Four Ways to Build an Online Store
In a world where many of us are lucky enough to have always-available broadband, Wifi hotspots aplenty, and greater access to affordable, Internet-enabled gadgets, it should come as little surprise to learn that increasing numbers of customers are turning to the web as part of their purchasing process.
Whether they’re buying in the weekly grocery shop or researching that once-in-a-lifetime cruise, users have all the information they need to track down the best deals, compare the competition, and even make that big purchase direct online.
Nor does it come as much of a surprise to us to find that you’re now looking to take advantage of this boom in online commerce to start a web store of your own. You’re certain there’s a market out there for your products or services, and you’re equally as convinced that the web is the best place to attract them, to deliver your pitch, and ultimately make a sale.
What you’re not so certain about, is where to start.
To help you out then, here’ s just four of the many options you have at your fingertips to start building your own online store.
A dedicated eCommerce solution
eCommerce-focussed platforms like Shopify, Volusion and Bigcartel have been earning rave reviews over recent years. Both end-users and eCommerce experts alike heap praise on the platforms for helping even those with limited technical skills to launch their own online store with very little effort.
Serving as a complete, out-of-the-box solution for your new store, these platforms charge a small, monthly fee for a full range of tools that enable you to draw in customers, serve up what you have to offer, and ultimately manage the whole behind-the-scenes purchasing process.
An online website builder
For an even easier way to create your own web store, you might want to consider the drag-and-drop approach of a top online website builder. Go down this route, and if you can use a mouse, you’ve already got all the skills you need to build your store.
Simply select a template, edit the different elements and upload your product photos and descriptions. To get the most out of your site builder, you may need to upgrade from the free starter plans up to one of the paid-for packages in order to gain access to eCommerce tools, but for pure simplicity alone, site builders like Wix, Weebly and Web.com are hard to beat.
WordPress with WooCommerce integration
For a low cost option with unrivaled flexibility, using WordPress to build your site before installing Woocommerce is a smart move.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that seamlessly blends into your existing WordPress website to turn those static pages into a powerful, dynamic online store. It’s front-end Storefront WordPress theme provides you with the tools to present your products to customers, whilst it’s back-end features have everything you need to manage inventories, accept payments and even handle shipping.
What’s more, the plugin itself comes with scores of extensions to add even more functions and cool features to your online store.
An eCommerce Content Management System
Whilst using the WordPress platform with an eCommerce plugin is a great place to start, if you’re planning a store with lots of different products and categories, you may want to think about a dedicated eCommerce solution such as Magento.
With this, you get all the same tools that come with WordPress for managing your content, editing the design and generally keeping on top of your store, but you also get a powerful behind-the-scenes system that allows you to really take control of your online store.
The only drawback we’ve found to tools like Magento is that the learning curve can be pretty steep for newcomers, but if you’re up to the challenge, then it’s definitely an option to consider.