Shopster Review - Are they worth the membership fee?
After such a passionate response to my review of Simplx (thanks to everyone who emailed in your stories and shared comments on the blog), I thought I would treat all our members who have been asking questions about Shopster to an unbiased and well-balanced review of all that Shopster has to offer. Are they just another scam site who will take your membership fee and run, or could this one really have something to offer you as a retailer? Find out below.
What is Shopster?
Shopster label themselves as a free merchant network which allows online retailers to build an e-store, connect with other retailers, find drop ship products to sell, and sell your existing products through a new channel (link).
What do they offer?
First and foremost, Shopster offers an online store builder which members can use to create their very own e-store. Depending on which membership package you go for (more on this later), you can list from 25 to 20,000 items on your site and pay from 0.5-5% on each sale.
When you build your store, you can choose from a number of templates to give your site a customized feel. You can also add your own logo and match colors to keep your branding consistent throughout your site. Other nifty features you can add include a blog, featured products, and newsletters. For those who aren't ready to pull away from eBay, you can use Shopster's fully integrated eBay Listing Manager.
Shopster also offers a directory of over 1 million products which you can pick through and order to sell. If you have your own products, no problem, you can sell these through Shopster as well.
Members will enjoy making use of Shopster's Marketing Tools such as newsletter campaigns, sales managers, Google Adwords help and SEO.
How much does it cost?
Membership costs vary between packages. The good news is that because they offer a free trial, you can try out their services before you go spending any money on a membership.
The free package is really more of a free trial package, which can give you a great taster of what Shopster has to offer. You pay 5% on all sales you make, and get 2 GB of bandwidth per month.
Thier most popular plan is the PowerMerchant Pro packages which costs US$96 per month and will get you 10 GB of bandwidth per month (for all the non-techie people out there, this is plenty), and will allow you to list up to 2500 items per month and you will pay Shopster 1% on each sale you make.
In my opinion...
I knew very little about Shopster when I began my research, and started out by visiting their site, watching their tour video, signing up for a free account and checking out the features. At first glimpse, Shopster seemed great, and I was so excited to share what seemed like a great service with all of you, in the hope it might be of some benefit to you, and compliment your SaleHoo membership. However, when I started researching past member's experiences with Shopster, I was confronted with some ugly truths.
Shopster seems to have a strong following of very dissatisfied former customers, who claim that Shopster was not what they thought when they signed up (link). The most common complaint I have heard about them is that the products they sell are not at wholesale prices, and therefore, it is extremely difficult to make any profit with Shopster, making joining them pointless (link). Others complained about Shopster charging them a membership fee of US$329.99 2 years after they cancelled their membership (link). Another serious complaint was centred around the fact that Shopster advertised that members could earn "Unlimited Profits", a highly loaded claim which can mislead a lot of potential members.
While these reviews are recent, and therefore can offer us an accurate portrayal of their services, Shopster does, however have a clean record with the BBB (which is arguably the most trusted source of business accreditation and information), with most complaints bought to them being resolved fully by Shopster.
In conclusion, I would recommend that anyone considering joining Shopster spends an hour or so trawling through reviews and forums related to Shopster and find out more about them for themselves. As for me, I won't be continuing my free membership with them, as I see no real benefit in using it for my business.