When you are starting an e-commerce store, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the number of platforms there are on which to sell your products. Finding the platform that is right for you will depend largely on the kind of clothing that you sell. If you are attempting to launch or own t-shirt business, the best platform for you may be different than if you were trying to sell wedding dresses or men’s suits. There are a few general characteristics that you should look for when selecting a platform.
What kind of security features does the site have?
If your customers are going to pay with credit cards or PayPal on your site, you will want to make sure that the platform is secure. A good platform will offer firewalls and code encryption.
There were 650,572 cases of credit card theft in the U.S. in 2019. When a company has a security breach, it can result in class action lawsuits. Often a company will have to pay for years of credit protection for anyone who patronizes their business at the time of a security breach.
What specific services does the platform provide?
Most E-Commerce websites will provide a few basic features. They generally provide some content management capabilities, SEO tools, and a section for you to write a blog.
There are some platforms that will also offer credit card options and an easy-to-use checkout system. They may also provide you with an email address for your store.
Do they offer fairly advanced SEO tools?
When a person searches for the type of product you sell, your goal should be to have your company’s website come up first. You may not be able to afford the number one ranking on Google, but your company should come up on the first page of all the organic results.
Be sure to select a platform that offers good SEO tools such as plugins. A plugin increases the range of software with special tools. Your site should have powerful internal search capabilities.
You should be able to customize things like title tags and meta descriptions. The platform should be user-friendly enough that you can make updates and adjustments to the site when you need to.
What kind of social media features does it have?
Does the platform you are thinking of using have buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Is it easy for people to share your content?
Social media promotions are very important to any eCommerce store. However, it takes more than just your sharing a post to your social media pages and the social media pages of your business. You will also have to share your post in the Facebook groups where you might find your customers.
When a person sees one of your products that appeals to them, they may click on it but they may not buy it right away. They may bookmark it, or even share it on social media. You want to make it very easy for anyone who wants to promote your products to do so.
Before launching your store, you should figure out how much inventory space you need and what kind of warehousing you will use. Will you store everything in your basement or garage or will you use shared warehouse space? Is your product something that can be produced on demand, such as a book or novelty coffee mug? The kind of products you sell and the cost of shipping should also be major factors in the type of warehousing you select.
Some of the Most Popular Platforms
There are quite a few sales platforms on the internet. The most popular platforms make management simple for both the seller and buyer alike. Most platforms will charge you based on bandwidth and the volume of sales.
If you are a small business with little or no inventory, Wix is considered to be a viable option. It has many free templates and the editor is very user-friendly.
When your business is just in its planning stages, you can start a free blog on Wix. When you are ready to launch your store, you can upgrade to an E-Commerce store very easily.
Wix is one of the most user-friendly platforms that you will ever encounter. it has a drag-and-drop website builder and unlimited bandwidth. If you open an e-commerce store on this site, you will have over 500 templates to choose from.
You can communicate with your customers and manage your inventory easily with WIx. Quickbooks is built into the system so you will be able to do your books right on the site.
Prices for Wix e-commerce sites start at just $23.00 a month for what is called a Business Basic site. It takes credit card payments and offers 20GB of storage. The business unlimited site is $27 a month and offers 35 GB of storage and 10 hours of video storage, should you want to have a video-taped fashion show.
The Business VIP site offers 50 GB of storage as well as $300 of ad vouchers and a customized report. You will get sales tax added automatically on 500 transactions with this plan. You will be able to dropship unlimited products with this plan.
What the Critics are Saying
Wix made a name for itself by using expensive Super Bowl ads and YouTube videos all exposing the platform’s ease of use and adaptability.
Critics praised the app for being very compatible with mobile phones and perfect for small businesses. Wix has templates for every conceivable business. They are also known for supporting 16 different languages.
Wix allows you to add many apps to your website, but if those apps do not work, Wix customer support will not be able to help you.
Wix lets you add up to 30 pages, but the more pages you add the slower your site will be. They are very popular with bloggers, and blogging is an important part of your business. Being interactive is essential to anyone’s blog. Unfortunately, Wix forces people to sign up for an account before they can comment on a post.
When you think of e-commerce, you can’t help but think of Shopify. It is one of the most popular platforms in the world and hosts millions of clients. It loads fast and it offers one-click shopping. They even offer 24-hour a day customer service.
One thing that often holds people back from setting up an e-commerce store is a lack of technical knowledge. If you are generally a technophobe, you needn’t be worried if you use Shopify. It is known for being one of the easiest sites on which to sell or buy products.
They only have 9 themes to choose from which is not much of a selection compared to other platforms.
Both large and small companies can use Shopify. You can set up your eCommerce store by simply dragging and dropping what you want into your website.
Like many of its competitors, Shopify offers a free 14-day trial. Basic Shopify costs $29 a month and includes unlimited products, a blog, and 24/7 customer support.
If you want better shipping rates and a slightly lower credit card processing fee, you can upgrade to a regular Shopify store for $79 a month. The Premium package costs $299 a month and offers third-party shipping and up to 8 locations for inventory such as retail store warehouses, and pop-ups.
What the Critics are Saying
The designs the platform offers are considered to be very appealing to customers. It can be used by small or large stores.
They are not considered the best site for SEO because of their URL structure. If you have multilingual customers, you should know that multiple languages do not come standard with Shopify.
Your business life can be a little bit like your personal life, sometimes you want to be with people in person and sometimes you’d rather just deal with them over the internet. If you sell products both online and at events and farmer’s markets, you may want to consider using Square.
You will use a single dashboard for both your online and offline sales.
Founded in Saint Louis in 2009, Square is now located in San Francisco. They named the company Square because of their square-shaped card readers that connect to a mobile phone.
When you first sign up, you will answer a brief questionnaire about your business. You will then choose between having a full eCommerce store or a simple checkout page.
Unfortunately, Square is not as user-friendly as some other platforms. You will have to build your own design, hire someone to do it for you, or let them provide a designer for $99.
Square is a great option for people who sell handcrafted clothing, or other handmade goods. If you work at a festival or pop up, you can take credit card payments from your cell phone.
Square offers a free option for small businesses. You can make unlimited sales, but you will have to pay 2.9% plus 30 cents for credit card processing. If you don’t want ads, you can pay an additional $12 a month for a professional site.
They also offer a performance site that lets you send out abandoned cart emails and lets you posts customer reviews right on your site. The most expensive option is a Premium that is $72 a month. It has reduced shipping and processing rates.
What the Critics are Saying
The review site eCommerce Platforms says that a complete novice can start a store on Square.
They are said to have a poor shipping strategy with no adjustable rates for customers. Its customer service is also not supposed to be particularly good.
Launched in 1999, Volusion was one of the first eCommerce websites. The platform has generated over $28 billion in sales since its inception.
Volusion is best known for including tools that you would normally have to pay extra for in its basic plans. It also has a feature that allows you to process telephone orders on the website.
This platform offers a 14-day free trial. Free trials are great for trying out products. However, eCommerce sites take a while to set up. You may spend a lot of time preparing to sell your wares on a certain platform only to find out it is not for you.
They offer a $29 a month program that is designed for small businesses. It covers you for up to $50,000 in sales per year. They also offer a professional plan for companies that do up to $100,000 worth of business. It costs $79.00 a month. They have plans for major corporations as well.
What the Critics are Saying
Volusion has been providing E-commerce longer than anyone and they have plenty of tutorials for their clients to use. In spite of this, some of their patrons have said they found their stores difficult to set up.
The review site Website Builder Expert says that it has great selling tools, but it also has design features that are hard to set up.
The review site Ecommerce Platforms raved about the way Volusion allows you to modify content right from your phone and the way you can monitor sales and other statistics from your dashboard.
The main criticism of the platform has been pricing. They tend to charge more for extra features.
Changing platforms can be a chore. If you choose wisely, you will not have to change platforms for a long time, if ever. No matter what kind of products you sell, it is always the best idea to find a platform that loads quickly and is easy to search. Usability is the key to having your customers come back again and again.
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