Shopify? Big commerce? Squarespace? Something else?

I am reaching out to you again, my supportive, interested and, dare I say it, opinionated ☺️ Tribe.

It is coming near time for me to move away from Etsy.

I have had a shop here for many years, morphing from a bag maker to a fine artist. I am grateful to Etsy for teaching me so many things about online selling, as well as giving me a modest income.

Those of you who are on Etsy will know that there have been many changes over the last few years, with more to come. It is moving away from the place which supported and welcomed crafters and artists, moving to a seat alongside the Big Boys of e-commerce. I have to be honest and say that I have moved away too. I haven’t put any effort into the shop this year. That tells me that unconsciously I have been playing with the idea of moving; now my conscious brain has caught up.

So it’s not just the changes in Etsy. It is the changes in me and my art work. Maybe I have outgrown Etsy. My current work doesn’t sit easily with the feathers and leaves in the Etsy format. I need something that allows me more space to organise and curate, but still sell.

No way am I going to self-build a site. Even with help, that’s way beyond my skill level ~ and my interest level, to be honest. I want someone else (or something else ~ some fancy algorithm!) to do all the backroom stuff.

That leads me to an on-line store building tool (love the jargon?!). I have done some research and Shopify is the one that comes up most often. But Bigcommerce and Squarespace are mentioned. They all offer free 14 day trials, but I want to use that time, after I have made a decision, to set things up. Then, when the 14 days are finished and I have to pay the monthly fee, I will be ready to go.

I am still at the information gathering stage, so I am reaching out to you. Are you on any of these, or something else? Have you done any research into any of them? What should I be looking out for? Do you know anything about domain names? Is one site more suited to art work? Anything you can throw my way will be useful and appreciated.

I hope to write more about what I am finding out, but just in case you are thinking about making a switch too, these links have helped me understand and compare Shopify and Bigcommerce.

Pros and cons of Shopify

Big commerce review

Big commerce vs Shopify

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36 thoughts on “Shopify? Big commerce? Squarespace? Something else?

  1. I’d love to offer useful and relevant comments, but I haven’t used any of the other formats as either a consumer or a seller. I’d only say: sell where you love to shop, where the experience is good and what is on offer resonates for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m afraid I haven’t a clue either, but I like Kate’s idea of selling where you like to shop. I know it’s risky to assume everyone else is like ourselves, but I honestly can’t think of any other, realistic way of doing it. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Meeks. I think that at some point I am just going to have to jump. It is rather like comparing phone or electricity plans ~ comparing apples with oranges. 😐

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    2. That’s great advice Kate, except that I rarely buy online either! However I am looking at many more sites, to see what is on offer, so I am getting a little more experience.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is definitely an option, Tierney. Maybe I could use the free trials on the ones that I am NOT leaning towards, just to confirm that I don’t want to be there! Fortunately I am giving myself a lot of time to do this. That’s surprising for me, as I usually jump in feet first and do the research later!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know much about it all either…especially now/current time

    once a million years ago I had quite good sales of secondhand equipment via a very basic free website but that was when there wasn’t much around. And you do things off the seat of your pants. I mainly advertised by Yahoo groups (another thing gone).

    https://fitsmallbusiness.com/how-to-sell-art-online/ – this could be helpful, but maybe you already saw it. I just typed something into Google and this somehow seemed to be about 6 links down…

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    1. Thanks for the link, Catherine. My next step was to research online sites for artists, so this will be a good starting point.

      Don’t things change so quickly on line?

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    2. That link was great Catherine! I have just spent the afternoon reading through it and following links down little rabbit holes. But I think I have a better idea now ~ or maybe I have too much information and am just confused! Only time will tell. ☺️

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  3. Having sold my art work and jewellery through a local gallery and at local and interstate markets, I can only say, make sure whatever you choose doesn’t end up taking any more precious time away from the actually creating than is necessary. That is a big trap. Checking your web site every day and doing the banking, framing or mounting then packing things up to send all take time away from the creative work. Even selling things in the gallery could be demanding on my time, but the other options all seemed more so. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a good reminder ~ and a good reason to not do it all myself. Even now I have to be very certain about keeping my creative time free. Do you still make art and jewellery?

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      1. I’m trying to get myself back into the art again. It’s been so long that screwing up some momentum has been challenging. I finished with the jewellery making a couple of years ago and got rid of all the supplies and tools and it was quite a freeing feeling. Interesting how something I once loved became a weight that I was happy to be rid of. Good luck with your enterprising efforts! I love your sewing on the trees.

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        1. You have always had the artistic outlet with your beautiful words and photos. But I can understand how you may not want to commodify those further. People were surprised to know that never taught art, but I didn’t want to make something I loved into my job. I hope you find the space to find your art again.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I have exactly the same feelings about Etsy as you – it has moved so far from it’s origins that I don’t really recognise it any more. I’ve been there for almost ten years but I’ve been winding down both my stock and enthusiasm for some time now. i don’t know about the online tools you mention so I can’t be of any help there I’m afraid but I would think that fine art must be one of the hardest things to ‘get over’ online and you might do well outside of the re-sellers, mass producers and general clamour that makes up a lot of Etsy nowadays.

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    1. Etsy was such a nice place to be all those years ago, and I am grateful for all I learnt on it. I understand that things must change, but I wish there was still the same level of integrity that seemed to be there when we started.

      As for selling fine art, I am lucky that my work is on paper, which is much easier to ship. Imagine the difficulties with shipping a large canvas!

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    1. Thanks for the link Val. I have just spent the afternoon looking into WordPress as a site, and the button on posts came up as an option. At the moment my head is in a whirl which so much new information to absorb. Time for a cup of tea!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll be interested to see which way you go as I’m still trying to decide what to do. I think at the moment I’m heading more towards self hosting as you can get websites built very cheaply these days, but then I’ve got to get my own traffic…decisions!!

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    1. I will certainly keep you posted. I doubt I will go the self-hosting route. Ardys above reminded me about the time involved, and I think that self-hosting would be more time consuming. And you are right that I would need to be more proactive about getting the traffic there. Although is that still the case for other options like Shopify? I will have to investigate that.

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  6. I thought Shopify was mostly aimed at ‘regular’ products – ie like amazon or ebay, but mostly smaller retailers. Because of that I have never considered it for anything that’s, (I hate this phrase!) ‘artisan made’
    here in the UK we have Not On The High Street dotcom, and the feedback I have from other jewellers is that it’s pretty reliable as a platform. I have no idea if it’s worldwide. I came across something else mentioned by a printmaker /pattern designer on Instagram, but I can’t for the life of me remember it’s name.( i don’t think it was Made. com, but something similar)
    I’m not a normal shopper – I check all the reviews, I try to buy from small independents and also as locally as possible to reduce carbon footprint.
    I tried Folksy.com for a bit, but it was nowhere near as user friendly as etsy, and although I liked the idea of using a site just for UK sellers, it was so challenging and also a little more expensive and not as transparent I gave up. good luck

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    1. That’s an interesting point Dawn. I don’t know if Shopify is really suited to art/craft things. That was the beauty of Etsy in the Good Ole Days (!) It was a market place for handmade, so that’s where you would search first if handmade was what you were looking for.

      So now I am off to do some more investigating. A perfect thing to do on a very cold and blustery Melbourne Saturday afternoon!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad I’m not trying to navigate the world of online selling, buying is often challenge enough 😞 I dredged through my memory banks as more than a few years back I wanted some stool covers made from crochet tshirt fabric… as you do 🤔 I looked on Etsy but found a better price + postage deal via -I think- https://madeit.com.au. Beyond that, I can only hope you find what you’re looking for.

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  8. It’s interesting to read this, as I am actively preparing to launch my own online store. Whilst j haven’t used Etsy as a seller, after reading about them for the past year or so, and the recent changes, I have no interest in developing a presence there. From my research, it seems Shopify is a good starting point. It is it’s own standalone store, but there is no real website associated with it. Squarespace is an online system like WordPress. You would have to build your site, have hosting etc. it’s esssentially WordPress’ competitor. I am on self host WordPress, and will go with woo commerce. I’ve also heard that wix is quite good, but again, it is self hosted. Good luck, and do let me know how you get on!

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    1. Great info, Catherine. It sounds like you are a little but further down the track than I am. I did research into WordPress yesterday, so what you said makes sense to me (which it wouldn’t have done a day before!) Would you mind if I emailed you with some more detailed queries about the process?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have just had another look at your site, Catherine. It looks really good, and reassuring that I could create something stylish like that on WordPress. Thanks. 😘

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        1. Big grins ~ thank you. I can contact you through your website. Often non-techie people are just the right ones, because we have to nut things out so that we can understand it!

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