Which is the best online venue: Marketplaces or Ecommerce Websites?
As you probably remember, my eguides are featured on Meylah, a marketplace platform where I am listed as a certified expert for the last year. Actually, I never pursued Meylah — they contacted me!
I have looked into both Etsy and Artfire at one time. Artfire featured some of my articles, but I never really opened a store on either platform. I guess I am old school and just stuck with my own websites.
But which is better? Personally, both can work for you in different ways. Meylah has given my eguides and articles better exposure to professional crafters in a way that I could probably never create on my own. I am part of a community on Meylah and, like I said, am one of their certified experts.
I am also aware that there are artisans that are wildly successful with online marketplaces. (Artsy Shark has a wonderful list of over 200 marketplaces) But I would never advice using a marketplace in place of your own website. Here are some of the reasons:
- You don’t own a shop on these platforms – the company does!
- You don’t have much control over outside platforms – the company does!
- You can get lost on outside platforms amongst all the other ‘stores’!
- You cannot use your own URL on outside platforms
Setting up your own website is really quite easy, and it does not have to be expensive. Since I have so many folks asking me what software and tools I use, here is my recommendations:
Recently, we discovered a wonderful ecommerce platform that offers some wonderful featured that we love: 3DCart!
Some of the benefits of 3DCart include the following:
• REASONABLE pricing!
• Effective RETAIL AND WHOLESALE pricing on the same website!
• Ability to drop ship directly from vendors with Automatic Notifications to them!
• An INTEGRATED affiliate program!
• ROBUST shipping options!
• Ability to take orders directly online for my rep clients – including multi-source shipping costs – with ONE online order!
• An integrated GIFT REGISTRY!
• An integrated Auto-Responder email system!
• Rich SEO (Search Engine Optimization) options!
• Integration with major SOCIAL MEDIA (fairly recent requirement)!!
Read more about 3DCart in my post: Amazing E-Commerce Shopping Cart Software.
I set up my first site, Gem Berry, using 3DCart and am very happy with the software and their customer service. Since I set the site up hurriedly right before the holiday rush, I am still tweaking it and finding more options I plan to implement.
For my eguides, I use DPD Shopping Cart that is specially made for delivering digital products. DPD is not a full ecommerce shopping cart, meaning, you will need a website to add links or buttons to buy. I use this on my WordPress sites and with my XSite Pro created websites.
Each platform has its own purpose — just like marketplaces. You will need to decide what works best for you.