eCommerce is becoming the largest sales platform across the world, you can start selling your products to any country with little or even no cost.
Starting an online shop is any easy task when you have the correct guidance. Choosing the correct sales platform or eCommerce Software is the tricky part. Tech savvy people may go for a self hosted solution where they are in control of all aspects about the online store, whereas the average user that does not focus around a day on pc’s or tablets may choose to use a eCommerce provider. Below I will explain the difference and a variety of services that are available.
Glossary of Terms
eCommerce – An online shopping software or system used in selling product and services online.
Self Hosted – Where you rent your own servers and keep them maintained
WordPress – A free opensource Content Management System
Designer – Web developer and designer specialising in online services
Using Self Hosted
Online shops and eCommerce come in a range of sizes to cater for your business through its growth and expansion, self hosted options help to make this possible by being in charge of how your system works. By Hosting your own online shop on your own managed hosting package allows you to change software, make upgrades, increase storage and resources, but most importantly, be in complete control of your online shop. eCommerce stores can grow rapidly and self hosted solutions help to scale for the tech savvy individuals.
Using an eCommerce Provider
Online shops can be provided by an eCommerce provider, these offer an easy drag and drop interface for modifying your store in terms of style, colours and layout. For the not so tech savvy or those on a budget where a designer isn’t an option (you would be surprised at how affordable a designer can be) an eCommerce provider is the perfect solution. However with an eCommerce provider, there is an ongoing monthly cost for your website ranging from £10-£50 for the average website. Large sites are most suited to self hosted solution done by yourself or built by a designer, the cost will be cheaper this way.
eCommerce Software for Self Hosting
Opencart is an opensource software that has been increasing in size over the last few years, with a huge following of members and large forums it is a great eCommerce software. Suitable for small through to large sites
WooCommerce is also an opensource software but not stand alone like Opencart and Magento. WooCommerce utilises WordPress as a base for the sites function, with so many sites being made on WordPress it is easy to integrate and get you up and running. Suitable for small to medium sites, large site do work but require extra work.
Magento is another great software, now run by the creators of Ebay, Magento is offered in 2 versions, Free and licenced. The free version contains slightly less extras and simpler, the licenced version comes with premium support and extra modules, the choice is yours as both can hold as many products. Suitable for small to infinite sized sites, Dedicated hosting is needed for the resource hungry eCommerce.
eCommerce Software Providers
Shopify is the leading eCommerce provider in the world for small shops and business through to large high street brands. With designs ready for every business you can start selling online almost instantly. With great ease comes great cost, be warned that expansion and additional extras can cost more and more each month, self hosted or a designer beats this down the line for cost.
Big commerce is the second largest provider offering similar services to Shopify but at reduced prices. Offering the same drag and drop customisation options it is easy to get going an sell online.
Etsy is perfect for the hobbyist out there, it is a great community based eCommerce software, which can really increase sales.
The choice of starting your business online can be large and sometimes choosing a reputable designer can relieve the stress. By allowing your designer to handle all systems, hosting and design, you can sit back and focus on what you do best, making the products! Designers offer the ability to create your exact design without the constraints of a drag and drop interface, everything really is possible.
So before you start the leap to the biggest market for your product, have a browse and drop us a message if you get stuck. Click here for more information on what we offer