Today everything is sold and bought online, even medieval castles and aircrafts. Online shop is the easiest way to inform everyone about your goods and prices. It’s also the cheapest way – no rent, no charges. The only thing you need to start selling online is a PC and a web shop. Here comes an essential question – how to create a web store, if you are not an IT specialist? Fortunately, you’ve got a large choice of ecommerce software solutions of different functionality, design and price. Take time to study them carefully, because it’ll be the basement of your shop. Don’t hurry to buy the first attractive solution you come up – it’s possible that it’s short of necessary features or isn’t scalable.
If you’re familiar with coding, try to find an open source shopping cart – that is an ecommerce program that enables you to build a webstore. Then you’ll be able to modify it according to your business needs as many times as you want. The only disadvantage you’ll meet is support – if you modify the code, the software provider wouldn’t be able to guaranty you comprehensive technical support of his product. Open source solutions could be a perfect match even if programming isn’t your strong point, or you don’t want to waste time on software development and adaptation. Thorough examination of functionality and features proposed by top sellers will give you the best idea of the product which suits you best.
Draw up a comparison chart with at least three columns for each solution – features, price and scalability, and estimate all products that you consider interesting. It will guide your choice of the most relevant ecommerce software.
E-commerce website builder softwareHere’re several most common but nevertheless essential features of a complete ecommerce software solution:
- It should be a packaged solution, i.e. contain all major components to start selling immediately after download and quick basic tuning. The minimal pack comprises a checkout system, a product and a customer management system. Having all the three will allow you to download your products, process orders, payments and manage customer traffic.
- Attractive storefront design. A beautiful, modern or innovative look attracts visitors, and therefore customers, to a website. As far as you launch a start-up, it’s vitally important to draw their attention. Your storefront should be original and catching because of huge competition on the Web. So, you need design patterns, pre-installed or created on your own, and a theme editor to customize the look of your online shop without stuffing your head with HTML and CSS languages.
- Speed. Your shopping cart should work faster than a rocket; otherwise you take a risk to loose impatient perspectives or those with slow Internet connection. High speed and performance could also become your advantage over slower e-shops of your rivals. Provide your customers with smooth shopping experience, and they would like to come back again and again.
- Administration panel with useful tools to manage your promotions and marketing events. Many shopping cart builders offer numerous add-ons by default, which are shipped together with the solution. For example, such indispensable features as integration with major shipment and payment systems. It’s nearly impossible to run a successful web shop without international shipment and especially payment options.
- Another necessary feature is fast and smart product search. For example, instant response for product previews and 1-2 second response for a full-text search. Don’t forget various search options – like search by word, product, product category or price. Fast search is often offered as a part of cloud-powered service. Good news - some providers offer free cloud service to small web shops.
- As far as mobile phones, smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of modern reality, think of mobile-friendly software with a special version for mobile devices. They should certainly consider limitations of a mobile screen, use common gestures like swipe and pinch and support such leading platforms as iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Symbian. A mobile application would be a nice supplement for you as well as for your customers, as it provides you an opportunity to manage your web store anywhere and anytime.
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