Independent eCommerce versus the world



Creative Director

I’m Kim a passionate marketer | Sharing growth insights for success | Proud founder of Squibble, empowering Midlands marketers to thrive by turning clunky websites into marketing joy | Let’s fuel your journey!


At Squibble, we often hit upon blogging ideas when talking directly with clients or, in this case, potential clients. These conversations bring up things that we’d never thought of – topics that could really guide others onto the right choices when it comes to their online strategy.

Recently, this has touched upon the likes of eBay and Amazon – and the ways in which they compare to using design guys such as our good selves to create an independent ecommerce store.

So, just which option presents the most compelling case for the average business owner? Let’s find out…

Sponsored ads = The Holy Grail of eBay and Amazon?

Sponsored ads on eBay or Amazon = instant traffic, direct to your digital door. Who could argue with that? Whilst it’s true that PPC is an exceptional tool, it isn’t merely restricted to the realms of Amazon and eBay. In fact, the world’s largest PPC platform – Google, returns an incredible £2 in revenue for every £1 spent (Google Economic Impact Report). Oh, and then there’s the analytics. When you use a platform such as Google AdWords along with Google Analytics, you can gain a far finer an insight into just how your marketing efforts are paying off.

Fees, fees and more fees

The fee structures of eBay and Amazon can get incredibly complex, seriously quickly. On eBay, you pay an insertion fee, a final value fee and optional fees for advanced listings or supplemental services. Then there are fees for additional listings over a set amount, and shop fees and, well, you get the point.

Over on Amazon, things are a bit simpler – there is a Basic plan (priced per item), or a Pro plan (priced at a flat rate of £25 + VAT per month at the time of printing). So far, so good. But, then there are referral fees, applicable minimum referral fees and variable closing fees.

What’s more, all of these charges are subject to change at any point in time.

The long and the short of the matter is complexity and no reassurance of predictable outgoings – cutting into each and every sale you make – every product that you’ve painstakingly sourced, created and stocked.

When you choose an ecommerce website, you only face processing fees in relation to your payment platform (such as PayPal) – and any agency worth their salt will talk you through what your best options are.

Your brand – it’s an invaluable business asset (do it justice)

Your brand should define your values, the way in which you do what you do differently – it should place you over and above your competitors when your target market are making a choice. Except, in the world of eBay or Amazon, you’re faced with a race to the bottom – out pricing your competitors rather than outdoing them by being better, and creating better quality products. It’s all rather depressing to say the least.

The lack of ability to fully and freely express your brand is going to impact your bottom line, no question about it.

A word on start-up costs (and why all is not as it seems)

Let’s be honest – getting started on eBay or Amazon will likely cost you less than £100, whilst our custom ecommerce solutions cost upwards of £1000. But this focus on start-up costs could be a matter of smoke and mirrors – not only do you need to add in on-going fees from eBay or Amazon, but you also need to think of the strangle hold it could have on your growth, marketing insight and all of the other commercial considerations we’ve outlined here. All of which weigh up to quite the hefty post-dated price tag when added up.

Support – Onwards and upwards

There’s no doubt that giants such as eBay and Amazon provide customer support for those stumbling blocks and technical issues, but an agency comes to understand your business, your goals and your challenges. Ultimately these two forms of support are of a stark contrast, and if you want support that supports your growth and business direction, you’ll need an agency by your side (rather than a support ticket system that can only help when there’s a problem).

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