Using Shopify for a small business

I am super behind on my emails and DMs...as per... but I have noticed I am being asked a lot about Shopify ever since I shared my blog post on why I do not list on Etsy.

Way back when I had a wonderful lady design a blog for me, I used Wordpress. I did enjoy using Wordpress but it isn't for the faint hearted. You can add on your own online shop with Wordpress but I have spoken to others who have their own online shop designed by a friend etc on there and then they are not able to access it properly or have zero clue how to work it properly. Sounds not the best scenario to me because I love being able to access my account and dabble with things as and when. However, if you feel you can dabble then that may be another option worth looking into. 

The same lady told me Shopify have the ability to let you still blog and that sounded like a win to me as well as the fact it was a ready made site with themes and all it would need is tweaking- though obvs there are never ending possibilities and you can hire professionals to build it for you.

Well, I had a bash at the trial session (which by the way in the past Shopify have let me extend slightly when talking to their help gurus as I just needed a few more days before I launched). I have to say it truly is a very easy platform to use and get your head around. The back end, once you have dabbled, is a breeze. You can Google help questions and generally you will find the answers. I have even dabbled with coding on here in the past. I have coded to set a 'pre-order' button as opposed to a buy it now button etc. All doable with time, patience and the head space. Nothing is a quick fix, you need to work at it but it is worth it and if you can use Etsy then this will be a doddle. 

Also note I only have the basic package... oh er missus... and I don't pay for anything extra on the apps because every quid spent counts in small businesses but this is personal preference. I do pay for my own website URL, my own Email through gmail, my own printer ink cartridge plan through my HP printer and I would say they are my outlays. Along with being part of one girls in business group and recently Tailwind. 

Fees:
 
Let's look at the breakdown from:
Etsy
-5% of the listed shipping costs for an item
-5% of the total item costs
- $0.20 per listing.
- A listing expires after 4 months and this has to be re-paid. 

So you need to be very savvy with your listings. As I make a variety of pears I ended up listing new animals regularly and this got out of hand so made a custom listing which Etsy do offer or got customers to order other products and leave a note which to be fair I still do a lot on Shopify.

Shopify
-$29 per month

-2.9% and 30¢ per transaction

Now, though it doesn't look like there is much in it fees wise,  I have found it much more manageable on Shopify- especially because I am never sure which pears will sell well and when on Etsy I had lots of listings just not selling and constantly renewing them to show the range I offered to inspire sales. 

Other websites

Look - there are loads of other places you could go for your own site. Some much cheaper than Shopify. But, this is what I use, this is now what I know and all I can share. 

The reason I love Shopify

The help gurus are excellent. The wait time is generally short and even if it says you are number 100 in the queue it goes down really quickly. Also, if you email them they have always come back to me quickly. 

The gurus ask you if they can help with other things. They look at your site and offer help to improve sections too. I love their can do, helpful, nothing is too much attitude. Genuinely refreshing. 

Now, I can't really remember or find the details but one guru gave me, as a new store, some development time. So if you can't get something to work or look like you imagined they have I think it's 60 mins free time to help and each time you ask they deduct it from those minutes. 

The themes are clean, easy to use and can be fully changed to make it your own. 

Now...the following points maybe just any website but...

The ability to share discounts is super quick. I set up my own for giveaway winners and for newsletters etc. You can set for specific people, groups of people, minimum spend etc etc. So many options and then it even creates a URL to share. 

(back end of my website showing the apps and analytics and customers etc)

I love the ability to add on apps. I have recently downloaded Order Printer allowing me to print all my orders with ease. They have apps for everything. Some paid and some free. For example, you cannot have your Instagram rolling on the site unless you pay for an app. 

Building on customers. I realised only the other day that I have well over 300 customers on my newsletter list. I also love seeing how many orders customers place and how I can reward these customers if I haven't already. 

Mailchimp- is just the tits. It is the perkiest tits of tits that integrates with Shopify and they work together like a bloody dream. 

If a customer pays through PayPal you can grab the money out straight away and with Shopify they pay you and share exactly when the payments are scheduled. 

Downsides

The postage is really quite tricky to work out in order to get it right. I make up the weights of my parcels in order to place products in certain price brackets and then list each product at the weight I need the postage price to be and do not have an example box because that creates an issue too.

Other things to note from a personal stance

I did not close my Etsy shop straight away if you are reading this and looking to switch from Etsy. I wanted to be sure I was getting enough sales to warrant closing and even then I didn't think I ever would but in the end I felt the sales were decent enough coming through here and I didn't need the admin. This was a slow process and took me about a year. Reason being it was so long was because I opened this in a September and then closed everything for Mat leave in March and then after Mat leave in the September again I chose not to re-open my Etsy. 

Traffic...this is something I personally get directly from Instagram. I am sharing below my traffic for Feb and you can see that a lot comes from unknown and this maybe because I still haven't linked my Google analytics but other than that I would say my main convertor to sales is Instagram.
I am now blogging more readily and pinning everything I blog. I am now using Tailwind and on a Monday or Sunday I am scheduling all my posts from my own website and Instagram and using these all over Pinterest to build some traffic from there- after all this is a search engine. 

I haven't tried dabbling with any SEO. I just don't know where to start and I just glaze over. I was told blogging on your site is where it is at and the more you do the better. 

Though I have had my website for 18 months, for that time I was either having fertility treatment, pregnant with twins, giving birth to twins, boobing twins and now running around after 9 month old twins and a toddler so really time has not been on my side but this is what I have so far. A steady stream of sales on my own site and nothing feels better. 

Yeah great Naomi but what would you do if you were me

1. Have a go, nothing to lose on a free trial. No card details just have a bash and then one day it asks you to pay to continue and if you aren't a fan then don't.

(where you edit your shop under customise, move around those things on the left, add to them, change them, switch them...it's so easy)

2. Keep other avenues open if you are worried. Use Etsy etc but if you are new then decide what would be easier for you. If you feel you have an engaged social media following somewhere then have a stab at a website. 

3. Tell yourself that every day for an hour you will have a play. Walk away if it annoys you and come back to it. The more you dabble the clearer it would be. 

4. Take images of your products in the SAME way. Keep product photos consistent. 

(Here is the side bar again showing where the blog is)

5. Spend some time getting images of you with your products for about you pages and home pages or even better hire a photographer to come and take some headshots and even images with your products.

(showing the theme after you have selected "online store" and "customise" is where you edit your site)

6. Build up launch, get people excited. Use a holding page for people to sign up to your mailing list. 

7. I buy URLS from Fasthosts as they hold it there for you too and you can link here easily. 

All in all, I say go for it. Nothing to lose. In the meantime, feel free to click around my site and see all my errors/how I have had a bash!

Lots of Love

Naomi x
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Using Shopify for a small business
 

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