More About Online Markets

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Today I would like to look further into the online market phenomenon.

Way back when that Ebay thing started to pick up steam I had wondered if I should get myself an online shop. Before I looked into it I read some book about marketing and it pointed out a simple flaw in the whole spectrum of having an online shop along with ___(insert huge number here) sellers.

The basic premise is this;

  • You have shop with great stuff at great prices.
  • You work hard to make quality items for your shop.
  • You also work hard at marketing your product elsewhere either online or in real life.
Unfortunately, there are also X number of sellers right there with you especially when buyers execute search on items that they are interested in; the competition is all right up there with you in the resulting pages. (Unless of course you totally have the market cornered on the widgets you are selling.)

So all of your hard work getting someone to YOUR online shop is instantly undermined as soon as your potential shoppers utilize the search option on said market sites. As well as these online markets work in that they have their own SEO strategies in place for all of the items up for grabs, these same strategies become a double edged sword for sellers as buyers can always look for widgets in a different colour, style or price range thereby canceling any sale for the original widget seller they were looking at buying from.

And let's be honest, how many times have we all looked around and been aggravated at the discovery of another seller who has something similar listed at say a lower price (..Grrr..) or a different fabric or whatever. BUT it is significantly different, I can't lower my prices because I need to actually PAY MYSELF (is it just me or do some sellers not include their own wages in their prices?...) and my sustainable fabrics cost about 4 times more than regular old cotton.

If you are still with me so far, I'll let you all in on why Big Cartel is my personal favorite online selling tool.

The shop that I have set up is basically treated as an extension of my website, it even has my own URL at so it looks like its mine, all mine. The easy set up is incredible and they definitely have options for subscribers. The big benefit in my opinion is that even if you are searching on the main Big Cartel site, you have to basically know what it is you are looking for because there are only 4 categories of shops, no searching by product/tags. Big Cartel is no Ebay and they don't want to be the next Etsy either.

Essentially this is why I stayed away from Ebay and why my Etsy shop is not a huge priority in the big scheme of things. I love that Etsy has really helped to make craft cool again but it seems there are way too many sellers vying for dollars from the same group of buyers, and the number of shops is growing every day (unlike Ebay apparently.)

Anywho, hope this is some help to readers.

4 witty words:

yellowplumbeads said...

I have an Etsy shop, but I've been considering opening a Big Cartel site for a while now. Thanks for this post, it's definitely clarified some things for me!

Pam Hawk said...

Thanks for this info! I had no idea there was a regular online shop that was actually made to be set up by a non-programmer. I'm computer savvy but have not been able to properly set up any of the most popular shops/carts. I've tried so many shops out there and finally gave up on them out of frustration and went with Etsy. My plates aren't eBay material (nobody is searching for this new concept) and Etsy is nice but...
And their prices are much better than all the teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, pencil-breaking shopping carts I've tried.
Thank you thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great info, thanks. I am going to look into Big Cartel myself.

spincus said...

i will mention your blog in my blog. it looks nice