There almost aren’t any barriers to entry into the eCommerce business. Secure and feature rich open source shopping carts, cheap hosting and effortless payment integration have made selling online a piece of cake. Once you have the inventory in place, you are ready to rake in cash as soon as the DNS propagation is done.
Ready to use, hosted storefronts from the likes of Shopify have made getting into online selling far more trivial. When the barriers to entry are virtually nil in a business, its the niche one chooses to operate in and the creative marketing campaigns that’ll decide their success.
Talking about creativity, a creative products marketplace sounds like a better business to be in rather than competing with the big box retailers. There can only be so much discount you can offer on diapers, books and shaving kits right? If that makes sense, you should try your hand at running your own Etsy-style site using Storenvy.
Pricing and Fine Print
There is no pricing page at Storenvy. And, it’s prominently showcased that you can set up your shop for free. So, as usual, I started looking for the fine print as this is one business where offering the service free to the user is extremely unviable. Besides, its an unwritten rule that marketplaces take a cut of the revenue generated. The fact of the matter is, as of now you are free to set up a store without paying a penny and start selling.
However, sometime down the line, Storenvy plans to charge for listing in their own marketplace. If you choose to list your products there, you might have to pay them a share of your revenue. But, the interesting thing is whatever sales you do on your own storefront, is all yours and you get to keep 100% of the revenue. I really appreciated the extensive disclaimer and the fact that it wasn’t hidden away as fine print. Way to go Storenvy!
The tabbed interface gives an elegant look to Storenvy. The dashboard is designed in a way that you are on top of key analytics of your business at all times. Storenvy promises a five minute set up and from my experience, their claims are true. Products are added to Collections, which are categories with a fancy name.
Each Collection will have its own tab on your storefront and products can be in multiple Collections. When you add a product, you have the option to list it in the marketplace collections as well. For those who have a ton of items in the inventory, yes, Storenvy allows you to add unlimited products for free. I spotted a button to export the products in your store in CSV format, but couldn’t find one for importing products.
Without getting into all the boring details, I assure that Storenvy comes with all the standard features we have come to expect from an ecommerce app and there are a few and whistles as well. Extensive customization options with full access to HTML and CSS, Facebook storefront integration and comprehensive order tracking are just a few.
You can accept payments with all major credit cards from around the world using PayPal. PayPal is not the friendliest of the lot when it comes to online payment processing. But, payments are instantly sent to your PayPal account and that’s a sweetener.
Alright, as I mentioned earlier, you are good to go on your own with either Magento or Prestashop. But, it’s the marketplace of Storenvy that’s worth paying attention. Marketplaces are a great way for sellers to garner more traffic and sales within a relatively short period of time. They give sellers the opportunity to focus on making great products instead of worrying about storefront traffic.
I don’t have the exact traffic numbers with me. However, with over 40,000 products on sale, Storenvy has a variety and collection that’ll for sure attract a ton of traffic. The marketplace is design is gorgeous and they do have a ton of cool items. Envy this button is a great indicator of the pulse of the customers.
When there are so many sellers in a marketplace, the success of the marketplace lies in making sure all sellers get a fair share of the attention. The good news is, Storenvy promotes the seller at every possible turn. They even allow customers to follow a particular seller (much like our Envato marketplaces!) and the discoverability is great with extensive categorization.
Paying extra for selling items at a discounted pricing makes a lot of sense. But, charging $4.99 every month for custom domain integration is just not right. It takes the sheen off the product that claims to be free when you sneak in a recurring charge that’s totally ridiculous.
Storenvy has chosen an interesting niche with a great potential. Now, for the most part, its widespread acceptance hinges on the percentage of revenue share they plan to charge their sellers.