Can you get a Free Online Store to Sell your Products?
It’s not totally free though, but the Government of BC will pay you 75% of that cost through a grant, and you just pay 25%. It’s a pretty good deal and now that funding is available, every BC-based entrepreneur can have that dream e-commerce site they’ve always wanted but had no time and no funding to build it.
Bakeries, Clothing, Art, Catering, Juiceries, Salons that sell hair/make-up products, and the list goes on! They can all have a proper e-commerce store that they fully own and operate to sell their products online.
Restaurants & Coffeeshops can also break free from the expensive subscription-based platforms charging them between 15% and 30% on each order by having their own online ordering system that enables free pickup (and delivery if they have drivers/partnerships with delivery personnel)
What if my product is “Digital”
The beauty of this new grant is that the Digital Products are also included as long as they are:
- A packaged Product
- A repeatable product
What does that mean?
Let’s say you are a professional coach and you have your own training courses, if your courses are already created and priced to be consumed/ streamed online they are considered packaged and repeatable (providing that your clients and learners can register, login and take the course online at any given time of day)
– Live zoom/Skype/Webinar sessions do NOT qualify because you have to be there in person to deliver (so they are technically not ready-made and repeatable product)
If you want to deliver your courses online and qualify for the grant you will need a robust learning management system built for you by a BC-based web development company.
That allows your students to self-register, pay, consume the courses online, and allows you to easily upload new courses, manage the system and monitor the progress of your learners from a single login.
What about Shopify, Wix, Square and Thinkfic
While they are all good and well-established platforms, but they all have certain limitations, It’s like building your store inside a rented “Airbnb”, you have no (or very little) control over the platform, you can only use the options provided by the platform, you can’t add features or control the page loading speed, and they make it almost impossible for you to take your online store with you if you want to move out! You usually end up redesigning and rebuilding your website and e-commerce features from scratch (plus the pain of creating a new page per product all over again)
And of course, the other point is that the monthly payments are forever, they never stop!
– If you still want to use any of these platforms and qualify for the grant, note that the grant will only cover 12 months of subscription then you are on your own.
The best way to go
In my opinion, nothing beats the flexibility you get when building your e-commerce on WooCommerce/WordPress period.
I am using it here on this website and have used it for many of my “happy” clients.
You build it once, pay once and get a great ROI, and you OWN it!
Besides, you can customize just about everything, add features, add a different payment option, optimize your pages for speed or SEO.
And grant-wise you will have a better kick-start as opposed to renting a platform.
Either way, you probably need to have a chat with an industry professional in BC to discuss and understand your options, help you understand the grant’s criteria, and work with you on your project proposal.