On Line Selling Platforms or Not?
April 2, 2014 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I am aiming to sell a men's fashion line on-line beginning in June. I am doing research about on-line selling platforms. The concerns I have on my end is free shipping costs and product return (if the the items do not fit) I have checked Amazon and they do charge shipping costs. Now looking for some local e-commerce businesses. Any other suggestions?
posted by goalyeehah to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Is there a reason you wouldn't use Squarespace or similar?
posted by DarlingBri at 10:42 AM on April 2, 2014

Have you checked out Shopify and Volusion?
posted by Dansaman at 10:50 AM on April 2, 2014

Squarespace, Shopify, Volusion, etc are all fine ecommerce platforms but none will ship your products for you for free to your customers (and back again), which is what you seem to be asking for?

I'm not aware of anyone who offers that (all it would take is one customer using it for their Ye Olde Online Bricks 'n Boat Anchors Shoppe to run that idea into the ground.) I believe you can sell through Amazon Prime but only as a reseller for products Amazon already offers, not for your own stuff.
posted by ook at 11:32 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for someone to do the shipping for you, what you're looking for is a fulfillment center. However they're going to charge you for it no matter what.
posted by radioamy at 3:14 PM on April 2, 2014

What you probably want to do is set up your own eCommerce site (personally I like Shopify and Bigcommerce because they're super easy to set up, and their APIs are good and make it easy to incorporate add-ons/extensions) and then figure out how to scale your fulfillment. Shipping can be a bitch if you're doing it piecemeal. You want to get an account with Endicia or Stamps.com for USPS so you can print your labels at home. You also want shipping automation software* like Shipstation so it's fast to print shipping labels, packing slips, etc. Figure out standard packaging and anything else you can do to make it easy.

One thing to look at in the various ecommerce platforms is how they handle returns and what is the best customer experience and easiest for the seller to manage. The term you're looking for is RMA (return merchandise authorization). Ideally it should all be automated.

*disclaimer: I work for a company that makes this kind of software but not one of the ones I've mentioned)
posted by radioamy at 3:18 PM on April 2, 2014

Shopify is decent and handles returns within the program. You can set up a trial store with a password locked site to keep it private and test out possible shopping paths to see how the software handles returns etc, it'll only cost you paypal fees.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:08 PM on April 2, 2014

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