Highwire Review: Multi-Channel E-Commerce for Bloggers
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The Highwire e-commerce platform focuses on helping merchants become successful by selling through multiple channels. This platform offers a simple design interface, custom domains, mobile commerce, and a secure checkout for protecting customer information.
At first glance, Highwire might look similar to Shopify or Volusion in its ability to guide non-developers through the e-commerce selling process.
Bloggers don’t typically start their online venture by choosing an e-commerce website builder, but it often makes sense if you’re planning on making monetizing in the future. Bloggers can write articles for readers, then connect those readers to the online store. Highwire combines a powerful blogging module with easy product management and marketing options.
If you’re thinking about blogging, but would also like to sell items that correspond to your blog, Highwire is worth checking out. Let’s take a closer look at its features.
Highwire lets you build a store and sell on multiple digital channels. This means that you’re not limited to only selling on your own website. It allows you to sell on high traffic platforms like Facebook, eBay and Google. It also enables you to sell your wares via a mobile app.
This is the main reason you would consider Highwire, since it syncs all products with each of your sales outlets, all without having to create new items, descriptions, titles, prices, or images for each site.
The pricing is competitive, and plans are defined partly by product limits. This won’t affect most stores since the limits are high, but it might come into play for stores with large numbers of products.
Multiple Product Options
Being successful at making money online (especially with a blog) often requires you to test out products to see which ones sell. Highwire has support for multiple product types and options. For example, you can decide to only sell digital products like e-books, or you have the option to sell physical items like t-shirts and mugs next to those e-books.
You also support for multiple product options like color, size, and type.
Learning About Your Customers
As a blogger and e-commerce professional, it pays to know as much as you can about your customers and readers. It only takes a handful of VIP readers to speak loudly about your blog and spread the word about why they love it.
Highwire makes it easy to get actionable insights into customer behavior. You can identify top sellers and most loyal customers. You can also keep your eye on trends and make decisions based on which of your products are most popular.
Design Made for Newcomers
Highwire offers a large library of pre-built website templates. A full blog is integrated with each template, and there’s no need to mess with any code when setting up your storefront. Each theme is optimized for a mobile interface, allowing for blog reading and product selling on phones and tablets.
Built-in Marketing Features
The integrated blog has already been mentioned, but the other Highwire marketing tools can be used for promoting your blog and online shop.
For example, the Twitter integration lets you automatically tweet about new products. You can also sell on places like Facebook and eBay, via your one dashboard.
The integrated email marketing helps promote your online business by collecting email addresses from blog readers and shoppers. This tool even integrates with services like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. Customer newsletters can also be sent out to the people who purchase from your store. This way, you can convince customers to come back and buy more.
Support for Several Payment Processors
It’s becoming clear that Highwire is meant most for those with minimal e-commerce experience. The payment processor options make that even more apparent.
A total of ten payment processors can be integrated for collecting payments from your customers. The first one on the list is PayPal, which is the processor of choice for those who want a well-known brand collecting those payments. In addition, PayPal takes maybe five minutes to configure. You can start accepting transactions from your customers and see the money in your account right after the payment is made.
The Quality of the Online Store
Highwire provides an uncluttered and intuitive user interface, with quick reports and a traffic overview right on the dashboard. You can even find top referrers and the number of sales brought in through places like Twitter and Facebook. This will help you know where to allocate your marketing resources — whether those resources are money or time.
Besides the product limits and lack of coupon codes, gift certificates, and reporting on the most basic plan, Highwire works well for smaller businesses. The average blog or business will most likely consider the more advanced plan, since this includes these additional features.
As for presenting your business in a professional way, Highwire checks most boxes. For instance, you can use your own domain name to cement your brand in the eyes of customers.
Highwire also provides dozens of professional templates to customize and present your products in galleries.
Part of making a good online store is having the right templates for your industry. Highwire doesn’t skimp in this respect, since it has templates for a wide range of markets, including the following:
- Baby toys and clothing
The templates look modern and elegant, and many of them cater specifically to large or small stores. Therefore, you can select the one that works for your brand and implement it within a few minutes.
Overall, the Highwire storefront appears professional and works well for small and mid-sized businesses. Bloggers can start turning a profit by selling merchandise and even digital goods like e-books and videos.
No Third-Party Merch Connections
Unlike Shopify, Highwire doesn’t provide a suite of third-party apps. On Shopify, some of these apps — like Merchify and Printful — can actually get you started with physical products to sell. You simply upload your designs — for t-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, etc. — to the third party. They provide product images and material descriptions for your store. When a customer buys one of your products, the third party is automatically notified, they produce the product, and they ship it in your name. You don’t need to acquire or maintain store inventory.
So think ahead: are you interested in selling physical merchandise at some point? How are you going to obtain, store, and ship that merchandise?
Who Should Consider Highwire?
Highwire has a strong advantage when catering to bloggers because it’s an all-in-one e-commerce package. Bloggers often sell digital goods, so Highwire comes in handy in that respect. In addition, you can sell through mobile devices and utilize a strong set of marketing tools for multi-channel selling, discount codes, and gift certificates.
Highwire also offers a clean and user-friendly solution for people interested more in e-commerce and less in blogging.
Overall, the the blogging interface stands out quite a bit, and the powerful store gives you a chance to make money with your endeavors.