Online stores now… online?

The two new stores are now open for business. There will be some more activity here as we integrate this site with the Shopify store to make the shopping experience even smoother, but that will happen gradually over time. The Etsy store has been created since there is already a fairly active arcade, gaming and electronics community of small creators on there. The main goal of this site will still remain the same, to provide information on my current and future projects.

Alright… so why do this? First of all, not everyone likes to use eBay. While the platform itself is fine for what it does, eBay has developed a reputation for it’s high fees, arrogance from being too big of a company and generally not giving a crap about its customers, especially sellers. Nicknames that include the word “greed” come to mind.

There are some specific issues that I have with eBay. First of all, the calculated shipping method that eBay uses is absolutely messed up. Instead of adding up the weights and volumes and getting a shipping quote on that during the checkout process, it just adds the shipping costs for each individual item. I usually have to fix it during order fulfilment or refund the people afterward. This is very annoying. I don’t know how anyone puts up with that.

Second, the prices on shipping are wrong to begin with. I get a small discount on shipping with my CanadaPost corporate account, but there is no way to utilize that effectively. There is a way to add a percentage discount on calculated shipping quotes, but that applies to all quotes, and the discounts from the shipper don’t work that way, as they are different based on the service and destination chosen.

Then there is the issue of taxes. eBay has to collect taxes on all foreign sales. They do that automatically. We are in Canada, so I only have to collect sales taxes within Canada. Since I have no physical presence elsewhere, my understanding is that (this will likely change in the future anyway but for the time being…) I do not need to collect taxes on foreign sales. I can simply leave it up to the usual customs process and import restrictions of each county. Since more than 90% of my sales go to the US, this is a clear win for US folks, as their import restrictions are nearly non existent for this type of activity.

Then there is the simple matter of customer experience on eBay. That site not only looks dated, it functions like a fossilized dinosaur. They only recently added to ability to accept payment methods other than PayPal, and likely only because other e-commerce site have had this functionality from the get go. I could spend an entire post on just this…

Finally it’s their fees. The fees on eBay will take at least 10% of gross sales which includes shipping. Then they will collect the taxes. Then there are listing fees, most that can be avoided with some strategizing. Then you have to pay a monthly fee on top of that, that’s if you want to have an online store there and basic functionality like the ability to provide announcements and vacation settings.

Now there are positives about selling on eBay too, like the fact that the site just works, has a massive presence and will do some promo type activities, which helps a lot. It’s great for people who just want to dip their toes in without spending additional money, and see if there is a market for their inventions and ideas. That’s probably their biggest selling point. If it wasn’t for eBay, and the people that have supported me here, I don’t think I’d be able to do these projects right now.

But like I said not everyone likes eBay, and sometime it’s good to diversify. My project site is already pretty high in terms of search engine rankings. Most people come here first to look for info on my projects, then they get confused and discouraged when they want to buy the product they like, but can’t purchase it here. That’s why the integration is needed. This is probably the most frequent complaint I’ve been getting recently. Also, while eBay will always be an option, I’m going to have the opportunity to fix some of the problems I’ve had with that site and to pass some of the savings to you guys.

Again, thanks for everyone for supporting me and my work over the last couple of years. I am grateful as it helps me develop more projects and stay more involved in the arcade and gaming hobbies, hopefully helping others out as well. Being my hobby, this work beats anything I’ve done in the corporate environment hands down, in terms of my enthusiasm and motivation to do more, and just the overall fun factor. Hopefully this can continue going forward.