Best ecommerce platform for beekeepers
I recommend Shopify to anyone who wants to sell online. There are many reasons, and I thought it might be useful if I covered a few here for those still deciding on their platform.
- Simple for you to learn (easily add and organize products and fulfill orders)
- Seamless ordering experience for customers, with great automated tracking
- Better discounts with shipping carriers than any other ecommerce platform
- Easily offer a choice of payment options, including credit card, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Amazon Payments, PayPal and more
- Multiple sales channels integrated with your inventory, including online, in-person, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest (among others)
A delight to learn and use
One of the things I like about Shopify's platform is that it's very easy to learn. You don't need to be technical to be able to sell things easily on Shopify. Once you've fulfilled your first order, it's a breeze from then on to use it.
One of the reasons Shopify is so easy-to-use for adding and organizing your products is that they don't clutter their admin interface with things most people don't need. They focus on the basics and they do those things extremely well.
Shipping and tracking done well
They handle shipping particularly well. You don't have to think about any of the fulfillment emails; Shopify sends receipts, tracking information, and emails on the day of delivery letting your customer know to expect their items soon. All without any additional configuration, it's all automatic.
Speaking of shipping, they have some very good discounts with all the major shipping carriers. With their Basic plan ($29/month) their discounts are between 15-40% off with the carries, and those savings add up quickly when you're shipping honey and other heavy items! With their higher plan tiers, their shipping discounts are even better.
Sell across many channels seamlessly
If you sell in-person, you share your inventory between your online store and your in-person events seamlessly, and it's easy to take credit cards with a chip or swipe. Shopify also offers Apple Pay and Android Pay so that people can simply pay with their phones, online or in person. If you use Amazon Payments or if you like PayPal, you can also hook those up as well.
One of the best things about Shopify is their social media integration. Each social media platform becomes another "channel" you can sell on. Your online store is one channel, your in-person sales another, and then, for example, Facebook and Instagram can be new sales channels. You can choose to have all your products on each channel, or have certain products only available on specific channels.
When you add Facebook as a shopping channel, you can then run ads with your products, tracking which of your items people are adding to their cart, and associating this with other data Facebook knows about people who visit your website.
With Instagram integration, you can tag products in your posts so people can buy directly by clicking on a specific product (and you can have multiple links to products within a single Instagram photo). All without paying anything additional to advertise on Instagram. With the Pinterest channel, you can also offer buyable pins easily.
What about Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Weebly?
Shopify blows them all out of the water. Seriously! If your goal is to have a successful online store, Shopify is by far and away your best choice. Squarespace has ecommerce bolted on, but none of the customer-friendly shopping features, done-for-you shipping functionality and discounts, in-person point-of-sale hardware for events, and social media integrations that Shopify has. Squarespace shines for simple portfolio sites and little else.
You can use WooCommerce with WordPress for ecommerce... but I wouldn't wish that interface on anyone (unless you like clicking Update buttons whenever you login, holding your breath in case something breaks)? Wordpress also lacks the robust in-person point-of-sale hardware, deep shipping discounts, and wonderful social media integrations. Wix and Weebly... they're not even in the game.
I'm Elise Fog, and I help beekeepers sell more honey to more people, by leveling up their online marketing.