Online stores have reinvented the way that many people in the world do business and shop for the things they want or need. Today, no one really needs to leave their home to purchase anything, and businesses are adapting to meet the needs of the modern shopper.
In the recent past, sellers might have had to turn to a larger retailer in order to have their items widely available to the online public. Today, however, more and more creators and producers of goods and services are building their own websites and selling these things themselves.
The fact that creating and customizing one’s own website is easier than ever has also helped with the upward trend of online stores. A large budget for website creation is not really necessary any longer, and with the ease of platforms like WordPress it’s possible to design and customize your website on your own.
However, you will need to add good e-commerce software to your site. Depending on your needs and how your site is hosted, these are some of the best e-commerce solutions on the market today.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plug-in so you’ll need to build your site with WordPress, but the limitations end there. Most experts agree that WooCommerce is by far the best and most customizable shopping cart and payment system option for retailers of any kind.
Because WooCommerce is used with WordPress, you will also have access to all of their most popular features and plugins are easy to install and use. Their online support team is good if you run into any trouble, and if you have money in your budget for even more custom development, WordPress developers are always easy to find and hire. However, there are many different options for building your website, so be sure to do your research to determine if WordPress is your best bet for your e-commerce site.
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce solutions in the world, but it’s vastly different that WooCommerce and some of the others. Basically, Shopify hosts your online store for a fee, versus WooCommerce which works on self-hosted sites. Shopify will charge you a monthly fee for hosting services and these can be high, but you also have luxury of knowing that your site will rarely suffer downtime, which can quickly hurt your bottom line.
Shopify generally tends to be a “one size fits all” solution, and your ability to customize your page is limited. However, Shopify does offer downloadable apps that offer extensions and other types of functionality to your online store. Most experts agree that Shopify is the best option for larger retailers who don’t want to or can’t deal with a self-hosted site.
Another of the self-hosted options is Magento. This is one of the oldest of the e-commerce and most-trusted platforms around, but some experts believe that it’s starting to show its age. Many of the largest retailers in the world use Magento so it’s not going anywhere soon, but it still comes with some issues.
Magento is probably the least customizable of the bunch, and it’s for this reason that more online store owners are gravitating toward the more flexible and easy to use options like Shopify and WooCommerce. However, there are still many experts and users that are very loyal to Magento, and for this reason it might be worth investigating to see if it’s right for your particular situation and needs.
BigCommerce, while not as well-known as some of the other options, is another good choice of software for your online store. It’s customizable and works well, and offers easy ways to integrate your store with other websites like Facebook for advertising purposes. They also offer a free trial period, so if you find that it’s not right for you, cancelation is easy and you haven’t lost any money.
Some of the downfalls of BigCommerce are its ease of use. Many users describe the dashboard as clunky and not as easy as Shopify. Again, like Shopify, BigCommerce is a hosted solution, so if you’re running a self-hosted site this is not the answer for you.
Creating and running your own online store can be an extremely profitable way to bring your products and services to the masses. Your choice of e-commerce solutions will make a big difference in how your site looks and works, both for you and your customers. Whether you choose a hosted service like Shopify or a plug-in like WooCommerce, choose wisely, get your website looking and working well, and then wait for the orders to roll in.