One question I'm often asked is what platform I've used to create my Hattie Rex site, or which POS system I use at the store. The answer is the same for both questions. Shopify. I'm a huge fan and I'll tell you why.
When I first started selling online in 2007, websites were EXPENSIVE. You had to pay someone to build it, and even if they used a template, it was a tedious process. That's why I sold for two years solely on Etsy and a couple wholesale accounts.
But Etsy had limitations. They've come a LONG way, but back in the day, they didn't have dynamic pricing for variants, different shipping options, or coupon code capabilities. After a couple years, I realized I needed my own website. If not for the shopping option, then for the brand awareness. and that whole really long website on a business card thing was a pain, too.
So, I found a bargain web developer and hired her. A bargain back then was $1500 and the result was bad. Painfully bad. I couldn't update anything myself without hours of digging through the back end, trying to learn code, and having to refresh a separate browser constantly because there was no intuitive interface. The website constantly needed updates and once you updated one thing, none of your plugins would work anymore. It was a nightmare. But, I thought at the time that's what I needed to do to have a site for my products.
You see, my business was special. We all think our businesses are special. And they are.
But my business had variants. My dog tags were available in 100 different styles, 3-5 different metals, 2-5 different sizes. And then the customer put in their information, plus their font choice and design stamp choice, and it turned every transaction into a programming nightmare.
Fast forward a few years and a few options were on the market. Wix, Squarespace, Blogger with Etsy mini plugins, etc. I spent very little time exploring these options because I didn't believe they had the capabilities, as do-it-yourself websites, to accommodate all of my special needs.
It wasn't until I was looking for a point of sale system in 2015 that I found Shopify. And after 6 months of trying to build simultaneous new systems (one for the web, one for in-store), I had an a-ha moment.
Shopify does all of that. And it can accommodate variant-based pricing, include text entry or drop-down menu options, and integrate with Facebook, Amazon, Wanelo, Pinterest, and other online shopping platforms. Later, I used Shopify apps to add a wholesale login which allows my clients to buy using their wholesale discount, or input their drop shipping orders in a way that maximizes my human resources.
It's super intuitive, has a variety of themes, both free and paid, to customize to your liking. With the option to modify the code to personalize your theme and site, there's no limit to what you can do with Shopify.
Plus, there's a free 14-day trial, so there's no risk at all.
The best part is that you can have your website up and running in a day.
I've actually timed it. I built a "trial" site to learn about Facebook Ads, dropshipping, and video marketing, but I also did it to see how long it takes to have a professional-quality, working website that can sign people up to your newsletter, give them multiple shipping options, and send follow up emails after purchase, or for abandoned carts. It took me 6 hours. So I feel confident you could do it in 8, including adding your first few products.
Are you saying to yourself right now that you don't have the time, or you're not a "tech" person? To the time argument, I say, if it's worth it, make time. One great way to make time, and to have someone there for any roadblocks that get in your way, would be to sign up for our E-Comm 101 workshop. It's an in-person event, 2 hours a week for 6 weeks, and at the end, you'll have a live website, guaranteed.
Don't need the handholding? Go ahead and check it out. Even if you don't build it in one sitting, you can at least see how easy it is to get started. If you have questions along the way, or before you begin, let me know in the comments.
Happy Website Building.