In the last installment of our series all about opening an online store as a beginner, Bad Asta Vintage found its name and sourced some inventory.
Now comes the fun part, everyone. The part you’ve all been waiting for: creating a shop to actually sell your stuff on. In our case, an Ecwid shop.
Now, I’m not going to take you through a tutorial of how to open an Ecwid shop. Why? Because we already have a bunch of articles like that over at our Help Center. I even used a couple of those myself (more on that in a minute) to help navigate this process. Instead, you can think of me as your friend in the trenches as you take on your own version of opening an online store. I have been there, and I am here to share my wisdom or, lack thereof.
As I’ve said in previous articles, I’m one of the least
Also in the series:
- Part 1: The Dream”
- Part 2: Finding Your Niche
- Part 3: Opening a Store
- Part 4: Getting Social
- Part 5: Roadblocks
- Part 6: What’s in a Domain?
The Journey to Ecwid Selling
It was really easy to open a free account with
As you would assume, I used our company email address Bad Asta Vintage to create an account. Easy. Everything on Ecwid is controllable through a single dashboard, which yeah, looks a little technical, but really isn’t difficult to get the hang of.
What’s extra cool is that it was incredibly easy to download and start using Ecwid’s corresponding mobile app (more info on that can be found here). They literally sent a link to the app to my phone from my laptop, taking the guesswork out of looking through different apps in the store to find the right one and then guided me through the
Working with Instant Site
A nice thing about Ecwid is that they offer a variety of options for integrating your store with an existing website. If you don’t have a website, you can also take advantage of their
It’s here that I hit a bit of a snag in the process: we have a WordPress website already, which we
So, rather than be left websiteless in the meantime, we decided to try out the Ecwid Instant Site. This little
I found the Instant Site interface incredibly easy to use (though, if you’re struggling, you can find some more info here). There were a bunch of site templates to choose from, eliminating the need for fancy knowledge of coding, etc.
I am somewhat tech illiterate, but found this pretty smooth sailing, witn one notable exception: there was a glitch in the system so when I activated our templated theme, even though I uploaded a new image with our logo, the stock image of a gloved hand holding a donut persisted for about five minutes. I kept asking by business partner Kate to check for updates, and she kept texting me back:
Lol, still the big donut.
It turned out there was just a slight delay in the updated image upload, and it fixed itself pretty promptly. All in all, at the end of the day I was happy to report to Kate that about 30 minutes in, we had a dreamy little site all ready to sell things! She drafted an instagram post to celebrate. I wanted a donut.
As it turns out, in the time since I started opening my store, a newer (arguably even better) version of the Instant Site has been launched. This version uses buildable blocks instead of templated themes, allowing for even more customization, and fixing the delay I encountered.
No matter what Instant Site you use, the overall process was pretty easy, and we were pretty happy with the result (though I might go back at some point and play around with the new version, just to see how it works).
Listing Our Inventory
Now, the Forever Free plan that Ecwid provides only allows you to list a relatively small number of products, so we are thinking of upgrading to a Venture or Business plan to unlock more inventory. We’ve already budgeted this into our business action plan, in fact, so by the time this article is live, we might already have more listings up and running.
This inventory feature wouldn’t be necessary if we were in the business of selling one type of item, but since each piece of our inventory is unique and we want each one to have its own description for measurements, fabric descriptions, and condition, it presents some, shall we say, unique issues.
Having the mobile interface was incredibly helpful because, at the moment, we lack fancy camera equipment for professional inventory photoshoots, so most of the pictures of our inventory are on my phone. It was super nice and
I think there’s just something nice about a platform that is
I did this with approximately 6 items before I got tired (no matter how you slice it, uploading inventory takes time and energy). I also got Kate in on the fun. She’s not
Listing the inventory itself, like it said, was easy, especially with being able to switch back and forth from mobile to laptop versions of the control panel. I think this will also come in handy/when we decide to explore some of those fancy social media integrations, so we can sell directly through Instagram or Facebook (no more dm for purchase!).
Other Bits and Pieces
Even though I’m just operating with a
But it’s worth noting that if you don’t have these things, or haven’t thought about them, now could be a great time to start. An About Us/Contact page is more than just a place to list a phone number and your names: it’s another step in the direction of creating a brand. A place where you can highlight what makes your store, your crafts, your brand, special, and how you want oncoming traffic (which will hopefully be a lot!) to be introduced to you. In other words, the more thoughtful you make this little blurb, the better.
Ideally, this About Us story also works with the design of your website. Being thoughtful with design, from fonts and colors to photos, can help guide you later as you start to zero in on exactly how you want your brand to look and feel.
Up and Running
Kate and I still have a long way to go to getting Bad Asta totally on its feet. But in the meantime, it feels good to have a
We’re pretty proud of our work. And we haven’t even made a sale through the site yet!
Some Key Takeaways from Today
Plugin Peril: if you are in love with your current website and interested in adding an ecommerce platform as a plugin extension, be sure to see how your hosting site handles plugins, as there may be an upgrade involved.
Of course, if I had more storage room on my iCloud account, this might not be an issue. But part of the fun of opening your own business is making space (literally and virtually) for your business, and finding ways to make that space fit into your current life.
Doing the Thing: Sometimes, the best way to get/stay inspired with your business is just to take a step forward, no matter what that is. Building this site gave us a jolt of inspiration. So, wherever you are in your ecommerce journey, take some time today to do something for your store to keep moving forward!