eCommerce

Are you thinking of selling your products directly from your platform website?

It's something everyone thinks about after they have some experience and exposure on the web.

The advantages are that you will make more money, you'll have more control, and you are able to develop a better relationship with your customers more easily. However, selling from your own platform website forces you to a higher standard of technical requirements than you may have had before. When you start collecting credit card information and addresses and that kind of personal information from your customers, you have a obligation to treat it carefully and make sure that everything is secure.

Selling from your own site comes after your Amazon is presence well-established. Amazon is such a big part of online success these days that you really need to spend the time to do it right. It is the first thing you do in your platform building work.

That leave you vulnerable‚Äč

After that's done you may begin to realize that you're very vulnerable if that's your only sales venue. There are lots of stories on the Internet of people who have lost their Amazon account for one reason or another. Sometimes it's justified. Sometimes it's a result of a stupid mistake. Sometimes people deserve it. In any case, if that happens to you you may find your income stream is suddenly gone from nice to nothing overnight.

There is the term digital sharecropper which can be applied to your sales from a platform that you don't control. In the case of Amazon, you farming  in their fields. They own the field and if they decide somebody else would be better or they don't like you, you are going to be looking for a new place to farm.

When you have your own website and your own following, & your own list of customers, that really can't happen to you.So selling from your own platform gives you more control. It may prevent disaster. It may give you better profit margins on your products. In general, it is just a good way to move.T

There's a variety of ways that you can go about selling for yourself.

You can use a platform like Shopify. Shopify is an established trusted provider of shopping cart websites. They are trusted, they are relatively easy to set up, and they take care of the technical & financial requirements that go along with collecting money online. Shopify isn't really designed for selling a single product. It's a catalog kind of store and will work best if you have quite a lot of products. It also gets expensive quickly. Shopify will charge you a monthly fee in the $30 range, plus they take a percentage of your sales.

The biggest issue is that all your link building and marketing to direct traffic to the site goes to a platform that you don't really control. In my case I had a Shopify store and Shopify deprecated the template I was using. There was no notice. I just discovered when I went to make some changes that I was no longer able to change anything. I could add and delete products and make product changes. What I couldn't do was change the template because they no longer supported it. So probably not a direction to go for most writers, authors or any people starting with only one or two or three products.

The better approach may be to use a service like Gum Road. Gum Road is made for people who have one or two or a few digital products to sell. They, like Shopify, handle the financial & technical details plus security on the actual financial transaction. They've been around a while and have a good reputation.

Gum Road is a plug-in that you add to your existing website. That means that you have more control. If for some reason you find a better service you're free to change. Now the cons of a service like Gum Road is that there is a cost. There'll be a monthly charge and there'll be a percentage of your sales kept by them. You must have an existing website to install the plugin on. That will need to be a WordPress website, which is pretty standard these days. And finally, having your own website and adding a plugin into it obviously takes more technical skill than just signing up with Amazon or some other platform like Shopify. You may also decide that you want to add a shopping cart to your existing platform. 

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