Choosing The Best Option
What goes into being the best, you may ask. The criteria we've looked at include:
When reviewing these eCommerce platforms, we've checked on a number of things that are key to a smooth experience. Some of the questions we ask include: Does this eCommerce platform offer a free trial? What are their hosting fees like? Do they charge a transaction fee? Are their prices competitive? How sophisticated is their reporting? Have these eCommerce builders integrated any marketing tools? You can't go wrong with any of these top choices, so read through each review to determine which one suits your needs best.
How can I build my own eCommerce store?
Buying and selling goods is the driving force of any economy. With simple eCommerce site builders, the barrier to entry has never been lower. You can become your own store owner, without having to rent a physical space or keep a pen and paper ledger of your inventory. All you need to have is a name for your store and the products you wish to sell. The next step is choosing which shopping cart software you’d like to use to manage your store.
All of the top eCommerce platforms will cover your basic needs. They have a function that allows you to build your basic store, including pre-existing design templates that you can simply slot your creative into. For a more premium build, you can even pay for a custom website. If you’re just getting started, we recommend a simple template to get started.
By and large, eCommerce management systems will allow you to manage your inventory and process orders seamlessly. Some eCommerce service providers, like Shopify, will even provide mobile PoS systems, in case you have a presence beyond the Internet for your store. To manage your online presence they offer safe and secure hosting, and depending on the plan may even include a domain name for your new store.
Does the transaction fee make a big difference?
With any kind of software as a service, you’re going to need to take a close look at the fine print and hidden fees. Even if an eCommerce platform doesn’t charge transaction fees up front, they may make up the difference in their monthly fee for hosting your store as a whole. Also, take a close look at your payment options, and what credit card fees look like since those are different from the transaction fee charged by some of the shopping cart service providers. Also, evaluate based on what’s most important to you - round the clock support, app options, SEO tools, types of templates available, and so forth. The cheapest option available is not necessarily the best one for your business.
What kind of checkout page should I opt for in my shopping cart?
This is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself, and it’s worth testing several styles to see what your target clientele responds best to. The general consensus though is that less is more. You want your shopping cart to be simple, seamless, and if you can let it all fit on one page it’ll make the checkout process easier for your customers. The easier the process, the likelier you are to convert to sales. Remember, just like people go window shopping in real life, they do this on the Internet as well. You need the entire experience to be welcoming and smooth. The ability to create custom fields in your checkout process is offered by some eCommerce companies, like Volusion, and is a feature worth having if you want to collect different types of information from your customers that are standard or use a conversion enhancement tool like coupon codes.
What is the best eCommerce software for SEO?
All of the leading providers offer very similar basic services for search engine optimization (SEO). Some will offer additional online marketing services, or have recommended outsourced providers. For basic SEO you want to be sure that the software you use allows you to enter things like meta tags, customizable URLs, auto-generated sitemaps, Robots.txt files, and semantic markup. The leading shopping cart providers for SEO are Volusion and Bigcommerce.
I want reports on all my devices. Which eCommerce company has the best apps?
One of the most exciting parts about running your own store is seeing new orders come in. Look for mobile (iOS and Android) apps from your chosen shopping cart provider. Some, like Volusion, even have an Apple Watch app, for real-time alerts.
I’ve heard of WordPress plugins. Do shopping cart systems have anything like that?
They do! Most of them refer to these types of add-ons as Apps. These are handy integrations into their existing software that span everything from conversion enhancement to product reviews, to security. Make sure you look at the app marketplaces when setting up your store to see what can help you build your online presence.
What is the most important thing I should look for in an eCommerce site builder?
Beyond making sure that the service is within your budget, make sure that your shopping cart meets your needs based on your business goals. Look for reliability in hosting - because downtime can kill a business. Look for reports on speed - since both customers and search engines will be turned off by storefronts that load slowly. Look for design - the Internet is quickly turning into a battle of beauty and functionality, so make sure that the designs available are easy to use but also pleasing to the eye. Finally, look at all of this for yourself with a free eCommerce trial. The best providers typically offer at least two weeks for you to play around with their shopping cart software, no credit card required, so you can make the absolute best decision for you.