Just For The Craic Store

Apparel, Décor, Gifts & More

Choosing The Right Selling Platform For Your Business

If you are just starting out with your online business and haven’t decided which platform to sell on, here are the pros and cons of WooCommerce, Shopify and Etsy. I have used them all and this is what I have found.

Shopify

Shopify is a somewhat entry level, user-friendly platform that requires minimal technical skills and has 3 plans to choose from the basic $29/month package to the advanced $299/month package. 

 

The basic Shopify plan comes with enough features to set up a new online store. You can add unlimited products, 2 user accounts, unlimited file storage, and more.

However, this pricing doesn’t include third-party tools and add-ons that you will need to take your Shopify store to the next level. As your business grows, these costs will start adding up, and you’ll soon be paying a lot more than the basic plan.

Payments are another factor that affect your costs. Shopify offers their own Shopify Payments solution which costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. If you want to use third-party payment gateways or your own merchant account, then you will be charged a flat fee of 2.0% for all transactions.

The disadvantage of Shopify is that you don’t have full control over everything. 

Your costs can go high with transaction fees, add-ons, and integrations. Your upgrade options are limited to select plans, and you cannot manage costs on a pay-as-you-grow basis. As you make changes, snippets of old plugins remain in your code, adding bloat to your site and causing it to slow considerably. The only way to fix this in the Shopify platform, is to wipe your database and build a new theme from scratch.

Etsy

Etsy is a great tool for those beginning in e-commerce. They have a massive audience and presence in search engines with a team of SEO and ads experts. They also collect and disperse sales tax and VAT for you. While starting with Etsy is free, the fees start adding up very quickly.

In setting up your store there is a listing fee for each item of .20 cents and listings need to be renewed every 4 months. I have about 900 products in my catalogue and that would cost me $180 every 4 months to renew listings. This fee is also charged for relisting each time you make a sale.

In order to be seen in listings, Etsy encourages sellers to offer free shipping on purchases over $35. 

The Etsy Plus Plan is $10 a month and includes 15 listing credits monthly (the equivalent of $3 in listings) and $5 Etsy Ads credits monthly.

Etsy Ads is a great and necessary way to get seen however, the cost is per click and it goes very quickly. You are competing against literally millions and people are there to browse. So they will click on your product and then go back to browsing other stores.

Etsy also offers their own Offsite Ads that put your listings outside of the Etsy platform and in places like Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc. If you make a sale from offsite ads, there is an additional fee of 15% taken from your transaction. Etsy Offsite ads are highly effective, I made the majority of my sales through them but the total cost was an eye opener. Most retailers markup their prices by 40%. Between all of the transaction, offsite ads fees and costs of shipping; the total commision taken by Etsy was 38% of my sales. While it is a good launching tool, in the long run the cost just isn’t sustainable. To me the largest disappointment is to the customer who is trying to support a small business but most of their purchase goes to the middle man.

WooCommerce

In the end, Woocommerce is for me the best choice. Woocommerce is open-sourced and allows more control over your website. You don’t pay any middle-man for your transactions, just what your payment processor charges you for swipe fees. You can also add more payment options such as AfterPay and PayPal Pay Later.

The cons of Woocommerce is that you need to have a certain knowledge and technical skill to build, maintain and grow your business.

Cost-wise Woocommerce is very budget-friendly to start up with free themes and plugins plus hosting packages start as low as $6 a month depending on the host. 

You soon find out however, that you indeed get what you pay for and “Zero-cost Startup” is a myth. Free and even paid themes have plenty of customizable options but those options add bloat. You’ll start adding plugins to get other features you need, those plugins can also come with bloat and cause conflicts. A cheap hosting plan cannot handle heavy traffic and cause very slow loading times. Consumers are not patient, they WILL leave your site if it doesn’t load within a second.

Savings Plus Peace Of Mind

Through trial and error, research, education and practical knowledge I have found the best hosting, plugins and solutions to all of these issues. I purchase and maintain agency licensing on all of them so I am able to pass savings onto you in addition to monitoring, SEO, troubleshooting and design services.

Ready to Get Started?

Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.

OSCAR WILDE

Let's get started on your shopping platform!