If you want to set up a website where people can see your products, you will need to choose between hosted and self-hosted platforms.
When it comes to a hosted platform, the pros and cons are the same. A fully-hosted ecommerce solution like Shopify or BigCommerce is like renting a place to sell your products. The platforms are very easy to use, especially for beginners.
For self-hosting, we have platforms like Magento and WooCommerce. When using one such platform, you would run the software. This gives you more scope for customization. The biggest downside – if you don’t have coding experience this may be an expensive and difficult project to manage.
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce software solutions. The platform makes setting up an online store fairly simple, with a range of designs and features to choose from.
Shopify’s basic package starts at $29 (this is one of the cheapest ecommerce plans). The plan allows you to build an appealing website that runs on unlimited support. As your business grows and expands, you can choose another (better) plan.
Shopify offers a strong level of support to its users, through phone, email, and live chat. They also offer access to Shopify picks’ Twitter page, which can help promote products to thousands of followers.
Shopify websites are optimized for SEO, helping to increase traffic to your storefront.
BigCommerce is an extremely popular ecommerce platform for both small and large businesses.
BigCommerce started out as software for self-hosted online stores but has evolved into a hosted solution.
When it comes to the pricing model, BigCommerce’s plans start at $29.95 per month. The benefit of using this platform is that it offers far more features than others. With other ecommerce platforms, extra tools and upgrades are available but they have to be paid for.
Additional features BigCommerce offers include gift vouchers, built-in shipping dates, and 24/7 support.
The platform has a strong SEO selling point and fast page loading speed which is essential for customers, as well as, search engine optimization. You can integrate with Google Shopping to attract more customers and use your product reviews to help increase ranking.
WooCommerce is new to the marketplace, however, it has become extremely popular due to its integration with WordPress.
According to the statistics, they now support more than 30% of the ecommerce websites which is pretty impressive.
WooCommerce is a free plugin meaning it can be downloaded and used on WordPress. It is a cost-effective solution, especially for those on a limited budget. The support is also free of charge.
It is a light plugin and doesn’t need much server space. It is simple to set up. Those who are familiar with WordPress will find this plugin super easy to use.
In terms of marketing, WooCommerce has excellent integrations with email marketing, coupon codes, allowing you to extend your store’s reach beyond the channel.
WooCommerce is best for those who are already familiar with WordPress or want to use the platform to build their own website or online store.
Magento is a leading platform for self-hosted websites.
The admin panel is simple and user-friendly. It allows those without coding experience to get a good-looking store off the ground.
The platform is scalable and ideal for growing businesses. You can start off as a small business, knowing you will have the resources and the potential to scale and grow later.
You can find advanced search engine optimization resources which can help attract new customers (organic traffic).
Magento is best for well-established businesses and for entrepreneurs looking to invest in an online store.