19 Sep What’s wrong with auction websites?
If you’re selling on auction websites, one benefit is that the auction sites spend a lot of money promoting themselves to get traffic to your site. Traffic is essential to sales, but auction sites can have some huge downsides: in whatever category you sell in, you are always right beside your competitors. This can severely limit your chances to build customer loyalty because every time you sell there is always pressure on you to drop your prices to compete. Auction sites encourage your customers to look for the cheapest price.
Opening your own online shop can help you avoid this situation because you are in control of the products that you list, the specials that you run, the banners that you show and the prices that you charge. And your competitors are nowhere to be seen.
Running your own site means you must be committed to building your loyal customer traffic coming to you because traffic will not appear overnight. This means you must be serious about putting in time promoting your store both online and offline to build traffic.
A key part of building traffic is building backlinks from other related sites to your own. Internet shops are like a big popularity contest as search engines use backlinks from quality related websites as ‘votes’ for your site. When customers enter terms into search engines, the results (or ‘SERPs’ as they are called in search-engine-marketing terminology) that are shown depend on the relevancy of the content of the page returned as well as the popularity of that site. A high traffic quality site that will link to you (e.g. a government department or large corporation) will be weighted more heavily than a link from a page of unrelated paid-links.
Other key parts of helping your site rank well and build traffic is writing additional content that is relevant to the products you sell (using the key words and phrases that your customers might search for). You must also ensure the categories and products you offer match what your customers are looking for and that your cart is friendly and inviting. Keeping the customers happy that do buy will pay off for you in the long run.
Advertising offline will also be important to building traffic.
If you are selling on auction sites, opening your own online store does not need to be the end of your auction site. You can use the two together taking advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of each. Use auction sites to get first time visitors buying your ‘special products’ that you are willing to compete on price for – the hot items that customers search for. When they buy something send them a flyer with the product that includes information about your new website. This way your own website can build loyalty and create repeat buyers, and you are building off your auction listings.