Are you thinking about selling products or services online? Many aspiring entrepreneurs enter into the eCommerce industry with the intention of making fast or easy money, that all they have to do is take orders and ship products.
For small business success in the eCommerce arena, it does take investigation, research, time, and on-going attention.
What is your unique product or service?
Besides the ability to sell 24/7, an eCommerce Website can supplement the sales of your already established retail store. You can also offer secure digital downloads, such as music, eBooks, e-Learning courses, and videos. If you sell a unique product, you may enjoy great success reaching others around the world who do not have access to these products in their own towns.
For manufacturers and distributors, an online eCommerce catalog will allow your visitors to view images, descriptions, search for products, request a quote, and contact you for more information.
Let’s take a look at three of the most popular eCommerce website platform choices in 2017.
1 – WooCommerce
First on the list (and our favorite eCommerce platform) WooCommerce boasts 21,295,163 downloads and powers over 28% of all online stores – making it the most popular eCommerce platform on the web. With hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce extensions, spanning all your logistical and technical requirements, you can rest assured there’s an extension for your specific needs.
It’s built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress, making it the obvious eCommerce choice for existing WordPress users and connecting you to the fast-growing WordPress ecosystem and worldwide community of developers. Importantly, keeping your data independent of any third party software platform gives you complete control of your business and online security.
The mobile-friendly nature of WooCommerce makes it an appealing choice to brands looking to cater to the growing number of customers that use their tablet or phone to shop. In fact, the platform even enables brands to create a mobile app for their storefront with the installation of an add-on.
2 – Shopify
As a hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, Shopify is one of the simplest and most used subscription-based platforms that allow point-and-click setup of an online store. Shopify features instant access to hundreds of great looking themes to choose from. It’s quick installation functions, flexibility, fast loading speed, and secure payment gateway helps it stand apart from others.
For eCommerce beginners, Shopify offers an easy way to test your product niche.
3 – Magento
As a self-hosted option, Magento is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, which can easily fit the needs of small or large enterprises. It is an open source platform whose basic Community version is free to use, which increases its reputation among developers around the world. Their Enterprise level offering is approximately $20,000/year.
Magento’s flexibility and open source nature makes it quite complex. It can likely cost you significant time and money to get your eCommerce store exactly as you want it without a professional developer on hand for customization. It’s considered best for enterprise level online stores.
It has revolutionized the online shopping space by providing online retailers a chance to setup a store with unlimited functionality. Magento powers most of the Internet Retailers Top 1000 websites.
Given the complexity of store setup and management with Magento, the platform is not recommended for beginners without professional development skills.
Tips for eCommerce Success
Find your passion!
Your eCommerce business should be a source of profit and enjoyment. Find your passion! Take the time to research and test your product’s viability, understand your competition, and identify how you can deliver better results. It is the biggest problem faced by the startup and can be solved if you analyze the whole market before you make any decision.
Build a loyal audience
While stepping into eCommerce business, it’s important to spend time on building a healthy business relationship with clients. You’ll want to take advantage of various tools and actions that help make successful campaigns and encourage return customers.
Think about post sales activities such as adding personal messages in shipping boxes, emailing a post-purchase customer a satisfaction survey, and providing a return label with clear instructions. If a customer has bought from you once, make sure they buy from you again!
Invest in professional help
Evaluating and setting up an eCommerce website has many project stages and variables. Things like merchant accounts, payment gateways, security, sales tax considerations, and business rules need to be identified and established. Contracting out your eCommerce website offers several advantages. A professional developer has the technical knowledge to create a website that works with all browsers and is search engine friendly. They should also be very knowledgeable about current technologies and merchant solutions.
Software alone doesn’t make a successful eCommerce business.
If you need help evaluating your eCommerce options or help creating an awesome user experience, contact me.
Director, Marketing and Creative Services