Build a customer email list and market directly to them
One of the most important aspects of having your own website is that you can market directly to website visitors and customers. Unlike marketplaces, where people who buy your product are the customers of the marketplace, selling directly to consumers on your website means you get to collect their contact information. When you have your customers’ email addresses, you can send them email marketing promotions, offer discounts, and announce new products.
Getting repeat buyers is much more difficult on a marketplace, because you don’t have direct access to your customers. This gives you fewer opportunities to provide good customer service and promote your other products. Since it’s easier and cheaper to retain a customer than it is to get a new one, communicating with existing customers is a necessary part of generating revenue for your business.
Not only do you know who has bought from you in the past, but you also know what they bought, how much they spent, and what they are interested in. You can use this information to influence and suggest future purchases.
Establish and strengthen your brand
When you sell your products on a marketplace, they are listed in a generic way. From character limits or word count restrictions to logo usage, there is little to no room for customization or branding. In fact, it is the marketplace’s brand that is in the forefront – not yours. This makes it nearly impossible to build brand awareness and recognition.
Most of the time, visitors and customers assume your product belongs to the marketplace without realizing you even exist. In other words, those who purchase your product will remember the marketplace instead of you.
Learn more about your audience
Having your own ecommerce website helps you better understand your customers. This includes demographics such as their location, as well as how they found your website and heard about you. You can analyze their behavior on your website, like what they looked at and the path they took to buy from you.
If there are certain traffic sources that are bringing in great customers for your business, you can choose to focus efforts there and put more money into those channels since you know they are profitable.
Not only do you gain information about your existing customers, but you can also learn information about where those who didn’t end up making a purchase fell off. Maybe it’s a product page that doesn’t have enough customer reviews or good enough photos, or perhaps people are abandoning shopping carts due to high shipping costs.
Or perhaps your homepage is confusing and lacks a user-friendly website design or your checkout process lacks the payment methods and payment options your target customers expect to find on your ecommerce store.
Make your own rules for your ecommerce site
With running your store comes the freedom to more directly impact the customer journey and user experience:
- You can add product photos and videos in certain places.
- You can alter the layout and navigation.
- You can change the color scheme.
- You can edit button placement and text.
- You can tell your company’s story.
- You can add a blog.
- You can feature certain customers.
Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about your competitors’ products popping up next to yours like you would with a marketplace.
Ecommerce website builders allow you to organize your website with clear product categories, product descriptions, product images, and any other ecommerce features which give store owners a customized ecommerce design solution.
You can also decide how you group and price product, and whether you want to offer free shipping. Offering something for free at the checkout process can influence online consumer behavior, as customers want to believe they are getting a good deal.
With your own website, it’s easier to experiment with this type of offer, since there are no strict rules or regulations with which you must comply. You also don’t have to worry about the impact these changes have on your conversions, since you don’t owe a percentage of each sale to a third-party, like you would on a marketplace. With a website, you ultimately control your storefront and have the ability to test and validate what works for your online business.
It’s never been easier with plug-and-play ecommerce platforms
With the rise of out-of-the-box ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, Squarespace, and woocommerce, creating a website can be a pretty straightforward and fast process. with store builder plugins that make running your small business easier than ever before. You can enter your details, choose from free or cheap templates, and create the shopping experience you want for your customers in real-time with site builders that allow you to drag-and-drop ecommerce store features to your preference.
Once your website is up and running, it can even be easy to integrate it with the other software you use. One common example is connecting your ecommerce platform to the system you use to manage order fulfillment.
Run creative marketing campaigns
Just because you have your own website doesn’t mean customers will automatically come flocking to you. Once you have a store, you will have to work to get shoppers there. The first step to acquiring customers is to drive traffic to your site through a mix of SEO strategies and a strong online presence on social media. It’s not always easy to set up the right campaigns; however, you have a lot more flexibility with the ways you can get people to find and buy from you.
Ecommerce businesses can customize their marketing strategy tailored to fit their audiences and their specific shopping habits.
Having your own website is an important piece of your ecommerce strategy. It is a great way for you to grow your brand, acquire loyal customers, gain new insights, and get creative with your marketing. However, relying on a single channel for all of your sales can also be problematic. Diversifying where you sell online can help you reach new customers, especially as ecommerce becomes more competitive.