eCommerce

E-Commerce: How and Where to Set Up Your Online Shop

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In 2016, it’s estimated that e-commerce will grow to over $850 billion dollars in revenue for the year. With those types of numbers, it’s no wonder that everyone is jumping into the game and looking for the best solutions to run their web platforms. Without the need for traditional brick and mortar any longer, the opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups are growing rapidly – but where do you start? The two companies highlighted in this article will be able to bring your idea one step closer to reality, through a stunning online presence and user-friendly shop. Here we take them and evaluate the best methods for starting out when selling online.

Shopify and Squarespace are two giants in the industry, but what separates them from the competition? First, you need to develop a checklist of things that are important to you for your business, and take into account the projected growth and your personal time commitment as well. Some other things to consider are your budget, product, analytics, and ease of use. There are plenty of platforms in which you would need expert help, but these two highlighted specifically are designed to build yourself, with little or no experience. Let’s dive in.

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Squarespace is the second most popular platform for ecommerce, boasting a top spot through its user friendly back end and emphasis design. This company offers some of the best pre-made templates available, which create for attractive layouts which should increase traffic to your site and click-throughs for purchases. Another great feature of Squarespace is it’s inventory management capabilities, so if you plan to have a lot of different SKUs or product offerings, this may be the choice for you. With that being said, this isn’t a solution which scales large very easily due to it’s lack of SEO (search engine optimization) or CRM (customer resource management) capabilities so you may need additional resources/solutions to work in conjunction with the platform in order to run on all cylinders. For this reason, the prices are much lower than its competitors, which is definitely attractive for those just starting out.

Pricing: So the ongoing cost for Squarespace ranges from  $312 per year (Basic Store plan) to $480 per year (Advanced Store plan). While the Basic Store Plan works well for companies starting out, the Advanced Plan may be worthwhile if you expect exponential growth. Features such as Real Time Carrier Shipping will save you money in the long run with this option, as well as Abandon Checkout Autorecovery. Squarespace is also tightly integrated with Stripe for payment processing. Their rates are 2.9% + .30 cents per transaction.

Squarespace is the correct choice for those looking to have this as a lifestyle business and heavily value the design and aesthetics surrounding their site. While it is the less expensive option, the value is immense and you will have cash left over for advertising and other areas to expand your reach and ideally your sales.

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Shopify is the most popular and fastest growing ecommerce platform, with over 100,000 shop owners to date. Arguably the largest advantage to this option is their expanding app store which has customizable applications applicable to any type of business. There are currently over 1,000 free and paid apps, which makes it a one stop shop for all of your online business needs. It is very rare that Shopify doesn’t have a solution to solve your problem, but for this reason they charge above the industry average for their shops.

Enterprise Ecommerce Software

Pricing: Here are the Shopify plans as they stand at the moment. Basic – $348/year + 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. Professional– $948/year + 2.6% + 30 cents per transaction. Unlimited –$2,148/year + 2.4% + 30 cents per transaction. As you increase in plans, shipping rates continue to get better and more statistics are provided and tracked for your business over time. Unless reports and real time shipping are crucial factors for you, we recommend going with the professional plan which covers nearly everything you’d need for your business.

Shopify is the perfect solution for someone who is looking for ease of use and the ability to scale in virtually every direction, but also is willing to pay for it. The platform will have you understanding your metrics in no time at all, but the more apps you add, the more complex your site becomes. For someone who likes to have everything at their fingertips, Shopify should be a top consideration.

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Other Notable E-Commerce Platforms:

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