules and little seller protections. A fee is collected up front for listing and can run from 50 cents upwards to many dollars depending on the listing type and product. Fees are collected whether the product sells or not, unlike Etsy (except 20 cents listing fee) and Amazon. When a product sells on Ebay the product is taken off and marked sold. The seller is expected to invoice the customer. The customer has 5 days to pay. The seller is not protected by the agreement and a customer can decide that they no longer want the item, or can't afford it and the seller is then under the obligation to cancel the deal. In addition, once the item is marked sold, Ebay invoices the seller the full amount of commissions, sometimes as much as 10% immediately. This can leave the seller with a fee paid to Ebay (you cannot sell on Ebay without agreeing to automatic payments out of your accounts) and no sale.  When dealing with Ebay "Seller Beware"

Next time I'll compare additional experiences and fees of these three allowing you to consider for yourself the risks as well benefits to including these online companies in your business plan.


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