Shopify recently released two new and exciting ways you can sell to your audience – Linkpop via the Shopify Starter Plan and a connection with YouTube Shopping. If you are a content creator or an entrepreneur who doesn’t want to (or have time to) maintain a full-blown online store, these new Shopify offerings are a low-risk, lightweight way to test a product or launch a business without needing to manage an online storefront. Coupled with Lulu Direct, these bring your readers and fans more opportunities to buy your book.
What Is Lulu Direct?
Lulu Direct connects your book to your own website through popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce for WordPress. The Lulu Direct Shopify integration is an app that can be added to your Shopify account from the Shopify App Store.
Lulu Direct is free and simple to use and provides valuable benefits for authors, creators, and entrepreneurs alike, such as:
- Full control of your brand with white-label and custom packing slips
- Customer data retention to maximize marketing efforts
- Keep 100% of profits
- No inventory management
- Automated print fulfillment
In other words, if you have been thinking about publishing a book to sell direct-to-consumer, Lulu Direct is the perfect solution for you.
What Is Shopify Starter?
If you’re a creator or entrepreneur and are on the fence about whether to begin selling books or merchandise for your brand, Shopify Starter is a great place to start experimenting. The Shopify Starter plan includes everything you need to start selling your products to your audiences on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and more. You can also promote your products easily through email, SMS, and anywhere else you can share a link.
If you need further convincing to give social selling a try, a study from 2019 found that 72% of online customers discover new stores through social media. More recent findings show an increase from over 60 million social media buyers in 2019 to an estimated 97 million in 2022.
The Shopify Starter plan costs $5.00 USD per month and includes a lot of features for that small monthly fee. Here’s a quick Shopify Starter plan review of each feature to highlight the areas where the Starter plan can improve your brand and business.
- Simple Storefront – Shopify Starter plan’s easy-to-navigate design and intuitive set-up are ideal for a creator or entrepreneur who doesn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to developing a whole website.
- Unlimited Product Pages – Shopify Starter does not limit the number of products you can add to your store. The page design is optimized for mobile selling and puts your products front and center for your audience.
- Fast And Secure Checkout – Have you ever wanted to purchase something online, only to feel wary of the checkout page and abandon the cart? Shopify knows how important it is to make your customers feel secure when making a purchase, and their fast and safe checkout process does exactly that.
- Contact Page – Shopify Starter includes a basic Contact Page your customers can use to contact you, which is essential to keeping your customers happy.
- Shopify Apps – You will have access to Shopify’s App Store, where you can add as many apps as you need to your Shopify account. (Psst… this is where you add the Lulu Direct app to your account!)
- Shopify Order Management – The Shopify Starter plan includes the same Shopify order management dashboard as any other plan, so you will be able to view and manage your orders from the Shopify Orders Dashboard.
Linkpop By Shopify
Along with the features listed above, Shopify Starter’s main (and coolest) feature is a new tool called Linkpop. Linkpop is a link in bio tool designed specifically for ecommerce, and it’s powered by Shopify’s checkout.
If you’re wondering what ‘link in bio’ means, you’re not alone! ‘Link in bio’ is basically a call-to-action for your audience that invites them to visit your social media profile and check out your profile bio, which contains a URL that leads them to an external website.
A product in your simple storefront through Linkpop might look something like this on a smartphone:
Linkpop enables you to fully customize your storefront, and to link any social media pages you’d like your fans and customers to connect with or follow. You can add products, media, and links through the Links tab, adjust the colors, font, and link style under the Style tab, and add your social media links through the Bio tab. The Bio tab is also where you can add or update your profile name, description, and photo.
As you can see, the setup is fairly simple when compared to other ecommerce options. Depending on how much work you want to put into it, you can set up an account and begin selling with Linkpop in less than a day.
YouTube Shopping + Shopify Starter
As part of the Google sales channel available through Shopify, YouTube recently announced a new partnership that gives all eligible creators the ability to sell Shopify products directly to their YouTube audience through their channel. This works with any Shopify plan, so like Linkpop, you can utilize YouTube Shopping with the Shopify Starter plan. The setup involves a few more steps than Linkpop, and your YouTube channel will need to meet certain requirements, but the setup process is still easy to follow.
A unique feature of YouTube Shopping is that it allows you to host live shopping events. Not only can your followers shop your merchandise through your channel, but you can also host livestream video events for your fans and followers to shop for what you’re presenting in real-time. With the holiday shopping rush coming up, a live shopping event is an excellent opportunity to connect with your customers in a more personal way.
Lulu Direct + Shopify Starter
So, where does Lulu Direct fit in with all of this? Using the Lulu Direct app for Shopify, you can connect a book and begin selling through your social channels using either YouTube Shopping or Linkpop.
To get started, sign up for the Shopify Starter plan and add the Lulu Direct app from the Shopify App Store. Create a Shopify Product and connect it with Lulu Direct, set up your shipping options, and boom – you’re ready to connect your Lulu Direct product to your Linkpop page or YouTube channel.
Be Where Your Buyers Are
When it comes to selling online, a rule of thumb to help boost your sales and online presence is to be where your buyers are. It can be difficult to know the best ways to reach your target audience, and Shopify gives you low-risk ways to test the waters with different social selling options through Linkpop and YouTube Shopping. Help grow your brand and business by giving your readers and fans more opportunities to buy your content where they are already.
Kristen is an Ecommerce Specialist at Lulu. Her role focuses on helping clients utilize Lulu's direct-to-consumer tools to grow their businesses. She is passionate about giving everyone the opportunity to have their voices heard and believes self-publishing presents the perfect opportunity to do just that. When she's not at the office, Kristen is likely chasing her toddler or working on a DIY project in her garage.