When your online commerce business starts, it could be complicated to choose between the best eCommerce platforms out there. There’s no point doing eCommerce if you don’t have a spot-on website to manage your merchandise, catering to the customer traffic, and optimizing your store’s overall performance.
Sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn’t it?
While a bang-on website copy does the major part of attracting sales, the web layout and configuration is another detail you need to put your money in.
If you’re a small business that has just started, building a perfect website is a major plight. There’s a reason why we categorize businesses into big or small. The small ones in their infancy stages want to take baby steps into the colossal world of eCommerce and countless websites operating likewise. They cannot afford highly skilled website developers who are likely to gobble up a huge chunk of their total budget. They need something more economical without skimping on quality.
For that purpose, read on to know the best eCommerce platforms you can use to amp up your small business in a cut-throat competition with the bigger ones.
As an eCommerce plugin for websites using WordPress as its interface. It helps entrepreneurs create an excellent website that is as similar to the conception of expert web developers as anything.
In fact, around 3.3 million active sites are using this plugin to operate their online stores. In other words, WooCommece is the most popular eCommerce platform.
As a small business, it is the answer to your dreams. From arranging icons, styles to fonts, and layout, it closely resembles the kingpins of the eCommerce market.
Before we look at its benefits in detail, you can go and check out Porter and York to get an idea of how a WooCommerce plugin works – to-the-point, simple, and detailed.
Zero Dollar Spent
It isn’t popular amongst small and medium-sized businesses for nothing. Where some plugins require you to pay a subscription charge, WooCommerce is completely free to use.
Working on a budget is tough, especially when you’re new to it and don’t want to spend a lot on something that isn’t guaranteed to give a mighty turnover. As a beginner, every cent spent is of great consequence.
You have to capitalize on the few resources that you have until you start making enough to purchase premium versions and their add-ons. Up till then, a free eCommerce plugin is exactly what you need.
For those of you who have ever used WordPress or are familiar with the working of the interface, you would know how amazing features it has to optimize your website. WooCommerce, as an integrated plugin of WordPress, enjoys all the premium benefits and features in exactly the same way you use an ordinary WordPress site.
The plugin allows businesses to sell all kinds of merchandise, unlike Amazon, where you cannot sell pets, houses, or guns.
As long as the product you trade is lawful, WooCommerce has no restrictions whatsoever. It allows instant access via downloading of items and is the perfect eCommerce builder of an affiliate marketing model.
Besides a good-looking, easy-to-use eCommerce website, and stellar web copy for SEO, the other important tool for success is monitoring the analytics. WooCommerce has its own analytics page, which provides valuable information about your visitors to determine what is wrong or what to improve (should your store underperform with sales). Within the free version, you get to check the metrics for free too!
This is another open-source eCommerce solution for small-scale merchants. It has a broad array of add-on features and supports around 0.125 million online stores worldwide. Let’s delve into its details.
The user interface of PrestaShop is easy to use. Even if you do not have any technical knowledge of running an e-store, you can easily learn with PrestaShop.
The custom designs, layout, and more than 2500 plugins further simplify the user experience. This also adds up to user-friendly customization. Adding or deleting items, personalizing specific areas, and altering existing options make PrestaShop another very flexible eCommerce web builder.
Unlike WooCommerce, you might consider changing your platform once your small-scale business makes it big. This is because PrestaShop has limited scalability. It is not the ideal choice for big eCommerce businesses due to its unprofessional design or inability to uphold expansion.
When on a low budget, though, PrestaShop has everything going for it to help you climb up the success ladder.
The other most-used, leading eCommerce platform for small to medium-sized businesses is Shopify.
Besides ease-of-use and SEO options, there are other perks of Shopify which help you optimize your e-store, should you be able to afford it.
10 free theme templates
Shopify makes it the popular choice for big and small businesses because the platform has various storefront themes categorized into respective industries.
Although the free ones are only 10 in number, you can pay a one-time fee to use the other templates. From Food & Beverages to Shoes & Accessories, business-owners can easily design their stores in visually pleasing and relevant thematic styles.
The powerful e-store builder has over 1200 assisting apps to optimize your eCommerce trade. These apps help you organize your accounts without having to manually insert the data, or worse, hire an expert to do so.
While these integrated plugin apps require a monthly subscription fee, rest assured you can forget about the transaction details or the associated costs of an accountant.
Shopify is not a self-hosting platform. As a result, it comes with access to numerous functional and custom options, just like PrestaShop.
With limited, free components, it is perfect for tech-novices who wouldn’t want to be bogged down by technology as they start their venture.
However, for better functionality and theme customization that is relevant to manage big-scale businesses, Shopify may not exactly qualify.
This one is another name popular amongst the eCommerce whizzes, and for good reasons. It is used by countless brands to expand to large-scale online trading and has proven its versatility in helping small businesses grow their sales overnight.
BigCommerce is big on the secured performance of your website. It has optimal hosting and security features with unlimited bandwidth, SSL certificate, and various domain names to keep your e-store as personal as it can get.
This keeps business owners safe in the knowledge that their online brand is in premium protection from server hacks. Plus, customers coming to transact on your website with confidential data can do so without feeling vulnerable.
The next best thing about BigCommerce is its facility to enable multi-channel selling of your store. Users can connect their brands to other marketing outlets, such as social media, online marketplaces, or physical stores.
This does not only expands your outreach enormously but is a convenient tool to access all your outlets from one, easy-to-use platform.
BigCommerce has great customization options and theme templates to choose from that make your website easily eye-grabbing.
However, there are only seven free templates for all users. Accessing the rest of the templates requires you to pay a fee. As a small business owner saving up on every dollar of your budget, that might not be the best option.
Supposedly, if a small business decides to invest in gaining better features on BigCommerce, the annual sales threshold bars the way.
A standard plan costs only $30/month – clearly affordable – but it’s eligible for businesses making up to $50,000 per year. Their other plans, Plus and Pro, are allotted for fixed thresholds that you upgrade to automatically once your business hits the mark.
The last to our list, Magento, is one of the best eCommerce platforms elevating the digital experience of small merchant traders.
Broad set of features
Magento is famous for its breadth of features that other eCommerce platforms lack. It allows users to select different prices for different products and even for a different section of customers.
Multiple VIPS, community-oriented features, multiple languages, and multiple currencies make Magento a top-pick.
Operates on mobile
Online retailing makes a mobile-friendly interface pertinent to the seamless operating of a business. Magento is a platform that is mobile-friendly for customers and owners alike.
However, the community (free) version of Magento has a slow loading time, which makes tweaking or doing customizations time-consuming.
Switching to another platform is also difficult as Magento takes a lot of time to transfer the data.
Small business owners can develop their e-stores from the free community version of Magento. Many retailers are making up a famous community using it as their eCommerce platform, thereby creating a forum for resources and support should you have any problems.
However, the Enterprise and Premium versions are a tad bit pricier for small businesses to afford, which cuts down on their features and customizing options.
In the ever-growing eCommerce industry, a professionally designed and customer-friendly website is imperative, especially if you’re a small-scale business owner looking to expand your trade.
The above-listed platforms are some of our top picks that will help non-tech savvy business owners, on a budget, get their share of online sales.
Each and every platform is beneficial in one way or the other. However, my personal favorite is WooCommerce. It is the most user-friendly platform I have come across and also comes with a lot of tutorials. The fact that you can start small and scale your business up, makes it a great choice.
Also, as a small business owner, you could be astonished by the vast content about eCommerce and how to start your store. However, the huge community and documentation of WooCommerce make the process very easy to assimilate.
Meanwhile, you can check our Website Building Plans for small business owners to begin with the right steps toward your success.
In business, your brand goes a long way in determining how well your business performs and how profitable it becomes. That’s why to create your brand effectively is so important. In recent times, almost all businesses have gone online, and they are utilizing the online space to market and sell their products.
To fully enjoy the online platform and edge out your competitors, it is very important to have a strong brand that will amplify your presence online. The main online spaces include social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.), websites, and emails.
You may be wondering why building a brand is so important. Well, you may have a great product or a service that people like, but that may not be enough. You may have something amazing but fail to get the sales that you deserve or want.
A brand is more than a slogan or a logo. It serves as your identity and allows people recognize your business whenever they see something related to you. Your brand involves building trust with your customers and clients. To successfully build a strong brand for your business online, you need to follow these simple steps.
Do your research
There are two things that you need to research deeply about:
The first one is your target market. When entering the online space, you need to identify the presence of your target market in every online platform that you choose to create a brand for your market. Identify:
A very specific target. An example is “people that love whiskey” instead of people that love alcohol.
Their specific needs, like “Scottish whiskey.”
Their age and gender may be important for some products.
The second thing that you need to research is your competitors. To effectively build your brand online, you need to identify:
Their online presence – How frequently do they post adverts online
What is the quality of their goods and services?
Are there any loopholes in their adverts like missing locations, contact, etc.?
Pick a focus and build a personality
It would be best to establish why your business exists and what makes it stand out from other businesses (competitors). To pick a focus, you will need to identify a mission statement that will determine why your business exists. The mission statement shall summarize the name, logo, tag line, and personality.
To build a personality, you will need to develop 3-5 simple but attractive traits that your potential customers can describe your brand by. Using metaphors will help you identify characteristics that relate to your business.
Create a business name
Business names are what potential clients identify you by. For a start-up, the name must be:
Intriguing-one that is easy to notice
Easy to remember
To choose a business name, you can:
Makeup a random name
Use an acronym of a longer name, e.g., “AT&T” for American Telephone and Telegraph
Combine several words, e.g., “Pin interest,” to be “Pinterest.”
Use a literal description, e.g., “wine store.”
Write a Business Slogan
After the name, the next thing that you need to pay special attention to is the slogan. A good slogan can be used as a tagline for your social media platforms as well and should be present when you create your brand.
It needs to be:
Easy to remember
Short and precise
One that makes a strong impression.
To write a good slogan for your business, you can:
Use a metaphor, e.g., “Redbull gives you wings.”
Describe your business literarily, e.g., “Best wine seller.”
Adopt an attitude, e.g., Nike uses “Just do it.”
Choose the look of your brand
After creating a name and a slogan for your brand, it is important to consider how you will virtually represent it, using typography and colors. Usually, this takes effect when you begin to make your own website.
Choosing your colors
Colors define your brand’s look, help pass the feeling you want to convey, and helps you make it consistent across everything you own. As such, you should choose a color that differentiates you from close adversaries to avoid confusing your customers. While color psychology is not a science, it helps you as the brand owner informs your choices, especially the color you chose for your logo. When picking a color, it is essential to consider how legible the color white and black text will be over the color you chose.
Choosing your fonts
It would help if you also looked for fonts that make your website look professional. To avoid confusing your customers, chose only two fonts – one for headings and the other for body text.
Design your logo
When you think about building a brand, the company logo is one of the things that should come to mind. Your logo is the face of your company and could be everywhere that your brand exists.
As such, you should choose a logo that is identifiable, unique, and scalable to work at all sizes. First, you should think of all the places you want your logo to exist, from your social media accounts to your website.
It is not advisable to have a text logo, because it would be hard to read. Instead, you should use a square version of your logo, which has an icon element that can be recognized even when small.
In conclusion, create your brand helps market what your business is all about, including what you do or what you sell. The brand helps determine how well the company will perform and how much profits you make. Recently, most businesses have gone digital, mainly because of the number of customers online presence can draw to your business. However, to build your online presence, you need to follow several steps, including doing intensive research regarding your customers and competitors, building your personality, creating a business name, designing a business logo, and choosing your brand’s look, among others.
We encourage you to Contact Us to build your Brand online and give you some advices for your business idea.
Over the last weeks people in the United States have been applying for unemployment in a massive way during the Coronavirus crisis. Indeed, a great part of small businesses in the country are hugely affected by this Coronavirus crisis. However, others are trying to survive and keep their business running and those are an example to follow.
For the next weeks some states will reopen gradually, and for some people the fear is still smelling. It’s something unprecedented what we are living nowadays and we still don’t know when will be the end. Meanwhile, almost everyone is in quarantine and the fuel of small businesses to the economy is evaporated.
Furthering, we will talk about some ideas to float above this Coronavirus crisis and some advices to keep your business prepared to the next, REOPEN.
Ideas and advices for your business
The feeling out there is abrupt and while the time goes on and the solutions arrives, your business should be running to reopen in the future. That’s the reason we write this post for you, to help you understand that even in the tough times you must give more of yourself to stay floating.
So, let’s begin with some examples.
Some Cleaning companies, such as Columbus, Ohio-based Corporate Cleaning Inc., said demand has increased substantially for commercial buildings and medical facilities in light of COVID-19. They provided the services before COVID-19 to restaurants and offices, but with the crisis running they adapted their Customer Persona.
Many of the top brands for meal preparation and delivery are skyrocketing due to people spending more time at home and less at restaurants. Taking advantage of this trend, several small businesses that offer meal prep and delivery are also seeing increased demand.
Eat Clean Bro, a Freehold, New Jersey-based meal prep and delivery service, has seen a surge in orders from new and returning customers. “This time of year, we’re very busy so we’re prepared to handle an influx of orders,” Jamie Giovinazzo, owner and founder told NJ.com. “Our orders are up 40%. We’re just guns blazing with orders.”
Fitness equipment companies
With many gyms closed across the U.S., Americans have turned to home gyms in order to help them stay fit during the coronavirus crisis. While yoga mat purchases are likely the number one purchase for many working out at home, other fitness products are seeing success.
Small-but-growing tech startups that offer internet-connected fitness equipment are thriving, such as Ergatta, FightCamp, Mirror and Tonal. These services allow users to receive live or recorded instruction from experts that are then paired with proprietary equipment designed to fit into your home gym or spare room.
Landscaping and yard care companies
As more people than ever are stuck at home due to coronavirus fears, homeowners have much more time to tend to their lawns and gardens. As such, landscaping, gardening, and general yard care companies are seeing unseasonably good business.
Allwood Recyclers, a small landscaping and materials company in Fairview, Oregon, told KATU that since people have been ordered or encouraged to stay at home, demand has been constant. “It’s kind of all hands on deck right now,” Tyler Wright, yard manager at Allwood Recyclers, said. “Normally, our truck doesn’t start delivering like this until May, but it started this week and we are going from 7:30 to 4 p.m. daily. We probably have about 12 to 15 deliveries a day.”
Coffee subscription companies
Many consumers are unable to buy coffee in person because shops are closed or they are hesitant to leave their homes. That’s why some coffee companies that offer home delivery are seeing increased demand. These providers include those who ship freshly roasted beans, pre-packaged cold brew, and other variations.
If your a Coffee Shop owner consider add subscription to your business model and gain some revenue making deliveries. We can help you in this matter.
With so many people at home and the weather beginning to get warmer around the U.S., home gardening has gained new popularity. People are growing their own fruits, vegetables, and plants because it can be a little scary to go to the grocery store. While supply is constrained at stores, and there’s simply more time to try your hand at being a green thumb. Naturally, gardening companies including seed providers are booming.
The Hudson Valley Seed Co., based in New York, has seen web-based demand increase five-fold in the past month. “The greatest spike in interest has come from people taking food security into their own hands, mostly first-time customers that are gardening,” Jack Whettam, Hudson Valley Seed Co. sales manager, told The Morning Call. “Usually, we see vegetable and flower sales split fairly evenly, though at this time we’ve seen a much greater interest in vegetable seeds, especially high-calorie types like potatoes, corn, beans, and squash.”
What you can do?
Maybe your business isn’t reflected here but the option for almost all business owners is the same, Find Solutions. Some Barbershops and Beauty Salons are giving advice to their customers online. Some are teaching online how to DIY, others are offering products online to sell directly to the customer door.
If your business is place dependent and offers services, you need to find the way to offer something to your customers online. As a result, you will generate some revenue and keep your customers attached to your business when you open again. In the case that you can’t offer something valuable to your customers, keep your social presence active. So, when all of this have ended, you will have a tracking history on internet that will bounce back your customers and some new prospects.
This is a common question every business owner has, and it’s a simple question. In fact, the complications appears when you begin to research what you really need to put your business online.
I will show you some steps further, so you can follow them to begin giving your business an online presence. Some of these steps are simple and others maybe you will need professional assistance to accomplish them.
What problem do you solve?
This is the first step to run your business successfully everywhere and will keep you focus the whole journey of running your business. Also the online presence is attached to this question because your why will give the prospects and customers the satisfaction of use your services or products. When they reach your Website or your Social Media profiles they need to feel that your business can solve their problem, and you must fill that gap showing your solution.
So, think why you created your business. What gap do you fill? What problem do you solve? And let them know about it.
Build your Business Website
To build a website you will need two key things:
a Domain name, and
a Hosting solution.
Your Domain name
A Domain name is very important because is the address to find your business on internet like a physical address is. In other words, the only way that prospects and customers can arrive to your website is through a domain name. So, write down your possible domain names similarly to your business name. For example, for a bakery business which the name is “Rose Bakery”, the domain should be similar like “rosebakery.com” or “therosebakery.com”.
To find and buy your Domain name you can use our tools for it.
The Hosting solution
Hosting is the way to store your Website on a server or a computer so that it can be accessed over the Internet. Then, you can find Hosting solutions to serve your Website.
We have several solutions to help you stand up based on your needs. Go to Business Hosting to buy one that works for you. We recommend use the basic and upgrade later when your business shows a great growing.
The Business Website
Build a Website is easier nowadays because the technology has improved so much these years to facilitate the building process. For that reason, there are many tools and solutions out there to accomplish this and you should use what it’s easier for you and your business online.
However, those tools require some basic knowledge and you will need to learn it if you’re not a top-notch on the matter. Therefore, we offer a Website Building Service to help your business website be up and running very fast. Sometimes you are focus on your business process and build a Website by your own is time consuming.
These advices are worth to keep in mind:
Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
Make it easy to buy — no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
Build your Social Media Profiles
People use internet everyday to find information and Social Media represents 42% of the population of the world using it, equal to 3.8 billion active users daily. Consequently, your business should be taking note of this and must be visible on Social Media.
The use of Social Media will give you more traffic and better search engine rankings. In addition, it will generate more customer Engagement and Brand Awareness creating some loyalty to your business and more accessible.
What you should do:
Open at least 2 Social Media business accounts. We recommend Facebook and Instagram to beguin because they are the most widely used. But, you need to do your research based on your business industry.
Create free expert content like articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful on your website and post it to your Social Media profiles.
Include a “Send to Friends” button on your content to spread it organically.
You will get more readers and people engaged with these steps but you need to do it constantly to grow your audience and expand your business. It’s a hard work but well rewarded.
While you’re running your business and making it profitable you will need some tools to help you stand out of the crowd. So, focus on your processes and your customers. Keep it simple always, that will help you grow your business online.