Creating a Brand
For an aspiring merchant there is nothing like having your own store. Selling your products on the major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay is great, there are millions of customers ready to spend their money all in one place, with services and features to help both buyers and sellers. The other side of this equation leaves the merchant fighting the competition to get customers to choose them over the others. In most cases you become a fish in a very big pond, hoping some customers recognize your store name, remember a good experience and if you have another product they are interested in decide to buy from you again.
To stand out among the masses creating your own store page is essential. Just making a website for your brand makes it appear more professional and trustworthy, but even better is selling products directly from your site. Having complete control over the branding and advertising allows you to ensure customers the experience you want them to have. Additionally, all the products they see on your store page are sold by you. There will never be a “related product” from a competitor listed for a dollar less pulling away your potential sales. You can greatly increase your sales by offering bundles and kits, funneling and up selling your own products. Customers who have made it to your store page are far more likely to return and do repeat business, as well as spread the word about your brand, for example when someone asks a buyer where they got that, instead of saying Amazon, they will name your store and grow your brand.
Shopify and WooCommerce
The easiest way to get a store of your own set up is by using an eCommerce service like Shopify or WooCommerce. They make setting up a store fast and simple. While they both lead to the same end goal there are some important differences that sellers should consider when deciding which platform is right for them. The first big question to get out of the way is of course price. WooCommerce in its most basic form is free. The plugin allows sellers to turn a blog or website into a store where they can list and sell products. Shopify on the other hand is a complete service, where the merchant pays a monthly fee to the platform to host their site as well as a transaction fee on products sold. There are several benefits included with the paid service, Shopify is a very easy tool to use even for those lacking technical knowledge. Merchants can quickly set up a store, choose a theme and layout they like and focus on selling their products while the behind the scenes work of maintaining a website is all taken care of for them.
Both platforms rely on plug-ins and apps to add additional features to the page. Buying these ready made apps gives the seller a variety of tools to customize the experience on their page. For example if when a customer adds a product to their cart and you want a pop up to appear asking if they would like an additional item to go with it, you find a plugin with that feature and add it to your site. WooCommerce offers a far greater selection of plugins and apps, as well as degree of customization but requires significantly more technical knowledge to set up compared to Shopify’s streamlined approach. When deciding between Shopify and WooCommerce it really comes down to time vs money. There is a great deal more you can actually do to create and customize your store exactly how you want it on WooCommerce, if you are willing to put in the additional work and time developing the store page, while Shopify provides a simplified experience that can get your store up and running faster and securely.