Once you’ve made a landmark decision to chuck up boring employee burden and launch a private online shop, the first and the major question you face with is – what a ecommerce website program to prefer? And how to choose it? What criteria are vitally important and what are secondary? First of all, write down the answers to the following questions:
- How much are you ready to spend for the necessary solution? Do you prefer to pay the whole fee once a year, or divide it in smaller monthly payments?
- What types of products are you going to sell? It means a niche e-shop with a limited number of items, or a big multi-brand storefront.
- How do you see your ideal online store?
Be sure you understand the difference between a simple shopping cart and comprehensive ecommerce software. The first one is usually a plugin or an extension with a limited functionality – a shopping cart itself, an instrument for payment processing and several basic marketing tools. This solution suits for already existing web sites, self-hosted or not, whose owners want to add an e-shop. As for ecommerce platform, it offers a wider range of features: besides the shopping cart and payment processor, it can provide hosting and website building tools, numerous admin and marketing tools, customization and even 3rd-party integration. It’s designed for businessmen starting a web shop from scratch.
There exist dozens of e-store programs – some are meant for niche shops, others work best for giant sellers. Try to count more or less precisely how many product items you’re planning to commercialize – dozens, hundreds or thousands. And don’t forget about business development – perhaps, in 2 or 5 years you’ll sell double or triple of items, and if you choose non-scalable software now, you’ll have to change it. Surely, it’s tremendous job that can interfere the work of your Internet store for weeks. It goes without saying that a full-scaled ecommerce shop builder with multiple built-it functions and hosting services is easier for the e-store owner, as far as development and self-hosting are one big headache, if only you aren’t a professional web designer or developer. Add the problems of Internet security, high speed connection for image loading and e-shop navigation, and you’ll understand that it’s better to delegate all technical work to professionals even if it costs you a nice sum of money. Some simple tuning, product items and images loading – all this will take you hours of careful work.
In order to get a clearer vision of solutions available on the market, try several of them, or even a dozen – demo versions with limited functionality are free during the trial period (usually a month), and it’s ample time to understand if this particular platform suits your demands. If you’ve already got a well-designed website with secured and high speed connection, and you’d like to build a virtual storefront on it, then reliable Internet shopping cart software is right for you. It’s quite a reasonable choice for start-up e-shops and small businesses, because it won’t cost you a fortune. You’ll get an instrument for product listing and payment processing, an access to technical support in return for a moderate payment.
Surely, small e-shops can join a huge multi-vendor store like AliExpress for a definite commission. But if you prefer to have an overall control over your e-store and launch your own website under your proper rules and conditions, then it’s worth investing in a shopping cart platform. As the store owner, you’ll keep all the benefits, manage all marketing events and customer support service. Most ecommerce solutions support the integration with the software you already use. This simplifies the management and provides you the latest financial and commercial information in real time.
Ecommerce shop builder
Online store shopping cart software provides merchant tools that can help you to draw prospects and retain customers through various loyalty programs, sales and discounts, gift certificates and social network sharing. Think of clear and colorful product images with preview option – nothing attracts clients better (except sales, of course) than beautiful pictures. You should also consider the well-known fact that contemporary customers are awfully impatient. On average they spend only 6 seconds on every web page, so rocket-fast download rate is to your benefit, if you don’t want them to leave your e-shop for a quicker one.
We live in the era of electronic payments and worldwide shopping, so numerous payment methods and delivery options are indispensable for any successful online business. Nowadays nearly everyone has at least one mobile device, whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet PC or a smartphone. A mobile-friendly version of your web shop is a beneficial marketing instrument that can bring you customers, and therefore profit.
Don’t forget about Internet security. As far as customers will leave their personal and financial information on your web site for log in and payment, you’ll need a SSL certificate to protect all the data and transactions. Your hosting provider can advise you the one according to your needs and domain type. He can also do all the necessary tuning and correct installation of the certificate. Once the installation is finished, your web shop visitors will see the green URL bar with a word “Secured”. Whatever ecommerce shop builder you choose, it must have well-developed support services to resolve your technical problems rapidly. In most full-scaled applications it’s supplied as a part of the package, but some shopping cart developers provide it as a separately paid option.
And the last but not the least piece of advice – launch your e-store as quickly as possible, even if you think it’s very far from an ideal one. You’ll certainly modify it along the way, after customer feedbacks or on your own, and it’s quite normal. Learning by doing is the most efficient way. Good luck!
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