As much as we love frequenting local shops, touching handmade goods, and talking to store owners, the world is a different place than it was in July 2019 and frankly, for some businesses, an e-commerce site is a means of survival. It’s hard to believe one year ago we were explaining why your business needed an e-commerce site. Today, it’s absolutely necessary.
No one has time to read (or write) about e-commerce platforms that don’t make sense for your business. That’s why we’re only focusing on the tools we think are worthy of your consideration.
If you’d asked us a couple of years ago what we thought about Wix, we would have grimaced and urged you to find anything else. Our experience with their platform was less than user-friendly. But we have to give our kudos to this company for doing a complete about-face and developing a platform that many now consider one of the best in the e-commerce biz.
The best part of using Wix as an e-commerce platform is its simplicity. Your e-commerce site will get the same drag-and-drop benefits as a traditional Wix website. All you need to do is to choose an e-commerce plan to accept payments online. For those of you who are already using Wix, you can always upgrade your plan to activate the e-commerce functionality.
It’s no secret that Bright Planning loves Squarespace. Though we aren’t web designers, on occasion, we’ve been known to create a website or two. Squarespace has beautiful templates, stunning imagery, and allows creative play for anyone who wants to scratch that design itch without all the coding.
Squarespace has dozens of e-commerce benefits. Here are some of the highlights:
- Unlimited products
- Flexible product variants
- Sell physical and digital products
- Manage subscriptions
- Multiple payment methods
- Mobile-optimized checkouts
- Gift cards
- Abandoned cart recovery
Popular and useful apps are already built-in, but make sure you check the full feature list if you need something very specific.
Many of our clients have WordPress sites as do many types of individuals, vendors, and businesses. Rather than being its own platform, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, meaning with one simple tool, any WordPress site can become a store. In fact, nearly 30% of all online stores across the globe are powered by WooCommerce.
What makes this solution great is that it’s as customizable as WordPress is, which if you use the platform, you know is significant. However, if your goal is to have a robust store with a variety of products and you’re starting from scratch, you may want to look for a different option. Otherwise, this one is will do the trick.
Shopify is one of the best-known names out there. Whether you are tech-savvy or a complete novice, this e-commerce platform is fairly straightforward from the start and if you have any difficulty navigating its backend, they have an award-winning help team. You can sell products straight from your online store or from your social media accounts. Even Kylie Jenner uses it, so it must be amazing, right? The basic plan is pretty, well, basic. But when you move up tiers, you can add perks such as gift cards, processing payments, and more.
Square Online Store
In addition to its POS (point of sale) software, Square offers a robust e-commerce platform. You can track inventory, sell on Instagram, arrange for deliveries and pickups, and accept donations. They make building a beautiful site easy and fast so you can sell your products in no time at all. Square even provides excellent SEO tools.
What’s not to love about all of that? Rather than monthly plans, with Shopify, there’s a transaction fee on every purchase. So, the more successful you are, the more successful they are.
Every one of these options has pros and cons, as all things do. But, if you want to get in the e-commerce game now and get your wares up for sale online, these platforms are worth further investigation. Some may not give you the SEO juice you’re looking for, some may have too many bells and whistles, some may charge significant fees per transaction, and some may require hefty monthly fees to get the features you truly need for your store.
Our suggestion is that you consider the value of the platform, your current website design (if you have one), and the must-have features you need before you jump into your next significant purchase.