Once you have the list mentioned in our last blog, ‘How to Sell Online During the Current Crisis – Keep It Simple!’ now think about where to sell your products online.
There are lots of options and it can be very confusing to decide which one is right for you.
We have provided some of our preferred options below that we think are realistic for new stores.
It’s important to remember that, although you could sell in multiple places at once, it’s better to focus on your core one to start with and expand.
What is it?
Shopify is a managed eCommerce platform, meaning that the site is hosted on Shopify’s servers and they will help you with any technical issues. It currently host over 800,000 online stores from people selling a handful of products up to 1000’s of products.
It was created to be simple for people new to eCommerce but also with the power and flexibility for those sites to grow. Out of the box, it comes with most of the key functions you would ever need. There is also the ability to add Apps to your site for extra functionality and is often a good place to start.
How much is it?
Shopify is a subscription-based service, so you pay a monthly fee starting at $29 a month for the basic plan. However, at the time this article was written, Shopify has extended their free trial to 90 days. You do pay them an amount for every transaction if you use their own payment provider, but this is only small and often worth it just for the ease of use.
How do I use it?
The system is quite simple to use! It has a wide variety of free themes which can quickly make your site look like your own. They also have a wealth of information on how to set up your site. We find it is the simplest solution for people who want to handle it on their own or at least make a start.
It also has the advantage that you can use your own domain name, such as www.mystore.com. This always makes it easier for people to go to your site and makes it look more professional. If you register a domain, it’s your own, so you can always move to a new platform in the future.
With its simplicity and massive flexibility alongside the current 90-day free trial, Shopify is our personal recommendation for starting to sell online. You can make a start by visiting their site HERE
Etsy and other online marketplaces
What is it?
Etsy is an online marketplace where independent creators sell their products. It is very simple to use, and you can make a start with just one product. You can add to it easily and even go as far as creating your own area called an Etsy Shop.
How much is it?
Instead of charging a monthly fee, you pay Esty to list your item for 4 months. This is currently 16p per item and then you are charged a transaction fee for every sale.
How do I use it?
Again, setting up on Etsy is easy and they have some very useful guides so you can be up and running pretty quickly. However, it’s important to do your research. See if the types of products your selling are currently listed on Etsy and what kind of prices people are charging.
Etsy isn’t for everyone so it’s important to be realistic. There are other channels like eBay and Amazon Selling but each come with their own pitfalls and aren’t as simple to set up, so we haven’t covered them here.
You can’t use your own web address with Etsy, so you are always using etsy.com which limits your options in the future. We would normally suggest Etsy as a secondary sales channel once your own site is up and running.
That said, if your product is something custom made or unique, Etsy can be a great place to start.
Adding Ecommerce functionality to your current website
If you already have a website, the simplest solution is often to add eCommerce functionality to your existing site. This is something a lot of systems currently offer. This means you’re not starting from scratch and will know the basics of how to use the system.
Got an example?
For example, if your site is built on WordPress, you can add eCommerce to your site quickly with several plugins. The most popular is WooCommerce with a more than 3.8 million sites with WooCommerce enabled!
WooCommerce adds all the shopping elements to your website. This includes the ability to create products and the pages you need like a checkout. You will need to do the extra work to add in a payment method, although it’s quite a straightforward process.
There is also a huge list of plugins that can extend the site’s functionality in the future but, for a core setup, it comes with everything you need.
Overall, it can be a little more complicated to setup and use. However, if you’re technically minded and want to give it a go, there are plenty of resources out there to help. You may need to get some technical help from an external company to help get it up and running.
An added benefit is that, if you are adding it to an existing website, you can make use of your existing traffic instead of starting from scratch.
Keep it Simple:
- Starting from scratch? Use Shopify
- Got a custom product? Have a look at Etsy
- If you have WordPress or a website already, look at adding eCommerce plugins
Any questions, give us a shout!