Why do I need a website & when is the right time?

As an e-commerce business, you have a lot of platforms that enable you to sell your products, Etsy, Not on the High Street, and many others. With this in mind, the question you may ask yourself is; “Do I need a website?” especially if you are already successfully selling your products on these platforms. 

So, do you need a website? Here’s our answer.

YES! Well it was pretty obvious that as web designers and developers we would say that, but here’s why we always come to that conclusion:

  • A website helps you look much more professional, and it can be customised to represent your brand exactly. With your style, your images, your branding, your colour scheme, your text and ONLY your products, you can increase your brand identity and most importantly, increase your sales.
  • A website enables your customers to have easy access to your products, increasing your sales and helping you grow your business (as well as having very happy customers). You can achieve this by offering upsells, cross-sells and bundle offers, all of which are easy to implement on a platform such as Shopify.
  • Having your own website means there isn’t easy access to competing businesses. People can’t scroll to the bottom of your product listing and see the ‘alternative’ or ‘cheaper’ options from other sellers and opt for those. Instead, you can show them alternative products from your own collections, meaning you still get a sale. 
  • A website provides you with the ability to grow your email subscriber list, providing you with an excellent, profitable sales technique and method of communication. A good question to ask yourself is that if social media or Etsy went down, how would you contact your customers? If you have an email subscriber list then you still can, meaning you can still run your business.
  • Abandoned checkout funnels. It’s very common for people to add products to their basket when browsing your store, and for some reason, they then don’t complete their purchase. On platforms such as Etsy, you will have little to no control over how you can encourage customers to return and complete their purchases. On a platform such as Shopify, setting up an abandoned checkout system is quick and easy, allowing you to send encouraging emails, sometimes even with one-time use discounts. What does this mean? It means you can finally gain those customers back that just wasn't ready to press that buy button, increasing the number of sales you make.
  • Fees! Selling platforms like Etsy will often come with large fees associated with them. For example, Etsy charges you 9.25% + 20p for every transaction you make, plus if the customer bought your product through an Etsy advert, there's an extra 15% fee on top! Whereas with a website built on a platform such as Shopify, apart from the initial cost of building your website, there is only a standard monthly fee, plus a much lower transaction cost of 2.2% + 20p. What does this mean? It means that after only a few sales, having your own website becomes A LOT cheaper! 

So as you can see, there are many benefits to owning a website in comparison to selling on a platform such as Etsy. But now that you know our key reasons for owning a website, another question you may have is when is the right time to invest in a website? 

When is the right time to invest in a website?

To briefly answer that question, we would say that if you have the finances available to invest in a website immediately then we recommend that’s what you do. By doing so, you can cut out the long road of selling on a platform that takes massive cuts of your income each month in the form of fees, as well as avoid selling on a platform that actively encourages customers to shop with other businesses and not your own. 

If you don’t yet have the finances available to invest, then we would recommend that you use these platforms to sell your products with the mindset of as soon as you can move to a website you will. You want to spend as little time as you can on these platforms because of the huge percentage of fees that they take from you as a seller - the more your business grows the more money you are sadly throwing away. 

One way that we often advise our clients to evaluate the situation is by looking at how much they spend on Etsy fees each month. Are those fee’s the same cost, or higher than a monthly subscription to Shopify? If that answer is yes, then it’s time to consider moving to a website and start saving yourself your hard-earned money.

The Etsy Upgrade

To enable you to move away from a selling platform such as Etsy, we have created The Etsy Upgrade. Built with small businesses in mind, The Etsy Upgrade enables small businesses, no matter the size, the ability to have their own website and online store that represents their individual brand - at an affordable cost.

With a tried and tested six-step process, we have successfully transformed multiple Etsy stores into brand new websites for our clients, enabling them to save money and gain more sales all at the same time.

The Etsy Upgrade has a variety of packages, ranging from a start-up package to a more established premium package, providing you with the opportunity to either start small or hit the ground running. Either way, The Etsy Upgrade has an option for you.

Alex McLean

Co-founder of E-commerce Artisans. Experienced in web development. Passionate about books, DIY and gardening. You may find him hugging a tree every now and again.

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At E-commerce Artisans we care about one thing: helping small business creatives to start, sell, market and manage their online business. Through our blog, we regularly provide free practical advice and interesting information tailored to each of those topics. Why not have them sent straight to your inbox?