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Can I use an eBay store as my small business website?

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Can I use an eBay store as my small business website?

If you're a small business looking to create your own selling website, eBay Stores are an option that's much more than just "selling on eBay"

Image: Aron Hsiao and eBay
Question: Can I use an eBay store as my small business website?

Having a website to sell your goods is something that you'll need to do these days as a small business owner, at least if you want to grow and prosper. But of course building an ecommerce website can seem like a daunting task, particularly if you don't have the background and knowledge to do it yourself.

Then there's eBay. Everyone seems to suggest that it's a great way to sell goods and an opportunity in many ways for small businesses, but you just don't like the item listing-based selling model that eBay uses. You don't want to auction your items, or even sell them at a fixed price if it means that your stuff gets mixed in with everyone else's.

Is eBay stores a good alternative for those that want an easy, turnkey ecommerce website but don't want to become "just another eBay seller" at the end of the day?

Answer:

Probably. As it turns out, if what's written above sounds an awful lot like you, eBay can help you and may even be the ideal solution for you, thanks to a simple product—eBay stores—that lets eBay help you to build your own little selling garden that is separate from the eBay website, but that at the same time enjoys many of the benefits of selling on eBay.

As someone that wants to sell online with a storefront of your own, here are the ways in which an eBay Store may fit your needs:

  • Rapid development time. In fact, there's no real "development." You join and log into eBay, open a store subscription, choose a look, and start putting stuff in your store. You can send customers to your website right away and they'll be able to shop, add items to their carts, and checkout and pay with a credit card with no additional work on your end.
     
  • Low monthly cost. eBay stores begin at $15.95 per month, which is less than you'll pay to most any web host and/or developer willing to help you to get your own ecommerce store online.
     
  • Your own identity. Yes, an eBay store is hosted by eBay, but you get to customize it with your own company logo, text, appearance, and so on, so what you're getting with an eBay store is really a store—your store online.
     
  • You can have your own ".com" if you want. If you decide you want to have a "mycompany.com" website address, you can register the name with most any inexpensive hosting company's basic package, then set it to redirect to the address of your eBay store, once again, with zero development work from you.
     
  • Immediate expansion of your customer base. Items in your eBay store are automatically also listed on eBay and appear in searches conducted by shoppers on the eBay website, so if you're not already selling actively on eBay, using an eBay store gets you immediate access to the general eBay shopping public, without your having to do anything extra.
     
  • Easy-to-use promotion tools. eBay Stores gives you access to tools like Markdown Manager, so that you can schedule and hold sales without having to adjust dozens of prices or do hours of website work.

Of course, nothing's perfect. There are a few caveats that you should be aware of as well:

  • You'll have an eBay logo on your site. At the basic store subscription level, you'll have an eBay logo and search box at the top of your store's website, meaning that your shoppers might at times end up leaving your site for the general eBay catalog. At higher subscription levels ($49.95 per month and $299.95 per month, respectively) you can reduce this to just an eBay logo.
     
  • You don't have complete control over appearance. Yes, you can customize the look of your eBay store and add your own text and company logo, but you don't have total control. Specifically, you can't do your own coding with web languages like HTML, PHP, Javascript, and so on. If you actually do want to build your own commerce website from the ground up, eBay Stores isn't for you.
     
  • You have to abide by eBay rules and policies. All of the rules and policies that apply to eBay listings also apply to items in your eBay Store. So, for example, you can't sell anything that's forbidden on eBay and buyers will be able to open buyer protection cases whose outcomes will be decided by eBay and PayPal, not by you.
     
  • You have to pay eBay fees. You'll still owe eBay and PayPal listing and final value fees, though for store owners many regular eBay fees are significantly discounted.

Taking the Next Step

If all of this sounds interesting to you, it may be time for you to make a move and take a look at the concrete steps involved in opening an eBay Store for your small business's online selling.

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