Vendio Free Webstore: A Bargain or a Bust?

Posted on March 30, 2009. Filed under: Reviews, Tips & Hints - Website Sales, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Earlier this month Vendio announced a FREE ecommerce webstore offering.  While I thought the news was “interesting”, it didn’t really grab my attention.  For 10 years I have been creating websites and I have experienced the spectrum of webstore offerings ranging from very good platforms (Miva Merchant) to very bad platforms(Prostores) so the Vendio news did not “WOW” me instantly.  My first thoughts were “well, you get what you pay for” and “free” isn’t what necessarily causes me to get excited.  I don’t mind paying for value.  And, honestly, I am averse to “disruptive innovation” and “change for the sake of change” so I have to be thoroughly convinced about a product’s potential before I’ll invest my time in learning a new system even if it is free.  While my first impression of Vendio was not great, I must admit that once I gave Vendio a second look and took some time to learn about them and what they have to offer, the WOW factor of their new webstore has me completely convinced to give them a try. 

After I created a new Vendio account to take a look at their new webstore offering, I poked around the system for a few minutes.  I then logged out and figured I would come back later when I had more time.  A short while later I received an email from Vendio reaching out to me, letting me know that they were available if I needed any assistance.  Now, great customer service always gets my attention so I went back to the Vendio webstore and spent a little more time learning more about the system.  

I learned quickly that the Vendio store has the basic elements needed for a good webstore including the ability to create a website with a different template other than just a basic standard template. 

vendiotemplatea

So far so good.  But then I learned that not only can a user change the underlying template, but within the template changes can be made.   And, most impressively, these changes can be made quickly and easily by just using “drag and drop”. 

vendiodragndropajpg

So, someone designing their new Vendio webstore can quickly move the shopping cart information from the right side of the screen to the left side of the screen, for example.  No programming skills are necessary.  By this time I found myself focused intently on the screen, becoming considerably more interested in this “free” offering.

But looking good on the surface (presentation) is only part of the equation.   The underlying “guts” of a webstore is the critical portion.  When I attempted to input shipping costs, I noticed that the option for domestic shipping was all that was available to me. 

vendioshippingajpg

So I sent an email to Vendio inquiring about the availability of shipping costs for international buyers.  The very timely response sent to me was ” To add international as an option, go to Create Items, then open up the gear (view options) and add International Shipping.”

I even received a screenshot to help explain: (below is a screenshot from Vendio):

vendioa

So, really, what I found is that Vendio puts the “basics” out in the open so as not to overwhelm a new user who is trying to design their store.  I like that.  I think it was explained very well to me in an email by Crystal, an employee of Vendio, who I happen to also follow on Twitter.

“One of the concepts that is prevalent is discoverability…. And what this is, is that the more a user utilizes us, the more features he/she “discovers”. Not all the bells and whistles are needed by every seller, so we hoped with our set up that a user can get in and get set up..and then discovers we do offer additional features. It’s daunting to lay out a feast with 1000 dishes and expect someone to fill up their plate with everything they will ever need. We hope that as users gain more experience, they will add “dishes” to their plate.”

What a great concept!  Give me simplicity, just the basics, and then let me make it as complicated as I want and need.  At this point in my review of the Vendio store, I was saying “WOW”.  I was really impressed which doesn’t happen too often.  But I had one concern.  The Vendio store is free and I know that nothing is really ever free in business and I wouldn’t expect it to be.  Again, I went back to Crystal and asked the question.  She sent me a rather lengthy email which convinced me that the Vendio FREE webstore offering is not a gimmick.  She even said something very telling: “We also have other free products that have been free a long time J..and others, like gallery, that we WERE charging for, but are now also free.” 

Vendio does offer services which are not free.  My guess is that Vendio hopes that they can attract new customers with their free offerings, like a Free Vendio webstore, and that new users will eventually try other “pay for service” Vendio offerings.  (Note this is MY opinion only)  I think it is an incredible Marketing approach for Vendio as I, for one, would probably never have considered spending money with Vendio had I not tried their free webstore.  I am so impressed with the functionality and ease of use of the new Vendio webstore and Vendio’s customer service that I would definitely consider utilizing their other services which are not free.  I do not mind paying for value and given my experience thusfar with Vendio, I am sure they offer other (pay-for-fee) services which could help me in my business.  Once I get more familiar with the Vendio webstore I’ll be checking out the other services that Vendio has to offer.

DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated in any way for this blog post.  

More information about Vendio can be found at: http://www.vendio.com/

Vendio_Crystal can be found on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/Vendio_Crystal

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33 Responses to “Vendio Free Webstore: A Bargain or a Bust?”

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My initial reaction was to wish that this had come along before I spent two years setting up a stand alone website.

This is a rare have your cake and eat it moment for the ecommerce community.

It will give sellers an easy and inexpensive inventory control mechanism together with the ability to easily move that inventory between a website, eBay and Amazon.

They didn’t pay me anything either!

Henrietta, you said it perfectly: “This is a rare have your cake and eat it moment for the ecommerce community.” I, too, wish that there had been a Vendio store available years ago before I poured thousands of dollars investing in customized websites. Online sellers today have so many opportunities!

I’ve been looking for an easy platform. I was planning on 1&1estores, but maybe I’ll try out Vendio. I’m new to webstore building so I’m glad they have good customer service. As a newbie, I’ll report how I do. Thanks Brews. We Ebay sellers know it’s time to move on and must!

I’ve been with Vendio for years. Paid for their gallery for years and now enjoy the same service for free. I also love their free counters. Any time I’ve had to ask for help from them they wrote back in a timely manner and their answers were always correct and to the point. No canned replies! Ever! I will probably try their free store when I get around to it.

Clarification – I do NOT have a Vendio store. I have Vendio counters.

GrannyGoodPaint, thanks for sharing the info!

[…] you’re thinking about a free Vendio store, The Brews News has an interesting review. (Vendio’s own blog has some more information […]

Vendio (as AuctionWatch) promised free images forever too, and look how long that lasted!

I have been using the new Vendio platform for several months now and have found many glitches in the system that they have not worked out. Coming from Auctive to Vendio has been a real pleasure in that they have great customer service and a very good future platform for ebay, Ammazon and a web store once the bugs are worked out. I wish I could find someone qualified yet not too expensive to tweek the web store templates they offer. I like how they work but I do not like how the look. The store logo and header are too small and unimpressive for a viewer. I think for the right web designer it would not be much to change the header on these to make them pop…..

Hi Jack – thanks for your feedback! We’re planning on releasing some new enhancements to our stores that will make them easier to use & more flexible. – Helen

I’m about to start an online store and was researching Vendio and came across this. One thing I’m not too impressed by is the SEO that they claim they are doing. I did searches for both Jack’s business and grannygoodpaint’s (since she said she’s been w/ them for a long time) and I didn’t find either in the 1st 5 pages of google when I searched on 2 main, short keyword phrases for each. An online store is not going to generate a lot of sales/interest w/o good SEO, no matter how great the platform is. I know that SEO services aren’t cheap though, so I imagine you shouldn’t depend on Vendio’s alone? Just a little misleading from their website I think and not sure if I should hire additional companies to do SEO?

@Josh – our apologies if you felt like you were misled. There are two aspects of SEO: the ability to optimize your website for search engines by offering the ability to edit meta content & actually going through the process of putting together a plan to optimize your site. Vendio offers the first step, but as of yet, we do not offer SEO services (keyword research, content writing, linking, etc.,). We would, however, be happy to help you out if you have questions. (Feel free to email me at hfang at corp dot vendio dot com) One of my favorite free tools for SEO is by Seobook.com – I’d definitely check them out.

@John – you didn’t find my vendio store because I never got around to opening one. I do use Vendio’s free gallery and free counters on the few items on Ebay listings. I have two main domains both hosted by GoDaddy – one is Watercolorsbypatricia.com and the other is angelbabies.net – the latter has been on the internet continuously since 1996.

I am trying to open a free vendio store. I have been trying to figure out how to cofigure shipping for two hours now. Also, I imported my EBay items, but not all of the active ones came accross- but all of the SOLD ones did! lol argggg .. getting frustrated!

Hey Kathryn,
I had the same problem when designing my site this week with vendio. Only a portion of my auction items showed up. If you find an answer to this, please let me know.
–Alex

@Kathryn @Alex

Let me look into this problem. I will have someone on our CS team contact you 🙂

I like the set up of vendio but am having some problems with, I have the free one, and have had my site up for a week, I have had no sales, and any time I search for my items or my site on yahoo, google, and other search engines I cant find my stuff at all. If I cant find it how is anyone else gonna find it to buy from me?? Please help, I want to fix whatever Im doing wrong so I can be successful, my site is http://www.vendio.com/stores/butterflybotique/
Is my site bad, or is there something wrong with it, or mabye I did something wrong. This is my first site so I am learning. Thanks for anyhelp you can give

I was looking for a free method of a simple website that could sell my products, avoid hosting and other service fees. Vendio did it!

Modifying the template is relatively easy, and if you can use HTML you can customize.

It took about 10 hours for me to build my vendio site from scratch using one of the templates, using Paypal as payments method. I didn’t import from eBay or Amazon, so I can’t comment on that.

Thanks to Vendio, my site is live!

I have already tested it, the shopping cart works, when an order is completed, I get order notification in my email box and money in the bank! All for free, the only fees I am paying is the Paypal merchant fee! Thanks, Vendio!

Good looking site Ramon! I’m glad to hear that Vendio is working for you.

@Ramon – I checked out your site & it looks awesome. Thanks for your kind words & I’m so glad that our Free Store is working for you!

@Penney – Your Vendio Store is indexed by Google. You add more exposure to your items by submitting them for free to Google Product Search.

I wrote a blog article about setting up my store & you should check it out for tips:

http://www.vendio.com/vendable/2010/04/29/5-tips-to-opening-a-vendio-store/

If you’d like instructions on submitting items to Google Product Search, please feel free to send me an email:

hfang at corp dot vendio dot com

Best regards, Helen

Hi As a newbie, I am searching the internet for a good reliable free online store or at minimum cost for a start to gain experience and exposure by starting to sell selected products and/or join it’s affiliate program. The problem is there are too many online stores out there and too confusing to settle with the right choice having read many of the alleged complaints and scams. Vendio is one of the known ones among ecrater, freewebstore, zlio etc. rated in search engines.

Can someone please help me with some feedback on your actual experience with vendio etc along with any other helpful suggestions.

Cheers,
Sunny L
Singapore

@Sunny

I can’t speak for the other companies, but we (Vendio) have been working with merchants for over 10 years and have a clean reputation. Many people look at our Stores and wonder if it’s too good to be true & it’s not. We’re just presenting an offer that we think ought to be the industry standard: all merchants should be able to set-up a no strings attached online store without paying a lot of money (or in our case, any money).

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Helen

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the comments and would you please enlighten me on following:

(1) What would be the best way to start with vendio and progress?
(2) If I do not have yet ready products to sell on vendio, can I join Amazon
and Ebay as a start to sell their selected items on vendio?
(3) How do we get paid by vendio?
(4) What payment methods to use for our customers and cost involved?
(5) Whick link to go for how to and faq about vendio for more guidance?

Awaiting your response and any suggestions?

Best regards,
Sunny L
Singapore

@Sunny

I think you may have us confused with a distributor or dropship company like Zlio. Vendio is a provider of eCommerce software so we help you sell online, but we do not provide any products for you to sell.

Please contact me directly if you have additional questions:
hfang at corp dot vendio dot com

Or, visit http://www.vendio.com for more information.

I am trying to learn this concept, so forgive me for my ignorance. I think that I understand correctly that the Vendio website is free, and that my customers purchases are handled through a service like PayPal.

Do I get the customers shipping info from PayPal?

What will my website address look like? I expect to advertise in magazines, and expect repeat customers from the web site address on my product label.
Will I have a unique address, or will it look something like: http://www.vendio.com/stores/myproduct

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Hello. I think it would be very good for non-english users to costumize their webstore for other languages too.
I sell products in Hungary for hungarian costumers and a full hungarian webstore would be just fantastic.

HA!, what about all the Vendio webstores with NO CONTACT INFORMATION?! HUH!!!?!??!!? WELL?! HOW THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE SUPPOSED TO ASK YOU A QUESTION? I noticed there are A LOT of Vendio webstores that don’t have contact information. In other words…UNTRUSTWORTHY, UNRELIABLE, and gives a your site a VERY suspicious nature.

I used vendio. The thing that I liked about it was the ability to use HTML. Ok, now that the good news is out there; here is the bad news. The customer service stinks. I wanted a store that would show my products on Google Base, formerly known as froogle, but the products never made it there. They said it was the way I listed the products but I use another free store with the same product descriptions and my products show up on google shopping in just a few days. I asked to cancel a free trial they have and they canceled my entire site.

I would not recommend them for anyone. The customer service stinks!

Do you know anything about freewebstore.org?
Are they the same stuff as Vendio? I want to create a website to sell some products with low cost. Thanks if you could help me with this.

thanks for the post. i just started using vendio and was having a hard time but given the cost of a new build from the ground up jewelry website costs a lot. so i will just learn their template editor a bit better and go from there

but I have set up a store for 2 months and have not had one sale or even question. What did I do wrong? Who looks on Vendio for items??

Thank you for your article. I am interested in doing the same, but I am doing my research first. How are you doing with your store? Are you making any extra money?
Thank you for your assiatnce.


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