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e-Commerce


#1

My most productive consignment store has abruptly closed. While I will look for another, I have decided to explore enabling e-commerce on my website (www.robmeixnet.com). It is a Wix website and I am very happy with the amount of control that I have over my content, but it is currently just an informational website. Before I just enable their e-commerce module, I would be interested in hearing any experience others on Orchid have had with e-commerce and if there is a better way to go. Thanks…Rob


#2

Hi, Robert! I think it depends on what you want your site to be able to do, and how frequently you think you’ll be selling things through it. I have moderate sales through my site, and find that Squarespace is good, but want to switch over to Shopify soon.

Squarespace is super easy to use for a non-computer person like myself, with beautiful, elevated-looking templates. There are certain e-commerce integrations it doesn’t do well, though: I have to enter tax info individually for every county in my state, Mailchimp doesn’t mesh seamlessly, and it doesn’t work with Square which is a hassle at events. Shopify is much better if you plan on selling online frequently: you can get a CC swiper that links to your shop’s inventory, offers shipping rate/timing calculators for you and your buyers, and has a better overall checkout experience.

They’re both comparable in price when you consider the things that come standard with Shopify vs. the things you need to add onto Squarespace to make it work the same (credit card swiping fees, upgrading to get certain features standard to Shopify).

Not sure what your needs are, but hope this is helpful for you!


#3

Discuss it with your bank before you decide because they can be cost competitive.

Even though all providers claim to be PCI compliant, we know some are not. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I hope my bank would have the most motivation to keep me as a customer and would help me deal with a data breach.


#4

I’ve made or had made for me a dozen sites over the years, the first ones over 20 years ago. The first ones were informational and now they are all e-commerce. Wix is what is called a CMS program–Content Management System. This is “easily” turned into an e-commerce site. You need two addition CMS programs to do so, one for your shopping cart and one for credit card payments.Ecwid and Shopify are the two CMS programs popular for shopping carts and Stripe is one of the more popular programs for taking credit cards. I use Ecwid and Stripe because they are available in Japanese, but the English language versions are far more comprehensive, easy to use, and less intimidating at entry level. Ecwid claims to be able to link up with Wix (which is also popular in Japan) without problem. I would take any claim like this with a grain of salt. I would have someone who is totally familiar with these programs standing by to help you, as you are bound to hit speed bumps somewhere. But on the whole, you’ll find that transforming an information site into a selling site is not as difficult as it seems. Then the next challenge is to actually start selling!


#5

Bill’s mention of Stripe reminded me of something:

Several years ago I made a purchase from a website that used Stripe. The name “Stripe” was on all the payment pages. I thought I was a savvy e-commerce customer, but that was the most confusing payment process I’ve ever encountered. I nearly abandoned the transaction, mid-purchase.

Which led me to research Stripe before I completed the transaction. I learned it was popular in Europe, and Europe was more advanced than the USA regarding credit card data security.

Based on it’s popularity, there is no doubt that Stripe is a trustworthy company. I only mention my experience because I think it would be wise to try the checkout process as a customer before you commit as a vendor.

You probably know what your target market will tolerate. Recent statistics indicate many of us are wary of e-commerce, and online purchases are a small percentage of all purchases in the USA. Therefore, e-commerce success might depend on catering to your customer’s checkout expectations.


#6

Betty2…That is a good point and I have begun looking at other e-commerce websites from a customer’s buying experience point of view. I need to first figure out what I really want to do. I make a well established line of fairly simple, utilitarian, but well made jewelry. The customer base that my brother an I share is multi generational since we learned from our dad who sold to the same customer base for over 50 years before he died in 1995. Each of us also has our own unique set of customers. My website is currently an informational website intended to start a jewelry conversation. Any sales that result from my website are completed via email, phone or in person conversations. I can just turn on the e-commerce module of my website, but before I do, I want to explore other options and fine tune what I am really selling. Thanks…Rob


#7

Getting the customers is the hardest part! I’m using Squarespace and their templates and ecommerce plans are nice. Depending on which plan you choose, you can checkout on your own domain/page which keeps everything streamlined (using Stripe) and that eliminates the confusion on the customers side. You can also do test transactions to go through the motions as a customer would which is very helpful and make changes to your checkout process. I also built a site for the jewelry store that I work with (squarespace also) and they are happy with it.


#8

An aside: I had a successful Etsy shop for several years (handmade components for other jewelry designers) and a good customer base following on social media.

I assumed that transferring my shop to my wix site would increase my profit since my Etsy fees are substantial. So I put my Etsy shop on an extended vacation and set up e-commerce on my wix site. I promoted my new shopping site heavily via social media and even had information about it as part of my vacation message on Etsy so I wouldn’t miss potential new customers looking for components there.

It was like going from a prime location, Main St store to a tiny unmarked back alley shop. Sales dropped more than significantly and, after 3 months of doing my damndest to make it work, I slinked back to Etsy.

I know there are many who successfully use wix or other site platforms for ecommerce but, for me anyway, it was not the best place for efficient selling and visibility. And I was a little frustrated with the amount of time it took to add new listings compared to the efficiency and ease of adding new products on Etsy - but that could be attributed to the large volume of listings that I had.

I used PayPal for my payment gateway on my wix site and it worked flawlessly. I then created my shipping labels directly from customer orders in Paypal.

So I would certainly recommend Paypal for your payment gateway. It’s been around long enough to be trusted and customers don’t have to have a PayPal account in order to check out through it.

Good luck in your venture!