While ordering a birthday present for my sister last week, I realized that around 90% of the online shops I buy from are on Multiply. Now, I’ve always thought of Multiply as a personal social-networking site, more like Friendster and MySpace than Etsy. So why are so many people setting up shop on Multiply? Because it’s easy to use? I have nothing against Multiply, but the truth is that a default Multiply site is simply not meant for online stores. Which is why many of these Multiply shops post product listings under “Photos”, announcements under either “Blog” or “Notes”, and so forth. And then I thought maybe- just maybe- many people don’t know where else to set up an online shop?
Hence this post. If you’re looking to set up an online store, here are some alternative services to check out:
I mentioned Etsy earlier, and am listing it first with good reason. Etsy is a community of online shops that sell handmade items- and that includes everything from t-shirts to soaps to toys. Setting up a shop is quick and easy, and there is a listing fee of 20 cents per listed item, and a 3.5% sales fee. But from everything I’ve seen, shops on Etsy do very well because they’ve built a good, active community of buyers and sellers.
If something like Etsy isn’t for you, you might want to consider one of these “all-in” hosted solutions. These services take care of everything from hosting your shop to handling payment transactions for you. Set up is usually very simple, and both of these services offer great-looking shop templates, so you won’t have to worry about having an ugly shop. BigCartel has a free plan, limited to 5 products, and Shopify offers a 30-day free trial on any of their plans. BigCartel does not take any percentages of your sales, while Shopify takes anywhere from zero (for their highest priced plan) to 2% per transaction.
WordPress with a Plug-In
That’s right, you can set up an online shop using our favorite blog software. It’s as simple as installing a shopping cart plug-in such as WP e-Commerce (free), Shopp ($55 for a single shop), or Quick Shop (free and very lightweight).
Of course I couldn’t ignore eBay. Because it’s so well-known, your customers might be more comfortable buying from you- and a lot of people do have success selling on eBay. Their Basic plan is $15.95 a month, with a variety of fees depending on what items you’re selling and how.
How do you power your online store?