One of the major reasons that people use third party websites to sell is that it’s far easier to use their format and templates to get a site live faster than trying to figure out how to do it on your own.
Even though website programming has gotten a lot easier, it can still be a steep learning curve for people who have never dealt with HTML or templates before.
If they don’t want to take the time to learn, many third-party websites are extremely user-friendly and have a working staff that can help them get their stores up in record time.
I will explain more in detail a number of third party websites that others have found user-friendly and easy to get started selling online. You probably have heard of eBay and Amazon as a highly popular way to sell, but there are many others, including Etsy, CafePress, Jumia, and many more.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and will appeal to a particular audience.
Match the inventory to the Website
The reason that eBay is so popular is that you can sell a wide range of products in an auction format in getting more sales. websites like Amazon can also sell more than books; the public just isn’t as aware of the many options available.
Etsy tends to attract artists, while CafePress will appeal to people with an idea who don’t want to create products as much as market those products that come from their ideas.
eBay has a large help support area that is quite responsive, as it makes its money by people selling things on the eBay site.
Take a look at other sellers on the site before you get into your own site. See how sales are taking place. Place some orders so you can see the process from the buyer’s point of view.
Go into the community forum if they have one and ask your questions there.
No special tools to download or install
You don’t have to download an update if one is necessary. It’s all done behind the scenes. You don’t have to know HTML.
You don’t have to install a specific browser, as they work with most Internet browsers. or have to be very technical at all for the most part. It’s all done for you by the staff of the online third-party websites.
They understand that their users are not programmers, and they don’t expect you to download software programs or to install them either.
Listing your products
To get started with third-party websites, open your Internet browser, and log in to their websites using their Domain Name. and then, register with them as a seller. Set up an account by giving them some basic information that is already preformatted as a form for you to fill in.
Once you have an account, you can start listing your products. You will be limited to the terms of service for that particular site. No firearms are allowed to be sold on eBay, for instance. Know what you can and can’t sell by reading the terms of service that comes up when you first register.
If you try to sell something that is prohibited, your account will be suspended.
If you were to put up your own website and then get some good tools for listing your items, like an e-commerce cart, it still isn’t going to give you the same exposure as a third party website.
The reason for this is that many of these websites are crawled by Google and other search engines frequently. They know that new sale items are coming up every day, and people want to find the listing if they input a description into their search engine for a particular site.
That’s why they’re heavily favored in search engines, due to the amount of interest and the credibility this third party site has already established.
Your personal website needs time to build up the same credibility and interest from search engines. If you want to eventually develop your own website, it doesn’t hurt to start by marketing some items on third party websites and then having a reference URL back to your site. That way, you get the advantage of the search-friendly listings of third party websites.
Third-party websites that are well-established have a large audience of fans and frequent visitors that will come back again and again.
This is one of the main advantages of using third party websites when you can’t generate the same traffic as these established sites.
With eBay, you have to sell a physical product in the auction section. How it gets to the customer is your issue. There’s a lot of trouble involved in selling on third party websites, especially if demand exceeds your ability to ship things on time.
To solve that issue, you have to be careful to see which third-party websites will ship things for you and which won’t. When a third party website ships an item for you in your name, that’s called drop shipping.
The customer isn’t even aware that you don’t have a warehouse, don’t have any inventory, or didn’t even spend time to ship anything to them. It’s a seller’s dream.
The way that many eBay sellers get around the need to carry a physical inventory to list on the auction site is to hire a 3rd party dropshipper to handle any orders.
They automate orders using autoresponders, while all they have to do is to keep listing items in the drop shipper’s inventory. It’s a very slick setup, but also one that is well known.
You will be competing with many other people who have already figured out how to do this.
Work With 2 Third Party Websites
If you get really good at attracting attention to your listings and think you want to expand your inventory, why not check out some original offline stores that want to go online? They can be your drop shipper, as they already carry the inventory. You post the listings for a small fee or simply take a commission off of the sold item.
You pass along the sale information to the actual manufacturer of these items, and they put your brand on it for the return address. They can keep the branding on the actual piece that is being sold, as you aren’t actually representing yourself as the manufacturer of that product, just as a retailer.
In this case, you would be working with two 3rd party sites and one original manufacturer. As long as you automate orders and have an established way to reconcile the partnership so everyone gets a fair share, it can be a great way to expand without adding shipping.
Another place where third party sites shine is in the area of payment collection. Business people who are new to the Internet may wonder how to collect payment online or how to end up not getting stiffed.
There is fraud on the Internet, and when it comes to collecting payment from a total stranger halfway across the world, it pays to deal with systems that have already been proven successful.
Gain Instant Credibility
When you put up your own site, your friends and family might make an obligatory visit, but no one else is obliged to show up. If you set up a store on a 3rd party site, the fact that you’re there can give you instant credibility.
In some cases, the audience will be told that you are a new seller, but that doesn’t really stand against you. What you want to do is to start amassing more and more credibility, not just have the initial thrill of being online on a massive community of immense reputation.
Guarding and increasing your credibility will help you to stay on top of your game and help you to continue to sell more items when others may be falling by the wayside.
Guard your reputation
The best way to make sure that you continue to have a good experience with your online third party website is to guard your selling reputation by seeking to offer the customer service that they associate with their brand name.
For eBay, that means delivering your product when you say that you will. One of the biggest reasons people get lower ratings is because they fail to ship on time. A customer who waits too long for something to show up is an unhappy customer, and eBay has its own ideas on when things should show up too.
If you are using drop shippers, you want to make sure that they are shipping within the right amount of time or it’s your reputation that will suffer.
Customers that get their items late will dock your feedback, and that will affect your ability to progress into some of the sweeter deals that are offered by third party sites.
Third-party websites will ask their customers to provide feedback on their buying experience, giving your store the opportunity to amass positive feedback and testimonials without much effort on your part.
So far, we’ve only talked about the potential to increase sales by using 3rd party sites. There is another very big reason to use third party sites, and that’s to increase your online exposure and to drive traffic back to your sites.
The reason for this is that you don’t have to post your entire inventory on a 3rd party site. If you’re making decent sales on your site, why put that lineup under someone else’s banner where you have to pay a commission to sell it too? You wouldn’t do that for your entire inventory, but doing so with a few best-selling items now and then can help drive traffic back to your site.
You can use third-party websites to drive targeted traffic back to your sites. After all, those sites are so well organized that you already know that the people looking at your sale are all in your market niche.
Why wouldn’t you want to expose them to a few more of your products and services? If you can do that by having a store online that has a link back to your own site, and it’s not against the terms of service, then you can grab traffic from these sites.
Even if you can’t send them directly back to your site, you can send them to a blog or a social network where they can become more personal and can learn more about you as well as your business.