Best E-commerce Marketing Platforms for Small Business
E-commerce– selling stuff online – is an extremely popular business model. And for good reason. More than a half a billion dollars spent annually on e-commerce transactions right now, and this number only looks like it’s going to grow.
While Amazon holds a huge slice of that pie, there’s still plenty of room for small businesses to compete and there is plenty of money to be made in the e-commerce space.
You may want to look at e-commerce marketing platforms if you have a small brick-and-mortarbusiness because it’s wise to have your inventory listed online for your customers to browse when they aren’t in your store and to give you a bigger reach into the marketplace. Another reason to look at e-commerce platforms is if you want to do all of your business online and have no physical locations at all.
In any e-commerce platform, one of the most important things to look for is how easy the shopping and checkout process is for mobile customers. That’s because, mobile has surpassed desktop for product searches on Google, and for all website trafficin general.
All the platforms below will work well on mobile, but it’s always a good idea to do your own testing to make sure you like the functionality of the platform.
E-Commerce Marketing Platforms for Small Businesses
Shopify is a huge platform. It hosts over 300,000 stores online. And it has a nice “out-of-the-box design”, good mobile responsiveness, and is relatively easy to use. Some of the benefits of Shopify include its large library of themes that are both free and paid – themes determine the look and feel of your store, a huge amount of apps – over 1500 at last count – that can do everything from creating loyalty programs to highly detailed shipping tracking, and excellent customer service.
I know many people that use the Shopify platform and tell me that their customer service is fantastic and it doesn’t matter how basic the question is – they will do their best to answer it.
Some things to note…
- Shopify apps aren’t free (for the most part) and those charges can add up fast. If you’re not using an app, take it off your store.
- Shopify is also hard to customize outside of the themes and apps. If you need a unique approach to your shop, then you may want to choose a different platform.
With that being said, Shopify is excellent for beginners. It’s easy to use, it has great support, and it does everything most people need it to do.
Wix is a favorite among new retailers interesting in launching an online store due to its ease of use and convenience. This drag and drop ecommerce website builder quickly helps create a simple website. Even though Wix is not meant to run a full-fledged digital business, there are several features that make this process a breeze. For example, business owners can use a vast number of professionally designed templates for free. These templates target different industries and are capable of fulfilling your business-specific requirements to the max.
A handy set of SEO tools, including alt texts, descriptions, customizable page titles help your ecommerce site rank high in Google search results. What’s more, you get multiple payment options, shipment management, and coupons tax features that are designed to make the ecommerce process easier. And if there’s a particular business feature that you need but the tool lacks, you can compensate for the same with third-party apps.
Weebly Ecommerce Platform
With over 40 million websites under its belt, this ecommerce site builder is miles ahead of the competition. What sets Weebly ecommerce apart from the rest is its focus on improving the platform’s technology rather than eye-catching marketing campaigns. Weebly is an amazing site builder that makes it easy for ecommerce websites to create a professional presence online.
Apart from that, the Weebly developers have added several new features to the builder to help users sell goods online without any coding knowledge. You can use Weebly to sell physical products that need to be shipped, or digital items, such as media and e-books. But how many features you can access depends wholly on the plan you select. While the Starter and Pro plan offer access to features, it’s quite limited in scope. Plus, you’ll be charged an extra sales fee. So, if you want to run a successful ecommerce store, you should opt for the Business Plan.
It includes every feature you need. You might also be interested in the Performance plan, that comes with value-added options like real-time shipping rate calculation and abandoned cart email engine. Weebly is extremely easy to use apart from being intuitive. The web store integrates seamlessly into the website builder and SSL-encryption means your customers’ details will remain protected at all times. The shipping and tax calculator available in the Weebly features is semi-automatic and helps save a lot of time.
PrestaShop is a common addition to the list of most popular ecommerce platforms, and with good reason. The intuitive admin panel coupled with its ease of use makes PrestaShop a hot favorite among online retailers. Using this platform, entrepreneurs can determine the extent of technical control they wish to exert over their online store and choose between either a fully-hosted option or a self-hosted one.
But the best part is, both of these PrestaShop versions can be availed by users free of cost. There are some disadvantages, of course, starting with the limited ecommerce site customization features available. So, if you want a platform that enables your business to design a website with a stylish layout and numerous graphic elements, it’s best to look elsewhere. Thankfully, this problem is somewhat offset by the ability of users to buy additional themes for customizing the design.
You can choose from among thousands of templates and modules to add to the site’s core functionality. PrestaShop even allows for cross-selling and one-page checkout. Shipping discounts can be applied to products and you experience complete backend support for managing your inventory more efficiently.
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