Websites like eBay, Amazon and Etsy fall into the consumer-to-consumer category. Even if you have already established a website for your business, you can benefit from selling on consumer-to-consumer websites. Big brands like Sony, Barnes & Noble and Calvin Klein see the value in it, just to name a few (brands.ebay.com).
Consumer-to-consumer websites like eBay, Amazon, Etsy are already trusted by online shoppers. One reason is because they provide customers with buyer protection. Buyer protection is basically insurance for buyers. If their product never arrives or a seller does not provide the product as described, the buyer can get their money back. Buyer protection gives customers the confidence to purchase items.
How this Benefits You
By providing a positive experience for buyers, you can use these websites to draw new customers to your business directly. After you provide them with a positive experience, they can now put trust in your business. However, you need to give them a reason to come back besides just a good experience. They need something to encourage them to come back to your business. Including a coupon (or catalog if you have one) in the package is one great way of doing this. If you ever plan on launching a coupon campaign or if you have a seasonal catalog you mail out, you can always refer back to your records and include these customers in your campaign. These are just couple of ideas.
Is it Cost Effective?
The simple answer is YES! People are always commenting on the fees that these websites charge. If you calculate the fees and choose your price wisely you can make a profit. Mainly I encourage people to view these websites as a form of advertisement. These websites have already established a huge customer base. For example, eBay has about 100 million active users, worldwide (Reference). Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that? As with any advertising, in the end, your main goal is to attract customers directly to your business, to make a direct sale. Making a direct sale will be easy to do because you can offer better deals to customers who contact you directly rather than paying fees for selling your product through another website. You just have to let the customer know this, so they come to you directly next time (Thats where the coupon or catalog comes in!) I know this from experience. The company I currently work for has customers call every day who have purchased from us through a consumer-to-consumer website. They call us directly now because they know we will give them a better deal over the phone or on our website. They’ve also come to know that we are a reputable company. In the end, we may have spent money on seller fees but we’ve gained a return customer who comes to us directly now.
There are businesses all over the world who have used consumer-to-consumer websites to grow their business. It works! So if you aren’t already taking advantage of this huge customer base, give it a try. Do your research or hire someone who knows what they are doing. There are many professionals like myself who specialize in helping businesses become established in this market.