How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Online Store
Jen and Adam are newly married couple from NY, enjoying a fresh cup of brew when Jen's phone buzzed. Her eyes lit up as she read a direct message from Deb who wanted to know if the crystal ring she showcased on her Instagram was for sale.
Deb told Jen that she loved the piece and was willing to pay $200 for it. When Jen told Adam, about the offer she got, he hugged her excitedly.
You see, Jen is an artistic girl with a creative mind, while Adam is a businessman with an entrepreneurial mindset. He told Jen, "If we sell the ring, we can use the money to launch your e-commerce store for you to sell handmade jewelry".
After doing a quick math, Adam told Jen that if she sold 100 pieces a month, she could eventually leave her job to pursue her dream full-time, making $240,000 per annum. The thought of pursuing her dreams thrilled Jen. And hence began the entrepreneurial journey.
However, the excitement turned a feeling of overwhelming and confusion as the newlywed started exploring their options and finding out more information to start their online store.
The next question that came up was - What is the right platform to start an e-commerce store?
How do you build a website or create a store? I don't have any knowledge of coding or HTML?
Should you choose a personal plan or go for a small business plan on a platform when getting started?
Do I even need a website? Can't I sell on platforms like Etsy or eBay?
How will I manage payments?
Have you been like Jen and Adam? Got an amazing idea but when you started working on it, you went from being happy and thrilled to confused and nervous because all the doubts came gushing in and the fear took over?
Fear of not being able to pull things together; fear of not having a great idea, fear of not having money to set things up and more!
I'm here to tell you that it's time to kick FEAR in the arse!
Today we are going to talk about e-commerce platforms.
How To Choose The Right Platform For Your Online Store
There are 2 types of E-commerce platforms to sell online -
Marketplace i.e. an e-commerce platform or website where you can sell your own products without the effort of building a dedicated website to your brand.
Creating your own website dedicated to just your brand.
Marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, eBay etc. have been created for individuals who -
Don't want to go through the effort of building their own website
Are new into the world of e-commerce and still trying to learn about driving traffic, marketing, SEO etc.
Testing waters for their new product idea
Want to dedicate more time creating new things than handling a website.
Website Builders, on the other hand, are platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, BigCommerce, BigCartel etc. where you can create your own website with all the tools at your disposal. All you need to do is select a theme for your store, select payment method (i.e. how you'd like to get paid) and list your products.
There are tons of active users on Etsy and eBay as much as they are on Shopify. No platform is better than the other, however, what to pick for your store depends on your individual needs.
Here's what to look for when selecting a platform for your Online Boutique -
You can navigate all platforms before getting started or launching your online boutique. Play around and navigate the website to get an understanding of how the platform works, what's where and how easy is it to use. Website Builder platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have a free trial before you have to pay for their monthly membership; whereas marketplaces like Etsy, Tictail, eBay etc. charge a listing fee. So if you don't like the platform you can skip the payment and jump to another.
🖤 Payment Plan
How much do you want to pay when starting your boutique? A listing fees for every item you list or a monthly fees? Each platform has a different payment structure and plan. Explore your options wisely.
🖤 Does it require tech-know-how?
Platforms like WooCommerce and nopCommerce are for individuals with knowledge of coding and HTML, while platforms like Etsy are a simple drag and drop, fill in the information and publish your product for sale type. According to your knowledge, what's the best option going to be for you?
🖤 Level of customization
Marketplaces don't offer sellers with many options for customizing their store; at max, you can add a header image and logo to customize your store. Whereas, websites give you the option to customize your store whichever way you like. You can choose a store theme, font, colors etc.
🖤 What kind of products are your selling? Digital or Physical? Handmade or Wholesale?
What kind of products you are going to sell also makes a huge difference in your Online Boutique. If you buying wholesale items for sale, you can not sell them on Etsy, but if you are like Jen, making handmade products, Etsy is the best option to get started with (if wanting to sell on marketplace).
A little sneak peak - Below are a few of my personal recommendations. You opt in on either one of them or use them as a reference to conduct your own research.
Before you get started, write down what you want and need to have on your Online Boutique. Based on the list, check out the platforms and tick things off as you continue to do your research.
Be sure to comment on your favorite platform for Online Store in the comments below and WHY you love working on it!