Even More Feedback
My 1st website was with another company, I had to pay something up front but cant remember, after this i paid about £60 a month, i was unable to ship by weight which was a big problem for me, i left them and this time paid a designer £3500 to do a bespoke site, after 9 months i had 6 sales, i asked him to tell me how i could get on google base to be told he had never heard of it, i paid him £300 extra for SEO and still no sales, so i paid a second man to do my file for google base and do SEO for me, the sales then started slowly coming through but without postage being added on, so i had to keep giving refunds. on top of this he charges £700 a year. the site is still there because he wont take it down but i removed the products. Total nightmare and I am glad that I found firepages.
I decided on my own website after eBay decided last year to restrict the brand that I sell. A few months into my website and my sales were building steadily, and suddenly eBay lifted the brand restriction. I made a very big mistake of ignoring my website for over 6 months and continued to list on eBay, by then my fees were over £800 every month and creeping closer to £1,000 by December 2008. I made a decision that I no longer wanted to be part of eBay, with the ever changing rules and the money I was being charged, I decided to focus my efforts on my website, which has paid off for me. My eBay fees are now barely £300 and only 20% of my sales come from eBay. My website is now bringing me more revenue than eBay ever did. I have not experienced one Paypal chargeback in over 12 months from my website sales, which in my opinion speaks volumes.
eBay is an open platform for buyer fraud. I am aiming to close my eBay shop at the end of the summer and have 40 listings on eBay. With the sole purpose of gaining clicks from eBay and converting customers. This took me 12 months, I would have achieved this in a much shorter time frame had I not ignored my website for over 6 months, which was a mistake. The support that firepages provide is absolutely superb even providing answers and support outside of office hours which is above and beyond any expectation.
I began selling on eBay in 1999, and until early 2006, I found it a stable platform to sell on. Early 2006, eBay put shop items into the main search, and I experienced the slippery slope of declining eBay sales from that point onwards. Subsequently, International visibility was removed overnight, to be replaced at a later date by a paid for service. Many eBay sellers or “dolphins” had their accounts suspended, and it dawned on me that this once stable selling platform could no longer be relied upon. It was time to stop keeping all my online selling eggs in the one basket.
A fellow seller on the eBay Powersellers Board referred me to Firepages. The cost was £360 for professional website design and one years hosting, and initially the package seemed more expensive than another popular E-Commerce company who charge £25 per month. However, with that other company, you build the website from one of their basic templates. Being unfamiliar with html coding and design, and also doing the sums and realising that the Firepages £360 upfront cost was nearly the same cost as the other £25 per month company over 12 months, plus Firepages would professionally design the website for me, I made the smart choice and signed up with Firepages.
The website was ready within 7 days, I was delighted with it, and I was able to immediately begin stocking via its user friendly back end. If you can make an eBay listing, then listing and stocking your Firepages website will be a breeze! Firepages support has been very helpful and prompt, with most “tickets” answered within a couple of hours during business hours. I have also had tickets promptly answered outside of business hours including weekends, and you will not receive that level of service with many of the other E-Commerce companies.
My Firepages website is very SEO friendly, with product and category sitemaps integrated with Google. Products can be uploaded onto Google Base for free, and this pulls in a lot of browsers and orders from search queries. If I am constantly adding new products, I can upload a new daily feed ensuring that new products are quickly available to Google searchers. Other E-Commerce companies do not give you control over your Google Base upload, and will alternatively do it for you every 7-10 days meaning that your new products could be languishing with no Google Base visibility for 7-10 days while waiting on your next upload from those other companies.
Comparing my Firepages website to my eBay shop, I can list 1000′s of products for free on my website, and pay no Final Value Fees. Although eBay have recently moved front-end fees to a more success orientated FVF model, I still pay the guts of 10% eBay sales commission. Recently, there have been many changes to eBay policy that have required tedious and very time consuming updating of products to stay within eBay rules. eBay have now stated they will limit major changes to twice a year, however that still entails a lot of product updating. In comparison, my Firepages website is a stable platform, and I update products and freshen up descriptions when I want to. eBay have been pushing Paypal (their company) as their preferred payment provider, and have now banned Google Checkout, cheques, cash and bank transfers. Firepages gives me the flexibility to offer all of these payment options to my customers, and more! You may be surprised to know that I receive nearly as many website Google Checkout payments as Paypal payments because Google Checkout customers like the ease of use of this payment processor.
eBay removed my seller ability to leave negative feedback for a buyer, and also introduced individually covert Detailed Seller Ratings. I experience none of that feedback nonsense with my website customers, and I have found my website customers to be a more reasonable and understanding bunch of people than many customers I experience on eBay. I am an upfront seller, give good customer service and my eBay feedback record over the past 10 years does back that up. However, I no longer enjoy selling on eBay, always playing catch-up with constant changes and competing with undercutting sellers of counterfeit goods. In sharp contrast, I have enthusiasm for my website, and love the buzz that each new sale brings, knowing that I have not paid eBay 10% commission ! Make the smart choice. Remove some of your eggs from your eBay basket, and put them in a Firepages basket. You will not be disappointed!