Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon, Etsy Vs Your Own Site

Sam Mallikarjunan Headshot

On the last episode of The Pursuit of Relevance, we talked about breaking away from ecommerce marketplaces (like Amazon, Etsy, Ebay) to sell on your own website.

But is that the right answer for everyone?

There are so many choices on what to sell and where. Today, we’re diving in to the pro’s and con’s of selling on your own website vs marketplaces.

  • How to offset the lost brand recognition marketplaces provide when you sell on your own site
  • How to make sure your that your marketing costs doesn’t exceed your profits
  • What you should do if your product mix doesn’t translate well into repeat business
  • How to evaluate all the ecommerce platforms out there.

Show Notes:

Takeaways and Tweetables

By selling on Amazon you are getting some revenue. But really what you are doing is paying Amazon for the privilege of helping them figure out what are good, profitable products for them to focus on. – Sam (1:35)Click To Tweet

You have no ability to upsell, cross sell, resell. If somebody buys from you on Amazon. They can and likely will send them a follow up email trying to sell one of your competitors’ products. – Sam (3:20)Click To Tweet

A pro to selling on marketplace websites is time to revenue. The time to value is really fast. SEO, PPC and Content marketing can take 1 month to 1 year to generate revenue. (3:45) Click To Tweet

The right answer for everyone is not go launch your own website and create an inbound marketing campaign to compete against marketplaces. There are plenty of people for whom the right answer is to sell on Etsy. – Sam (6:33) Click To Tweet

The base unit of a customer centric company is understanding customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs. (10:32) Click To Tweet

If you want to build a growth business….Instead of owning a product vertical with catalog depth and diversity, focus on owning a persona. - Sam (11:05)Click To Tweet
If you’re looking at the LTV of a customer, you’re ability to upsell, cross sell and resell is usually going to be based on catalog width, not depth. - Sam (12:15)Click To Tweet

How to evaluate all the ecommerce platforms out there?

The weird answer I always give is: if you’re not building the website yourself and using a developer, use whatever they are comfortable with. If you have a developer that you have a good relationship with, that is rarer thing to accomplish than finding an ecommerce platform that exactly meets your needs. – Sam (16:00)



Darren DeMatas

Darren DeMatas

Darren has an MBA in Internet Marketing and 10+ years of experience marketing retail, manufacturing and Internet marketing corporations, 7-figure brands and startups online. Follow him on TwitterLinkedIn. Or take his course to learn ecommerce.

13 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon, Etsy Vs Your Own Site”

  1. Great information in such a short amount of time! The takeaways and Tweetables are great ways to highlight key points during the interview as well. Keep ’em coming! I’m new to site, so if you haven’t done something about email marketing, social media or SEO/SEM, please let me know when those will come. If you’ve done those, please let me know where I can go to retrieve/listen to those interviews. Thank you much!

  2. Such a nice article. I have little knowledge about selling on Amazon but as you’ve given all the details about it here. It enhances my knowledge and clear my doubts now I can think of selling apart from Amazon as well.

  3. Great episode ! I am currently selling on Amazon and eBay. I found my profit is getting lower and lower at Amazon when I am forced to match the low price in order to stay competitive. I have my own website too but barely get any traffic I am going to spend more time in SEO and online marketing of my own website.

    1. Just make sure you have unique product descriptions on your website. Copying those from your Amazon listing crushes your search traffic.

      Good luck!

  4. Thanks for this. I’ve had a successful e-commerce site for 15 years but have recently experienced about a 20% drop in sales in 2016. Looking for information on expanding to Amazon; already went on Etsy last year. Interesting, thanks for your information.

  5. What do you think of my selling my book on my own website vs Amazon?
    It seems EVERYONE just looks at Amazon books.

    1. Darren DeMatas

      hey JJ – definitely sell your book on Amazon. but sell it on your site too. “It seems EVERYONE just looks at Amazon books.” – its easier to have your book stand out and sell it on your website if you have an audience. Good luck

  6. Why would copying your products description from your Amazon page to your ecommerce page crush your traffic for your ecommerce page?

  7. Hi Darren
    I’m about to start the Amazon private label business, I’m still doing my research and I think I’ve made up my decision as to what product to sell. However, you’re the first person that I came across who has highlighted the pros and cons of selling on Amazon. Thank you very much for that.
    What would you advise a beginner like myself starting this business with a budget less than 2k

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