Gracia Maureen Setyabudhi
E-Commerce Nightmare - Beginner Version
In my previous blog post, I've talked about me opening a Shopify and Etsy store. How difficult it really is, compared to what is being "advertise" in lots of social media. It's definitely not easy, and lots of tedious work needs to be put in.
Yup, the picture above sums up my headache this past few days.
Not Much Progress
I honestly didn't thing it took this much work to set up an E-commerce store, let alone a few at the same time. But, I'm still trying to do both Etsy and Shopify together because I thing it will be good for my SEO, and hopefully boost my one of them in the Google search page. Also, with having two shops at the same time might enable me to capture even bigger market. Like I said, I'm a beginner, and this post is not to teach you but to share my journey, and maybe you want to try together. Feel free to share any inputs or comments below. Having said that, I might be wrong to do two e-commerce at the same time, but who knows?
What I did these past few days were only fine tuning both my Etsy and Shopify store. Initially, I planned to add a bunch of products on both, but then I realized I haven't set my stores properly especially in regards to Product On Demand and shipping rates. I also focus on putting both my stores, as well as this blog, on the Google Search by using Google Console, and also installing Google Analytics to monitor traffic and so on.
Ok, for beginner like me, who knows nothing about coding, sitemap, and the lot, it's pretty much making my brain burst. It's really time consuming because I need to read and do research and basically learning all these new things, otherwise, especially since I need to put in some coding inside my website and Shopify (Etsy is much user friendly but not exactly simple too), so I need to be careful, otherwise I'll mess up the whole website or Shopify coding. If you have an IT background of some sort then you're lucky, I think it'll be easier for you.
Google Console and Google Analytics
With the first one, to put it in simple words, it's basically to ask Google to verify your website, and then index it, and thus put it in the Google Search Page Results for people to find your website. Shopify is not a market place like Etsy, it's pretty much just like setting up a website, though they make it much simpler and more user friendly. However, we still have to do this as well, otherwise, people won't be able to find our Shopify store, and how can we sell anything if no one can see it?
The first step is to verify your website with Google, this is to verify that your website is indeed your property that you own. So it's like verifying that you are the owner, and your website does exist. To do this you must insert some code inside your website for Google to read and thus verify it. Don't delete this code, otherwise it will loose its verification and you have to do it again. I'm not going into much details here, because I'm still new at this, I wouldn't want to give out the wrong information and mess up your website. Don't worry, just Google it and you will find a lot of information on this.
After your website got verified, the next step is to ask Google to index your page, and rank it in Google Search. This is very important!! Like I said above, to make any sale from our e-commerce website, we first must make our stores seen by the potential customers. We would want our website to be rank in the first page of the Google Search, because most people won't even go to second page, let alone 10th and above. This is where site map plays and important role. Sitemap is basically telling Google where to find your website, so it can crawl on it and index it. Now, ranking your website in the first page needs more than doing verification and indexing. It needs to have good SEO system. This is another beast to tackle honestly, and I won't talk about here. Maybe I'll do another post on this topic once I get a hang of it more.
I did these two, and managed to make my website and Shopify indexed. However, it's definitely not on the number one page yet. There are a lot more work needed to be done to make this happened, and honestly I'm still learning how to.
This is basically to measure the traffics going to your websites, and give us the details that are useful for us to understand our customers. For this new stage, I think the data from here is used to decide our marketing program and measure the effects. For example, if we promote our website in social media such as Pinterest and others using a particular method, does it increase the traffic? If not we might have to change the strategy. For myself, I have not successfully increase the traffic yet, it's still pretty much zero. I think it's mainly because I haven't promote it a lot yet, and I still don't have a lot of products, or blog posts yet too. So the system is not rolling yet. I think I need to add more products, write more blog posts and so on before I could see some traffic. Let's see how long it will take me to start seeing some result :).
I did try to use this as well, but not to much success yet. I need to increase my Pinterest followers too since I never use a lot of this, and my followers right now are only 22. I did joint some of it's communities, and shared some postings already there, but still got zero views from them. So, I don't know, it supposed to give me some exposure but it didn't. I'm not giving it up yet though, I will try more.
SPOD-Product In Demand
I did a bit of a research on product in demand companies, and I decided I want to use SPOD more, because I like that they have sustainable product varieties. I think this will enable me to niche down a little bit, since the POD market is really saturated, so I need to have something different. Why still try if it's already saturated? I believe with designs, each person has their own style, and this will create uniqueness. Also, everyone has different taste, so I believe there is a market for every designer. Now the bigger questions and much harder to do is to get your products displayed. Once we can managed to do that, I think everyone will have the opportunity to make some profit.
However, the biggest headache with SPOD is that some of their ordering systems still needs to be set up manually. It's really a tedious task to do. From integrating my Etsy store and Shopify, which has to be done using a third party application called Order Desk. They give 30 days free trial but after that we need to pay. So basically, it's a big lie when the people in the social media that say we can make money online with zero investment. We need to pay for every single service we use, from web hosting, the marketplace, the design software, and the lot. Nothing is free!!!
Whilst integrating SPOD with Etsy and Shopify is considerably easy, setting the shipping rate is not!! Well, it's not hard, but it's very tedious because we have to put each rate one by one. SPOD has staggering shipping rates based on the price of the products. Each rate is different depending on the destination. You can find SPOD shipping rates in their FAQ. It has to be manually done, now where around it. They are not automated yet. Plus, we need to do this for every store you have, two in my case. Seriously SPOD....please fix this!!
Nooo it's not the end yet. When we want to upload SPOD product with our designs in our E-Commerce stores, we need to first create the product we want in SPOD website, than we have to download the mock up designs to place in our stores, as well as the SKUs code for each item. If your item has variation such as size and colors, each size and colors will have its own SKU. These SKUs code HAVE to be put inside your stores for each product you make with SPOD, if not, they will not be able to read it in their system, and thus they will not produce it. Once there is an order, we also need to manually approve the order and send it to SPOD system to be produced. In this stage, we need to have a credit card that is ready to be charged. They will charge your credit card upfront before making the product. So again, you need to have this ready. It really is not a zero investment business.
There goes my few days gone just like that to do all the above. But I'm glad I had it done, so I can now focus on creating more products, and I need to keep up with my learning on SEOs too. Up to this point, I have already proved that it is indeed a lot of work in E-Commerce business, and it is also a hard one. But I want to keep on trying and see where it leads me. If you have any suggestions, inputs, or even critics, please do so in the comment box, I would appreciate it so much.
If you also wants to try this E-Commerce Business, let's do this together!! We can do this!!
See you in my next update :)
Please check out my E-Commerce Stores: