With eCommerce stores currently taking 17.2% of all retail sales, with a sustainable growth rate of 13.7% yearly, owning an online business has become an extremely reputable way to make money. However, for a new starter, the prospect of taking on this challenge can be rather intimidating; often with more money being spent than made.
In the past, in order to create an online store, it took an intense knowledge in programming and HTML. However now, there is a collection of simple and affordable eCommerce providers, made especially for those just starting out as an independent business.
The starting point is to find an eCommerce platform that will successfully be able to run your online store in a way that will be sustainable, productive and reliable.
With the likelihood of having little to no money very common; a new business needs insight into the cheapest and most effective platforms. This is the basis of our article. Here, we will be doing the research for you, and offering the most cost-effective ways to get an eCommerce store up and running; to begin making a respectable income as soon as possible.
Using WordPress with WooCommerce
WordPress in itself is a very simple, open-source platform, with 27% of all new website owners opting for this route, making WordPress the ideal platform for a huge array of people. Not to mention, it is the solution used by 42% of eCommerce owners due to its high-quality features and reliable sources. The third-party, WooCommerce, plugin that powers the eCommerce functionality is free to install with optional paid features. The basic free version is more than enough to get started. Then, if combined with the payment gateway “Stripe”, you can be taking payments in under an hour.
Ideal for less technical entrepreneurs, and with a huge amount of learning content available for free online; it makes building a website from the ground up less intimidating and a far faster process.
There is, in fact, two different types of WordPress to choose from; in order to get the best build for your site. These are ‘Wordpress.com’ and ‘Wordpress.org’, and both provide a slightly different service to the user.
WordPress.org is the version we have been speaking about above and provides all the services and tools suggested, allowing complete customisation of the site.
Wordpress.com, however, is just slightly different. It has a free version of WordPress but the tools and service provided are rather limited. There are upgrades available in different price plans; working its way up to £36 a month, depending on the size of your e-commerce site and the work you need to do on it. The most expensive plan is generally for large eCommerce stores that get thousands of visitors to their sites every day.
This version will take care of any updates or additions without the need of the owner having to do it. It also offers a huge amount of storage space, depending on what is needed.
Magento Open Source
Extremely similar to WordPress, Magento is a software that offers an open-source style platform. By this, it means it is open to be developed within a collaborative public manner while giving the user access to the source code. Some of the biggest businesses in the world started their journey using Magneto and with 20% of all eCommerce sites now using this platform, it can provide you with a rapid and successful way to grow your business.
Unfortunately to some, this platform asks its users to be rather skilled web developers. Understandably, this is not an available trait for everyone. Because of this, they may have to pay someone to build the platform for them.
However, Magento is one of the best platforms for flexibility and accessibility; with the software having an extremely accessible tool kit, and features to suit almost any site build situation. The most important areas that the Magento platform offers its users ranges from SEO optimisation to product browsing and store credits. So, covers everything an online store would need to give a great user experience.
With dedicated plans for those who want to take their eCommerce further; prices extend from as little as $9 a month. The best part about this platform is the service standard offered. Giving the customers the confidence that their work is with a reputable site; that will handle almost every process from payments to shipping. All while offering the user the design flexibility to work in a way which suits them, ensuring that they get an e-commerce store to their liking.
By having complete control, the user will have the opportunity to learn the interface on a deeper level. Then while having access to all parts of the platform; will give them the design freedom that will ensure their eCommerce site has the functionality and look that users are looking for.
A rather simple platform; yet one that could potentially be the choice for someone who wants to test whether they can run their own e-commerce store. The platform is a great starting point but has limited features.
One of the limitations to Big Cartel is that it only allows its users to sell up to 5 items on the site. However, they offer this for free, making it a more attractive deal to many.
By setting themselves apart and targeting those who wish to have an easy solution for an e-commerce store; Big Cartel has managed to reach a point of hosting up to 250,000 sites. Therefore, reaching a goal of selling $2.5 billion of products for its clients, despite their small service selection.
From the ease of use to the ability to create a great site with no coding or experience needed; this website is definitely one that should be included in your initial decision-making process.
When choosing how to build your online store; be sure to do your research and find a platform that best suits your e-commerce needs. We all want to find the most cost-effective way to build and run a site while being confident that it can handle the number of products that are being sold.
For those of you who are after a fairly small website, selling a low number of products, platforms such as Big Cartel or Shopify would be the cheapest option for you.
However, those of you that will need more robust platform that is able to deal with large numbers of products, with more functionality; platforms such as Magento or WordPress will likely be the better option due to their compatibility and flexibility.
If you’ve read this article and are still not sure which platform to choose. Or more importantly, feel that you don’t have the required skills or time to do this yourself; why not take a different route, and find a website developer to help build your e-commerce site for you. This way, you have an experienced and reliable source that you can talk to and share ideas with; in order to get exactly what you want.
If this sounds like something for you, then why not get in touch with us. We might be able to help!