If you’ve been reading the headlines since the holidays, you may have noticed a few trends. Retail storefronts held their own against online shopping sites, and now studies have shown that even online retail stores are in need of a brick-and-mortar presence to stay competitive in a buyer climate of instant gratification.
When I first got in the eCommerce side of placing my handmade cards and gifts online, I turned to the most notable of online shopping communities: Etsy. Setting up the shop proved to be an economical way to add inventory online, while promoting goods via various social media channels to build a following. On average, I was spending about $19.00 a month on brand new listings online.
However after a year, I wasn’t convinced that Etsy was the right fit for an online presence. Once Etsy went public, I decided to take a look at other options. After comparing various online channels with Etsy such as Society 6; Big Cartel; Ebay; and ArtFire, I made the decision to migrate my online store to Ebay to support a global base.
After several months of setting up shop, the numbers seemed to come together in a bigger way as far as results. I was spending $15.95 for 200 listings a month, and I finally made my first online sales to out-of-state customers for handmade cards.
Then Handmade at Amazon came on to the scene. I applied to be one of the pioneer artists and was chosen to launch as one of its first handmade goods vendors. Still unsure about this new marketplace, I kept my Ebay shop and had Handmade at Amazon on the side to investigate for myself whether it’d be a sensible transition.
After reading several stories from Handmade at Amazon vendors about the fine print, I was alarmed that Amazon added legalese allowing it to compete with its own handmade vendors should they choose to manufacture similar products. Once I read this, I pulled all of my inventory off of Handmade at Amazon completely.
One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve received lately from a fellow crafter was to check out Shopify. Once I started to expand to several additional shared market locations, I learned that Shopify supports a more seamless system of maintaining multiple retail locations, while syncing updates between online and in-store inventory updates.
While paying $29 for the basic plan is a little pricier, this solution makes the most sense for a retailer who desires to build a unique shopping experience for customers that exclusively presents only that retailer’s inventory. I’ve opted for the Facebook shopping cart and BUY NOW options, which at a lower pricepoint of $9 makes sense to integrate the shopping cart into my current website.
To sum it all up, so far by trying out the system during the trial period, I’m more convinced that Shopify is built for wholesale growth. Between an integrated Point of Sale system, retail storefront equipment and social media integration, Shopify is the best I’ve found for a long-term business development and growth strategy platform.
As I further develop this online shopping platform, I will share about my experiences, recommendations and tips for eCommerce shopping and marketing. GET CONNECTED at www.BizOrlando.com for further updates to find out first what’s on the menu for Biz Orlando at HypeOrlando as I continue my entrepreneurial journey.