Alright, normally I do a physical product for my review but I was inspired to review the ecommerce site I sell through because it's pretty fantastic and yet a lot of people in the craft circuit, even those online, don't know about it.
First of all we all know Etsy. Now I have no beef with Etsy, although we had a bit of a bad breakup, it is the giant for handmade ecommerce. And while I was with Etsy for two years from 2009 to just into 2011 how it looked when I came there, versus how it looked when it started, and even how it looks now isn't the same. While I think the changes they've made (from what I've been able to see though not being a seller there anymore) it's been improvements after a good fashion. My gripes - the banners & avatars are crazy small (compared to other platforms) and it has a bit of a Facebook feel to it. You can customize a minimal amount and that's it.
I've also sold with Artfire. They changed a lot in the few years I was with them too, and while again some changes have been good, others I really wasn't all for and well we broke up too, lol. They offer a good deal more customization to their shop fronts, but in order to have the maximum affect you had to be a pro seller (although now it's changed and that is the only option).
Just this last year (December of 2011 to be specific) I came to Storenvy. I was a little forlorn over my Etsy break up still and was okay but not terribly ecstatic about Artfire. So I decided to give them a chance at the ecstatic urgings of new friendy & fellow crafty fiend Melli of Melli's Trinkets. Admittedly I had a little bit of trepidation. What would this new ecommerce site be like that I'd never heard of? Would it be more work, would it be worth the effort even?
I can answer in the positive and with a resounding yes that it's great and well worth it! Originally drafting wasn't precisely available in an obvious fashion on Etsy or Artfire (although now both offer a way to do it, Storenvy's way is much simpler and getting better all the time.) For me drafting is an extremely important feature as it allows me to hit those high points of inspired copywriting without feeling I have to sync up my listing process into "all at once". The picture availability is set at the standard 5 which works for the most part, although you have to get a little creative at times with your pictures to narrow it down into just 5 depending on your product. Also standard is an easy to use app with Facebook and it also allows you to link your account and sign in that way. Changing your email for sign in and to receive messages is easy which is also a major bonus.
Some other nifty perks, they have built in deals and promotions you can run as well as the ability to mark things as On Sale, Coming Soon, and Pre-Order (there are other options Active, Hidden, and Retire). Forums of course are attached to the site and they give you on site stats in your dashboard. You can see an overview of your recent sales, access specific invoices, see visitor to view rations for up to a month back or across 6 days. Your most viewed products & top sellers, top referring URLs, top search engine terms, visitor & buyer countries.
Another major bonus to your storefront with Storenvy is that you can have as many collections, what they call store sections, as you want. Whereas Etsy restricted it to 10, which made many people open up additional stores for categorization, this is a welcome difference. Other tidbits are fairly standard with the ability to reference links to other areas of the web (up to 6), customization of your shipping confirmation email, and bits in your profile.
However, the coup de grace of it all (aside from it being a fee-less system of course) is that you are allowed 100% customization. Your store can be as simple as you'd like it to be or as hands down fancy pants as you can get it (or your web designer can get it). This leads the way for you to have a truly unique webstore that bespeaks your style while setting up a good majority of the front for you.
So if you have a shop and maybe you're struggling with your venue, or you're thinking of opening one, pop on over to Storenvy and try it out - you won't be sorry you did!