Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Shopblocks?
- Why doesn’t Shopblocks use Templates or Themes like the other ecommerce platforms?
- What is BlockLab?
- Do I need to be a designer or developer to change my shop’s design?
- Which Shopblocks subscription plan is best for me?
- What is Unlimited BlockLab Support?
- What are ‘card processing fees’?
- What is Stripe and why do I need a Stripe account to use Shopblocks?
- How much will I pay for Shopblocks? Are there really no hidden fees?
- How do I cancel my Shopblocks subscription?
- How many products can I add to Shopblocks?
- What does ‘unlimited products and data’ mean?
- Can I use my own domain name with Shopblocks?
- Can I try Shopblocks without providing an email address or billing details?
- How can Shopblocks afford to offer a Free subscription plan?
- Why do I need to provide my credit/debit card details when signing up to the Free plan?
- How do I get help using Shopblocks?
- What currencies/languages can my shop use on Shopblocks?
- Who owns the data I put into Shopblocks?
- How do I benefit from referring friends to Shopblocks?
- What is with the Shopblocks Eagle?
What is Shopblocks?
Shopblocks is an ecommerce platform. That means it is a system to create, manage and host an online shop. Shopblocks provides you with everything you need to sell online. Add your products, design your shop then launch it live onto the internet. From there, Shopblocks enables you to take payments, process orders and manage special offers. If you would like to sell your products online, Shopblocks is the only platform you need.
Why doesn’t Shopblocks use Templates or Themes like the other ecommerce platforms?
We believe Templates and Themes are one of the most dangerous liabilities your business can acquire. The damage Templates and Themes are doing to thousands of small businesses worldwide is incalcuable, yet many other ecommerce platforms advocate their use. Why? It’s all a matter of cost. A bespoke website design typically costs £5,000 – £10,000 and costs hundreds more every time you need to make a change. We believe all businesses should have a website designed specifically around their needs and to make that happen, we created BlockLab.
What is BlockLab?
BlockLab is a tool invented by Shopblocks to give our users an unprecedented level of control over their online shop’s design. Other platforms only allow basic customisation such as adding your logo and changing a few colours. BlockLab gives you total control over the layout, design and information content of your pages so your website can be customised to your exact business requirements without requiring expensive designers and developers.
Do I need to be a designer or developer to change my shop’s design?
Absolutely not. We invented BlockLab to ensure that all Shopblocks users can change their shop’s design in any way they like without requiring the help of expensive designers and developers. Most ecommerce platforms provide some level of design customisation, but BlockLab is completely different. As opposed to making simple colour changes or adding your company logo at the top of the page, BlockLab provides a level of control that no other ecommerce platform comes close to matching. With BlockLab you can change the design, layout and branding of your website, with total control over fonts, colours, images and other styles to create a site tailored to your business and your products.
Which Shopblocks subscription plan is best for me?
Shopblocks is the only ecommerce platform offering a subscription plan with no monthly fees. Our Startup plan is aimed at new/small businesses looking for a risk-free way to launch an online shop. The Startup plan remains free forever as long as you launch your shop within 30 days of registering and sell at least one item each month. Inactive shops are charged £5 per month. Extra fees apply each time you make a sale, so if you are aiming to take more than £1,300 in sales each month, our Pro plan is better value for money. Our Orbit plan also provides you with Unlimited BlockLab Support so you can take advantage of our in-house BlockLab experts to evolve your shop’s design as often as required. The Shopblocks platform itself remains the same on all plans – all Shopblocks users get all of the features and benefits.
What is Unlimited BlockLab Support?
Subscribing to our Orbit plan gives you Unlimited BlockLab Support, which is a bit like having your own team of designers and developers working on your online shop. Make a design request and we will make it happen (as long as it is possible in BlockLab!).
Why don’t other ecommerce companies provide this kind of support? Simple. It’s because they don’t have BlockLab.
A custom design is often the most expensive part of setting up a branded online shop. That’s why the other ecommerce platforms rely so heavily on ‘themes and templates’. With other systems, instead of designing their own shop, many businesses select a pre-designed template and accept the resulting damage to their brand. On most platforms, expect to pay £2,500 to £10,000 for a bespoke design, and that only gets you started. Expect to pay £50 – 100 for each minor change to your design, and much more for larger changes to promote new products, launch seasonal offers or re-brand your company.
We believe there is a better way, and that’s why we invented BlockLab, the tool inside Shopblocks enabling everyone to take control of their online shop design in a much more efficient way. Our customers, even those with relatively little experience using computers, are able to adjust their website design themselves as often as they like. However, not all businesses have time to use BlockLab so our Unlimited BlockLab Support gives you access to our team of BlockLab experts who will carry out as many changes as you need to get your online shop looking just how you want it. We believe an online shop should be constantly evolving as your business grows, as the seasons change, as new products, sales and promotions are launched. BlockLab gives all Shopblocks customers this capability and with Unlimited BlockLab Support you can take full advantage of BlockLab regardless of how much time you have.
What are ‘card processing fees’?
Each time one of your customers pays you through your website, card processing fees apply. These fees are taken by our payment provider, Stripe. All card processing companies charge fees each time a transaction is processed and this is an inescapable part of selling online, so ensure these fees are factored into your own pricing so that your business remains profitable. Stripe has a number of advantages over alternatives such as PayPal, SagePay, Worldpay and the many others. The main benefits are the user experience your customers enjoy when paying you (we think Stripe provides the best customer experience by far) and the simple, transparent pricing. We have partnered with Stripe because they provide everything you need to sell online in a simple, profitable way.
What is Stripe and why do I need a Stripe account to use Shopblocks?
If you want to sell online, you need a way of processing credit and debit cards – this is what Stripe does for you. Stripe is a fantastic service for businesses selling online. It provides a simple, transparent way of taking payments online. Stripe has low pay-as-you-go pricing, with no up-front costs, no monthly fees, no refund costs, no hidden fees, and no contracts. One of the best features of Stripe is that it provides everything you need, so there is no need to set up a ‘merchant account’ with your bank which can be a lengthy and frustrating process, especially for new businesses.
How much will I pay for Shopblocks? Are there really no hidden fees?
Paying for Shopblocks is simple. We have a monthly subscription fee that applies to Pro and Orbit accounts, this gives you access to the platform and gives you the ability to launch your online shop. In addition, each time you make a sale through your website, card processing fees will apply. This is an inescapable part of selling online for businesses using any ecommerce platform. However, our fees are much lower than most, and much more transparent. For Pro and Orbit customers, the card processing fees go direct to Stripe, who provide all Shopblocks customers with credit/debit card processing capabilities. Users on the Startup plan pay an additional 3.6% fee to Shopblocks. Most other ecommerce platforms advocate the use of alternative ‘payment gateways’ which incur their own fees in addition to fees paid for a ‘merchant account’ with your bank, or a separate merchant account provider such as Elavon. Be careful using these alternatives as their pricing is far from transparent, and usually differs depending on the type of card your customer pays with. With Stripe the pricing is much easier to understand and you can view more information at https://stripe.com/gb/pricing.
How do I cancel my Shopblocks subscription?
Send us an email from your registered email address requesting the cancellation of your account and we will get in touch to confirm. Before your subscription is terminated, if you need a copy of your data we will arrange for this to be sent to you.
How many products can I add to Shopblocks?
Subscribers to the Pro and Orbit plans can add as many products as they like to Shopblocks. Startup subscribers are limited to 100 products.
What does ‘unlimited products and data’ mean?
Unlike most ecommerce platforms, we don’t put a limit on how many products you can sell, or how much data in general you add to the system (such as product photos, videos, descriptions etc.). However, a fair usage policy does apply to protect our system. If you need to add more than 20,000 products or store more than 20GB of data (both of these limits are far higher than most businesses need) then speak to us and we will look at your situation individually.
Can I use my own domain name with Shopblocks?
Yes, see our Learn section for more information on adding a Custom Domain.
Can I try Shopblocks without providing an email address or billing details?
Yes, we offer a completely anonymous demo for anyone wanting to try Shopblocks before signing up. During the demo you can start adding products and setting up your online shop, but your data will be deleted after 7 days. To save your data at any time, simply register for free and your data will be safe and secure until you are ready to launch your shop.
How can Shopblocks afford to offer a free subscription plan?
Our mission is to help new businesses get started and grow. Shopblocks is the only ecommerce platform offering active shops a subscription plan with no monthly fees. On our Startup plan, each time you make a sale through your website, we take a 3.6% transaction fee. This is in addition to the card processing fees your payment provider takes (e.g. Stripe takes 1.4% + 20p on each European credit or debit card transaction). In this example, you pay 5% + 20p fees, so taking a £100 order through your website would result in £5.00 being taken in fees and £95.00 being credited to your bank account 7 days after the sale. Contrast this with selling an item through eBay (using PayPal for payment) where a total of 13% in total fees is typical. On our Pro plan, total transaction fees are usually under 2%. The Startup plan remains free forever as long as you launch your shop within 30 days of registering and sell at least one item each month. Inactive shops are charged £5 per month. See our Terms for full details.
Why do I need to provide my credit/debit card details when signing up to the Startup plan?
We require a valid credit/debit card on file for all Shopblocks subscribers. If you are on the Startup plan, no subscription fees will be taken each month as long as your shop is active (which means it is live and sells at least one item each month). If you upgrade your subscription we will start billing you automatically. Some of our customers also benefit from specialist paid upgrades purchased via the Shopblocks App Store. We will never charge any fees without your agreement.
How do I get help using Shopblocks?
We provide email support 24/7. We provide live chat and telephone support during office hours (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays). If you have a question, email us and a member of our support team will get back to you as quickly as possible, normally within one hour.
What currencies/languages can my shop use on Shopblocks?
Shopblocks is a UK ecommerce platform, optimised for UK businesses. You can sell your products all over the world with Shopblocks but your website’s main language will be English and your website will trade in Pounds. See the Shopblocks App Store for apps enabling your customers to view prices in alternative currencies.
Who owns the data I put into Shopblocks?
You do. Your data remains yours and we will never access, copy or share your data with anyone else. We will backup and protect your data (see Terms for further details). If you want to leave Shopblocks we will give you all of your data back.
How do I benefit from referring friends to Shopblocks?
In the ‘My Account’ section of Shopblocks you will find a unique referral code that you can send to your friends. If they sign up to a Shopblocks subscription plan (including the Startup plan) both you and your friend will receive £25 and you can use your code as many times as you like. See our Terms for full details.
What is with the Shopblocks Eagle?
We believe Shopblocks can help your business soar like an eagle in outer space, and our friendly eagle reminds us of this fact. We borrowed this line from theoatmeal.com and we recommend you check out their comics.