I went home to Missouri recently and spent some time with my best friend Lindsey. We've been friends since 2004. These days, Lindsey is a busy mama to 3 boys, all under 6 years old.
Like I said, busy.
Her oldest, JD, was really into video games. Specifically, video games on Mom's iPhone.
She confessed to me that JD's screen time privileges had recently been grounded AND he had extra chores to earn money to pay off his debt because ...
JD had purchased himself an iPad from Amazon off of Mom's phone.
Not only was I amazed at his brazenness, I was in awe of his smarts.
He's not old enough to read, but he managed to buy himself an iPad online!
He's a genius!
Also, poor Lindsey.
Which got me thinking...if a toddler is (successfully) shopping online,
Who DOESN'T shop online?
And immediately I think of people in economically developing nations.
And then I think of my grandma.
And that's where my mental list stops because it's complete.
We ALL shop online.
For convenience, for selection, for price, for entertainment -- we all do it.
And it's not just Amazon we're shopping. We're shopping everywhere.
Globally, we spent $1.3 Trillion in online retail sales in 2014.
By 2021 (just 3 years from now), that number is set to reach $4.5 Trillion. Trillion with a T.
So let's talk about the elephant in the room.
If you're a business owner, or a hobby artist or maker, or even a dreamer with a day job you want to ditch, why don't you have an amazing e-commerce website?
If everyone and their toddler is shopping online, why don't you have a proverbial booth at the market yet? You need a piece of that multi-trillion dollar pie!
I'm guessing that the reason you haven't made the leap to selling online is that you've fallen victim to a myth that is simply no longer true.
So please, let me break them down for you and show you how easy having your own e-commerce site can be.
4 E-Commerce Myths That Are No Longer True
Myth #1: Building an e-commerce site is very expensive.
For our first used-to-be-true-but-not-anymore myth, let's talk about price. In the past, building a website was very expensive because you needed a team of highly-trained developers to build it for you.
It took them hours of coding magic just to build a simple, one-page informational site.
To build a site with a shopping cart? Expect to spend thousands -- even tens of thousands.
But now, technologies exist that let "regular people" (i.e., those of us who didn't go to code school) create beautiful websites without having to touch a drop of code.
With drag and drop editors and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interfaces, website builders today are so simple that JD might even be able to build one from his new iPad.
And the cost?
You'd think that for this level of high technology, the cost would be astronomical.
But it's not.
In fact, many builders offer FREE plans, but those are often very limited and will certainly contain the builder's branding, which might throw off your customers.
Here's a rundown of entry-level monthly pricing for popular website builders:
Wix offers websites for as little as $4.50 a month.
GoDaddy is $5.99
Weebly starts at $8.00 per month.
Squarespace is $12.
The platform I recommend is Shopify. The entry level there is $9, but invest $29 per month and get a bucketload of features (hello, selling on Pinterest).
With monthly rates like these, making ONE sale per month will pay for your website.
Imagine seeing hundreds of orders come in each month and growing your business like crazy.
It's easy to make a huge return on your investment when you're willing to build an e-commerce site.
Don't let the cost of the website prevent you from selling online.
Myth #2: You have to be a techie to do it yourself.
So, now that we've debunked our cost myth, you're probably thinking, "if it's that cheap, it has to be a nightmare to build! I can't do that! I'm not good at technology."
Our second myth might just be more prolific than the first, and it's because when it was true it was really, really true.
Building a website IS a technological task. It requires sitting at a computer or tablet, clicking and mousing and typing. And it always has.
But what's different is the level of skill that was needed 12 (ish and plus) years ago versus today.
My friend Andy, who is an electrical engineer and NOT a web developer, is starting his own lighting design firm.
I asked him if he needed help with his website and he sent me his link, along with the text "this is what I build last night in about an hour. Still need to add images."
The site was full-fledged!
It had a navigable, beautiful home page, full navigation and menus, an about page, a contact page, and a custom domain!
And he had only spent an hour on it!
Andy built his site on Squarespace, but other platforms should offer similar ease of use.
Not only do modern website builders not require coding skills, they don't require a degree in graphic design, either.
In fact, Shopify boasts "no design skills needed."
When you sign up for these website building platforms, you have access to dozens of pre-made (but fully customizable) templates, so your design will look professional no matter what.
Myth #3: A website you can build yourself wouldn't meet your business's needs.
The myth that a DIY website won't meet the needs of a complex business is my personal favorite, because I, too, was guilty of believing this.
And it was an expensive mistake.
Here's some background information:
My company, Hattie Rex, creates personalized jewelry and pet ID tags.
Our products are highly customized, so our website needs text entry, drop-down boxes, and other elements that allow the customer to tell us how to create their product.
For example, if a customer is ordering the At Ease pet ID tag, they have options for size, metal, and font.
But they also need a space where they can type in their dog's name and the phone number they want on the tag.
To date, I've been selling online for nearly 11 years. During that time, I've had four websites, in addition to Etsy.
For the first three sites, I hired someone to build them.
I would tell them, "I can't have a site built on a template."
I was anti-template because to me, the word template meant they couldn't be customized.
My website was special.
I just knew that I needed features that a one-size-fits-all website couldn't do.
I started using Shopify for Point of Sale in early 2016. Simultaneously, I was having a designer build a site for me in Word Press.
To build two sites at the same time was a huge overhaul of our systems, and it was a huge investment in time and money.
On a cold, January night, I was sitting up late, working away at uploading photos into our new Point of Sale system, and the obvious hit me in the face.
I didn't need two websites.
I'd been uploading products and prices and photos and descriptions into our Shopify Point of Sale System.
All the products were there.
And with the click of a button, I could make them live on my website.
WHY HADN'T I THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE?
Not wanting to accept this massive mistake, I frantically searched for reasons why it wouldn't work.
Custom text options? Yeah, there's an app for that.
Unlimited product variations? Damn, it can do that, too.
Use my own domain? Hell.
I think I've just wasted 6 months of my designer's time.
And once I got over the guilty feelings, about the money I'd wasted, and swallowed my pride (not easy), I was amazed at the simplicity I'd created, even if I took the long road to get there.
Not only did I not need a separate website for my point of sale, but I had everything all in one place.
My inventory was synced across all sales channels.
I could ship products directly from Shopify, and it automatically updated the tracking both for me and the customer.
My wholesale customers could log in and purchase in bulk with a discount.
I had the option of selling on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and Wanelo, all without having to upload any products -- just a click and it's all synced!
Not bad for a website that uses a template.
I had to eat my words, but since then, I haven't looked back.
Now I know that technology has advanced far beyond where it was when I paid someone thousands of dollars to build my first very basic website.
The myth that DIY websites aren't good enough is simply not true anymore.
Whether you're on Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, or any other platform, I think you'll be amazed at the options you have for customizing your website to meet your specific needs.
Myth #4: You're too busy to build an e-commerce site.
Remember my friend Andy who built his website in an hour? It's not an anomaly.
In fact, GoDaddy advertises you can "build a website in under an hour."
Now, if you're selling products online, the amount of time it takes you will depend on the number of products you wish to sell, and the availability of photos and descriptions.
It will vary, too, depending on how quickly each individual works.
Personally, my fastest website, from start to ready-to-sell, took me 6 hours. It had 10 products and 3 pages.
But this myth, overall, is subjective.
We're all "busy."
But we also all choose how we spend our time.
Each one of us gets 24 hours a day, and, barring certain responsibilities and biological necessities, we get to choose how to spend it.
Now, if you've read this far, you're probably somewhat interested in building your own website. Or you're my dad. Or both.
But I can't convince you to do it as long as you're holding on to the "I'm too busy" line.
The reality is, if it's important to you, you'll make time, or you'll make a way.
One great way to "find the time" is to find a way to hold yourself accountable. You could ask for the support of your partner or a friend, or ask your mastermind group to hold you to it. If you're invested, hire the help of a coach to walk you through the process. It's important to find a way that works for you so that you can achieve this growth for your business.
And if your business's growth and success aren't important to you, what is?
So, now that we've covered the 4 e-commerce myths that USED to be true, you can grab a free download of "The 5 Mistakes Most ECommerce Rookies Make...and How to Avoid Them by clicking right here.