Setting up shop Part 2: Now accepting Bitcoin! And you can too.

Well I’ve made the jump. In my last post on the subject, I was looking for ways to ditch eBay and start my own store, accepting bitcoin.

And the winner is…

I ended up choosing Shopify. I had considered Square and, if I wasn’t in Australia I might well have gone with them. They have great products and services to support your business, but in the end they aren’t available to me in Oz so I went with their competitor.

On a side note, there’s a lesson there for those businesses who want to take the global-readiness of cryptocurrency and offer it as part of their business model: it’s no good thinking globally but only being available to businesses in one country or region. This is a problem relating back to bank payments though, so I really don’t hold it against Square which is why I would still tell you to check them out if you’re in America.

I also looked at etsy, but it didn’t have the cryptocurrency integration I was looking for. A blog-based shop was also an option, but required a bit more work in following up on payments and controlling stock.

Shopify has some fine points to recommend it:
1. It’s cheap. You can start small, like I am, with a $14/month plan and free themes to get a professional look on a hobbist’s budget.

2. It’s based on the wordpress platform, so if you are one of my fellow bloggers you will already be comfortable with the process. Even if you are not, check it out: it is much simpler than you think!

3. You will be delighted at how simple it is to integrate bitcoin payments. Bitpay is used, all you have to do is sign up for a Bitpay account, follow the prompts to direct funds to your wallet and then copy and paste the API on bitpay’s site into the form on the Shopify dashboard.

4. You can manage stock automatically. When entering the details of your product, you can elect to have shopify track stock for you, and even choose whether to stop or allow people to progress with checkout if stock has run out.

The Set Up Process.

I started from scratch, with no formal webdesign, marketing or business training and was able to get an operational store front up and running in under 2 days. That was including making my own logo, taking pics of my first stock item, writing copy and then putting all that onto the Shopify dashboard. In fact, all that work on my stock and branding is what took the most time. Getting it to work on the Shopify site was the fast part!

The best part is, so long as I can clear $140 worth of sales, I will already be ahead of eBay’s fees. And I can still accept all the payments I did on eBay (paypal & direct to bank account) but now I am ready to accept payment in the form of bitcoin.

This past week has seen some interesting talk about Paypal wanting to intergrate bitcoin payments. I say “too slow Pal!” There are plenty of people who have btc, who want to spend it, and who have been spending it without Paypal. I’m glad to be joining the growing number of legitimate businesses who welcome those bitcoin consumers.

It’s also worth asking why would I want to use a low transaction fee payment method, like bitcoin, through an escrow service that charges so much? It reeks of a cynical attempt to claw back business that they’ve lost to the cheaper competitor. Personally, I’m in bitcoin for the long term. What I earn in btc I will be keeping and spending in btc. And Paypal’s reluctant efforts to cover that market leaves me with no great feeling of good-will towards the payment giant.

It just reminds me of that old saying: “Too little, too late.”

If you’re in the market for kidswear, either for your own kids or as a gift to expectant friends and family, please check out my new store on Shopify: Mother Cunning.