by Nancy LiuApproximate read time: 4 minutes
COVID-19 has forced businesses into alternative sales channels. Starting an online business is more of a necessity than a trend currently. Most shoppers want to avoid crowded malls and are opting to shop online in the safety of their homes during this pandemic. People are starting early searches for holiday presents this year to offset a particularly stressful year. Building an E-commerce business is much easier and quicker than building one physically, and consumers love a strong online presence they can access at their convenience.
First and foremost, having a thorough business plan will save a lot of work in the long run, and will keep your store organized. You should have a clear idea of what you want your brand to represent and look like. Once you have a business plan, branding strategy and visual map of how you want your online store to be structured, the next step is to actually build it. There are a wide variety of E-commerce platforms available that will handle most of the heavy lifting for you, from setting up online payment processing to domain registration. Here is a summary of the different platforms, their pricing, and comparison of how each of them differ from one another. (Here are the features and pricing as of November 18, 2020)
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, especially easy to set up and use by small and medium businesses. It has a wide variety of free and paid templates that are fully customizable to your personal preferences to represent your brand. It also provides flexibility and use with multiple business models from small boutiques to dropshipping businesses. Shopify also provides a feature to post blogs including updates and news for your customers. Abandoned carts are taken care of with their abandoned cart recovery system to lure back potential customers. You’re able to choose your domain name, themes, and upload your products with features that are provided for you.
On the other hand, the more products you sell, the more expensive it gets to run the site. It also has a set checkout page that cannot be customized, nor do they have one-page checkouts or customizable “thank you pages” if you’re looking into those.Shopify’s pricing plans:
Basic Shopify Plan: $29/month
Shopify Plan: $79/month
Advanced Shopify Plan: $299/month
Wix is an e-commerce website maker friendly to beginners. Its interface is easy to use with drag-and-drop editors (drag text boxes or videos anywhere on the page) and information on how your edits are impacting your overall storefront design. Wix, like Shopify, also includes abandoned cart recovery and a wide range of customizable themes and third-party apps to help you customize your store. Wix is best for small businesses which want to project a strong, professional brand. Wix’s pricing plans:
Combo (personal use): $14/month
Unlimited (Entrepreneurs & Freelancers): $18/month
Pro (Complete Online Branding): $23/month
VIP (First Priority Support): $39/month
BigCommerce is a popular scalable ecommerce builder catered to small to large businesses with advanced SEO features, multichannel integration, and more built-in features than its competitors. It allows for sales channels on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. BigCommerce is not as easy to use as other platforms due to its many advanced features. Like Wix, you can see the effects of what you’re editing on your store. It’s designed to grow small stores into big businesses with their expansive store features. BigCommerce’s pricing plans:
Free trial: One month
Squarespace has a lot of free features for beginners that want to set up their store easily. You can sell unlimited products, have reduced transaction fees, show customer reviews, and send order update notifications. Its affordable starting prices are great for first time sellers on a budget and offers great value for its money. You can manage your store from one homepage dashboard and promote easily with built-in instagram integration and marketing features. There is a small learning curve to get used to the features and there is less customization compared to other e-commerce platforms.Squarespace’s pricing plans:
Basic plan: $30/month or $26/a year
Advanced plan: $46/month or $40/month paid annually
Free trial: 14 days
Big Cartel is an easy to access e-commerce site suited for independent artists and sellers, such as painters, photographers, bakers, authors. There are no transaction fees and setting up your shop, keeping track of orders and inventory is very smooth. It’s not necessarily great for larger stores which sell a greater amount of products, as it’s targeted for smaller sellers that have handmade products. Big Cartel’s pricing plans:
In addition, Etsy
are also great e-commerce platforms. Etsy is great for easy to use, personal handmade products. Volusion is great for tracking performance on your store. 3dcart is great for having a variety of payment options.
There are so many options of e-commerce sites to start your journey for your business. Do the research and see which platform is the best for you and your brand in both the short and the long run. There will always be an audience who will be interested in your products, as long as you are determined and persistent! Give us a shout
when you are ready to add personalization to your store. To learn more about personalization and its importance, please read our why personalize blog.