After all that stressing…I finally sat down Thursday night, took a deep breath, and forced myself to really make a good clean list of what I needed for doing direct sales, and what was just “nice to haves”.
The main needs were:
- ability to sell physical goods
- system collects appropriate sales tax (seriously, don’t mess with Texas on that – it’s one of the only taxes they do :-P)
- built in shipping calculators from USPS and UPS
- secure and trustworthy (duh!)
- easy enough to use especially for buyers and low cost
- ability to have buy buttons on the site and plays nice in WordPress
On the “that would be nice” but “not a real deal breaker” list were
- Ability to do digital sales and file delivery (decided this was a “nice” because I could always just sell them as non-shipped items and email the files; more overhead, but doable)
- Ability to issue discount coupons
- Ability to bundling existing prices for special sales
- Lots of customization options
- Ability for customers to do preorders/back orders
- Fuller shopping cart experience
- “Storefront” view either on my site or theirs
With that all written down on the whiteboard and my mind cleared, I then said I wasn’t going to deal with this stuff at all again all weekend. But I had a little time to kill tonight so I decided to just take a second look at two that I vaguely recalled met most of the requirements of the needs list: eJunkie and Ecwid. I gave them both fresh tests, going through the settings, adding products, adn really giving them a good look. I set up the Ecwid WordPress plug in and experimented with adding eJunkie buttons to a test page (as it doesn’t do a shopping cart option).
Two hours later, still relaxed because I had measurable targets to evaluate the sites against, I realized that Ecwid was, in fact, a perfect fit. It fit all of my required items, including a starting cost of FREE, and most of my nice to haves. The only thing not in their free option is the ability to do discount coupons, and they currently don’t offer bundle, preorder, or backorder functions at all.
Discount coupons I can get in the first paid level, which is $15/mth. Not hideous, though above my target of $10/mth or less. Still, since they do not charge any transaction fees (ZERO!), it balances out nicely. For now, I’m still on the free plan, but I’ll probably go ahead and do the $15/mth before Aisuru’s launch, and just pay for a year in advance for the discount on prepayment.
I’m still in the process of getting it fully set up, but I can tell you that with my direct buy store:
- you’ll have access to bundle options for print (either form) + eBook (either format) at a discount
- can get any print books “autographed” (i.e. my artist stamp) with or without personalization at NO extra cost
- you can pay for orders with PayPal or Stripe
- have multiple shipping options including Media Mail (US; cheapest by far though slow), USPS Priority and First Class, and UPS with shipping based on weight via the shippers’ calculators
- if you ship to any address in Texas, you will pay sales tax (sorry, as I noted above, the state is picky about that 😉 )
- have chances to save money if you are a newsletter subscriber or attend the online launch party (to be detailed in a later post)!
One more task done! Now I just have to finalize the actual prices, get some more pics, get the descriptions done, etc etc….but I’m actually writing this at 3:30 am, so first, sleep 🙂 Once the store is ready go to, I’ll send word via the newsletter and add the link to the menu where you’ll be able to preorder the print versions of Aisuru!