By now, you likely know that having your own online business is the way to go nowadays. You are no stranger to where the future is headed, but you wonder whether you should sell on Amazon vs. your own site.
That’s a great question! But ultimately, you will decide what options best for your business.
Selling on Amazon is when you use Amazon’s platform to sell your products. When selling on Amazon, your offerings can be seen by millions of people. You will be selling to Amazon’s customer base.
You can sell on Amazon by going to the Seller Central page and creating an account. From there, you go to inventory and add a product. After you get all set-up, you either send your products to Amazon or ship them yourself as customers make purchases.
With your own site, selling is quite difficult because of all the work required. You must grow your site’s awareness as you build your site. You will have to find ways to reach your audience and drive them to your site to make a sale.
To sell on your own site, you will need to set-up credit card transactions with a third party. As the orders come in, you ship them or have your manufacturer deliver them to the customers for you.
Differences Between The Two Options
How easy is it to get started?
It is straightforward to become an Amazon seller. You just need to create an account. Then from there, you list your products, and you are ready to sell.
Not as easy but may be worth it for your business in the long run. There is a lot of work you must do to start selling on your site. Unless you pay someone to do the things we cover in this article, these responsibilities rest with you.
Firstly, you must get web hosting and create your site. You will also need to learn how to navigate your selling platform, be it WordPress, Shopify, or another service. From there, you must build your site.
If using Shopify or another service, you will still need to think about purchasing themes and plugins to make your site look and run better for customers.
Additionally, you will have to set up a third-party plugin to process your payments, such as Stripe or PayPal. All these things are doable for anyone with the drive and mindset to learn.
Setting up store
There is no need to set up your store-front. However, if you want to sell as a private label brand, you must go through a few additional steps. If you’re going to be an ordinary seller, you don’t need to deal with anything extra.
Your Own Site
You can design your store in any way you want with any theme you would like. There are multiple free themes you can choose from. Although, if you buy a page builder, they sometimes come with a theme. If you are doing this yourself, then you will need to educate yourself on how to go about building your site.
The nice thing about page builders is that you can create your site from scratch or just use custom templates. With custom page templates, you just swap out the filler text with your material and delete anything that is not needed. The templates come with a color scheme, places for your images, videos, and everything else.
When building from scratch, you must be creative, have experience or have a bit of artistic ability if you want your site to look good. I know this to be true because the first web pages I ever created for myself were terrible!
However, I did learn from practice, and the last webpage I made for a client was beautiful. I share this with you because if I can do it, then you can too.
Getting Sales and Traffic
When it comes to traffic Amazon is king. With billions of visitors each month, it has become the virtual online shopping mall that many have turned to during this pandemic. Since there is a large amount of traffic, you think selling just anything is easy, right?
Well, no, it’s actually not as easy as some make it seem, but It can become much easier with the right tools. Whether you are selling used books on Amazon or other physical or digital products, utilizing the right tools will help.
The following three ways are often used to get traffic to an Amazon product listing:
- Ads- You can run Amazon ads to showcase your products and have them seen when a customer searches for a specific keyword.
- Organic traffic within Amazon- Someone clicks on your product without you paying for that traffic on Amazon.
- External sites- Traffic is directed to your product page by an external link that connects to your Amazon product listing.
When you get traffic to your product page, you want to ensure the page looks nice and is readable for the viewer. The easier it is for your customer to read and understand your offering, the more likely they will buy. As an Amazon seller, you can easily set up advertising and SEO without spending much time on it. Amazon will walk you through the process, which makes it easier versus your own site.
Your Own Site
Driving traffic to your site organically (freely) can take a lot of work on your part. You will have to do a few things differently than you would for Amazon when getting traffic.
Here are the ways you can drive traffic to your site.
- Ads- It’s the same concept as Amazon, just with Google and other sources that we will cover later.
- Ranking high– When you get the pages of your website ranked high in Google, you get a lot of organic traffic.
- External links – External links are the links to your site from other websites and social media posts.
With your site driving traffic will be more challenging versus Amazon. You must pay for someone else to take care of SEO and run marketing and advertising. Or you will need to learn it all yourself and invest much more time than you would with Amazon.
Amazon has some fees you must pay if you want to use their platform and get in front of its millions of daily users. For every sale, you must pay a referral fee and an FBA fee if you are an FBA seller. In addition to the high referral fees some FBA sellers face, every seller must pay a monthly Amazon membership fee of $39.99. You can see the FBA fees in the image below for non-apparel products.
Your Own Site
Your own site’s initial start-up cost is likely to be considerably higher depending on how much you choose to invest. You can start anywhere from under $100 to get started with your site.
When selecting the amount you invest, something else to remember is to think about the amount of time you are willing to invest. To many of us, time is the most valuable asset of all.
Because time is such a valuable commodity, if you can invest more money into building out your site and everything else that comes with it, you will have more free time. It’s a trade-off, but when you’re broke and hungry, you will find that resourcefulness inside you and put your time to use.
You may have little money to start-up with, and that’s okay. I started that way. If you educate yourself and get into the right online training programs, you can do anything you set your mind to. I know it’s cliche, but in many cases, it’s true.
You must pay for your website’s hosting bare minimum to get started. Hosting prices can be as low as only a few dollars per month.
As an Amazon FBA seller, you don’t fulfill any orders. Amazon takes care of all the shipping, product returns, and even customer service. That’s why you pay those Amazon fees as an FBA seller.
Your Own Site
Fulfillment can be very pricy or inexpensive depending on what you’re selling, how you’re selling it, and your item’s size. The bigger the item, the more it will cost to ship. Although if you have a dropshipping method set-up, you wouldn’t need to concern yourself with shipping. You would need to communicate all orders, returns, and customer service with your manufacturer though.
We briefly combed over Amazon ads earlier. Amazon ads are the best way for you as a new seller to get your products in front of the consumer. You can show off your products and drive traffic to your product pages with these advertisements. You can also apply to join the early reviewer program, where you can pay to get reviews, so you get social proof for your product.
Your Own Site
Promoting your site is going to take more effort on your part versus having an Amazon business. With your own site, you must manage marketing, which is no easy task.
Trust me when I say this because I failed at first, and again, and again, until I got it right. That’s what you must do if you manage your marketing and wish to succeed.
You must also deal with SEO so your web pages rank high and people can see your offerings. Nonetheless, you might be required to hire an outside firm, or you are a marketing and SEO wiz. Whatever the case may be, It demands more time and work on your part.
When should you sell on Amazon v.s your own site?
In a word, If you plan to sell used products or resell new products from other marketplaces, then you would want to use Amazon.
If you are selling oversized or unique brand items, it’s worth creating your own website instead.
My Final Thoughts
As I stated in the beginning, selecting where to sell your products will vary depending on your business.
You have to weigh the pros and cons, see what works best for your circumstances, and determine the amount of time you’re willing to commit.
I’ll leave you with this quote by the late Zig Ziglar, “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you; if you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” You’ve got what it takes to learn this and be successful.
Good luck on your journey.
About the author:
This post was written by AMZScout Amazon Expert Team. AMZScout is one of the top Amazon research tools for online sellers and has been in the field for more than four years now. We love to share our expertise and identified trends to guide sellers to success.