To be a successful seller online, you don’t have to acquire resources and/or have the power to compete with the giants like Amazon or iTunes. It’s possible for independent sellers to play in the same field as the titans and still make a very decent living. All you need are products to sell and the determination to market them.
Today’s technology allows anybody to build their own web store for pennies, or even free. There are many methods that you can use to build your own online store, such as tweaking a WordPress blog or using one of the like Goodsie.
Currently, Goodsie is in closed private beta. You can try to apply by yourself and wait for the invitation to arrive in your inbox. But you may not need to go through the waiting game because the founder of Goodsie has personally given us 500 invites to give out to lucky MakeUseOf readers.
All you need to do is head over to Goodsie, click the “Try The Beta” button, and type the invitation code “makeuseof” (sans quote) in the “Beta email or invitation code:” field. Click the “Sign up” button and you’re good to go (provided that the 500 invites haven’t already been used up).
At The Construction Site
The process of building the store itself is quite easy and straightforward. Flavors.me users will quickly see the similarities between the tools. That’s because these two services come from the same developer.
We won’t go too far into the details of tweaking the look of the store. Basically, there are two elements on the design panel: the “Store” – where you can customize your store’s details, contact form, shipping details and adding pages;
And the “Design” which allows you to customize the artistic appearance of your store, such as the page layout, alignment, image size, border and corner, colors combination, and fonts.
Adding Products & Payment Methods
While the design side might give some people a nightmare, the most difficult and time consuming part of building an online store is the technical side of adding multiple products (and all of its data) and multiple secure payment methods. Fortunately, Goodsie has done the hard work for you. Everything is as easy as clicking a few buttons.
Click on the “Admin” link at the top right corner of the page and choose the “Products” tab to add your products. Click on the “Add a product” button to start.
Write down everything there is to know about your product, such as: Name, Price, Description, etc; in the fields provided.
You are allowed to upload several thumbnails of your product using the “Upload” button. If you find tools that you don’t understand, the help button: “(?)“, is just a click away.
Repeat the process for other products that you want to add.
The “Settings” tab is where you can complete your data – as the seller, customize the Goodsie address of your store, and of course set the payment methods that you prefer. There are three methods available at this moment: Paypal, Google Checkout and Amazon.
No coding necessary. Just click the activate button, write down a few details and you’re ready to go.
You may activate all three, but your store will be disabled for customers without activating at least one.
The Shopping Experience
So will your customers get a nice shopping experience? I changed my role into a customer and tried the store myself to find the answer.
This is what a quick setup of my “dummy” store looks like. The interface is clean and the product images are arranged neatly according to the store layout design I chose.
The magic began at the time I hovered the mouse pointer over a product: the product image changes into the product description, complete with “Add to Cart” and the “Details” button.
After adding several products to the cart, I clicked on the “Cart” button on the top right corner of the page, and the shopping cart appeared. The cart interface allowed me to change the quantity of each product, or delete the items that I don’t want. When I’m ready to pay, I just click on one of the payment buttons below (since I only activated Paypal, other buttons were unavailable).
Now that your store is up and running, what is your next step? Promote it like crazy! It’s useless to have a beautiful and fully functional store if nobody visits it.
And what will happen to your store after the beta period is over? This is what the developer said:
Post beta, we will offer a revenue share only version of the service – that’s not exactly free, but pretty close.
If you are really serious about setting up and running an online store, Goodsie might be your tool to do it. And when the profits come pouring in, I’m sure a real entrepreneur would not mind sharing part of the profit to keep your store system up and running.
I personally think that Goodsie is user friendly to both the store owner and the customer. So why don’t you use the invite code and try the service yourself? Then share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.
Image credit: Auswandern Malaysia