The entire process of getting into eCommerce can be quite a handful. From starting out and looking for logistics partners such as ShippingTree, to making your first sale, there will be quite a few challenges you’ll need to navigate through. But before you can even take bigger steps like seeking out order fulfillment services that USA-based businesses have come to rely on, you have to take the first step of launching an online store.
Thankfully, you can now easily start your own ecommerce business or add an online element to your existing retail company through a few dedicated platforms. Each one has its own set of strengths and weaknesses that can appeal to any business’ specific needs. Of all the many options you might encounter, here are the three most popular ones to consider:
If you’re starting from scratch, or if your brick-and-mortar store doesn’t have an existing website, then Shopify is a great platform to get you started. What you’ll first notice with this subscription-based platform is the clean and user-friendly dashboard. This makes implementing changes simple with Shopify, even if you don’t have someone dedicated to web development.
Digging deeper, you’ll find other useful benefits such as a built-in point of sale (or POS) system. This helps Shopify pull ahead of the pack by allowing for the integration of both online and offline transactions. The result is a versatile system that can allow for easier accounting if you want to maintain a physical store on top of your ecommerce business. And if any issue occurs, Shopify also has a dedicated support team that can provide assistance.
These factors are just a few of what helped Shopify become a leading ecommerce platform for small retailers and big business alike. However, there are still other options out there and specifically, one great alternative if you already have a website that’s linked to one of the most popular content management systems (CMS).
Choosing WooCommerce is a no-brainer if you manage your website through WordPress. After all, WooCommerce is a free open-source plugin available through WordPress that adds extra ecommerce features. This deep integration with a widely-used CMS adds to its popularity and makes for a gentler learning curve for some.
Indeed, choosing WooCommerce for your ecommerce business greatly speeds your transition into online retail. After all, you can just continue to use your existing design or template and just make new pages with ecommerce-specific features. Just note that you should first test out any new pages for any possible issues with your current design. After all, there might be some unforeseen compatibility issues that could necessitate a few tweaks to your website. But despite being a free option, their website offers a comprehensive knowledge bank that anyone can access if they encounter any problems.
Still, there might be some types of businesses that may require more customization options. If you want more specific functionalities or if you just want more options to stand out, then you might want to look into our last option.
Despite having a premium paid enterprise-level option, Magento is also known for its free and open-source Community Edition. Right off the bat, it’s a separate software pack that you need to install on your site’s web server. This should give you a hint on how steeper the learning curve is for Magento. But compared to the previous two options, it also has more features for getting you the specific type of ecommerce website you need.
If you have the resources to pour, Magento could be an ideal choice for your business. Despite its set-up process and management being more technical, it is decidedly a more versatile option if you have the know-how to work with it. And if you’re working with a bigger budget, you can pay for the Enterprise Edition. This gives you Magento’s complete suite of advanced features-along with access to their dedicated customer support team. Remember that each of the above options has the same basic functions, making it possible for any business to easily have an up-and-running ecommerce website. But depending on your situation and on what you want your business to become, you’ll want to look at the finer details of each of the above options. This way, you can determine which one matches up the most when it comes to the kind of features you need and how much resources you can pour into web development, along with many other factors. But once you’ve made your choice, you can now move on to the next step and set down the framework to make your first online sale.