Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Selling Online: Web Storefronts UPDATED

There are lots of online store options now. Some free, some not-so-free. I like free, so I will be checking out a few of them over the next few months. Stay tuned for updates.

I do limited credit card transactions, so I'm using the PayPal Here and Square Card Reader apps for the few sales that require it. Square has launched a free online store, well, not completely free since it's subject to their 2.75% transaction fee for all sales, but free enough. Etsy also has a similar pay-as-you-go deal. I'll give them a shot later on.

For now, I'm starting out with Square and will provide an update as things go along.

Setup was fairly simple, and categories are easy to establish. Photos are easy to upload, and it seems straightforward enough. You can set taxable and nontaxable items, I've even uploaded some yard sale items just because.

You can customize your web address, and there are promotional links for each item that you post and a nice script to enter on your website. For now, I'll just give you the direct link:

Square has a new promotional offer, sign up through a referral link and get the first $1,000 in transactions free. Much like Dropbox's free space for referrals, both parties will get the free transaction bonus, so if you want to try Square for your online or offline business, click here and get some free transactions.

Square has limited web analytics, and less SEO optimization apparently as I have seen very little traffic, despite my use of social media promotions. I used the same promotions for my Etsy store and had significant traffic. Well, significant compared to the limited traffic on Square. I started with different content on Square, but that doesn't really account for the drastic difference in traffic. I'll keep plugging away at it, but for now, Etsy wins in the marketing department.

UPDATE 1/24/15: Square also doesn't really allow for digital downloads. You can set up an item so that you can email or send a link to another site for downloading, but you can't do an "instant download", at least not yet.

Etsy has a new app for managing your store. Now, I haven't opened my Etsy store yet, but it looks promising. For now you can't create a store with the app, but you can manage one. Looks like store creation in the app is a "coming soon" feature. With many people using phones & tablets for their primary internet experience, that will be a positive change in their app and burgeoning web presence.

I did open an Etsy shop, which was super easy. Once you open the shop by listing a single item, you can then add to or manage existing listings through the app. Since most of my photos were on my phone, this worked great! Etsy has a powerful search engine and great web stats as part of their service. I've noticed significant web traffic that outpaced my own social media promotion. This is a great way to get your products noticed! No sales yet, but lots of interest...and it's been less than a month. Take a look here:

UPDATE 1/24/15: Etsy allows for digital downloads, which is completely awesome! The 20c listing fee applies to the listing no matter whether you list it to sell one item or 1,000. The listing will need to be renewed when you sell out of the quantity you list or in 4 months, whichever is first. You will also incur an new 20c re-listing fee every time something sells (if you are selling multiples under a single listing). So, in essence, what you are saving by listing multiples under a single heading is the listing fee for unsold items. That's a help if things stay on your site for awhile before selling out.

Keep checking this page for updates as I work on this and other sites

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