I built this online store and site in just two hours. Yes you read that right, even I was shocked at how easy it was. I spent many months looking at my options when I was preparing to launch Shiny WordWorks, but at the end of the day I could only chose one. I went with Shopify and I'm so happy I did. I'm often asked about Shopify, and I thought I would share my experiences here for everyone that might be looking for a solution to meet their business needs.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links
I'm running a business. This is not a hobby or a side interest, this is my full-time gig that puts food on the table and a roof over my family's head. It is very important that my business is run professionally. I need tools that work and a service that is easy to access for my clients.
My blog, STEAM Powered Family, is on a Genesis Wordpress foundation, self-hosted. So my first step was to look into building a new site with one of the various eCommerce plug-ins available. I spoke with my host and a few people using the tools. I checked websites that used the technology, and frankly very few looked as professional as I wanted for my business. Of course, there were a few sites that were very well done, but after inquiring about the cost of setting up a site like that, I was in sticker shock!
Even if I tried to do it myself, as a DIY project, the cost of all the themes, plug-ins, and specialized secure hosting, all started adding up very quickly. I was also, frankly, quite overwhelmed by the idea of doing it myself.
My time is precious and limited. I didn't want to waste time that could be spent earning money to feed my family trying to build a site. I wanted to stay focused on my work and promoting my new business. I needed an economical and efficient solution that would provide me with a professional product without a ton of upfront costs, technical work, or time investment.
In my quest to find a solution, my next step was to move beyond the blogging world and speak with some of my "real world" friends. I'm blessed with having a number of business savvy, entrepreneurs in my life who have very successful businesses.
I was surprised to learn they were all using Shopify for their online business needs.
Not only did they use Shopify, they RAVED about it.
After some research, and asking my friends a million more questions, I took the plunge. I knew Shopify was the solution for my needs.
When I signed up, Shopify gave me two weeks for free. This was my chance to test out their services with no obligation or commitment.
I was able to completely build my site in less than two hours.
The interface and functionality is very similar to Wordpress, so the learning curve was almost non-existent. I was able to dive in and get to work.
I didn't need two weeks, I was sold, and signed up for the $29/month program. This includes all my hosting and I had no other start up costs at all for my little business. Even my theme was free. Oh, and even though I signed up right away, they still gave me my full first two weeks free!
When I had questions Shopify was quick to answer and has some of the best customer service I've ever experienced. They even reached out to me, on numerous occasions, to see how things were going and inquire if they could help me out in any way. And I don't mean some mass email. These were personalized emails, from a real person! That personal touch is so rare in our online world, it really helped me trust that Shopify has my back in my little business venture.
Through this site, I am not only setting up a store to sell my ebooks, but I am also able to invoice my editing and coaching clients. In the past I had to invoice my clients through PayPal, which was okay, but it lacked the level of professionalism I want to impart with my business. Now, I invoice through my business and it's perfect!
Another thing I really like about Shopify is that I am able to offer payment options including Mastercard, Visa, American Express and PayPal. The best part is that if a client chooses to use their credit card, my fees are substantially less than the PayPal fees.
A few more reasons I'm in love with Shopify:
~ Buy It Button - This is a fantastic feature that allows me to integrate a "buy it" button into my blog or email list. This is wonderful for helping me cross promote and make my eCommerce available on all my sites, without any additional cost.
~ Buyable Pins - I'm currently setting up special Pins on Pinterest that will allow my customers to buy my products directly from Pinterest!
~ Facebook Shop - My shop is integrated into my Facebook Page. This was a super simple process. Only a few clicks from me, and Shopify worked with Facebook to get it all set up on my behalf.
~ Customer tracking - If a customer starts the check out process but then abandons it for some reason, I can follow up with them.
~ Discount codes - I can offer special discount codes to my clients. Perfect for giving my email list a special treat for their loyalty!
~ Unlimited products
~ Unlimited file storage
~ Report generation
~ Full control over HTML and CSS for complete customization
~ Lots of amazing free themes (like the one I used for this site)
~ And the best feature? UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH FOR FREE! If my site goes viral, Shopify totally has my back.
These extra features are all included in my $29/month fee!
Now if my business really takes off, I can upgrade my package and get even more awesomeness like automated abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, more robust reporting and more.
I'm so happy with Shopify. The more I use it, the more I love it. If you are looking for an eCommerce solution, I highly recommend you check out Shopify.