So, yesterday I started to look at two options for an online store. The first is WooCommerce and the second Shopify. The image to the right here is from Website Builder Expert.com and shows that other people reached the same conclusion.
To save you some time reading, the gist of it is that they are both viable, but shopify is slightly easier. Part of the drawback of Woo is that you need your own wordpress site and hosting. The second is that you need some technical ability.
The only downsides to shopify is that it costs more and is less flexible.
The thing is, the more extremes of flexibility are things that I don’t need. I am one person building a basic bookstore for my own books. I will not be the next Amazon.
The article also says that Woo stores take time to build. This is proving to be true. I now have about 5 items in my store. It is going to be a case of adding things bit by bit, a few per day. I think I can get everything added inside a month.
Woo agree with the article, they suggest that on average a Woo store waits 31 days before getting its first sale. I am going to start that clock from the day I have everything uploaded and live on the store.
Woo vs Shopify?
I imagine that I will end up with Shopify. The reason is not that it is easier, the reasoning is going to be time. As a one person businesses, if Woo + Lulu API is going to take more time to set up and maintain, that is time I cannot be reading, learning, playing, writing and playtesting new books.
I am not overly worried about print on demand at the moment. I want to get all the PDFs written and released first. During that time I know I can get the products listed in a Woo store.
I am also not expecting to be selling a huge volume. Roleplayers know to go and search DriveThruRPG. Getting word out about the my own store is going to be a long term endeavour. The Woo store will let me get an idea of what volume I will end up selling and whether the numbers will stack up to make a Shopify store viable.
Print on Demand
It is Print on Demand cards and books that are going to be the crunch point. To offer that from my own store will require either the lulu api or the shopify app. If I go shopify, I can integrate the shopify download centre and the shopify lulu app and have everything under one roof. If I go woo plus lulu api, I think the payments are going to get messy when people want print and PDF.
Luckily, I don’t have to choose yet. The way I am building the store means that if someone buys the PDF, their download link will work forever.
Plan of Action
So my plan of action is to write an extension of my business plan to include my own online store, research these two options looking at downloads, POD books, cards and possibly other solo kit like dice and other cool stuff. Work out how to market the store effectively to generate sales here in preference to DriveThruRPG, and how to optimise a product description.
That doesn’t sound too bad does it? Somehow it was so much easier when I just played games every evening!