E-commerce For WordPress.com

Did you see the article on the WordPress blog that if you are a WordPress business user you can now open a store selling products from your site.

It costs $299.00 per year to be a WordPress business user.

For that you get unlimited bandwidth and storage, your own domain name and mapping, no advertisements messing up the look of your site (oh how we all want that), any of the premium themes that are on WordPress now and any they introduce in the future, plus of course, custom CSS design if you want.

And with e-commerce from Ecwid, Shopify, and Shoplocket you can sell products.

Let’s get to it. Oh, hang on a moment. What does the ecommerce part of the deal cost?

What does Ecwid cost?

10 products – free
100 products – $15.00 per month
2500 products – $30.00 per month

What does Shopify cost?

Basic (Unlimited bandwidth, Unlimited products, 1 GB File storage, 2.0% Transaction fee, Discount code engine) – $29.00 per month
Professional (Unlimited bandwidth, Unlimited products, 5GB File storage, 1.0% Transaction fee, Discount code engine, Gift cards, Abandoned cart recovery, Professional reports) – $79.00 per month.

What does ShopLocket cost?

2.5% per transaction – $0.00 per month
No transaction fees – $99.00 per month

The no monthly fee ShopLocket option looks to be pretty good. But if I were serious about one of these choices I would want to know a lot more. Here are just some of the questions I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Which of these e-commerce options have payment gateways that I can use? For example, I know Stripe is available in the US and the UK. What if I am located elsewhere?
  • Do any of them offer separate pricing for trade buyers (B2B) as opposed to sales direct to consumers (B2C)?
  • Can different shipping costs be set up for customers in different countries?
  • Do they offer stock control that flags up low stock or out of stock items to customers?
  • Is there a way for customers to indicate that they would buy if the product was in stock?
  • Etc.

Of course, you can sign up to Ecwid, Shopify, and Shoplocket from your own self-hosted WordPress site if you want, so the offer is not something that only WordPress.com users can take up.

So is it worth it to pay $299.00 per year to run such a store on WordPress.com?

In my opinion it is a great option if you want to set up a ‘serious’ shop selling more than just a few products.

That’s because with the WordPress business user package you get

  • Live user support
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage space
  • Almost no development costs needed to be able to run sophisticated e-commerce products
  • The backing of WordPress for security oversight and backups
  • A company that is not likely to hike its prices unreasonably or to go out of business
  • A company with a big development team constantly improving its systems in response to changing customer demands

Reasons Not To Choose This Option

The biggest reason I can think of is that you might want some feature that is not available with any of the e-commerce packages.

That is, you need something that only a custom-built or a different e-commerce package can offer.

Apart from that, I think this is a winning idea and should do very well.

I bet it makes inroads into the territory occupied by Magento Go, BigCommerce, and other SAAS (software as a service) offerings.

Do You Have A Favourite Card Shop?

do-you-have-a-great-card-shop-near-you

As some of you know, I am part of Flying Twigs, greeting card publishers selling to card shops, galleries, museums, and similar outlets in the UK.

We are building our list of card shops in the UK.

Do you have a great card shop near you?

If so, please send me the details, using this contact form and let me know.

Because I Only Have Eyes For Ewe

for-you

I remember taking the photo of the sheep. We were driving in the countryside and passed a field where all the sheep seemed interested in the people passing.

We are crazy about sheep. There is something fascinating about them. I don’t say that from an a priori position. I say it after Tamara and I have spent hours and hours watching them over the years.

So on this occasion we stopped and I took some photos and we said hello.

A couple of weeks ago I uploaded a jpeg of the photo into iPhoto and then transferred it to my iPhone. Once there, I ran the photo through Waterlogue to produce the image you can see.

As a variation, I added the text in Photoshop and we put it up as one of the images on our ecard site.

Later, and this is where I get to the point of this article, I added the strip at the top of the frame and I added the security camera.

I see now that the strip at the top could be the next frame in a film, but I wasn’t thinking of that at the time. I just wanted something to bind the security camera into the whole image.

What was on my mind when I added the security camera?

Elizabeth

Have you see the film Elizabeth, the historical drama about the life of Queen Elizabeth I of England?

The film, starring Kate Blanchett in the title role, appeared in cinemas in 1998 and it won rave reviews and awards.

The film begins with Elizabeth as a young woman newly ascended to the throne following the death of her sister Mary I of England who had imprisoned her.

It was a bloody time, with threats to Elizabeth and to England.

The film is an illusion of course.

Be that as it may, when I read reports of the latest leaks by Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor, I find myself picturing scenes from the film.

I picture spies exchanging messages in dark corridors, countries plotting against one another, idealists revealed as double agents, and people being tortured to extract information.

Mass surveillance in the UK

Then I wind forward to today and I picture a new device that can detect weapons at a distance. I picture a police car parked by the side of the road, scanning pedestrians with the device.

Now I change the scenario. Now this amazing device can read the letters and notes that the pedestrians carry. It’s looking for communications about weapons.

It scans all the letters and notes of all the pedestrians. And what does it see?

Here is a note from a young child to its parent, talking about the school play. Here is a letter written by someone on the eve of a break-up. Here is a note to say…

You can fill in the blank with any of your intimate, private notes, letters, and moments.

That scenario is not like Elizabethan times.

This is an invasion everyone’s privacy; of putting everyone under the microscope, routinely and permanently.

Of course, in some ways it is funny. On the one hand the courts are scrupulous about when someone has or has not an expectation of privacy. On the other hand, the State is routinely breaching everyone’s privacy.

Need we worry? Need we care?

For the moment let’s assume that those in power have the population’s best interests at heart.

But what about the next Government, or the one after that?

We are sliding into an acceptance of routine intrusion into our privacy. Once we accept these intrusions we will accept laws that back them up.

We will accept laws that remove the right of oversight.

We will accept laws that transfer power to the executive without redress in the courts.

We will accept laws that establish closed courts without writ of habeas corpus.

We will accept laws that remove trial by jury for certain serious crimes.

Oh, silly me. We already have those laws in place.