Review: Simple e-commerce. Perhaps too simple?

  • Monday, 05 January 2015

Recently, I've been spending some time with reviewing it's suitability for an existing client. In thier own words is "The simplest way to sell more online and make a living doing what you love." It's definitely designed to be simple. Perhaps too simple.

If you are focused on selling a small number of products and in particular digital products Selz is one of the best services I've seen. If you need advanced shopping cart functionality, wishlists, variable tax rates, multiple shipping options, etc then it may fall short. Some additional functionality is available as add-on apps for a fee.

Here is my Selz test store embedded on my Joomla 3.x site using the plugin code provided by Selz.

Embedding a store isn't the only way to use Selz. You can embed individual product widgets or "Buy it now" buttons directly into any content. It's also possible to create a tab on your Facebook page to display your Selz store.

Taking Payments

One of the best features of Selz is you can be taking credit card payments securely on your site within minutes, without a merchant banking facility and without redirecting the customer to an external page.

With Selz you don't need an Eway account. In fact, you don't even need a Paypal account. Selz takes all payments via credit card on your behalf, takes a fee and sends money to your bank account weekly. Given the transfer time, it could be in excess of a week between making a sale and getting paid. It's not as fast as a dedicated merchant facility - which would be almost instant - but it's a whole lot cheaper and doesn't require you to open any new accounts with other providers.

If you want to offer Paypal as a payment option that is available as an app for an additional $4.99/month.

The store works securely over https which is to be expected. The widget loads Selz via https in an iframe but if the parent page isn't served over https then potential security minded customers may be put off. If you are embedding Selz into your site it would be beneficial to purchase your own SSL/TLS certificate so the browser shows the padlock icon. 


Selz doesn't offer weight or size based shipping and there is no integration with the Australia Post API. Instead you can define a domestic and international shipping price per item or set a flat shipping rate per order. Personally, I think this is a great design decision as setting up shipping can be an incredibly complicated and tedious process and Selz is intentionally designed to be simple.

Shipping costs are just one of the many variable expenses in getting your product into the hands of your customer. Yet, many store owners prefer to single it out, go to incredible lengths to calculate it to the cent, and then tack it onto an order at the end of the shopping process which drastically increases the cart abandonment rate. Selz's decision to simplify this to a flat rate per item or order is great. It forces sellers to think of shipping costs as a whole business expense and averaging the cost out in the purchase price and at the same time reducing cart abandonment rates.


You can start selling with Selz for free and only pay when you sell. The fees are 5% + 25c per transaction. That's a higher percentage than you would normally expect but there are no other merchant fees. In comparison, Eway charge 2.2% + 30c per transaction plus you need a merchant banking account and it can takes several weeks to get your accounts set up and linked.

In order to be able to sell more than one item at a time you will need the Shopping Cart App at $4.99/month 

To issue tax invoices requires the Tax Invoice App at $3.49/month.  This doesn't affect the front end pricing display. It simply generates an invoice for your customer with a GST breakdown. In contrast to many other shopping cart systems this doesn't add GST to the defined price. You need to ensure that your product price includes GST.

To customise the sales receipts with your logo requires the Custom Receipts App at $3.49/month.

With the Pro account ($9.99/month) you can use your own domain and manage SEO titles and discriptions and add additional pages.

Reviews or comments are an additional $1.99/month.


You can upload a photo and a header image just like you would with your Twitter account and change button and link colours. Any other customisations requires purchase of the Pro account. Out of the box the free version should work very well with most clean, modern web designs. The Pro account is a big step up from the standard account and includes 2 free templates and a very slick theme editor. In you know HTML and LESS you'll have no issues using the theme editor. It gives you complete control over the output.


The embedded Selz site looks quite nice but it wasn't without minor problems.

At the time of testing, I had an issue with one of the back buttons which under certain situations loaded the entire page within the embedded iframe, not just it's own content. It effectively broke the layout and rendered the store unusable. I reported this to Selz via their contact form. They responded within about an hour confirming I'd discovered a bug and they would get their devs to look into it. The next day I got another email saying it had been fixed. That seems like pretty good support.

For the record, a while back I identified a bug in an Ecwid shipping module and the response was basically "too bad, too sad".

There is no way to customise the checkout form. For example, requesting a customers phone number isn't possible with Selz.

There is also the ability to create coupons. Again, the functionality has been simplified. Unlike conventional carts where you can create a store wide coupon code for users to enter at the checkout, coupons are assigned to a single product. Selz decides not to clutter the check out form with an additional field for a coupon code and extra calculations. Instead there is a single field on the product you created the coupon for.

Other features

There are a slew of other features that aren't core e-commerce functionality that sellers may find helpful. These include adding streaming video, the ability to set download limites on your digital files, Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor integration and PDF Stamping. The stamping features marks PDF files with the name of the purchaser so it can't be duplicated and shared anonymously.

Conclusion is clearly aimed at first-time online store owners or users that want a very simple interface to sell products online with minimal setup time. It does that very well.

The shopping experience is extremely smooth and it can only be beneficial to improving sales and reducing cart abandonment.

The cost of extra features adds up pretty quickly. For example, adding a custom template, Paypal, cart functionality, reviews, tax invoices, and a custom sales receipt will cost around $30/month. In this case, it might be better to consider Shopify where your have more control over things like coupons, tax and shipping for around the same price. The trade off being a higher learning curve and a lot of additional complexity. And, you will need your own merchant facilities to take credit cards.

There's a bit to think about there. I love the simplicity offered by Selz and the fact they effectively do away with the need to have a merchant banking facility. I have no problems recommending Selz to my clients if it meets their needs. If you are selling a handful of e-books or perhaps individual products to a local market, it's perfect. If you absolutely need extra functionality it may be better to consider a different service.

Please have a look.

john-pitchers-avatar-300About John Pitchers

John Pitchers is a specialist in back-end Joomla development and development of Joomla based websites. He is also the developer of the FocalPoint maps extension for Joomla. John has been building CMS based web sites since 2004, originally working with Mambo before it became Joomla. When not writing PHP, Javascript or CSS you'll find John carving up the hills around Baldivis on his longboard (long before Walter Mitty made it famous).

Find out more about John on his page and . Follow John on Twitter.