June 4, 2015

The frustrations with do-it-yourself e-commerce sites

For the past month I've been looking into alternative e-commerce sites to move my body products business, AllThatMsJazz, because with me adding more products to my line I want to be able to condense the options to make it better for my customers to search online. I also want other features such as drop down menus, a side blog, as well as some other features. I know that I want to be in control of my site and not depend on anyone else.

I've been with Big Cartel since I launched my business last year. I will say I enjoyed it at first because it was very easy to setup for myself. It was especially great when I only had a few fragrances that I offered with my whipped shea butters, and also in 4 different sizes. Yet now I've grown to over 40 fragrances and now offer my whipped butters in three different options. I want to simplify the process for my customers and want them to be able to shop by looking at the three different whipped butters first then click on their decision and then choose a drop down menu option for size and fragrance. Unfortunately Big Cartel doesn't offer these types of options. I have to do my options by fragrance first. I emailed them to confirm. So I decided I need to jump ship to something else.

Now at the time of me having my Big Cartel site, I also opened an Etsy website. So far it has been the best in regards to how I have control over displaying my products. Yet I still want a stand alone site, so I keep my Etsy website as a side store because I know some people feel more comfortable doing busy on Etsy and that's perfectly fine. Yet the disadvantage in my opinion is that it is a community website so your products can be easily compared to someone elses. I want a stand alone website so my products are the only focus, hence why I also used Big Cartel.

So I started looking into another site called SquareSpace. The website holds big promise but one of the main issues I have with it is that it does not have Paypal integrated into its system. It's go-to merchant is Stripe. Now one thing I do love about Big Cartel is that it provides two different options for merchant connection. You can either go with Paypal and/or with Stripe. I do have both activated on my Big Cartel site and both are used. I do realize also with Squarespace that even though it does look user-friendly as far as adding stuff, I realized that it needs someone who has knowledge of putting websites together. It tries to be not intimidating but after diving into for a few days, I realized that I would have to have someone with experience to set it up for me. So I abandoned that one and kept looking.

I also looked into Shopify to see if it could give me what I was looking for. Upon signing up for access I noticed that they offer themes for customer shop. Some are free and others are paid. I wasn't too impressed with them but decided to venture through. When I looked into inputting inventory I saw there were not any options for different pricing of products. It looks as though I would have to put them in based by size. Which would have been a nightmare for me. So I decided to keep trucking to another site.

Now we have WIX, I thought I finally had found my Holy Grail. I'm able to have drop down menus, have a side blog, I even have an event calender. The experience of setting up my site has been wonderful and I actually have it ready to go, expect for 3 HUGE things. Three things that I'm shocked that with them being an e-commerce site have not figured out and have not made available. So remember I said I currently in my product line offer 3 different type of whipped butters that I offer in over 45 different fragrances. Well apparently they only allow you to have up to 10 options under one product, so what am I suppose to do with the other 35? I emailed them to make sure there wasn't anyway around it. They told me at this time, they do not go beyond 10. So I had to redo my options and make it similar to how I have my Big Cartel site. I am not pleased with that at all. The next issue I have with them is with shipping. You can only offer flat shipping. That doesn't make sense if someone buys product and I'm not able to adjust shipping for the weight. I have control over shipping on my Big Cartel and Etsy websites. You would think ANY e-commerce site would make sure that this is an option, but no, WIX, drops the ball again. Now the third issue I have a problem with is with their coupons/discounts. You can't control if it's for a certain product in your line up. If you set up a coupon, it blankets the whole website. That is unacceptable. I should have control in regards to what products I want to give a discount on. As much promise WIX has to fall short on 3 major options such as these is just not acceptable. So now I'm stuck with a site that I can't make active because the shipping and coupon issue. So I'm still stuck with my Big Cartel site for now. Bravo WIX, Bravo.

I've had friends tell me that I should consider WordPress. It pretty much goes against what I'm trying to do in regards to handling my own website. Yet I know some of the best e-commerce websites are built with WordPress. I would definitely have to hire someone to set it up, but right now that is just not an option I want, at least for now.

So for right now until WIX decides to update it's features, I will stay with Big Cartel and see if I can just make adjustments to that website. I'm so not happy though, I feel like I had my favorite piece of candy just snatched from me. Ugh.........

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