Marketplaces and Me.
This one is an important one, so please like/comment and share as much as you can.
Many of you will know that I sell on various marketplaces which I'm not going to name here, but if you research them a little, you can work it out. Each of these marketplaces takes their cut in either listing fees, subscriptions, transaction fees etc. I don't object to this at all, if they do a job, they need to get paid. But, in the past year, they have all increased their fees and changed the way they do things. Fee changes I can understand as costs usually go up.
One particular site is not prioritising listings that offer free shipping to the US when the item is over $35. In order for me to do this I either need to find a company that will ship for free (as if) or I would have to build the cost into the item price and overcharge my UK and EU customers, which I am not happy about. Because I am not going to jump through this hoop, my listings will be shoved down in the search results.
On other sites I was charging the shipping/postage at cost, but these sites are now charging fees on these costs meaning I have to try and build in part of the cost, all of the cost or increase the charges.
These marketplaces charge between 10% (incidentally twice the cost of 4 years ago on this particular site) and 40% commission/fees when you break it all down. Some have rolling monthly subscriptions and I can't see where this gets spent. Some have annual fees and/or set up fees which can be pretty high. Many of these sites don't give any information or statistics that are useful in making decisions either.
They often push sellers to create promotions, sales or coupons, but I never see them offering the sellers discounts. The profit that sellers make on these sites is their income, their living, taking a slice from it makes it harder for them to survive.
A few of these sites have in their terms and conditions that you are not allowed to offer the same goods at a lower price elsewhere, which I understand, but it does make some things difficult to sell, and I need to sell in order to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. This is where the money goes, not on a second home, luxury holidays or extravagances, just normal things.
All of this has been steering me to one conclusion, these sites are useful, but are making it difficult to be fair to all of my customers. As of today, I can guarantee you will not pay more buying from me than you would through these other marketplaces and, more often, you will pay less buying from me directly, either in person or via my website. The sites that have a clause in their agreement regarding not offering the same pieces cheaper elsewhere will be terminated or will have exclusive pieces not available elsewhere (possibly until the contract is up). I feel this is the best way for me to be fair to my customers, I hope you understand and agree.
I will be planning to expand my emailing list to keep my subscribers in the loop regarding special offers, sample sales, new pieces etc. so they will see them first. If you want to be included, please subscribe here. I don't send out too many emails as I'm sure you would get fed up, as I do. I send emails out when I have something to say. If you want to be kept up to date with what's going on day to day please follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, these aren't the most polished and slick feeds, but they are genuine, for instance, jewellers usually have dirty fingers.
Are these marketplaces the future for me? I hope not, they will play a part of course, but with your help I'm hoping that direct contact with me will be the way forward.