Starting an online store can seem daunting, so we are going to help you pick out the e-commerce platform that best fits your business. We will go over pro’s and con’s from some of the most popular online stores, Shopify and WooCommerce, to make it easier for your to choose.
Selling Online and E-Commerce
E-commerce is a commercial transaction conducted electronically on the internet. Any time you have bought or sold something via the web, you’ve taken part in e-commerce. Obviously, if you want to create an online store, this is what you’ll be doing. Let’s get into the basics.
There is no one-size-fits-all perfect option out there, there’s just what’s right for you. The great news is that you don’t need much experience at all to open a store online these days. There are a variety of e-commerce platforms out there that offer different plans or features that can get you running a professional looking storefront in little to no time.
Our guide will provide you with the confidence needed to take that next step.
What to Look For
If you’re just starting out, and don’t have a lot of experience in the tech world, you’ll want to find a platform that offers start to end solutions. We’re talking hosting, design, customization, marketing tools, reports, you name it. You also want one that will take care of most of the hard work so you don’t have to – like providing security for you and your customers.
Before you make a decision, you’ll want to figure out a few things specific to your brand and products. First, figure out how much you plan to sell. Do you have a lot of different products or do you cater to a very specific audience?
Different platforms offer different plans and you don’t want to spend more than you have to. Consider the amount of traffic you plan to get, the online storage and inventory space you might need.
Take into consideration the design portion of your store. Do you want to be able to take charge and customize everything down to the detail or do you want pre-made templates?
All of these are important when researching online platforms. A good one will be simple yet effective. The less time you have to spend figuring out programs and technical information is more time you can spend on making sales or marketing your business.
Popular E-Commerce Platforms – Pros and Cons
There are a lot of e-commerce platforms out there. Researching all of them to find the right one for your brand can take days. To keep things simple, we picked our two favorite e-commerce solutions that we use regularly: Shopify and WooCommerce. They also happen to be two of the most common e-commerce platforms out there.
Shopify is a big name in the e-commerce world, and for good reason. All of Shopify’s plans include 24/7 support, Free SSL Certificates, Discount codes, and abandoned cart recovery. Their most basic plan starts at $29/month and includes unlimited products. If you are looking for a full-service e-commerce solution, we love working with Shopify.
Pros – Speed and security! Shopify has excellent start up time and security for their stores. A slow loading time or lack of security on an online store can kill your business. With Shopify you don’t have to worry. They have a leg up on their competition and have invested millions into security engineering.
Marketing Essentials. Shopify doesn’t offer as many marketing tools or functions as some of their competitors in their basic plan (I know, that sounds like it should be a con) but what they do offer is all you’ll really ever need. The ability to make a landing page in itself is something that not a lot of other platforms offer
Last but not least, Shopify’s app store and ‘Buy Button’ feature. The Buy Button offers flexibility for brands with a presence all over the
internet and with their app store you are able to find the very best features for your brand – as well as trust that they will integrate seamlessly, something that can save you a ton of time
Cons – Depending on your budget and the type of seller you are, the price may not be the most affordable. The most basic plan will cost you about $30 a month, and that’s not including transaction fees and credit card fees. With that being said, they’ve done a lot the past couple of years to bring down their pricing and have delivered, while still offering tons of value.
Also, once you’ve set up with Shopify you may find it difficult to switch to another e-commerce platform. Keeping the other options in mind, Shopify is an amazing platform to grow with. The lock in is just something you should to keep in mind.
You know we love WordPress at Ventus Design Studio, so of course we have to talk about WooCommerce. If you are a WordPress user and you need a simple E-Commerce option, this may be the solution for you. WooCommerce also gives you the option to pay for a more customizations if their free options don’t satisfy your needs.
Pros – The WooCommerce plug-in is free for WordPress users, which is an obvious plus. If you have some knowledge with WordPress, WooCommerce can be a very powerful tool for your online store.
WooCommerce updates their platform daily so that they are always on top of the latest security threats. Good security should always be a priority when selling online to customers.
Cons – The free plug-in, as well as WordPress in itself has a frequent amount of updates. A common problem is that sometimes the WooCommerce plugin updates won’t work well with the WordPress updates. It leaves you having to spend extra time in the back end, making sure that everything is connected and syncing properly.
If you don’t have any experience with WordPress, or with other platforms like WooCommerce, you might be in over your head. WooCommerce is not for beginners. Now that’s not to say that you still can’t learn, as WooCommerce has a large online community willing to help, but you should keep that in mind when choosing an e-commerce platform that fits your business.
Whatever platform you choose, we can help make your dream online store come to life. Click here to learn more about our e-commerce services.
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