There are many options when it comes to choosing a sales platform. I have seen everything from only orders via email or DM's to a full website. This is a choice you will make when setting up your business. You can start as small as emails only via social media advertising and add each site as you go. I will say wouldn't be my first choice as it's tough to manage the shipping, address info and things can get easily missed. I also don't' recommend building the largest site and multiple streams in the beginning either. Let's take a look at two popular platforms for social retail... and see what makes sense for you.
Here's some sites to consider and Pro's and Con's for each:
While Etsy can be a great place to start, it is important to be aware of the fees associated with selling through the platform. Etsy fees include 20 cents per listing, plus 3.5% of each sale. Although these costs can add up, the platform also offers SEO and analytics tools to help you identify successful listings and track your page’s performance.
It is also important to pay attention to the “market ads” offer that appears at the bottom of new listings. This program will charge an additional 3-15% of each sale to promote your listing on Etsy, but it is not necessary if you are just starting out. To make sure you are not being charged for this service, make sure to select “No” when the offer appears.
Finally, it is important to do your research to understand how to use keywords and other best practices to ensure your listings are appearing on the first page of search results. There are many online courses and guides available to help you master the art of successful Etsy listing.
Welcome to the world wide web of sales platforms... Shopify may be the largest platform for newbies and large companies alike. Though the buzz is "Shopify can be expensive" is out there, I beg to differ.
Shopify not only has a starter trial, you can have a full running website for less than $30 a month! It offers email marketing, checkout pages, cart set up, and incorporates with social media platforms for free! I can list as many products as I want on Shopify, have it feed to my shop in Instagram, sell a product on either site and have one "back end" resource to look at.
With all that being said, Shopify can run up past this amazing $30 when you add apps, or other email service providers (ESP), and take your online store to a brick and mortar site. Shopify can be the home base for an entire business sales plan and house all your information and resources in one platform. But... you must learn SEO, use google analytics, and master your social retail to get your website noticed!
This is a tough decision, but either way you can't go wrong! I started with Shopify, and started utilizing Etsy more last November. I took some tutorials on Etsy that have helped my sales, but to be honest I spend more time in the social retail space, producing my sales there that I forget to keep up with my Etsy. While having both can be lucrative, you have to really plan your time on both. Etsy likes you on their site, just like other social media platforms, so this plays a part in your sales as well.
My advice is to start with one, as you grow then you can add more sites, but remember maintaining more spaces takes time. Imagine you have a Studio apartment (Shopify), and you move to a 3 bedroom home in the country with acreage (Etsy and more apps), now your cleaning more, mowing your lawn, and have more maintenance than you ever imagined! This is what retail sales growth feels like! You have to want it, love it, and know that no matter what hard work pays off!
That 3 bedroom home in the country is the dream of many people, but few can handle the growth and maintenance without becoming resourceful and savvy!