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Setting up a retail website can be an intimidating prospect. With all of the different platforms available today, and each one claiming that their ecommerce solution is the best, it can be a challenge for business owners to know where to start. The reality is that there is no universally applicable solution for retailers looking to create a website for their online store. Multiple factors can – and should – influence which ecommerce platform is the right fit for each unique business. Factors to consider include:
Whether a business owner has zero website development experience or is a coding pro, there are benefits to working with outside solutions that are ecommerce focused. While some websites are easier to set-up than others, outsourcing website setups is an option some commerce-focused companies may want to consider, as well. With many resources to consider, we take a look at three options – Shopify, Squarespace, and WIX – that are among the leaders in ecommerce platforms.
Below, explore how each of these solutions may be the right fit for your unique online store.
Shopify is the priciest of the three options being evaluated here, but it’s also the only platform built specifically for ecommerce. Ecommerce Platforms reports that Shopify’s basic plan runs $29 a month, the regular plan runs $79 and the advanced plan at runs $299 a month. However, Shopify offers users a lot – like over 100 themes to choose from, as well as the ability to manage inventory, keep track of sales, interface with customers, and fulfill orders all in one place. Shopify also gives retailers the option to sell on Instagram and Amazon – and in today’s marketplace-oriented retail world, this is a huge benefit to consider. Additionally, since users can list an unlimited number of products on Shopify, it is definitely the platform of choice for retailers looking to scale their business and grow their inventory assortment in the future. Another perk? Shopify offers many integrations into their platform that welcome other solutions you may work with – including marketing, shipping or payment solutions – ultimately allowing you to strengthen your entire operations.
At first glance, WIX is the cheapest of the three ecommerce platforms identified here. Yet, when weighing your options of what to consider for your ecommerce needs, do not let price exclusively determine your decision. A limited plan on WIX is $14 a month, an ecommerce plan is $17 a month, and a VIP plan is $25 monthly. Beyond desirable pricing, WIX has a number of advantages that make it the go-to platform for over 125 million people worldwide, including design flexibility, multi-lingual capabilities, and a reputation for easy setup. Users can also customize theme colors, drag and drop content, and Ecommerce Platforms reports that WIX has an app that can accurately translate websites into any language their user wants. One thing to consider, as well, is that WIX has content hosting as well as some brick-and-mortar themes that allows it to support retailers who want an online presence but may not be ready to commit to ecommerce just yet.
Squarespace falls smack dab in the middle as far as pricing is concerned compared to Shopify and WIX. For online stores, the basic plan runs $26 a month, while the advanced plan runs $40 monthly. It’s important to note here that Squarespace also charges a 3 percent transaction fee on their business plan, and at the end of the day, this added fee will equate to more than the $3 price difference between Shopify’s basic plan for most retailers. All this being said, a notable perk to using Squarespace is their drag and drop website set-up – which means users don’t need to hire a coding expert to get up-and-running. Additionally, Squarespace is focused on content and is a great fit for those online merchants who may offer a blog. What it doesn’t excel at as well as some of its competitors is fast responsiveness, partner integrations, and payment options. Collectively, these are all factors you should keep in mind.
Finally, when aiming to identify what platform is right for your unique ecommerce business, also aim to identify what your long-term goals are. Having an understanding of the type of retailer you want to be – whether content focused, international or all of the above, for example – can help aid you in your ecommerce planning decisions.
By Nicole Reyhle, RetailMinded.com. Select images courtesy of pexels.com.