How To Start With Ecommerce For Your Small Business
Ecommerce is thriving in all corners of the world and savvy retailers are cashing in on this opportunity. According to industry experts, online retail sales are estimated to reach $4.13 trillion by the end of 2020. It’s also expected that by 2040, more than 95% of all retail purchases will be conducted online.
If these numbers aren’t enough, consider the rising number of online orders and the paradigm shift in customer behavior. Most of this transition is due to the increasing concentration of digitalization and technology in all aspects of society. However, the sudden surge in orders can also be attributed to the strict social distancing rules enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In today’s internet-driven world, turning a brick-and-mortar store into a fulfilling digital shop is easier than ever. If you’re a small business owner who wants to get on the winning side without draining your bank account, keep reading to learn more about the best ecommerce platform for small businesses and how to get started.
Top 7 Ecommerce Website Builders For Small Businesses To Try In 2020
Ecommerce for your small business is a must if you wish to compete in today’s changing landscape. From custom websites to pre-built themes, there are a lot of options to choose from. The market is overflowing with service providers that can help you get up and running in no time.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best ecommerce website builders for small businesses that you should consider in 2020.
Shopify is the best ecommerce platform on the market. This site is designed to help people build their own websites and online stores quickly and easily. It comes with hundreds of inbuilt features, dozens of apps, and easy integration with third-party applications. You’ll also get access to a library of free templates, add-ons, and elements to customize your store as per your needs.
It’s a beginner-friendly platform; thus, you don’t need excellent coding skills to build a website. Main features include:
- Fully mobile compatible websites
- Free SSL and PCI-compliance
- Advanced features like inventory management, automatic taxes, shipping rates, 100+ payment gateways, multiple languages, and more
Pricing: It offers a free trial plan. Premium plans start at $29/month and go as high as $299/month. For enterprise-grade features, Shopify also provides a customized plan.
WooCommerce is another excellent ecommerce plugin that’s tailormade for WordPress. It gives you a fully customizable interface for successfully running a small to medium online store. You also get access to tons of built-in apps and add-ons from the extensions store. WooCommerce supports all WordPress-compatible SEO plugins to help you drive more traffic through better search engine rankings.
Some of the standout features include:
- Free to use (website hosting costs excluded)
- Compatible with the majority of third-party extensions
- Inbuilt SEO and custom field tools
- An array of online shop features like price adjustments, inventory management, email marketing, and more
Pricing: WooCommerce is free to use. Although, you’ll need to bear the costs for hosting, themes, domain names, SSL, premium plugins, and extensions.
Wix allows you to create high-quality websites for your products with full customization. Premium customers get access to tons of HTML templates, apps, add-ons, and extensions within the Wix App Market.
It’s also a cloud-based site builder and is perfect for small to medium-sized ecommerce websites. Wix is PCI-DSS compliant and TLS certified, offers multiple shipping options, and allows you to add various payment methods to your website. Other significant features include:
- SEO add-ons and easy integration with social as well as sales channels
- New EditorX feature brings in advanced customization options
- Digital store features include reporting tools, easy product export/import, additional shipping and tax fields, abandoned cart recovery, and so on
Pricing: Wix offers multiple plans starting from $13/month. Business and ecommerce plans cost between $23/month to $500/month.
Squarespace is a powerful website builder. It’s best suited for SMEs, entrepreneurs, and creative individuals from a wide range of industries. This SaaS solution aims to provide an affordable, easy to use, scalable, and extremely customizable website builder and hosting service.
Premium users get access to a huge library of fully-customizable templates, drag-and-drop editors, and an array of tools and extensions. The company has multiple security protocols like systems access control, incident response, data center security, disaster recovery, and more. Other major features include:
- Allows easy integration with social media platforms, sales channels, email marketing tools, as well as third-party apps like Esty, ZocDoc, MLS search, HTML markup, Google Optimize, and AMP
- Dedicated online shop capabilities like custom fields, product import/export, reporting tools, multiple shipping options, payment gateways, tax fields, dropshipping, abandoned cart recovery, and so forth
Pricing: The basic ecommerce plan costs $26/month, and the advanced plan costs $40/month.
BigCommerce works great for enterprise-level brands. If you own a small store, it also offers some plans to cater to your needs. This gigantic ecommerce platform supports over 250 currencies. Premium users get access to themes that can be easily customized.
It includes everything you need to run a successful online store. With robust store management features and fully scalable plans, BigCommerce ensures value for money. Major features include:
- No transaction fees for third-party payment gateways
- Allows marketing as well as integration with sales channels and email
- Ecommerce options like sitewide SSL, integrity scanners, inventory management, bulk list export/import, shipping and tax fields, SEO, cart recovery, and more
Pricing: Other than the 15-day free trial, premium plans start at $29.95/month and go as high as $249.95/month. Customized quotes are available for enterprise plans.
Weebly is another great choice for building functional and fully optimized online stores. It’s reasonably priced and comes with a good selection of shop features. The interface is pretty easy to navigate, and the editor allows you to easily customize themes to your liking.
Some of the major features include:
- Allows you to sell products on the free plan
- An array of shop options such as a fully-integrated shopping cart, payment gateway integration, filtered product search, mobile compatibility, shipping and tax controls, inventory management, coupon builder, and so much more
Pricing: Weebly offers business plans at $35/month and performance plans at $46/month.
Smoolis is an ecommerce platform that focuses on multilingual websites. It offers built-in tools to automatically translate everything on your web pages, all the way to the payment process. If you’re planning to sell globally, this might be the right platform for you.
Premium users get access to fully optimized themes to build websites that are compatible across all devices. Even though the platform is great if you want a global brand presence, it isn’t a good fit for high-traffic ecommerce stores.
- Offers integration of third-party apps
- SEO tools, marketing and sales channels, and customization options
- Allows import/export of products and payment gateway integration
- Doesn’t charge transaction fees
Pricing: Three plans to choose from: small at $16/mo (50 products), medium at $28/month (250 products), and large at $40/month (500 products)
10 Ecommerce Tips For Small Businesses
Getting the most out of your online store requires proper planning and a thorough understanding of your customers’ wants. Other than investing time and effort in building buyer personas, performing competitor research, and reviewing the trends, you’ll also need to focus on maintaining the website and social media platforms.
Here are some tried-and-tested tips that can help you grow your ecommerce business:
- Make it mobile compatible: Your website should be responsive and optimized to run smoothly on all devices. Mobile friendly ecommerce websites are a must if you need to connect with more users
- Use product images: Add clear and visually appealing product images. Customers are more likely to buy when they can examine a product from the image itself
- Implement CTAs: Place call-to-action (CTA) buttons across your website’s landing pages, product pages, and social media channels
- Run email marketing campaigns: Ecommerce email marketing is a sure-shot way to get more customers engaged with your brand. Build customer lists and run targeted campaigns to grow sales
- Design for the user: Make sure to keep the user’s perspective in mind when designing your website. It should be appealing and not hinder user experience
- Show-off reviews and testimonials: Display positive reviews of your products. When new customers see positive reviews, it helps build trust in your brand. This leads to more sales
- Keep the navigation clear: Don’t add too many redirects or internal links. Make it easy for the user to navigate across pages. Provide them with one-click options like view cart and checkout
- Be clear about pricing: Don’t complicate pricing details. Provide clear answers to shipping rates, taxes, and other expenses. Providing costs upfront helps build trust with customers
- Analyze and optimize: Keep track of your customers’ behaviors on the website. Check what causes cart abandonment, bounces, and other recurring problems. Based on the data, optimize the web pages for better results
- Never give up: Provide a 360-degree customer experience. Follow-up after the order has been delivered, thank the customers for their business and ask for feedback. You should also offer discounts and rebuttals for referrals and repeat sales
Setting up a digital store has never been easier. As the COVID-19 situation shows no signs of retreat, it’s high time that you start migrating your business online. With the rise of digitalization, ecommerce is here to stay for the long haul.
Decide how big your shop needs to be, what features you need the most, set your budget, and compare the available platforms. Finally, follow the tips listed above to grow your business and drive more sales and revenue.