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Launching Your Own Online Shop, Starts With Your Goals

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own online store; the thought can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn and understand before officially launching an e-commerce site.

When I first started this journey I set my initial goals and objectives to explore the possibilities. Here’s a recap from my first article:
Starting An Online Shop? Stores Open For This Absurd Reason

  • Objective: Create an online shop that ties into my website
    Research a vendor who’s marketplace offers various merchandise. The idea is to provide my artwork to the vendor and select specific merchandise to be sold on my website. The vendor will handle procurement. Ideally my art shop should be a part of my existing website. Therefore, the vendor I choose should offer an easy way for me to link their merchandise to my website.
  • Goal: Research vendors with a focus on quality
    Quality is important to me, therefore I’ll start exploring vendors.

E-Commerce: Next Steps For My Online Store

As I researched marketplace vendors, I looked for a vendor who could meet all my objectives mentioned above. I’m interested in a vendor who’s platform is user friendly, and allows me to easily pull their products into my existing website. This criteria eliminated many online platforms—like Esty, Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Facebook Marketplace—simply because procurement and vendor products were not offered.

Therefore, it left me to take a closer look at vendors like Zazzle, Society 6, Printful, and Printify, who had products I could imprint my artwork on to sell. There were pros and cons to all.

I eliminated Society 6 simply because I could not pull their products into my website. The name I kept hearing from my own resources was Printful and Printify were quality driven. After much thought I chose to go with the vendor Printful, given others I know were happy with their items.

As I started looking into how I would link my WordPress website with this vendor, I needed an e-commerce pass through (often referred to as a plug-in WordPress,) to add-on for my e-commerce transactions. I decided on the plug-in Woo Commerce because this piece of software was created for WordPress users, and Printful would easily link to my website.

Establishing An Online Shop

There was one downside to using this vendor—and that was their payment model. Printful requires me to pay for items first when orders are submitted. This comes out of my Printful account established with this vendor for orders placed and completed from my site. I then get reimbursed from customers who pay me through Woo Commerce.

This model leaves me to collect the sales tax from my customers since Printful does not collect sales tax for me. Not the most ideal option, but I’m discovering most vendors work this way when pulling items into a personal website. This left me with the possibility of collecting sales tax from different states and understanding the different legal ruling. As overwhelmingly as this was, I realized I needed to do more research like watching videos, speaking with my accountant, and understanding a term called sales tax nexus.

In the meantime I’ll set a new objective, and pursue getting answers to my legal questions.

  • Objective: Create an online shop that ties into my website
    Research what’s sales tax nexus and understand it. Reach out to my accountant and any additional resources for help.

For the next steps in this journey, read my article Exploring How To Sell Artwork Online.

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