15 replies
So I have zero programming experience and I'm wondering if I should go the Shopify route, have a website built, or simply just sell through Amazon or Ebay? What are your recommendations and why?
#shopify
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  • Profile picture of the author MValmont
    Building a store with Shopify is the easiest thing ever.

    Amazon is a great place to sell also, Used to sell there ans I still do,

    But right now I think Shopify + Drop shipping using Facebook Ads is King.
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    • Profile picture of the author AngieGirl
      I pm'ed you after I posted this/before it was approved. Thanks again!
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    • Profile picture of the author AngieGirl
      I'm kind of into the beauty/clothing niche so I was thinking a boutique. Do I need to apply for an llc and get biz insurance right away because everywhere I look for wholesale merch. it asks for a tax ID number.
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    • Yes 100% true, Shopify is super easy to use and great support. But its 2017 there are many other options like Amazon etc ...
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  • Profile picture of the author Warrior X
    ^You don't necessarily need to form an llc if your only purpose is getting a tax id number. You can apply with the irs as a sole proprietor and they will supply you with an ein (employer id#).

    It's a pretty easy process so don't get hung up on that part.

    All the best
    -Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author AngieGirl
      But in order to buy wholesale I have to apply for a sole propietor?
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  • Profile picture of the author Tomek Kurpanik
    Angie, just a few pointers before you dive into this.

    Amazon route

    Pros

    - Huge daily traffic that can convert to multiple sales. Amazon has the numbers and the numbers are enormous. Currently, the website generates just over 2 billion views per month.

    - You can send your products to Amazon and they will stock, handle and ship them for you through Prime. This means that you don't need to invest to rent a warehouse to stock your stuff which ultimately reduces your overheads enormously.

    - The platform is easy to navigate both on desktop and mobile devices and end customers trust the brand, therefore it will be easier to start selling products immediately on Amazon rather than anywhere else.

    - No need to learn any programming languages or website coding. Your Amazon shop can be set up within relatively short period of time by following Amazon's own manuals and tutorials.

    - There's also no need to invest in Search Engine Optimization which saves you a lot of money right at the start. Amazon has their own search engine (the box where you search for products) and all items are mainly ranked by two factors: the amount of sales made for a particular product and the rating/review score. Basically, the more you sell and the better the reviews, the higher you rank in the search.

    Cons

    - You don't have any control over your customers. In fact, they're not your customers - they're Amazon's customers. You can't remarket to anyone who purchased from you in the past (this is prohibited in Amazon's TOS).

    - It's not an easy task to rank on the first page of search results. As easy as it sounds, the current algorithm prevents new sellers to reach a high number of sales relatively quickly. You can still get there, but it will take a longer period of time. Unless you have an advertising budget and can jump start your selling performance - ads on Amazon look very similar to the organic listings and some customers don't even realize this, so there's an edge to be had here.

    - Amazon can shut down your shop within a matter of few clicks if you breach any of their terms and conditions or if Amazon thinks that you might have breached some rules without giving you a valid reason. It's unwise to put all your eggs in one Amazon's basket.

    - Selling on Amazon is expensive. Look up how much commission they take for selling products in your niche. It's always wise to carry out due diligence and math before getting your feet wet.

    - The competition on the platform is severe and its level varies on the market you're trying to tackle. I can tell you from experience that the apparel market on Amazon is highly saturated and it will be awhile before you make any dent.

    eCommerce website route

    Pros

    - You have all the control in the world over your customers. You collect their details and you can remarket to your existing customers with special offers whenever you see fit. It's actually a big deal to be able to do so, and the gains are immeasurable if the marketing is done properly.

    - You can promote your eCommerce site by creating a niche specific blog that will deliver value to your customers by giving away free informative stuff on the products you sell.

    - The above should be used to boost your Search Engine Optimization results by creating relevant and quality content that other experts in your niche would want to link out to you not only boosting your rankings, but also giving you visitors that could potentially purchase your products. It's like killing two birds with one stone.

    - You can branch out as you grow by introducing and incorporating other niches into your brand. The eCommerce way is a much better platform (read scalable) that could grow into an international brand.

    - Gives you freedom to do whatever you like and whenever you like, but most importantly - you can sell your website once you get it off the ground and start making a measurable and proven income.

    Cons

    - eCommerce website is a "J" curve type of business. You pump money into it and hope for a return in the future - oftentimes it won't even make a single dollar if mistakes were made along the way. And when it finally starts making some profit, you will have to reinvest it into expansion/growth of your eCommerce business - be it more stock, more man power or other resources. You can however cut your costs by going ahead with drop shipping (it's not as easy as you might think it is - it's probably best to invent and manufacture your own product and drop ship it rather than selling someone else's products though it).

    - Depending on your niche, it could be tricky and very expensive to get decent Google rankings within the first 6-12 months, which means that you can't start selling immediately though organic traffic because you will have none.

    - It requires a decent amount of advertising to bring traffic to your website, however you could also generate traffic through promoting your helpful blog stuff on various social media platforms.

    - Requires you to be sort of a jack of all trades: a decent web developer, SEO analysts and internet marketer - not to mention the back end of your business in terms of sorting out deals with your suppliers, logistics, accounting etc. You can of course outsource all of it, but it will not only cost a lot of money, but some services will be of mediocre standard.

    - You have to be very persistent and strong-minded to start an eCommerce from scratch - specially if you need to brush up on one or more of the above technical skills, as it could be months before you make your first sale. I think most people give up somewhere along the way, but those who stick out never look back.

    Summary

    Whilst you can enjoy the benefits of ready-made platforms such as Amazon or eBay, you're being crippled in other aspects of making a decent living for yourself by using them, ie. the potential of growing your business into a large brand or being shut down and left without anything over-night.

    I would recommend the eCommerce route for several reasons - it's more feasible, more scalable, more controllable and more profitable. If you're not a web developer/seo/marketer expert, you can easily become one and actually enjoy the process of becoming one along the way by learning new life/technical skills.

    Hope this helps and good luck. Do update on your progress!

    T.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rahul Chaurasia
    Hi,

    I have option to choose anyone you should choose amazon. Because its very hard for new sites to generate traffic. And even you get some traffic it will be hard for a new site to convert them in order. But if you have some investment or you can manage both you should go with both option. But remember only creating store on shopify or other framework will not work. you have to run a blog or paid ad-campaign for generate traffic. Other side on amazon you must have best offer for get success.
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    • Profile picture of the author AngieGirl
      So if I started a blog, what platform would I want to use? I'm into clothing, jewelry, make-up, fitness...A wide variety of things. Would it just be considered a lifestyle blog?
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      • Profile picture of the author Rahul Chaurasia
        yes its good idea a lifestyle blog on WordPress will help. Well, you can hire me for blog or eCommerce site whatever you like. I am an eCommerce Specialist
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      • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
        Originally Posted by AngieGirl View Post

        So if I started a blog, what platform would I want to use? I'm into clothing, jewelry, make-up, fitness...A wide variety of things. Would it just be considered a lifestyle blog?
        Shopify stores have a blog component you can use.

        Your Shopify online store comes with a built-in blogging engine. Blogging is a great way to build your audience and generate more traffic and sales for your business.
        https://help.shopify.com/manual/sell...ne-store/blogs
        Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author Apratim Barua
    Having your own website is much better than selling on Amazon; this doesn't mean you can't make money on Amazon. With your own website you'll be building a brand for the longer term. Shopify is an easy route to create e-commerce site however if you don't want to spend money; you can build a site using Prestashop (no programming required) for which you can watch tutorials on YouTube.
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    • Profile picture of the author AngieGirl
      I'll check that out and thank you very much for the advice!
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  • Profile picture of the author Eduard Stinga
    If you have zero programming experience, I'd 100% recommend you go with Shopify.

    I have an ecommerce store that I opened using WooCommerce, which is free, but much different and requires a ton more knowledge to set up. And quite a few paid extensions to make it work as you want.

    The different is that Shopify takes % of each sale, whereas with WooCommerce you keep all of it. For a big store with a lot of volume, it adds up. However, once you reach that point, you probably won't care too much anyway.
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