The world is now experiencing the rapid rise of the e-commerce business and expanding ecommerce platforms.
As with any undertaking, there are aspects unique to starting an online store that are important to understand.
You need to get information about the available platforms, as well as research payment gateways, photography of the goods, and marketing through social media.
It’s important to consider how to create engagement, retain customers, and optimize your search engine ranking, in addition to many other important details.
You can hire marketing specialists to help you set up your online business. While doing so will mean fewer headaches for you, keep in mind that it would still be better if you familiarized yourself with what you need to do.
The initial step that you should take is learning what is the best e-commerce platform for your endeavor.
E-commerce platforms are useful tools, but they might end up confusing you if you do not have a broad enough background in I.T. It is important that you do some research beforehand.
Best Tools to Build an E-Commerce Store
There are many e-commerce solutions, similar to how there are many software applications. Some of them are simple, while others are more complicated. The complex ones include programs that can handle large inventories.
It is important that you find a platform that will work well with your needs. The top five are:
All of these have different strengths. Here are a few key areas you need to consider when researching which one is best for you.
Easily List Products
You need to make sure that you choose a fully hosted platform that will allow you to easily list all of your products with the support of a professional team. That way, you can avoid encoding, as well as avoid paying extra fees for transactions.
There are tools that will allow you to list every product you have to offer and let you easily upload them. You will not have to invest much in time in this process.
Physical or Digital Goods?
After you do your research to discover the best platforms, test the ones you find. How effective the e-commerce platform is will depend on the type of goods you’re selling.
It makes a difference whether you are selling digital products (such as e-books, software, or webinars) versus physical ones. Experimenting is the most useful way you can find the ideal tool for your business if you are selling digital products on the internet.
Know What Your Goals Are: Compare e-Commerce Platforms
If you are thinking of running a serious e-commerce business with a large inventory, a fully-hosted e-commerce platform, such as Shopify or BigCommerce, is the way to go.
But it’s possible you have already had a website up for some time before deciding that you want to have an online business. If this is the case, you don’t necessarily have to start over again, but you can add a plug-in.
For example, if your site is run on WordPress, you could add the plug-in WooCommerce in order to have a shopping cart on your site.
What you decide to do depends on what your goals are. The plug-in option would be best if you only have a few products versus a wide variety of merchandise.
The shopping cart comes with a lot of features. It will include a summary of orders, the subtotal quotation, collections of the billing, and all the information regarding the deliveries.
While storefront navigation is not included in the shopping cart feature, what is included is an option to shop some more. This option directs the customers the home page so they can choose more products to purchase. It also includes an online payment program.
List of Core Features, Pricing, and if There Is a Mobile App
- Shopify allows you to quickly build a fully hosted online store. It runs on Android and iOS mobile devices. Services are from $29/month.
- BigCommerce lets you sell your products in several places online apart from your online store. Rates start at $29.95/month.
- Squarespace provides a flexible arrangement of products accompanied by excellent themes. It is accessible on iOS and Android mobile devices. Prices start at $30/month.
- Weebly has a user-friendly interface because of its click and drag feature. You can access it on Android and iOS. Service rates start at $8/month with a 3% commission on every sale.
- Wix allows you to add more tools that have features you need or want. It is accessible through Android and iOS. It starts at $17/month.
These are just a few solutions that can make it easier for you to start an online store. Most of these allow you set up your business in just one day.
[Editor note: Squarespace is NOT the same company as Square. Square and Squareup ARE the same company. (If you type in Square.com you will be redirected to Squareup.com.)
Good news for PayPal users: On 8/11/21 I discovered that Square finally supports PayPal. (As of May 2019, Square STILL had no plans to support PayPal payments. With the growing percentage of freelancers who only use PayPal, this could reduce your sales.)
Only choose an ecommerce solution that enables many payment methods in order to maximize your sales.]
Originally published Jun 13, 2017; updated Aug 22, 2021 to add an excellent comparison between BigCommerce and Shopify and update information about Square accepting PayPal.
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