Selling Online with Shopify
If you're looking for software integrated with Shopify, perhaps discovering this advice from a 20-year Internet veteran will help you make the best use of your investment capital and time.
Consignment is a good business. It surged with the 2006-2009 recession and will do so again with the next imminent and larger downturn in the economy.
Selling online is completely different from selling locally:
- Your best selling tool is lost - your personality.
- Without face-to-face contact, there is no trust.
- By now maybe you've shopped around to uncover how expensive selling online would be: software, a 'shopping cart' (like Shopify), shipping supplies and charges, chargebacks...
- Shoppers cannot touch or try on your merchandise, increasing the levels of dissatisfaction and refunds.
Smart Online Sales
Chances are you don't need a full-blown e-commerce shopping cart and the inescapable expense. Who's going to find it anyway?
Find free or reasonably-priced outlets for advertising like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Pinit...
Buy a one-off consignment software to keep track of everything and stay away from the pay-as-you-go-forever traps.
Give yourself some time to see if things get rolling before piling on expenses with no ROI (return on investment).
Realistically selling online isn't the grand easy method of making a profit it once used to be primarily because ranking highly for keywords related to a shop's merchandise isn't 1) a skill possessed by retailers and 2) was infinitely easier 20 years ago when selling online started becoming popular (way less competition).
Search, for example, for 'shopping carts' and count the number of offerings. "Everybody's doing it!"
Not to burst a bubble, but to advise where all the money for software to sell online might be better spent, most would stuck their toes into this water would have been better off keeping their powder dry.
Here's what a new venture into online selling is faced with:
- Expense: At a minimum Shopify will charge $29 per month just to sign up and of course every such provider reserves the right to increase the subscription fee once you're locked in. Deduct 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction for every sale. Deduct another 2% if card processing if the provider is other than Shopify.
- Hidden Expense (that can literally wipe out any meager profit): Theft. A whole generation of millions of online shoppers have learned how to make false claims about dissatisfaction, keep the merchandise and get their money back, sometimes succeeding in 'chargebacks' costing the shop $50 and up (in addition to losing the sales proceeds, paying credit-card processing fees and shipping costs).
- Risk: If a store owner fights a return or chargeback, seasoned larcenists attack with bad reviews.
- Trust: People won't trust you and as much as you would like to, without face-to-face, you shouldn't trust anyone coming at you online. If only 10% of online shoppers are thieves, that's enough to wipe out any profit. Stay local.
Unless you have a way of getting your Shopify merchandise in front of a very large number of people (100 visitors = 1 sale, maybe), avoid the expense, the risk and all of the hassle and stick with local sales. Seriously, wouldn't $29/month (which is the Shopify minimum) be better spent on local advertising, or spent on nothing at all?
Shopify makes it headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario. It is a proprietary e-commerce platform started in 2004 for online shops and retail POS systems. Shopify provides online marketing and sales, payment processing, delivery services and client-management features for operating an online store. Today's it is listed on the NYSE and the TSE with volume above $82 billion, thanks in large part to a collaboration with Amazon in 2015.