If you are selling products (tangible or digital downloads) from your website, it can be overwhelming to find the right Ecommerce partner so you can sell your products online.
I am a small business owner who does NOT have a full time dedicated team to handle all my web and social media needs. So I had to conduct my own research to determine which provider had the best features at the price I could afford.
It was kinda like shopping for a new car, something I never enjoy.
Initially I reached out to other small business owners for their recommendations. Unfortunately, among among my circle, most people were unhappy with their ecommerce provider if they even had one at all!
Those with an ecommerce partner had lots of complaints about the service limitations. However, they found it easier to stick with the vendor they were using rather deal with the aggravation of switching to another provider and risk that the change might not be worth it.
Sounded a bit like staying in a mediocre marriage — where you stay cause you made a commitment but you aren’t really happy.
Given that I just “uncoupled” last year after being with my husband for 15 years (who was also my business partner), I understand the temptation to stay with what is familiar. Okay, back to the subject at hand.
Although the products I sell are low tech (I sell mannequins), I am very much an early adopter when it comes to technology. Given that I am an African American woman over the age of 50 that makes me a bit of a unicorn as far as the tech industry is concerned.
I mention this factoid because so many times when I have read articles about ecommerce, it is written from the perspective of a young, Anglo male who practically came out of the womb knowing how to use an ipad. I speak from a different point of view.
Although my business is not generating the type of revenue that would make a venture capitalist swoon, I still have the same needs and desires of a larger company. I need features that would make my business operate more efficiently with minimal time and money and tools to grow my business.
Here are two of the reasons why I chose Shopify:
1 Although I have been with them less than one year, they have already released two significant product enhancements that have the potential to increase my sales significantly. The first enhancement is the “buy it button” which allows me to sell products directly from my WordPress blog as well as on my website.
This makes it much easier for customers who are reading my blog posts to quickly find and buy the product I am describing. And it is always a plus when shoppers can find your products on multi-platforms online.
You can also use this feature on Squarespace or Tumblr and apparently it will be available on Facebook soon to all Shopify subscribers (currently only a select few have this and I didn’t get invited, perhaps because I have only 4,800 Facebook fans).
The second product enhancement (being released this month) is Shopify’s partnership with Pinterest. All products pinned from my Shopify website will automatically become buyable pins on Pinterest. So customers can make their purchase without having to leave the Pinterest site!
For me this is HUGE because my Pinterest boards are my #1 social network referral. I have over 12,000 followers (big for my small niche) and A LOT more people see my pins even though they do not follow my boards.
This is a feature that I have heard that many of the large retail chains already have cause they have the resources to customize their pins and the relationship with Pinterest honchos to make this happen. This is now giving small companies like mine a competitive edge.
It is very frustrating when you see a product you love on Pinterest and you click on the image only to be taken to a” 404 file not found” page. Or if you are taken to the product website you have to scroll down or hunt around the site to find the actual product for sale. Thanks to Shopify, this won’t happen to Pinterest viewers when they see my product pins.
2 The second reason why I chose Shopify is they have 24 hour customer support with a LIVE person that you can speak with on the phone (versus live chat) and English is their native tongue. ‘Nuff said.
Shopify is based in Canada. While they do tend to have some rather long wait times during peak hours (doesn’t everyone?), I have no trouble getting someone on the phone when I call at midnight. Yes, I can be a bit of a vampire and work late at night when everyone is sleeping. In fact I am writing this blog post at 1am.
I will discuss the other benefits of Shopify in my next blog post. If you are like me, I prefer to get my information in small digestible chunks instead of one long article.