Are you ready to build your online storefront?
Choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business is not a light decision. Sorting through the various features, technical specs, benefits, price plans, and add-ons available can feel intimidating, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain. How do you distinguish between the various brands when so many of their features overlap?
Luckily, many of the top brands require limited technical expertise. If you can manage a WordPress blog, you should have little trouble learning to use the software.
The list below provides an overview of four of the most popular e-commerce brands:
The juggernaut of e-commerce platforms, and by far the most popular, includes:
- Fully hosted, cloud-based: No software to download. Your e-commerce site is built and hosted directly online.
- Flexible Integration: Can be integrated with any IT platform such as a CRM tool, ERP, email manager, website, or blog.
- User-Friendly: The Shopify interface makes it easy to build your website or online store and provides an intuitive layout for business owners of varying technical skill.
- Unlimited sales bandwidth: No cap on the volume of business you can do.
- 99 per cent uptime: Their high-speed servers are constantly in operation, which means reliable service and quick processing for your customers in any time zone.
- Customized Templates: allows you to design the look of your online store using a wide range of highly customizable templates, as well as apps and API tools to help you capture and utilize more marketing intelligence.
- 24/7 Customer Support: A must-have with any e-commerce solution you’re considering. Shopify’s Help Center offers online chat help, email, as well as phone assistance. The Help Centre also includes tutorials and articles that require a minimum of technical expertise.
- Pricing Options: 14-day Free Trial, and three monthly plans, ranging from $29 to $299USD. Your monthly fee, however, also includes any transaction fees levied by the external gateway (Shopify doesn’t charge a transaction fee), as well as a credit card rate ranging from 2.5 -2.9% plus .30 cents.
- Drawbacks: Shopify does not offer free domains. You can, however, redirect to an existing domain or purchase one from Shopify for an annual fee.
An e-commerce solution that suits small, fast-growing brands. Marketing and conversion tools are available to help you grow and manage higher volumes of traffic. Key features include:
- Customizable Templates: Take complete control of the design of your online store.
- Secured Hosting (99.99 uptime/SSL certification): Transactions can be processed quickly and securely from anywhere in the world, offering customers peace of mind.
- User-friendly Interface: Requires minimal technical expertise to implement.
- Synchronized Inventory: Connect inventory from existing social media channels such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Pinterest to your online store.
- Seamless Integration: Integrates effortlessly with marketing, CRM, ERP, email and other enterprise tools.
- High mobile responsiveness: Optimized for mobile phones with flexible payment options for customers (i.e. Paypal, Apple Pay).
- Unlimited bandwidth: No limit on the volume of monthly transactions or products offered.
- Pricing Options: 15-day free trial available, monthly plans ranging from $29.95 – $249.95
- Drawbacks: Although there is an active online community available to answer questions online, BigCommerce.com doesn’t offer 24-hour customer service.
Although not quite as highly rated, Volusion is a reliable, competitive e-commerce platform that allows you to build an online store and start selling quickly, with little technical expertise. Key features include:
- Flexible design templates.
- Cloud-based website builder: doesn’t require you to download anything. You can build your online store directly online.
- User-friendly Interface for business owners: requires moderate level of technical expertise to take advantage of their SEO tools.
- Secure Domain hosting, SSL certification available to secure your online transactions.
- Marketing tools to help you drive more leads, rank on search engines and attract more social media engagement.
- No transaction fees.
- Create multiple branded email addresses for your business.
- 24/7 customer support by phone or email.
- Pricing Options: 14-day free trial, monthly fee ranging from $15 – $135 for premium.
- Drawbacks: Volusion offers unlimited storage space with all their plans, but a monthly cap on bandwidth and products, depending on the package.
If you already own a WordPress blog, Woocommerce Core is a plugin designed to integrate seamlessly, giving you complete control over the design of your online store. Key features include:
- Easy to install and launch as part of your existing blog.
- Customizable templates: An impressive range of free and paid extensions can be added to your Woocommerce site, making it highly customizable.
- Domain hosting available through Bluehost, Pressable and WordPress VIP.
- Pricing Options: Free to install WooCommerce Core. Extensions are additional.
- Drawbacks: Woocommerce requires significantly more technical expertise because it’s a plugin, not a cloud-hosted solution. Although it installs easily, configuring your blog or WordPress site to receive secure payments (SSL certification). You’ll also need the right plugins to integrate your Woocommerce store with other enterprise tools such as a CRM, ERP, or email management software.