E-commerce has been widely adopted as a valuable tool for conducting business in the age of computers. In 2019, 79% of Americans make purchases online and that number has been steadily growing. So how can you take advantage of this new technology-driven market? An e-commerce platform can help you facilitate your online sales and bring your business into the competitive online marketplace.
There are several helpful e-commerce platforms that can help you grow your business such as Shopify and WooCommerce. Let’s go over four of the top e-commerce platforms and weigh the pros and cons of each. No two businesses are alike, so choosing the right platform for your needs rests on your requirements.
A great way to get started in e-commerce is by using Shopify to make an online store using their store building tool and custom themes. Once you have designed an online store, functions and features can be added using Shopify’s large library of apps. These apps include payment methods, shopping carts, and other helpful tools that are a requirement to be competitive in the online marketplace.
Shopify allows users to sign up for a free 14-day trial and once you have built your online store you can connect it to your own existing domain or buy one from Shopify.
Shopify is a great option for international stores since they include the ability to make your store appear in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Traditional Chinese. This wide range of languages is ideal for reaching customers in other countries and saves you the hassle of painstakingly translating an email or special offer. Shopify can translate emails, websites, blogs, or check out in any of the previously listed emails automatically with the push of a button.
One drawback is that Shopify requires a monthly fee and in order to unlock all the features it has to offer you’ll need to pay $299 USD monthly. There are also less expensive options such as the basic option, which starts at $29.99 a month.
After introducing one of the more expensive e-commerce platforms, here is another popular platform that offers far more competitive pricing. 1ShoppingCart offers a more streamlined e-commerce platform that has less customization than other competing e-commerce platforms but because it this they are able to offer one of the lowest prices on the market.
Building an e-commerce store on 1ShoppingCart is as easy as creating an account, picking a design, and adding the products that you’ll be selling. The cost is only $10 a month and you’ll get the ability to sell unlimited products, full feature email marketing for reaching customers, integrated post-sale upsells, and over 1GB of online storage.
1ShoppingCart is currently used by over three million businesses across the globe and users can choose both custom templates or even upload their own design. It is designed as a full-fledged e-commerce platform with nothing but only the most important features in order to operate an online business.
Cut out the unnecessary frustrations and keep things simple with their all-in-one online stores. For this low price, you’ll be sacrificing some of the features you may find at more extensive e-commerce platforms but you’ll still be getting everything you need to get started making sales today.
Perhaps one of the most well-known e-commerce platforms is WIX.com and it’s certainly one of the highest rated. The beauty of WIX is the user-friendly design of its platform. Websites can be created very quickly without the need to learn HTML or other programming languages.
WIX has eliminated all of the technical aspects of building a website and presents users with all of the tools they need to create their own online store. Payment methods are as easy as dragging a payment app onto your website and connecting it to your account. It supports all of the major payment methods including PayPal, Credit, and Debit.
Since WIX presents the tools to make a website and doesn’t build your website from the ground up you are somewhat limited to their templates and customization options. While this may be enough for a basic online store, those with a more complicated business will likely have unique needs that require more than the tools that WIX offers. Nonetheless, it is worth checking out WIX and maybe even building a website that you can then connect to your domain.
WooCommerce takes a different approach to e-commerce. Rather than using their own platform, WooCommerce allows you to build off WordPress. It is an open-source plugin which is designed specifically for use with WordPress and it’s free.
In 2018, WooCommerce had around 4% of the top million HTML websites and powers over 40% of all online stores. Similar to WIX, WooCommerce offers thousands of custom templates, many of which can be found on third-party websites. There are over 500 WooCommerce themes on the WordPress theme directory and there are a whole host of useful extensions which allow users to sell their time as appointments or sell paid memberships with recurring payments, for example.
WooCommerce also has an official partnership program that helps users boost their business and takes them through a program that consists of a skill evaluation and an interview.
One challenge with WooCommerce is standing out from the millions of stores. While it is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, it also means the default templates are used by many sites.
3dcart is a hosted platform that starts at $9.99/month, with tools to build a website, add an online store, a blog, manage orders, and run your marketing, all from one place. Instead of requiring apps for basic functions, it comes packed with out-of-the-box features, including newsletters, reward points, gift certificates, store credits, daily deals, autoresponders, and more.
With a free-15 day trial, users can start building their websites before signing up. And while 3dcart is a powerful solution for any type of online business, they offer a unique set of B2B features, making it a great fit for online stores selling business-to-business.
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Depending on the scope of the online store you’re looking to build, one of these options will suit your needs. Whether you envision a custom platform that you can build up from scratch such as Wix, or a less complicated template that utilizes the pre-existing WordPress platform like WooCommerce, you’re sure to find a platform that works for you out of these top four choices.
Each offers a free trial so you can demo each of these platforms and get your online store started today. You don’t have to be a computer guru to use any of these four e-commerce platforms and if you have even a basic understanding of computers, you can have your own e-commerce business up and running in no time.