Choosing an ecommerce platform
Choosing an e-commerce platform is an absolute minefield, depending on what products you sell your needs will vary. Your budget also plays a big factor as you will be looking at one end of the market or the other. An e-commerce platform is a website or app which has products to buy, a “basket” to put them in, and the facilities to charge for and ship your products.
The most famous example of e-commerce is Amazon, this e-commerce hound dog saw multiple lawsuits hit it within its first years, but as one of the lucky ones, it managed to survive. At the time Amazon sold books exclusively, in 2001 the Internet boomed but, in the aftermath, took down lots of e-commerce stores as they were just not ready for the rush of clients. But, once again – Amazon remained, and went on to grow into the Amazon we know today.
There are many e-commerce platforms to choose from, if you believe that you can handle it there are opportunities to become an Amazon seller, however, we don’t recommend that you do. Your business deserves to be showcased, in a way that is as unique and bold as you are.
E-commerce has no geographical limitations (apart from posting costs …), no staffing costs, and no building rental charges with all bills added on top. Each day more and more businesses are leading towards e-commerce because it has so many benefits – for a fraction of the cost. Costs on unit rentals are rising, with the average shop spending approximately £50,000.00 per year on rent alone.
On the flip side, although e-commerce is a lot cheaper, there are downsides to it as well. You lose that face-to-face interaction with the customers, so this is less time to charm them. It does however allow your products to speak for themselves, once you’ve done your fancy packaging, and wooed them with your product and finishing touches – they’ll never know the difference.
To host or not to host?
Hosting isn’t for everyone, and that can be applied to having people round for dinner or web hosting. An easy way to explain web hosting it’s “the websites house”. You can either buy the house yourself and do the maintenance, or you can rent the house from someone else who covers the maintenance. Choosing an e-commerce platform starts with hosted, or self-hosted. Neither choice is incorrect, just preference. So, what’s the difference?
Self-Hosted e-commerce the stage is yours my dear friend, but … you also need to set it. Whatever you wish for, is your own command. This can be a dangerous game to play as everyone’s taste is different so try to stick with the trends. Self-Hosting can cost a lot of money to start – so make sure you’re ready.
Hosted e-commerce is basically an all-in package to house your e-commerce and make use of their services. Hosted sites are less customizable, but this shouldn’t influence buyers unless you are allowing it to. The only major downside is that as your business grows so will the monthly/yearly
Choosing between different e-commerce platforms
Shopify, Magento, Etsy, and WooCommerce, tend to be the top four when you think about e-commerce stores (outside of Amazon).
Shopify has an outstanding global reach, in a 2020 release Shopify announced that their platform “powers over one million businesses in more than 175 countries”. Shopify includes easy setup, your own domain name, and you don’t even need a product to sell, by using Shopify you’re able to buy into stock at merchant’s cost to then sell at full retail right from your store.
Magento is rumoured to be the best for large scale businesses, it has the capabilities to hold large data, site management, catalogue management, and a lot more. Although all this does come at a high cost, if you have the budget – Magento is worth it.
Etsy tends to be for your crafters, artists, and general creatives who are selling their products as a business. Be careful with Etsy as a seller, if a client purchases your product through an ad that Etsy has showcased on Google – You’ll lose money to them. It’s worth putting a link to your store in your store’s bio, that way you can request that clients come back to your page organically, thus saving you money.
WooCommerce Is the most flexible of eCommerce sites, but this can all add up depending on how much you’d like it to do. It’s a plugin for WordPress (Website creation and management site), which enables it to run, look, and feel a lot more professional. In January 2021, WooCommerce was voted the easiest to use due to its simple platform-style for users.
When choosing an e-commerce platform, choose the one that will showcase you, and your products perfectly. Remember that slow and steady wins the race, do not launch your e-commerce until it is ready for buyers, if you force people to go to a half-done site – they won’t return.
For more information, contact us today. We’ve been creating websites and apps since 2012, there’s no monkeying around at Chimpare, our websites and apps kick nothing but butt.