Goodsie: Beautifully Simple Hosted eCommerce

It would be fair to say that eCommerce is in a boom right now. The likes of Ebay and Amazon turn over more revenue than any high street chain you’d care to mention, and the number of independent online shops is growing hourly – the market-leading system Shopify, alone, is powering 50,000 online stores, and counting.

Despite this ever-expanding market, the range and variety of the eCommerce management software available is still relatively limited, and many services are fairly expensive from the viewpoint of a small retailer. Other than going down the Shopify route, most shopkeepers have to resort to WordPress plug-ins like WooCommerce, but neither option allows the non-coder to style their site easily.

It is, perhaps, because of this problem that Hiidef Inc. – maker of the fine, homepage creator Flavors – has produced Goodsie, a design-oriented hosted eCommerce platform. With Goodsie’s Standard package costing $14/month, this service is one of the more affordable eCommerce options available, but is Goodsie more luxury aisle or bargain bin? Time to find out.

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Getting Set Up

The simplicity of Goodsie’s sign-up is refreshing. Nothing more than a store name, an email and a password is required to start setting up your store. Upon completion of this process, you are greeted by a welcoming dashboard, filled with Metro-style unmissable icons.

Goodsie's dashboard: huge icons, maximum clarity

Goodsie’s dashboard: huge icons, maximum clarity

With the end goal of simplicity in mind, Hiidef has done well to reduce Goodsie’s admin area to just these six icons – Products, Orders, Statistics, Settings, Marketing (e.g. coupon codes) and External (embedding codes).

Selling Your Wares

Pretty dashboards are all very nice, but the most important part of an eCommerce service is the selling of goods. Given that the listing of eCommerce products is rarely straightforward, Goodsie does a good job of making the process as simple as it can be.

Other than titles, descriptions and price, Goodsie’s notable features include SKU support, a Cost of Goods option for keeping track of your profit margins, as well as the ability to create product options (e.g. small, medium, large) and extras (e.g. gift wrapping). Products also come with a very slick gallery, which has the added benefit of being video compatible.

Adding a product to your Goodsie store is relatively simple

Adding a product to your Goodsie store is relatively simple

Retailers of digital goods will be happy with Goodsie’s platform, as downloads can be sold in your store with the aid of Fetch. Products, once added, can be viewed within a list, or as image “cards.” Similarly, orders are displayed as a list, with the order number, date, customer name and order status all displayed.

Getting the Look

Critically, however, designing your Goodsie site is incredibly straightforward. The controls, which will be familiar to Flavors users, provide simple one-click options for layout, colour, fonts and more. As a Flavors user myself, I arrive at Goodsie’s design palette with a sense of direction, but I don’t think anyone would struggle with this system, even with no experience.

The fonts are a particular area of quality in Goodsie; there is a vast list provided by MyFonts, which gives you non-standard fonts like Benton and Gibson to add to your site for free.

The design suite in Goodsie is ridiculously easy to use

The design suite in Goodsie is ridiculously easy to use

Unfortunately, Goodsie’s design strength is also its greatest weakness. For those of us who are willing and able to dig into design code, the lack of this option in Goodsie may, in the long run, be a turn-off. Additionally, this lack of freedom may force some business owners into running a separate website. If, for instance, you want to run a blog, then your only option within Goodsie is to embed it, which is not an option many will wish to take.

Goodsie is clearly not aimed at the geekier end of the retail spectrum, though, and the design options provided will suit most shopkeepers.

Behind the Scenes

Goodsie excels in areas other than the obvious, too.

Coupon codes can be adjusted and limited in terms of time, quantity and their effect, and if you’re willing to make the jump to Goodsie’s Premium $40/month package, you can get your hands on the in-built targeted email system, which will personalize emails to each customer’s taste.

You've got plenty of options when setting up coupons in Goodsie

You’ve got plenty of options when setting up coupons in Goodsie

The Statistics dashboard (another Premium package feature) is simple, yet insightful, presenting a considerable amount of information with clarity.

The statistics – pretty, aren't they?

The statistics – pretty, aren’t they?

There are five payment methods through which Goodsie shop owners can receive funds, including the usual options of PayPal and Google Checkout, as well as Braintree, Authorize.net and the much praised Stripe (only for shops in the United States, at present). That much selection is definitely nice to see.

Many will be happy with the Stripe payment option

Many will be happy with the Stripe payment option

One other Premium feature which will appeal to retailers is the user management built in to Goodsie’s admin area. This allows an admin to create accounts for their employees (for example), safe in the knowledge that only what is designated as accessible can be messed up.

Goodsie's user management will come as a relief to many managers

Goodsie’s user management will come as a relief to many managers

Conclusion

Out of all the eCommerce software options I’ve tested – and that’s a large number of services – Goodsie is by far the easiest to get going with, and for the non-technical retailer, its design options cannot be beaten for ease of use.

The inherent lack of freedom to dig down into your website’s code in Goodsie is a problem, reducing the platform’s versatility, and it will prevent some shops with more niche needs from utilizing Goodsie’s service.

In general, however, if you want to start selling with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of style, and you don’t have any unusual requirements, then I’d have trouble recommending an eCommerce platform other than Goodsie.


Summary

A solid hosted eCommerce tool, matched with a brilliant, if slightly limited, design suite.

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