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Online shopping has become a comfort zone for most customers with e-commerce companies often offering products and services at a cheaper rate when compared to brick and mortar businesses. This trend has encouraged entrepreneurs to establish startups centered on e-commerce. B & M businesses are also not shy to jump on the bandwagon and start their own online counterparts for marketing and sales. But venturing out into this new territory can be scary to many especially if you are an amateur in the online environment.
E-commerce businesses undoubtedly require an e-commerce site and along with it an e-commerce software to manage everything. The needs and requirements of every e-commerce businesses are unique even if they are small ones. Here’s a list of top three e-commerce software for setting up a small e-commerce business.
Shopify: From the ground up
Shopify is barely a decade old but already has 200,000 active stores for different businesses. It was born out of a need for hassle-free platform for retail businesses. Shopify promises a beautiful online platform that is very easy to launch and manage so that you can focus all your attention on important business aspects.
The storefront features of Shopify include branding and customizing your online store with more than hundred professional themes. Shopify lets you use your own domain name and supports a web-based website builder where you have full access to editing HTML and CSS and a full-featured content management system. Shopify store is mobile-ready and supports a blogging platform. If you are still reluctant to try it all out yourself, there are experts that you can work with to set your store from the ground up.
Shopify offers bank-like security for shopping cart and offers easy setting up of flexible shipping rates. It supports more than 70 external payment gateways from around the world such as bitcoin, PayPal and iDEAL. The online store has multilingual capability and comes in over 50 languages. Shopify provides abandoned checkout recovery feature to encourage incomplete purchases. Shopify can also automatically handle country and state tax rates based on location. There are also powerful store management, marketing and analytics features that reassures the top position Shopify now enjoys.
Shopify website allows a free trial for two weeks before deciding on the payment plans. Payment plan begins with Lite with $9 per month and includes Unlimited with $179 as monthly price.
Magento: Supercharge your operations
Magento Commerce is a leading open source e-commerce platform that is supported by an active global community of over 66,000 developers and a global network of more than 300 solution and technology partners. Magento offers different flexible, powerful and multichannel suites to take control of your e-commerce operations. The Enterprise Edition is streamlined for large businesses with high performance and scalable e-commerce solution. For small businesses Retail Commerce Suite is available that is all set to revolutionize the customer experience. This platform bridges the online and offline retailing services by giving you the power to access to complete brand catalog including both online and in-store brand inventory. Magento’s Point-of-Service introduces a mobile platform that lets you make sales anywhere in store and offer rapid response and fulfillment to customer needs.
Magento allows easy access to complete customer interactions through your smart phone. With customer recognition and data capture, it is possible to view customer’s order history and customer service inquiries. Such functionality lets you provide personalized customer conversations and recommendations to satisfy all your customers.
You can try out a Free Demo from their website. The price for building and managing your own website using Magento starts at $82 per month. You can also get professional help from Magento partners like Creatuity for design, customization and hosting of your website.
WooCommerce: World’s most popular
With currently more than 11 million downloads, WooCommerce powers around 29% of all online stores reveals Builtwith e-commerce usage statistics. This is followed by Magento with only 6% and Shopify at 4%. WooCommerce is available for Store Owners as well as in open source platform for Developers. WooCommerce for Store Owners offers a free global marketplace to sell anything online may it be tangible goods like T-shirts or digital materials like music files. WooCommerce is integrated with PayPal and BACS and other extensions for payment gateways are also available. The shipping rates and locations can be configured in settings on your dashboard. All your design and style requirements are taken care of by Storefront, a free WordPress theme offering deep integration with WooCommerce that prevents any conflict between theme and plugins when you update. WooCommerce also enables you to take control of your taxes and stock levels. If all of these features don’t suffice, you can rely on hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce extensions to meet your specific needs.
A piece of cake
The best e-commerce solution for most may not necessarily mean it is best for you, too. And it is not advisable to blindly switch to the e-commerce platform your competitor has deployed. The three aforementioned software are not the only good solutions available in the market. There’s Bigcommerce, Webs and 3dcart to mention a few. These three also offer DIY solutions for small businesses.
So lack of choice is not an issue for small businesses in e-commerce, the real concern is making the right choice. It is always best to get it right the first time because installing and maintaining an e-commerce software can be time-consuming. If you know with specificity your actual business needs and requirements and can clearly picture what you expect of your e-commerce software, the arduous task of selection will turn out to be a piece of cake. It will be beneficial if you try out the trial or demo versions of the software before deciding on which software and what plan you should deploy.
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