My first impression of Shop Handmade is that it could use some improvement on it's layout. Of course, that might just be the geek/designer in my talking, but the site is orientated to the left of the screen and doesn't maximize it's space well. Since I've started this series I've begun signing up for all the sites as I research them, you can find out more that way! This one was extremely easy to sign up for, you just had to input a nickname or e-mail address, and that was it! The one thing that got me a little curious was that it didn't seem ask for a password. So first thing I did was go looking for the account information. Sure enough, they did want a password, they just don't ask for it up front! Strange. Plus, at the bottom of the account page, they have a long list of e-mail offers. Make sure to go visit that if you don't want them sending you a lot of e-mails! Of course if you want them, by all means keep them checked :) Personally I don't want any right now, but I'm also not opening up a shop at the moment, if I did I might change my mind.
Once you've signed up for an account clicking on "my account" at the top of every screen takes you to an easy navigation page. If you have not opened a shop it lists "Open a Store" and "Sell an Item" front and center. Then you'll find a navigation bar on the left with a "My Account" secition that includes; Profile and Preferences, Wishlist, and Purchase. Below that is a Store section including; Profile and Logo, List an Item, Inventory, Orders, Ledge, and Store FAQ.
I didn't get to experiment at all with the listing process, because I didn't want to fill out a shop profile and then not actually open up shop. So instead my next step was to check out the Store FAQ!It wasn't very long, and actually left me with more questions, but I think that's because I'm doing things out of order. So on to the About section!
After reading the About section the most confusing thing, to me, about Shop Handmade is it's fees system. From what I understand it's possible to list for free, if you sign up for a sponsor. They also let you chose if and how much you pay of the final selling value. It seems a little strange to me, but I'm not going to knock the option of free!
They are very "green-minded" at Shop Handmade. It's a large part of why they started their venue! They attempt to off-set the carbon footprint, and support the rain forests, so if that's a passion of yours this could be the site for you!
There a variety of search functions, but it worked a little slow for me. I also didn't like that I couldn't find a way to contact the seller if you had a question or wanted to chat. The pictures are also blocked from being shown - so I couldn't feature any items for you - even though I found some cute ones! So instead you'll have to be satisfied with a picture of the featured shops on the front page.
The biggest drawback I saw to Shop Handmade is that there really doesn't seem to be any community. As I said, I couldn't find a way to contact sellers, and there are chat or forum features. That's a major drawback as far as I'm concerned because a major part of selling your work on-line is to form relationships!
Would I sell here? Maybe, but it's not on the top of my list. I don't like the lack of community, and I'd rather go someplace with interaction possibilities. However, the fees system does make it tempting! So it's on the list of possibilities :)
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