So you want to sell greeting cards?
You've looked at Etsy but they take a big cut and the other sellers on Etsy are SO cheap. How do people make handmade cards and sell them for $1 a peace? Are they setting up sweat shops? Are their children chained up in the basement making greeting cards? You can barely buy the paper and the ink for that! And then there's you, a real live business person, putting your cards up for sale right next to the $1 cards. It's tough to compete, even if yours are better (which I'm sure they are). In reality, I think there a lot of folks just doing it as a hobby and they don't care if they ever turn a profit. We're not trying to strike gold here but we do have to turn some sort of profit, right?
Amazon? Forget it. By the time you pay all the fees, they take almost half. Who has good enough margins they can give 40-50% of their sale price to Amazon? Not us! I would have to charge $8 per card. Our cards are SUPER awesome but that would be a tough sale. They don't play music, they don't have fancy cutouts, they won't do your dishes... but they will make you smile!
There are a few other market places but I haven't seen any good reviews for the smaller markets.
So... we've decided you're going to build your own online store and do some marketing to drive traffic to your site. Youre welcome. I just saved you hours of internet research, at a minimum. What platform are you going to use? Wix, Shopify and Wordpress are the most popular. We tried Wix first so I'll tell you the pros and cons.
It's easy to set up a basic webpage on Wix. I had our basic outline of our first webpage done in about two hours. Also, it's an all in one package. They have integrated email marketing through Ascend and you can create your social media ads right there in the dashboard. They're trying to be the one stop option, which has some appeal when you're first getting started. Sometimes the simpler, the better!
It's not real flexible. There are certain things you just can't do. For example, you can't set up discounts that are automatically applied in the shopping cart. This was a big deal for us because we want to offer discounts as you buy more cards. Shipping single cards is kind of silly so we want our shoppers to buy more. We want the shopping cart to automatically update when you hit a certain price. Wix won't do that. You can offer coupon codes but no automatic discounts. We ran into some other, similar hurdles with Wix as well.
Also, Wix doesn't integrate with as many external apps. For example, we wanted to use Mail Chimp but it wouldn't integrate with Wix. We didn't like the internal email marketing app, Ascend, but that was pretty much the only option.
So, then there're Wordpress. I have set up blogs on Wordpress before but never an online store. I found Wordpress a little more complicated and less user friendly, if you're not a webdesigner. They have tons of cool templates to choose from which make it easier but I remember doing A LOT of googline trying to figure things out.
That brings us to Shopify. I just finished setting up our new online store! Yay for me! I've built two entire online stores complete with over 50 products in the last six months. So here's what I like about Shopify so far...
We picked a really simple theme so it was really quick to customize it. I just picked my fonts, colors, a few graphics, put in our social media tags and we had a webpage. It was also pretty easy to migrate products over with a CSV file. And the help pages are spot on and easy to follow.
I thought this was a con but it ended up being a pro. Shopify is not as easy to manipulate. Wix has its own editor where you can go in and move things around on your page. At first I thought was really neat but it turned into a disaster. Every time I made changes in the editor I ended up creating some new problem. I like that I can use the Shopify template exactly how it is. It makes our pages load faster, the whole site is cohesive and easy to use, and the mobile site is automatically formatted well. If you do use Wix, I don't recommend using the editor unless you're a webdesigner and you really know what you're doing.
So, there it is. Shopify is our current #1 choice for our online greeting store. I'll let you know how its going once we really open things up and start seeing some sales.