We had brick and mortar shops, then came internet, and now the recent trend is gearing us towards omni-channels, where retailers are having physical and a digital presence at the same time. We witness several reputable stores putting up their presence on social media/blogs and websites.
The study of consumer behaviour patterns reveals that there is a niche in e-commerce. Platforms such as Selz attempt to address such issues by allowing sellers to set up their stores of digital/physical products in various ways.
- Their 14 days of the free trial are sufficient to test their services.
- Selz promotes multi channelling; hence sellers can market their offerings using a variety of channels (online store, embed store to website, social media.)
- Selz offers unlimited hosting and does not restrict the seller when it comes to the number of products, customers, bandwidth or storage.
- They automatically calculate the taxes at the checkout point and also provide tax invoices.
- Selz is exceptional when it comes to offering digital products. They allow sellers to set up license keys, allow downloading or streaming, and PDF Stamping.
- Their drag and drop store builder allows customization of the store with ease. They offer the theme editor, which permits advanced modification.
- They have an in-built payment processor, Selz Pay.
- Limited payment gateways as they offer Selz Pay and PayPal only.
- Selz also charges a transaction fee in addition to the credit card processing fees. The additional cost can be a hindrance for many retailers.
Most people think about Amazon when we talk about online shopping. Why not? As per reports, more than 197 million people globally access their website within a month.
The ways consumers are shopping online has significantly changed, yet the giant seems to be winning hearts for over a decade.
We can conclude it may be due to their vast array of products and services, their pricing structure, reliable shipping, or their dedicated customer service.
Ecommerce retailers reach out to customers that are far away. Moreover, they save costs related to putting up and running a physical store.
There is a significant rise in the demand for digital products too. It has enabled creative individuals to monetize their talent. Music, videos, eBooks, software, and other items are part of Selz offerings.
They believe in the multi-channel model of online trading. That is why they allow sellers to create their online store, link Selz to their existing website or utilize social media in selling products/services.
Selz, founded in 2013, allows selling of physical products, digital products, and services. They offer 14 days free trial for any interested seller, without asking credit card details.
They have 3 plans, basic, standard and advanced. All of them allow the seller to have unlimited products, storage, bandwidth and customers.
The retailers who already own a website either on WordPress, Google Shopping, among others, can sign up with Selz to get additional benefits.
They can also link their store with social media accounts and reach thousands of customers. The themes allow customization, which is vital, as the seller can reflect his/her branding and identity. Let us plunge in to experience the features and the offerings of the platform.
We signed up with the trial version to test the platform, and upon signing up, we face a 2-step feedback collecting survey.
We have mentioned earlier that Selz provides unique options to sell products via various methods. As such, the seller needs to choose the plan through which they will be selling their content.
It includes stores, buy buttons, social or embedded store. The other question revolves around the type of business and its name.
The second part addresses issues such as revenue per year, website URL, phone number, among others. It also enquires if the seller already has an online presence or not.
Upon submitting the information, the system leads us to the dashboard. Interestingly we get a message from their chat feature informing about their provision of 10-20 minutes online training.
The user reserves a spot with them and gets to learn about the features of the system. Apart from the training notification, we can see the left navigation panel and “what’s next?” on the dashboard.
The navigation panel has sections of general, channels and admin. The body contains steps that will enable the seller to set up their Selz store and start earning from it.
So, what are these steps? These are: add your item, customize your store, create a buy button, configure shipping, create a blog and enable payments.
A new user may be confused about where to start, but these instructions can aid them in setting up the Selz store. We shall be following the guidelines too.
Setting up the Selz store
The first task involves adding products that will be available for sale. The seller, as discussed earlier can upload their products (physical or digital) and services, as well.
Selz is well-known for digital products. We can sell photos, music, videos, software, tutorials, license keys, programs, and ebooks using the platform.
No matter which product/service, the process of creating an item to sell is simple and straight forward. It comes along with sections of details, categories, licenses and SEO.
The first part, details is probably the most crucial as it asks for all the information related to the product. It includes name, description, file upload, product preview, pricing, and inventory.
The product images give the customers a clear idea about the product/service and up to 25 images can be uploaded. We can also include audio/video and URL of YouTube or Vimeo.
The categories make it easier for customers to navigate through the massive collection of the seller’s store, which has various products/services.
The licenses part enables the trader to set their requirement if they want to attach a license number from a list, automatic, or remotely.
It protects the seller’s products from illegal downloads as only the licensed customers will have access to it.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires the user to edit the page title, meta description, and the URL.
It ensures the website of the seller gets decent traffic by using keywords that enable the site to appear amongst the top in the search engines.
As we said, the process is uncomplicated, and we are done adding a product in 4 steps. We can acknowledge Selz for providing ease of creating products/services in the system.
Managing the items
It may not be possible to exhaust all the details concerned with creating items under our Selz store. Nevertheless, we can mention that all the products/services appear under the “items” tab on the navigation panel.
The tab has subsections of all, active, sold-out, paused, and import & export. Below is the image of all items and it allows us to publish and create new products/services too.
We have seen the procedure to follow while uploading items in our store. But are we limited in terms of the number and size of files?
Selz allows the user to add around 50 files; each can have up to 15GB data. If you wish to upload more, then multiple files can be added and uploaded using a ZIP file.
The seller can provide options for allowing downloading or streaming of the files. Online streaming is an effective way to prevent illegal downloads. The customers only get links to stream the content.
The customers receive an order confirmation email after purchase. Furthermore, they get a receipt and a link to download their digital products if they purchased that.
The buyer of the digital products accesses the files from the content delivery network (CDN). The PDF Stamping feature also enhances the security of the seller’s content.
Let us look at the pricing options we have. The seller can set the currency type, the current price and also indicate the original price. There is an option to allow pay what you want.
One can also offer the product to be sold for free. The seller can offer discounts and coupons to attract customers.
Under physical products and services, we have a section of variants. It allows us to set up the items based on colour, size and types.
When it comes to the inventory, they allow sellers to track their supply using the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU). One can use the custom unit in case the product is measurable in length, weight, or other dimensions.
There is provision for barcode too. The seller enables shipping and set the rates either manually or using real-time (prices of shipping carriers).
The customers who purchase physical products are required to provide their addresses. Selz supports the recognized names in the industry, such as FedEx, DHL Express, USPS, Newgisitics, etc.
The import feature is useful if the seller has a large inventory on some other website, and it is possible after adding the products to a CSV file. One can also export the items if need be.
With this much knowledge about adding items in our store, we now head back to the dashboard’s instruction and figure out the customization process.
Customization of the store
Selz store builder
We, as individual people have different tastes and preferences in almost everything. So why have the same kind of store?
Customization allows the seller to bring out his/her personality on the website to connect with the customers with similar likings.
A musician’s genre should be visually depicted by having a peek at the store set-up. Having control over how your website looks and feels is something that every online trader seeks for on a platform.
Selz provides us with the base in the form of the themes, which can then be further modified. They have a decent collection of the themes, from which we can choose or view it as a demo.
After selecting the most appropriate theme which relates to our products, we can enhance it further using the site builder.
The live builder has 3 sections, namely, blocks, designs and pages. We shall discuss each of these separately.
The first section is the block section, which has 3 parts, banner, body and footer. The content on the store is in the form of blocks; it can be anything, a video, audio, image, HTML, etc.
Thus, we modify the store by adding, arranging and editing the blocks. There are different blocks, such as the header, grid, text, image, banner, embeds, to name a few.
The banner displays the name of the store and provides details about it. A button attached to it can have the action of adding to cart, buy now, view cart or link to URL.
The body contains all the products/services which we can show in the categories of featured or all. The footer has the logo image, and we can edit the text to provide our contact details to the customers.
The most important feature is that of adding blocks. We can introduce new content such as products, texts, images, miscellaneous, social feeds and advanced.
In the image below, we can see the various components of the new additions possible in Selz. The advanced block includes grid and HTML.
We thus have more than enough resources to make our store page attractive and comprehensive. The blocks ensure we include every critical detail on our page.
What about making it unique? We can do that via the designs. It allows us to modify the look and the feel of the page.
It includes parts such as styles, branding, header, banner, footer, colours, typography, layout, products, and blog.
The branding segment allows us to upload our logo and icon. We can edit the colour of the text, headings/title or the links.
The aim is to enable anyone, even the novice, to take control of their store page. Simple modifications can also improve the aesthetic of the website.
The last section of the site builder involves the pages, which we can check/uncheck depending on our decision to either include it or not in our page.
The options of the pages include a blog, about, contact, search, categories among others. We can decide on the accessible content from our store.
Their drag and drop technique of customization makes it super easy to use the site builder. We can rearrange the various blocks by simply dragging and dropping them where we seek to position them.
Selz's site builder also saves any changes made immediately, and we have the preview option so that we can check out the effect of our customization.
We have mentioned that the site builder provides everyone with a chance to modify their store page. However, some sellers may be hungry for more, and we have the theme editor for them.
Well, the advanced modification is possible by editing CSS and HTML files. For that, we need to duplicate the theme we need to customize.
We get a dropdown menu of publish which has the option of edit HTML & CSS. Upon clicking on it, we access the theme editor.
The editor has sections of layouts, templates, blocks, snippets, locales, assets, settings and others. Of course, it requires coding, and therefore, only the developers or experienced users should attempt to carry out such customization.
We can save the changes, and the preview option allows us to check the fruits of our actions. Overall, Selz does a commendable job in providing its users with the chance to alter the store page by either using the store builder or the template editor.
We have another thing that is open for editing, and it includes our buttons and widgets. We can embed them on our existing website to provide the customers with an engaging checkout experience.
The 3rd guidance on our dashboard says we need to create a buy button so that we can allow customers to access our products/services via our existing website/blog.
Selling product/service on other platforms
We have established the fact that Selz is marvellous as it offers various ways through which we can sell our product/service.
We have already discussed how we can add our offerings to the Selz store. We even reviewed the customization part.
The second way to reach out to a broader audience is to embed the buy button, widgets and store or cart to our already existing website or blog.
A seller can have his/her website, or an account with WordPress, Wix, Blogger, Webflow, Squarespace, and other platforms.
On our dashboard, we have buttons & widgets tab on the navigation panel. It leads us to the Selz embed editor.
We can see a button, widget, store and cart. Below it, there are options for modifying the colour, style, action, product and settings. All the changes made can be saved as default so that they will reflect similarly.
They provide the HTML code, which we need to copy and paste on the website to embed the button/widget. We can paste it on the HTML content block or source tab of our site.
The widget differs from the button as it provides us product image and description. We can choose to embed our whole store and synchronize inventory along with it.
We used the Selz eCommerce plugin in WordPress to test the embedment of the buttons. The plugin needs to be downloaded and activated.
To add a block on the WordPress page, one needs to select the Selz e-commerce, which displays the Selz button, widget and store.
Choose the product if you need to embed the button/widget. They allow us to modify the colours, button behaviour, width, and display. The user then publishes the changes, and there you are, mission accomplished!
Let us not forget that we are not limited to websites and blogs. We can sell the products on social media too. We can link all the social accounts also.
It is possible under store settings, where we have a section of social. There are more than 10 accounts that we can link, and they appear in the footer of the store.
Hence, Selz allows us to reach out to a broader audience so that we can easily promote our product/service. With that done, let us check our dashboard checklist, and it reflects on configuring shipping.
Configuration of shipping details
The retailers dealing in physical products such as clothing, equipment, electronics, and others need to have a robust system that handles the shipment of the goods.
Under Selz, we can set up manual rates, a combination of manual & real-time and prices based on real-time only.
The seller sets the manual rates of shipping based on various factors such as value, weight, country etc. One can attach different prices depending on the service, if it is express delivery, overnight, standard, among others.
The real-time rates mean that Selz contacts the chosen carrier to figure out the shipping rates. We have mentioned earlier that they provide carriers such as DHL, FedEx, Asendia, Purolator and others.
When the customer is checking out, Selz fetches the real-time rates to reveal the shipping costs. The other technique is manual & real-time.
It is when the carriers fail to provide current costing, then the seller’s rates are adopted by the platform.
In the image above, we have 3 sections of settings. It includes settings & countries, real-time carriers and Labels & Fulfilment.
The seller can add the countries to which the shipping will be done and set the manual rates by editing each of the nations.
With the real-time carriers, the seller is expected to add his/her original address, default parcel size (dimension & weight), and connect with the preferred carrier.
Selz allows the retailer to integrate with shipment management systems such as Unifaun and Shippo. After taking care of shipping woes, we now get into a critical issue, payments.
Setting up payment gateways
As far as Selz is concerned, it avails plans for the users. The paid offering attracts charges, but they offer services that boost the business of the seller.
Apart from that, they also charge transaction fees. If the seller selects Selz Pay, then they do not impose any transaction fee.
However, on other third-party payment gateways such as PayPal, Selz charges a 0.5-2% transaction fee dependent on the plan.
They also charge fees for credit card processing and currency conversion rates. As far as payments from customers are concerned, Selz offers two gateways, Selz Pay and PayPal.
Their payment processor Selz Pay functions in some countries only. It can process various credit cards and deposit the money in the seller's account.
PayPal is amongst the widely used payment gateway, and the checkout section under settings allows the user to set up the processor.
The seller can offer free products/services, as well as the option to pay what you want (PWYW). It is suitable to enable the choice when one fails to reach the correct product price.
The seller sets a minimum price, and the customer pays anything above that. It is a way to build trust with the clients too.
The checkout setting portion allows the user to enable/disable features such as shopping carts, collect addresses, discount field, post-purchase redirect, terms & conditions and marketing.
The domains are the next in line, according to our dashboard checklist. Any user who signs up with Selz gets a subdomain which ends with .selz.com.
However, the seller can already be having a website, or they may wish to ditch the identity of Selz and create a domain that reflects their name instead.
As such, the custom domain provides the way out. Selz allows the seller to opt for a free Selz, purchase a domain or add an existing one.
To set up the current domain, one needs to get the DNS records (through the domain registrars) and update it in the store settings of Selz.
Selz automatically generates a sitemap file, which has the URLs of all the pages such as blog, products, terms & conditions etc.
A sitemap is useful as it improves web crawling hence, beneficial for the store’s traffic. Let us reflect on our dashboard and find out what comes next in the to-do list.
After setting up a custom domain, we need to configure taxes, customize invoices, recover lost sales and customize receipts. These are all part of managing the orders, and we shall look into it next.
Managing Selz orders
Once our store is up, and we have embedded our social accounts/blog/website, we shall start receiving orders.
The customer will experience the Selz checkout process after adding their products in the shopping cart. The payment gateways, as we have discussed, are Selz Pay and PayPal.
The seller receives notice of the order. He/she sends receipts and order confirmation mail to the customer.
The transaction takes place afterwards, whether its shipping or sending a download link depending on the type of product/service.
All the orders get registered under the order tab on the navigation panel. It hosts sections of all, paid, free, unfulfilled, completed, disputed, refunded, failed and abandoned.
All the orders appear in the section with details such as date, Ref, processor, buyer, item and total. All the orders have billing addresses, but the physical products require the buyer’s physical address too.
The address needs to be submitted when checking out by the customer. Apart from that, the terms and conditions of the seller can be provided during the checkout process too.
We are aware that once the order gets placed, the customer receives a receipt via email, which can be customized. It is to retain the clientele base and lead them to the store to purchase more by introducing discount codes.
Customers' information such as email address is essential as it allows the seller to conduct email marketing, thus vital to update and maintain it.
They can reach their existing clients to inform them about offers, discounts, upsells and various other things that can boost sales. We can reduce cart abandonment by sending emails to such clients who left with incomplete purchases.
There can be disputes, whereby a bank/credit card company contacts the seller through Selz in case of any issue with charging.
Such events need resolutions, and the customer can be given refunds depending on the solution of the dispute.
Our prices include the taxes; thus, we need to turn on the tax button under tax settings, and Selz will report the sales taxes.
They allow EU VAT Reporting; thus, it is easy to report sales taxes. Of course, the taxes are dependent on the country of residence.
Apart from automatic tax calculation, Selz also offers tax invoices. The seller can set up the invoicing in the settings.
The seller can also block certain countries if they do not wish to sell their product there. Let us now view the analytics feature of Selz.
All the sellers sign up with Selz and other e-commerce platforms because they seek to increase their customer base.
More customers translate to higher revenue, and profit is, after all, the primary motive behind every business operation.
The analytics section deals with statistics related to orders, sales, source and location. The seller needs to be keen on information that can tell them more about the customer’s buying pattern.
The orders statistics are displayed using a line graph, with sales against time. We then have numbers representing different amounts, e.g. total orders, total sales, daily sales, average order, and recovered orders.
We have the source section, which displays how the customers accessed the seller’s products. It has numbers of views, order and conversion.
We know that any person who looks at our products will not be a customer; the conversion rate points to the number of visitors who became clients.
The location is a world map that highlights the countries where we have active clients. It is vital to know the physical location of our potential customers so that we can cater to their niche.
Selz allows the user to use the information to make decisions that ultimately boost sales and attract customers.
However, we can integrate with third-party applications such as Google Analytics, Google Ads Analytics, Facebook pixel tracking, Twitter Ads and others to improve our conversion rates.
They also allow integration with other platforms such as Campaign Monitor, AWeber, MailChimp and others.
With the help of different integrations, the seller can improve their efficiency and generate more significant revenue.
The majority of e-commerce platforms support the growth of online stores on their websites. Selz, on the other hand, favours multi channelling.
That is why the retailer can comfortably create Selz store, embed the store to their website/blog, and use social media for marketing the products.
Their interface is neat and intuitive; hence, a seller who is not tech-savvy will be able to operate it without any hitches. The same applies to their process of creating items in the store.
The store builder and theme editor allow the user to customize the stores. Advanced personalization is also possible. Their customer support service is also reputable in the market.
Their payment gateways, however, are limited to Selz Pay and PayPal only. Selz was created to offer simple solutions for retailers.
However, their simplicity can limit the scalability of the business. It is suitable for smaller sized sellers who offer a few digital products.
In case you plan to grow your business on a large scale and include different types of products, then there are other alternatives available for you.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform is always a critical decision. It depends on various factors, but the person who is new to online selling has an existing website/blog and focuses on digital products can safely opt for Selz.