“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
Seth Godin, Author & Entrepreneur
The My City Connected Marketplace
Online shopping has become commonplace and, in many cases, an “expected” service for many business models. “Do you have an online store?” “Can I buy this online?” If you’re a small business owner, the chances that you’ve heard either or both statements are high. Most everyone knows they can “find it online” whatever it might be and having a way to sell your goods and services online has evolved from simply being an option to, in many cases, a necessity. Having the ability to sell online also has benefits all business owners must consider. When we look at those benefits from purely a marketing perspective we see that having an online purchasing option has many positive returns and can increase your sales potential tremendously by simply having a place where your potential customer can shop your store from the comfort of their home, on their time, 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. No longer limited by our need to rest, your potential for income can be increased by ensuring your customers has access to your goods and services ALL THE TIME. Not just during “Normal Business Hours”.
There are many options available to the business owner or entrepreneur when it comes to setting up an online store. Shopify, Weebly, WooCommerce, Sqarespace, and more; all of which have their Pros and Cons. But what sets the My City Connected Marketplace apart from them all besides its advanced customization abilities, its month to month flat rate pricing, and the “local- live person – support” is its community.
Because the My City Connected Marketplace is itself located within a fully functional social networking platform, your My City Connected Marketplace Store DOES NOT need be dependent on ANY outside social media or advertising efforts after you have fully integrated. Once the business owner switches from “Like Us on… whatever platform they are now using to maintain social connections with their customers and clients” to “Like us on My City Connected” everything changes. HOW? Unlike other social networks which allow business owners to create pages and gather a fan base, the My City Connected platform allows the business owner to maintain 100% control over the communications with that fan base. In other words, if your store has 10,000 fans and you make a post… ALL 10,000 fans will receive the post. If the business owner has a sale or promotion it wishes to share with its followers, it can do so easily via a post or through our “Message All Members” feature which sends a notification to ALL who have chosen to receive such notifications. The My City Connected – Direct Social Marketing feature puts our Marketplace in a category of its own, allowing the business owner to not only take full control over its marketing efforts but over its marketing budget as well.
Generally, if you are looking to build an advanced store, Shopify and BigCommerce are what most businesses use. If you are selling a limited number of products, or boutique items, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace seem to be the preferred choice mainly due to their more affordable pricing. However, when it comes to the My City Connected Marketplace, we make no differentiation between the small and large stores. We like to believe that every one of our marketplace stores has the ability to become something bigger if they take full advantage of our marketing tools, seminars, training classes, etc. So, the first thing we need to make clear before comparing My City Connected’s Marketplace with other platforms that offer ecommerce services is that the My City Connected Marketplace does not employ “app extension upgrade” options. In other words, ALL our marketplace stores are fully equip (Even during the 90-day trial period). When we introduce upgrades or enhancements they are automatically added to all marketplace stores at no extra cost. As of the date of this article, the cost of having a My City Connected Marketplace store is $99 per month AFTER a 90-day FREE trial period under which each store owner has the opportunity to operate a fully functional ecommerce store and gather fans.
***NOTE: Because of our unique structure and the ability for store owners to grow to having an unlimited number of followers the price of $99 dollars per month remains unchanged until the store owner’s fan base increases beyond 5,000 followers after which an additional $50 per month is charged for every 5000-fan increments. [0-5000 fans/followers = $99.00 per month] [5001-10000 fans/followers = $149 per month] [10001 – 15000 fans/followers = $199 per month] …and so on.
This pricing is set in place based on resource usage. Every store owner can contact and notify their followers directly via email and notifications produced via the My City Connected platform and the increments in pricing are directly related to resource usage. The more fans a store has, the more resources are used to maintain contact with these fans, therefore platform operation costs are increased. Even with the increase in price for those business owners who have attracted thousands of fans above and beyond the base of 5000, it would require a business to reach a fan base of more than 29,999 before they would be paying what you would with a major ecommerce sites like Shopify, with whom My City Connected’s Marketplace has many of the same features in addition to The My City Connected – Direct Social Marketing features, which none of our competitors have.
Below we highlight the most significant differences between My City Connected’s Marketplace and the largest and most popular ecommerce platform online (Shopify). However, it is important to note that because the My City Connected Marketplace is built for local businesses who sell directly to local customers we will openly admit that if you are more interested in doing business on a national or global scale rather than locally, both Shopify and BigCommerce are better equip for handling shipping options “at this time”.
The My City Connected Marketplace VS Shopify
Shopify charges a transaction fee for every sale (unless you use Shopify Payment). In addition to a monthly service fee, Shopify charges its customers a 0.5% – 2% transaction fee for their plans (unless you are using Shopify Payments to power your payment transactions – in which case all transaction fees are removed). What this means for you, is that Shopify will charge you 2% of the sales value if you are using the “Basic Shopify” plan, 1% of the sales value if you are using the “Shopify” plan, and 0.5% of the sales value if you are using the “Advanced Shopify” plan.
My City Connected’s Marketplace charges ZERO transaction fees period. Store owners are 100% in control of their income and can choose either PayPal or Stripe to conduct their transaction through our platform. Store owners may also choose not to sell products and/or services through the platform and simply use their marketplace store to help bring customers to their physical location, to promote sales and specials, or to lead them to an existing ecommerce platform they may currently have in operation.
Monthly cost may add up if you integrate multiple Apps
Although Shopify offers you over 1,200 apps to extend the functionality of your online shop, a lot of the apps are not free, and they charge you a monthly fee to use them. Naturally, this might be concerning due to increased monthly costs.
All My City Connected’s Marketplace Apps are FREE and included with your store. All future apps will be free of additional charges as well.
You need to know “Liquid” if you want to customize your theme extensively
If you know code (HTML and CSS) and want to customize your website (or hire a programmer), it’s not as straightforward as in addition to editing through HTML and CSS (the basic codes), Shopify also uses their own coding language called “Liquid”. What this means is that if you want to hire someone to quickly make modifications, you might have to hire a Shopify Expert who knows Liquid to help, which won’t be as cheap as a normal programmer.
My City Connected’s Advanced Customization feature employs modules that can be dragged and dropped into 100s of combinations allowing even the novice to design a unique page setting themselves apart from all the other stores in the marketplace. Where more detailed customization is desired we allow the use of basic to advanced HTML and CSS. Users will find it quite easy to find help in this area either by hiring a local web designer or by attending local training classes conducted by My City Connected staff on line or in person.
Shopify prices range between $29 per month (for the basic plan) to $299 per month (for the advanced plan). NOTE: This is for full site plans. Shopify offers a Lite plan at $9 per month but that only includes a Buy button.
My City Connected’s Marketplace is a flat $99 per month regardless of what you use or do not use and can be compared to Shopify’s Advanced Plan at $299 per month with the exception of 3 features that the My City Connected Marketplace does not have at this time (*Gift Cards-Coming soon, *Integrated Shipping – a feature that ties your orders directly into shipping options, and… *Abandoned Checkout Recovery – which is simply an annoying email sent to remind you that you have left items in your shopping cart when you left the page).
Shopify, as with most other platforms offer 24/7 email, chat and telephone support.
My City Connected also offers 24/7 email, chat and telephone support but this support is handled by local representatives assigned as account managers to each store owner. So rather than dealing with some random person possibly located thousands of miles away from you when you need help, you have a dedicated account manager you communicate with regularly via email, telephone AND at times in person.
All in all, the My City Connected Marketplace is the best choice for local businesses wishing to increase their marketability in their local area. Hands down!