Canadian e-commerce company Shopify is launching a new app that will allow people to set up their own online store, share product listings on social networks and even take payments direct from a smartphone.
The app, called Sello, marks the first time Shopify has moved away from its core business of providing tools such as customizable store templates and inventory management software to small online merchants. Sello product manager Christopher Lobay said the intention of the app is to remove the “intimidation” that might prevent someone from selling products online.
"Sello is for people and Shopify is for businesses. We understand the difficulty in selling. We focused a lot of attention on what we call the core flow, which is adding a product, sharing to social networks and receiving orders. All of those have been looked at closely and simplified to their core elements.”
The app allows users to take a photo of an item, price it, choose shipping options, and display a link on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as any other services that use share extensions. Lobay said he expects most products sold on Sello will be found through these social media sites, rather than through the app itself.
“We think the marketplaces of the future are these social networks and instant messaging and all that stuff,” he said. “Every person has their own footprint, and we allow them to reach out to the community that matters most to them.”
Anyone wishing to purchase a product listed on Sello can pay for it using PayPal or a credit card. There’s even an eBay-style ‘pay with cash’ option where the purchaser and seller can arrange to meet in-person to complete the transaction.
While similarities with services such as eBay are obvious, Sello is aimed more toward those people who want to make selling goods their full-time occupation, rather than those who only occasionally list items.
“We assume there are going to be people who are selling very occasionally, like used goods or collections or whatever. But I think we’re putting [Sello] into the hands of people who are aspiring entrepreneurs,” said Lobay.
The app will provide tutorials to sellers that show the best ways to promote their products using social media and give advice on good business practices. Shopify is hoping that Sello will prove so successful for budding entrepreneurs that they will eventually be able to expand onto the company’s larger platforms and develop into full-scale online merchants.
Sello is available free for Android and iOS. There are no transaction fees but users have to pay for payment processing.