Online sales in the US are predicted to reach around $603.4 billion by the time we reach 2021, making e-commerce the most rapidly growing channel for the retail market.
Getting into the online market usually scares the small business owner, particularly, if they are not familiar with the digital world and are not an expert. Nevertheless, considering the potential losses beforehand is always better and rewarding if planned ahead of time.
It is, though, not a worrisome stage, but challenging and intriguing enough to give it a try. In today’s’ digital age, where everything is accessible and at the tip of our fingers, e-commerce markets are also not too far. There are plenty of user-friendly e-commerce platforms designed in a way to support and encourage small businesses so they can open their shop and market their work. My personal choice for telecom support was always the best internet service providers available nearby. For my work immensely depended on the availability of an internet connection.
When you look through multiple platforms of e-commerce, learn the membership phenomenon: how customer service works, which technology is being used, etc. For instance, people now use tablets and smartphone devices to buy the things of their need online. This is the reason why online means of business i.e. your website or online stores should be mobile-friendly. Also, do check how their social media platforms are.
Considering your technical knowledge and skills, select the option accordingly. If you go for hosted software in which the company develops and hosts the webshop for you, it will be more user-friendly and time-saving for someone who is not an IT expert. Contrary to it, the self-hosted websites require a good understanding of technology and are made for tech-savvy businesses demanding more attention, involvement and sound technical knowledge.
Having more than 500,000 active online stores under its head, Shopify becomes the biggest e-commerce platforms in the industry. It comes with an incredibly user-friendly interface which encourages entrepreneurs with absolute no IT background to build their customized online stores as pretty as they want.
Shopify is the right place for small businesses and start-ups, while for large e-commerce businesses it helps them generate millions of dollars. On Shopify, you can select from hundreds of featured themes for online shops – all of which are supported by mobile phones. Also, there are 1200 apps which you can choose for your store at Shopify. On top of that, Shopify has a database of experts to assist you with designing your website with their customer support available round the clock.
The cherry on the top is, Shopify does not even charge for the transactional fee; it does not offer fraud analysis and always offer a complete package for SEO.
BigCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform for both small and larger businesses. It comes with a diverse range of tools particularly designed for building the webshops. You also get an opportunity to sell and promote your products through their social media as well. You can hire approved IT experts for further developing your web-shop, along with 24/7 customer support service for your potential and current customers.
The businesses that are too small or do not have more than 50 types of products for selling, quite often go for Wix Ecommerce. Wix as a complete platform is known as a very user-friendly and simplest solutions for anyone who does not have a technological background. The main function is to just drag and drop the content on your webshop’s online storefront which does not require major technical knowledge to operate. The amazing themes and detailed imaging technology lets you build a webshop, appealing to the eyes.
Besides that, Wix has lately launched their product called Wix Code, which brings comfort to almost everyone planning to build a website, as they no longer need an expert for developing their website nor do they need prior coding experience.
On my list, Squarespace holds the fourth position which offers classy webstores for small businesses that demand simple e-commerce. On top of that, Squarespace provides countless product uploads, coupons, shipping configuration, catalog managing, control of email lists, and you name it. Businesses that require a standard platform for e-commerce without having to integrate payroll, accounts, and finance, and more business management software – Squarespace is a workable solution and a great choice for cost saving. Relatively Squarespace is an economical option if compared with Shopify or BigCommerce.
With 180,000 business owners’ footsteps, Volusion lets you sell your products on Amazon and eBay along with a detailed SEO and social media management packages. Besides this, Volusion is the platform that gives significant feedback to their clients i.e. business owners which counts abandoned shopping cart reports with a set of other reporting tools.
As a business owner, if you are planning to sell 20 or fewer product types, and are not willing to integrate multiple other business software externally. Just how Wix and Squarespace offer sophisticated designs for webshops and easy to use drag and drop features for store building – Weebly offers everything more economical than its counterparts i.e. Shopify or BigCommerce. Weebly saves the people who do not have technical knowledge or background by enabling them to create their webshops visually appealing.
Being a success coach for over a decade now, and a mentor for an incubation center, I would always suggest you understand your product and its target audience before you start working on your e-Commerce start-up, and do your proper market research. I am sure, random researching is one of the prime reasons you landed on this article – asking around friends with technical or e-commerce background, inquiring vendors, dealers or anyone who is or has worked in the digital market as a seller, can guide you even better. Decide your direction, make a strategic roadmap which leads you to your desired destination in the most efficient way so you can start moving towards your goal with confidence. Make sure the internet connection or telecommunication provider you have signed up for, doesn’t ditch you in the middle of your journey. I made three web-stores and have supervised and mentored dozens of entrepreneurs who are now successful in their domain by following these key points.