One way to make income (outside of having your regular 9-5) is to do so online. You can create a blog and monetize it with advertising, affiliate marketing or by selling your own products & services. However, did you know that there are a lot that goes into creating and operating an online shop? You have to figure out what you’re going to sell – services or products or both? Then there’s pricing, which I always find the most difficult to figure out and that’s just for starters.
Today I want to focus on the platform because it going to play a significant role. Think about this – should you use your own website or a third-party site?
While using a third-party site makes getting started easier, you still have to factor in fees. All of these sites have some sort of fee attached, be it a transaction and/or processing fee, which is what they will charge you for every sale. Some may allow you to list your items for free and others will charge. Going with your own website, may be cheaper but you are still have to use something to collect payments.
When I first started designing website for clients, I would just create invoices through PayPal every time, until I learned about E-junkie which helped tremendously. Then fast forward to last year when I wanted to launch my digital products, I got scared because I didn’t know this one important thing.
Have you ever noticed that when you shop online? I bet all of your favorite shops urls starts with “HTTPS”. Now there’s a way to navigate around all this. First you can use PayPal buttons because when someone clicks on that button they are redirected to the PayPal website which is secure. Or you can use a third-party site like Selz, which is also a secure platform. Lastly, you can just have stand-alone online shop, not even worrying about have a blog with sites such as Etsy. Either way there are plenty of options out there for you to look into for having your own online shop.
What is Selz?
Selz is a platform that you can create your own shop to sell your goods (both physical and digital) and services. You can sell directly from your website by adding buy now buttons and widgets. They offer a free 14-day trial or if you choose to just jump right in you can create a free account and have up to 5 listings. The only downside to a free account besides the limited number of items you can sell is that your customers will not be able to pay using PayPal, but they can use their PayPal debit card. There are two fees – a transaction fee of 2% (charged per transaction) and a processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 (credit card fee per transaction). Therefore, if you are selling something for $20, your profit will be $18.70.
The breakdown: 20 multiplied by 5% = $1 + $0.30 = $1.30
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress sites. The basic version is free but there are tons of extensions that can make it more powerful. Again some are free and there are some you have to pay for. Just like Selz you can sell both physical and digital products and/or services. There are several payment options, including PayPal. If you go that route, there is only one fee – the traditional PayPal fee of 2.9% + $0.30. Therefore, if you are selling something for $20, your profit will be $19.12.
The breakdown: 20 multiplied by 2.9% = $0.58 + $0.30 = $0.88
Would you like to see these two options in action? Well you are in luck because I am conducting a 90-day experiment by launching my online shop using both Selz and WooCommerce and will be sharing my experience with you.
Why I am using two platforms for my online shop?
For one I want to see which one works best for my audience as well as what I like working with. The only way to see that is to test them out and do so at the same time. So with all of the options available, why these two? Well, I have seen Selz work for my favorite womenpreneur – LaShanda Henry aka SistaSense, therefore I know that it works well with self-hosted WordPress sites. It also works with any theme.
I can have my digital and physical products up for presale while showing the regular price, provide customers with coupons/discount codes, and most importantly have a way for customers to purchase my items with their credit/debit cards. Since, I do not want to loose out on potential sales, I will also be using WooCommerce.
After doing my research I am comfortable with launching my online shop this way. By not requiring customers to create an account (downside for me) they will be redirect to the PayPal site to pay. Therefore I am not saving any of their information on my site, given everyone peace of mind. In the future, I would like to test out Etsy. I didn’t add it to the lineup right now because I don’t think listing items for pre-sale fits for that community. I’m thinking once my items goes through the pre-ordering stage, I may add it to Etsy.
However, my first priority is to secure an SSL certificate and learn how to use another payment option called Stripe, which will allow me to accept credit/debit cards with WooCommerce. Having an SSL certificate is a requirement in order to use Stripe. Now there is also a Paypal Business in a Box that I recently learn about that connects WooCommerce, PayPal and Xero.
I have experience working with Xero, which is an online bookkeeping and accounting tool, but I am not sure if that software I’m ready to use just yet. Well, my 90-day experiment starts June 1 and I hope you stay along for the ride.
Now it’s your turn – Do you have an online shop?
Leave a comment below sharing what platform you are using for your online shop. If you are thinking about starting one, which platform are you looking into?