In December we managed to launch our new website (this one!) which will help us in a whole manner of ways. Below I detail just a few of the pro's and con's of having our own site and the platform we use.
We were debating over Shopify or Shopwired for our platform and went with Shopwired. They are a UK based firm (we want to support UK business where possible) and are not as developed as Shopify but they are continually adding improvements and features. Their customer support has been top notch so far and their fee structure was more appealing too as it was a flat rate monthly fee. These were the main factors in our choice to use Shopwired for our first website.
We'll be able to offer our customers discounts over our Etsy and eBay stores because we save on fees and can pass that on. This is arguably the main benefit for everyone.
We can start generating a mailing list from customers who sign up to the newsletter - we'll aim to send maybe 1 email per month, but I need to plan this into my monthly schedule so it might not start for a while. This can be useful to inform everyone about new things which we mainly do on social media at the moment, but not everyone is on social media! (or goes on it frequently).
We can customise a LOT on the site which we cannot on Etsy which will help reinforce the brand identity.
We'll be able to create blog posts to talk about our updates and upcoming products - this is something I really want to schedule into my week as I feel it can be a really useful tool to help communicate our ideas, plans and projects and possibly get some valued feedback from everyone. It also gives you all a bit of insight into my thoughts and process which I feel is important. I want customers to know that there is a person who cares behind the screen and tools like this can help communicate that.
'Off the shelf' sites like this don't offer huge customisation - so there are lots of things on the site I would like to have, but cannot easily implement (without great cost). For now, I don't mind this, but my future vision for the company means at some point (hopefully this year) I might have to look at a 'built from scratch' website as I am not sure that the platform can support the sort of features I am after. If Shopwired can support the features I want, I would worry about the cost of implementation.
Fulfillment takes much longer than on Etsy due to the lack of Royal Mail integration. This is something Etsy has nailed. It takes seconds to print a postage label on Etsy and their order management is a bit more fancy.
I'll hopefully be able to talk more about the site in future blog posts but would welcome some feedback from people about what they like and don't like. I can see if it's possible for me to change something and start a 'wants and needs' list for any future site build.
For now I am happy to have a dedicated website for the brand and hope to migrate as many customers from Etsy to here as possible over the next year. I'll talk about how I plan to do that in another blog post!