When it comes to selling on your author website, there are many ways to go about it. I’d like to go through your options with you, as well as their pros and cons, so you can make the most informed decision to move forward with this plan.
There are three main things that will dictate which platform you should go with:
- How comfortable you are with tech
- How comfortable you are with the legal/tax side
- Your budget
There isn’t a platform that is better than another. They all have something to offer, it really depends on what you’re looking for.
Option #1 – Woocommerce
If you have a WordPress website already, Woocommerce is the default when it comes to setting up an online shop. It’s a powerful platform that can handle almost anything (though you might need to purchase some extensions to get it to do what you want).
The main downside of Woocommerce is that you are your own support. While there is a community that can help you figure out what your problem is, you are mostly on your own.
You have to take care of everything from integrating it to your site to make it look pretty, to collecting taxes and remitting them, to setting up your shipping rates and making sure they are applied properly.
While Woocommerce is beautiful when it comes to how seamlessly it can be integrated, it requires a certain knowledge of how to run an online shop as well as the time to set it up and maintain it.
- No monthly fee.
- Low-cost extensions to improve the functionality.
- Seamless experience.
- Requires more time to set up.
- Requires more experience to set up.
- You’re on your own.
Option #2 – Shopify
If you’re looking for a platform that has it all out of the box, then Shopify is for you. While you do have to pay a monthly fee to have access to their platform, it comes with everything you could ever need, on top of having access to their support team.
Their platform is already optimized for conversion and sales, so you don’t have to worry about that. They also have tools to customize your site to fit your branding, so you can still have an experience that is relatively seamless.
The one thing that Shopify excels at is at handling physical sales. If you plan on selling books like signed paperbacks or merchandise like mugs and t-shirts, you might want to consider Shopify!
- 24/7 support team.
- No experience is required.
- Access to all the tools you could want.
- Already optimized for conversion.
- Monthly fee. (starting at $29/m)
- If your main author site isn’t on Shopify, then the experience is less seamless.
- Still have to remit taxes yourself, but they have tools to track how much you’ll owe and where to register.
Option #3 – Payhip
For those that want a store that is easily integrated while not having to worry about remitting taxes, Payhip is the best option for you. Especially if you plan on selling digital downloads (like ebooks). Even though you still can make physical sales on their platform, they excel at selling digital products.
Compared to Shopify and Woocommerce, Payhip doesn’t have the same amount of flashy features, but it’s a good low-cost option to test the waters with. You can get set up quickly and see if it makes sense for you. The different plans they offer are quite interesting, especially if you don’t know the kind of sales volume you should expect at the beginning. Taking a fee cut early on, while testing your store, is easier to do than finding $29/m.
- Easy to get started.
- Low-cost option (free with a 5% transaction fee).
- Takes care of taxes for you.
- Fewer options to customize.
- Cost is higher if you have a high volume of sales.
- Experience is less seamless for readers since the shop is hosted on another platform.
While there are other options in terms of platforms where you can set up your store, I think those ones are the best choices for most authors. Picking the right platform really depends on where you are in your author career, the kind of budget you have, and your tech skills to integrate more difficult platforms.
If you’re still not sure which platform is right for you, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help you figure it out! 😊
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