I want to build an eCommerce site using one of the ready-made shopping templates. Which one do you recommend and why?
So far, I've looked at Indiemade (as I'm selling gorgeous crafts), Shopify and BigCommerce. I'll have fewer than 50 products so its a relatively small operation.
Thanks in advance!
With fewer than 50 products, I wouldn't be shelling out for a paid ecommerce site. No one visits Shopify or BigCommerce to browse around their sites, and they don't do anything to publicise your shop, so you could end up with an expensive monthly fee and no customers.
The same goes for Indiemade. If you were thinking of running your own blog, the basic service costs about the same but gives you a full-featured shop so it's excellent value. However there's no cross-fertilisation: people don't go to Indiemade to browse around the shops, because they can't - there's no connection between one shop and another. So you're still completely on your own when it comes to attracting visitors.
It's exactly the same as having your own blog vs writing on HubPages. Unless you know how to promote it, a blog can just get lost in the millions of other blogs on the internet - whereas on HubPages, your Hubs can get traffic by appearing on other successful Hubs. You need your shop to be connected to other shops, so you're not totally reliant on Google to send you visitors.
That's why it's such a shame you can't use Etsy, because people DO visit Etsy to browse. One option is Storenvy.com - which is free. Creating an eBay shop would also be a good idea (you can do both) - however I'm not sure what charges are like on eBay these days.
What you really want is a site like madeit.com.au - which sells crafts on commission. Unfortunately it's only available to Australian residents, but maybe you could do some searching and find something similar in your area?
You echo my thoughts Marissa. I'm concerned about getting a website and it dropping into oblivion in search engines which is why I was SO disappointed about Etsy.
Thanks for your tip re Storenvy.com. I'll definitely check it out.
Thanks so much for your considered reply....as always it's "spot on".
Volusion is good. Nice looking templates and easy to use. (You could also look at EKMpowershop).
There's no reason you can't be successful, even with a small site. You just need to make sure your site is properly optimised, and then advertise your products in the right places and to the right people. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul - in most cases it will take at least 6 months to start turning a profit. Drop me a line if you want any advice. I've been working with ecommerce sites for the last 3 years or so and making sure they're successful.
Many of the options like Shopify are lovely, but unless you have your own source of traffic, sales volumes tend to be terrible. That is why a lot of people selling handmade stuff stick with Etsy, it has a dominant market share. After that having an Ebay store might be a close second.
Thanks for your comments psycheskinner
My first choice was Etsy but I'm a reseller so (sadly) I can't use this platform as to sell there you have to make the products yourself.
What kind of items are you reselling? Are you referring to an affiliate website with Amazon products?
If you are a direct seller there are countless applications you could use but you said reseller that means affiliate selling.
Many people set up their Wordpress.org websites as affiliate websites. You have to find a host where you can install WP.
There are also many eCommerce applications provided by your hosting providers for you to choose from. Here is a list, you can search for them in Google and see what they have to offer before choosing.
Awesome list Cardisa. I'll check them out.
Maybe I used the wrong term....its definitely not affiliate marketing. It's more like being a wholesaler where I'm going to sell products beautifully crafted by other people.
Appreciate the list. That'll keep me going for awhile.
Frankly, I would ignore them all. They are all systems to build a standalone shop, and most of them cost money.
If you have money to invest in running a site and advertising your products, then I'd go straight for Susana S and ask her to help you get going. But do think about your budget. Even the most basic Volusion site costs $15 per month, whether you're making any sales or not. As Susana says, it can take six months at least before you make a profit - can you afford to pay the fees if you don't get sales at first? Do you know how to "optimise your site" or are you going to have to pay someone like Susana to do that for you? Do you know how to promote it, or will you have to pay someone to do that for you?
I've been assuming that you're starting on a shoestring, which is why I've been suggesting low- or no-cost options. Psycheskinner is right - I don't think Storenvy will give you much cross-fertilisation with other products, but at least it's free! On eBay, your costs wlil be minimal unless and until you make a sale.
The cost depends on the hosting provider and many of these applications are provided free. As I said,it all depends on the host provider.
Much of what's sold on Etsy is definitely not hand-made. Especially in the fine jewelry section most pieces are being resold. I think you should just open up an Etsy shop anyway and see how it goes. If the site notifies you that you're breaking a rule, then try elsewhere, but I imagine you will be able to operate without any hassle as a reseller. Good luck!
Edit: Etsy allows people to resell items if they're vintage, defined as over 20 years old. Not sure how they check or enforce that site-wide. A quick glance around the jewelry section looks like some sellers are bending the rules and just calling whatever they have "vintage." Hmm.
Thanks C-G. I agree with your comments re some items.
I'm selling new goods made by women in developing countries so they won't fit into those categories. It does seem like I could add something to the items and comply with Etsy's terms but then I'm at the whim of changing rules and that seems like a nebulous way to build a business. They DO review websites and when you list your products for sale there is a drop-down menu and, basically, I'd have to lie each time I listed something. Don't want to do that! Thanks for the thoughts though.
I tried Storenvy about 6months ago but gave up as traffic is pretty nonexistent. The Storenvy forums at the times showed I was not the only one with that problem. But Storenvy is free so you lose nothing but your time in trying it.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll spend some time looking at them all.
Susanna S - appreciate your offer of help and when I've looked at the various options, I'll take you up on your offer and contact you. Thanks.
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