Related discussions: Shipping & fulfillment, shopping carts, customer service issues, product sourcing, general discussions, etc., also Ebay, CafePress, etc.

Moderator: Dennis from Cape Canaveral

#1377030 by Sue from UK
Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:35 pm
I have been pondering this dilemma for weeks now. I've read everything available online but I'm still unclear.
I create craft-based items - dolls, gift boxes, handbags etc. I wish to sell these online from my own site and also sell in person at markets etc.
I currently have a second, relatively new, SBI site for this and originally intended directing purchasers to Etsy to buy (which is what I currently do.) But I want to leave Etsy as I find them too restrictive.

Most shopping cart plans (Selz, Shopify) charge as much as the SBI monthly fee is. I can't afford that at present. These shopping cart sites also offer pages - Contact, About, Blog, etc.
So, my question is, why do I need SB? Does adding a shopping cart to an SBI site benefit me in any way?
I could add a Shopify Lite at $9 per month or Selz basic at $17.50 but would I be better off just setting up my site on Shopify or Selz. I have no intention of writing masses of content pages other than writing about items I'm selling. I may blog. I have no intention of creating a craft site where I describe to others how to do it.

Please, can anyone shed light onto this?
#1377038 by David from California
Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:49 pm
Hi Sue, good question.

Where will your traffic come from? The benefit of SBI is the tools for SEO so that someone doing a search on Google and other search engines will find your site.

If your traffic is not going to come from searches (organic traffic) but will come from other sources - direct contacts, social media, your customer list, word of mouth, then you don't need SBI.

But if you want traffic to come from new visitors searching on Google, then you will want SBI and will have to write more pages.

That is basically the reason for our site on sea glass - build up an email list and sell to them. (They come looking for information, sign up for the newsletter, go on our mailing list, and many become buyers).
#1377045 by Jacki from Macleod
Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:27 am
I was shocked, actually, at the study that Ken and team put together when Wealthy Affiliate reviews started to gain notice. If you want traffic, and that's an important method for you to get sales, stick with SBI!
#1377053 by Cath, SiteSell Content Team
Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:33 am
Hi Sue,

It's a good question and I agree with David, it depends whether you think enough people will find you on social media or not.

My other question would be, is selling craft-based items quite a crowded niche (it seems to be, but I have no direct experience of it), and if so how would you stand out from everyone else doing it?

The obvious thing would be to have an SBI! site where you do tutorials etc, but you say that's not the way you want to go. You do say "I may blog" though, and I'm wondering whether SBI! for WP would be a good fit for you. So you'd still have access to the tools of SBI! but you'd use a WP site as a blog to attract traffic. And I think WP has plug-ins for shops? (Although I don't use WP so may be talking through my hat there :? ).

Just a thought...

#1377055 by Sue from UK
Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:12 am
Thanks for your responses David, Jacki and Cath. I think I'll probably opt to use Shopify Lite and embed their Buy buttons on my existing SBI site for now. At least I know how to get the pages looking the way I want them. Shopify gives me the option of selling in person where Selz doesn't.

Interestingly, Cath, although some of the generic craft-related keywords are very over-subscribed, by contrast the more specific words are at present under-subscribed if anything. Most hobby sellers appear to use the big sites like Etsy, Folksy (UK) and NOTHS.

When researching and visiting these sites in a private window as a potential buyer of certain items I found it like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I find that in one of my Etsy shops I have lots of items favourited but no sales. I suspect this is because other makers "favourite" items that they want to refer back to and use the idea (I used to do tha t- do it to find them again I mean, not copy others' ideas) - people who "favourite" things are not buyers!)

Anyway I think the pros and cons are a bit clearer for me now. Thanks.
#1377095 by Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente
Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:55 pm
I too left Etsy - it used to be .20c fee for everything, now it'd be cheaper to list stuff on eBay with their $5 listing fees and $2 per photo fees and their 10% of sale price fees. Etsy is trying to hard to be eBay, they make all the money off fees and leave nothing left for sellers. Ebay was good until about 2007, Etsy was good until about 2012. Both cost more in fees then income earned now, unless you are dropshipping.

I am using Shopify along side SBI. Only just getting started though, so don't have any long term results yet.

I started out with basic which was $29 a month, but then forgot to pay one month and they shut down my checkout/cart and set my site to "dormant mode" for a $14 a month fee. The site is still the basic site you get for $29 a month, but there is not checkout/cart and the credit card acceptance service is deactivated.

I was going to switch it back to the $29 version, but realized, I could use css code (the instructions are in Shopify's help guide for editing your product pages) to redirect people from Shopify to and outside shopping cart, and did that instead, only instead of directing to a shopping cart I directed it to my Amazon account. Now I've got the $29 a month site for $14 a month, and Amazon handles the sales via their "shipped by Amazon" service and I don't have to deal with customers one on one any more.

I've only been doing the redirect thing for about 2 months, so, too soon to say if this is the way to go or not, but, if it turns out okay sales wise I'll leave it this way.
#1377102 by David from California
Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:33 pm
Have you taken a look at Ecwid? i was doing research on different shop add-ons and like Ecwid the best at this point.

See the thread

We have used both eBay and Etsy extensively in the past. I found eBay got me the lowest prices. It also seem to require more work on our part

Etsy seems to attract more "sophisticated" or "picky" buyers who are willing to pay more, at least in our niche.

Etsy also is very easy to use and takes care of everything from communicating with customers to auto shipping labels, to accepting payments of various types.

On the other hand, I agree that Etsy takes too much for their cut so am thinking that this year we will try Ecwid (we only sell for 6 weeks out of the year).

I am open to all suggestions and would love to hear what advantages some of the other options might have.
#1377121 by Sue from UK
Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:58 am
Hi David
I did look at Ecwid the other day but discounted them for some reason although I can't recall what it was so I'll check them again. Shopify at $9 per month still looks cheapest but offers all I need as an add on.

I also used Selz (free) for my main site a few years ago just for one or two items. I may use them again for the Anxaid site and sell downloads of two of my books that are currently on Createspace etc and maybe even the course I have on Udemy. But the craft site is the one I want to get sorted a bit so I'm ready for Christmas this year!

#1377166 by A J from Somewhere Hot
Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:07 pm
If it was me, I would probably use SBI for Wordpress, and have a website and domain with a cheapish host like godaddy. Then you can use woocommerce... that is a free plugin, though you can upgrade to various addons for a price. However, the free version is all you would need, that can be easily connected to paypal or stripe. In fact, I have been playing around with it today, setting up a demo shop for selling various items.

It's perfectly suited for selling hard goods as all the settings for things like shipping, tax etc come as part of the plugin. Once you have set up one product and know how to do it, then it's easy!

Cheers, AJ
#1380181 by Katherine from Hertford
Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:22 pm
Sue, have you set up your Shopify Lite shop yet? I'd love to see what the "buy" buttons look like on your SBI site as I'm thinking of doing the same to sell samples of my wedding stationery. I currently have an SBI site and then also a Big Cartel "shop" linked to my SBI site for people to purchase samples (which I then refund if they place an order for their actual wedding stationery). It's working well and Big Cartel is slightly cheaper than Shopify at $19.99 USD p/m rather than $29 USD but I'm now wondering if the Lite version of Shopify would actually work just as well. I don't need the whole shop side of Shopify, I just want people to be able to purchase a select range of items easily so $7 p/m for that is appealing.
#1380190 by Sue from UK
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:09 pm
Hi Katherine

It's $9 per month but I paid for a year and it cost me $96.

I have lots of different products I'm planning on selling and so far I have only gone live with two of them - knitted baby clothes and bags. I like being able to style my own "shop" pages in BB2 and then when people click on an item they get more info from shopify. I can also sell in person at fairs (when I get around to it) with Shopify lite.

If you want to see what I've got so far, go to my site at [Domain Private] and click each of the dropdown tabs at the top to see the shops. When I've got other items on there I'm going to make a single shop link as well.

If you have any questions about it please get back to me.
#1380202 by David from California
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:15 pm
I signed up for the Ecwid shop free program. It is not a trial program.

The catch is that you are only allowed 10 products. However, it gives you a great chance to see how it works.

You open a store manager on Ecwid, put up a product, then copy a code and paste it into a new page on your site.

Then you add or delete products on your Ecwid store manager and the page automatically updates.

Etsy only allows 4 pics per product, Ecwid allows many and they also have easy to use option menus for example, choose color, size, etc.

There are other reasons I decided to try this one but can't remember them all, best to see for yourself for free.

I did contact them about using the store for only a few months out of the year and they said, no problem, go to support and have them deactivate the account for the other months (this is for when I start putting up more than 10 products and have a paid plan).
#1380790 by Katherine from Hertford
Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:00 pm
Thanks David, I had a look but don't think Ecwid is the shop for me.

Thanks for your reply Sue, I've taken the plunge and am trialing Shopify Lite. Just in the process of adding some products and playing around with options. I'll keep an eye on how you get on with your shop too!
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