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Moving your business from a marketplace into an independent online presence

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When starting an online business, marketplaces and/or social platforms are usually a great option for taking the first steps into the world of ecommerce. They make it easier to find your audience, allowing you as a seller to expand your reach and accelerate customer acquisition. 

As you find your niche and your business starts growing, seeking an independent online presence could be an exciting next move to make. It’s an opportunity to take control and tell your brand story in a more cohesive and professional way. Squarespace helps make the operational aspects of such a move easier for sellers by offering an automatic option to import products from third-party platforms

From your experience with moving your business from a marketplace toward a more emancipated online presence, what are your top tips for someone starting  a similar journey? Share them with us in the comments below!


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  • 1 year later...

Jo, its improtant to point out that if you use any type of custom code on your squarespace eCommerce website, they will not help you on any aspect of your website. I've been dealing with this headache for years.

if you're planning on doing more than $10k in sales each month, and have more than 100 SKUs, you absolutely need to incorporate third party plugins and code - Squarespace alone does not have a strong enough eCommerce platform.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A lot of dimensions to this--it in large part boils down to which tradeoffs one is willing to make and accept--but below are some tips based on experience and my own research/learnings (I'll use Amazon as the marketplace example):

A business will need to spend quite a bit on marketing and advertising in the early days to build the trust needed for customers to buy directly from them that they haven't necessarily earned yet (for example, people trust Amazon that they have their back if there's an issue). Yes, one can in theory save on that 15% cut that Amazon would otherwise take, but in the short term that is invested into convincing customers to take a bit of an extra risk buying outside of the comfortable walled garden of Amazon (they basically lose that psychological comfort). An already trusted brand/business can help to overcome some of this, but there are still a few mental hurdles folks have to make to get over switching from an existing marketplace to buying direct from a brand that previously sold on a trusted platform.

To help reduce those costs, reduce the friction as much as possible. Make checkout--and getting to checkout--super simple (Squarespace has a nice, easy to use checkout form that is pretty standardized--just don't add too many extra form inputs) and make a simple return and privacy policy so people don't worry too much should they face an issue. Quality customer service can help a lot here. If there are any other incentives one can provide to buy direct (e.g. having exclusive products on your site you can't get on one of the marketplaces, or even in the short term maybe offering discounted pricing), those help. Might also need to risk displaying a brand's Amazon review score for some time while one builds up a collection of reviews from direct purchases. But at the end of the day it is a bit of a change management exercise, and none of this is a replacement for a compelling sales pitch/message. Don't expect to be saving much compared to the 15% cut Amazon takes in the short term since most of that is invested in changing people's existing buying habits and building trust. To some extent it may actually be easier to start with an an emancipated and independent online presence without ever caving into Amazon, since there's no brand association to break--along with the costs inherent in that.

Some ideas and tips to get started. This is certainly not an exhaustive list and there are a lot of dimensions to the topic--nor am I any kind of "expert" or anything--but hopefully it gives some ideas about a few of the maybe less-than-obvious things that need to be considered.

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