Ecommerce platform provider Shopify recently launched a free website builder and shopping cart service called GoSpaces.
Designed for international use, GoSpaces is a way for Shopify to explore and learn from emerging markets where online commerce has less penetration. The company launched GoSpaces in 38 countries and 20 languages.
Ecommerce Landing Page
GoSpaces Hallmarks: Simplicity and Ease of Use
Simplicity and ease of use are GoSpaces’ hallmarks. It is an economy version of the typical shopping cart in that it lacks many of the bells and whistles usually associated with such platforms.
For instance, users only have access to a single one-page template, there are no apps to which the platform can connect and the setup process requires no technical know-how.
In fact, businesses don’t even have to use GoSpaces to sell products at all but can create just a basic website — sort of an electronic brochure.
The similarity between these two GoSpaces sites testify to the platform’s simplicity:
GoSpaces Product Options
If you look at the main menu, under “Tour,” you get the impression that GoSpaces is intended solely for use by artists, authors, entrepreneurs, designers and developers. In truth, anyone can sell just about anything using the platform, including physical products, digital products for download or monthly subscriptions.
Current sites sell everything from electronics to children’s shoes, ebooks to music and cell phone cases to t-shirts. One site even sells tarot card readings!
Since GoSpaces is free, entrepreneurs can also use it to test out business ideas with little or no risk involved.
GoSpaces uses a variety of payment methods, including credit card (via Stripe), bank transfer, Paypal, Bitcoin, convenience stores and more. More than 150 currencies are represented, which means that customers can most likely pay using their local currency.
Free to Use, to a Point
GoSpaces is free to use until the retailer reaches sales of $50 or more each month. After that, the platform charges $9 per month plus a 3 percent per transaction fee.
Intended for Beginners
Looking over the site, it doesn’t take long before you realize that the platform is primarily intended for beginning entrepreneurs.
For example, the blog contains posts with titles such as “10 High Impact Digital Marketing Courses for Beginners,” “How to Design the Perfect Newsletter” and “Your 6-Step Guide to Effective Business Card Design.”
There is also a set of tools to help businesses get started that include elements like a business name generator, slogan generator, logo maker, image resizer, domain name registration and more.
How to Use GoSpaces
With that as a backdrop, here’s how to setup a GoSpaces site to use for your business.
1. Go to GoSpaces.com and click the green “Get Started” button. You will also see buttons that say “Create Your Space” positioned throughout the site — just another way to get started.
2. Create an account. Clicking the “Get Started” button takes you to a page where you create your account. All that’s required is your email address and a password. Alternatively, you can sign up using Facebook, Twitter or Google.
(Note: GoSpaces asks you to confirm your email address although that doesn’t appear to have any bearing on your ability to create a site as you can proceed without confirmation.)
3. Review the Dashboard. After creating your account, GoSpaces redirects you the admin dashboard. Four options appear in the navigation menu: Get Started, Payments, Customers and Subscriptions.
Once you start selling, the payments, customers and subscriptions areas will populate with transaction-related data, such as what you see here:
4. Create your Space. Click the green “Create Space” button in the center of the page to begin setting up your website or shopping cart.
Clicking the button takes you to your “Space” (GoSpaces’ term for your website) where you will need to take the following actions:
- Add a page title and description;
- Upload a cover image;
- Add page copy, to “Tell your story”;
- Add a product, to start selling; or
- Add a section, to collect emails (useful for service businesses).
5. Add a product. If you intend to use GoSpaces to sell products, click the “Add a product” button.
This action takes you to a product page where you will:
- Upload a product image;
- Add the product name and description;
- Set the price (pricing can be one-time or monthly or annual subscription);
- Include product variants, such as size or color;
- Enable shipping.
Sellers can also upload digital files if they are not selling physical products.
Although you can add multiple products, GoSpaces isn’t Amazon. If you have more than a few SKUs in your catalog, consider using Shopify or another more robust ecommerce platform.
6. Add a section. Another option is to add a section, which you can do whether or not you sell products.
Clicking the “Add a section” button creates an email subscription form. Edit is by adding a title and reason to sign up.
7. Preview or publish the Space. Once you’ve completed the setup process, you can choose to either preview or publish the site.
Other Editing and Admin Options
Clicking the “Account Settings” link located in the upper-left-hand corner of the page (It may also appear as a “hamburger menu” — a 3-line icon.) opens a sidebar that contains additional editing and admin options, including page title, country, language, business name, payment methods and others. You will need to set some of these up before using the site, such as:
- Create a payment gateway. Setup a payment gateway to take payments online.
- Register a domain. It’s in your best interest to register a domain name, which you can do through the platform. If you already own a domain, go to Settings > Custom Domain to configure it.
- Upload credit card information. Even though the first $50 worth of transactions each month are free, you will need to add credit card information to pay for transaction and subscription fees should you exceed that amount.
The GoSpaces platform is about as simple as it gets, both to setup and use. But considering that it’s intended mainly for small businesses in emerging markets, that’s the idea and the reason Shopify created it. Still, for any business that wishes to sell only a few products or that doesn’t have a website, the platform could suffice.