Ecommerce is a booming industry and a challenging one. As consumers’ buying habits continue to shift online, independent eCommerce businesses are popping up across the globe. These small-scale entrepreneurs are launching eCommerce sites to sell their products directly to consumers and compete with major retailers such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. Whether you have your sights set on launching your own independent eCommerce business or you’re considering selling your products through an established marketplace like Etsy or Amazon, understanding the ins and outs of this dynamic industry will give you an edge in the ever-changing world of eCommerce.
Is eCommerce worth it?
Ecommerce is definitely worth it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s a lot of work to create and implement a successful eCommerce strategy, but the rewards can be great.
Types of eCommerce Platforms
Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform for independent entrepreneurs and small businesses. It provides a simple, easy-to-use interface that has everything you need to run an online store. The Shopify platform includes all of the tools you need to build an online store, including a customizable storefront, integrated eCommerce software, and payment options.
BigCommerce is a leading commerce solution provider that offers a full suite of eCommerce functionality for web and mobile enterprise applications. The BigCommerce platform features a powerful point-of-sale (POS) system, in addition to inventory management software and marketing tools for effective customer acquisition and retention.
Magento is one of the most popular open-source eCommerce solutions on the market today with over 10 million merchants using it today alone — including eBay, Overstock, Amazon, JetBlue Airways, J Crew, and Whole Foods Market — among others. Magento is designed to be easy for first-time users to set up an online store or upgrade existing ones; there’s no need to learn complex coding languages or spend time importing data from other systems into Magento’s robust database management system.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce solution based on WordPress that lets you create your own online store without any technical expertise needed! It includes more than 50 pre-built templates that can be customized with colors and images — plus it comes with dozens of free and paid add-ons to extend its functionality.
OpenCart is an open-source eCommerce platform that has been designed for developers, who can customize the platform to meet their specific business needs. The OpenCart platform features a powerful point-of-sale (POS) system, in addition to inventory management software and marketing tools for effective customer acquisition and retention.
6. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus is Shopify’s premium eCommerce solution that includes the tools you need to build a successful online store including storefront customization, integrated eCommerce software, and payment options.
7. Bigcommerce Enterprise Edition
Bigcommerce Enterprise Edition is an enterprise-level commerce solution that provides advanced functionality for your online store, including a full suite of powerful eCommerce tools such as a customizable storefront, integrated eCommerce software, and payment options. Bigcommerce Enterprise Edition provides many of the same tools found in Bigcommerce’s standard retail edition but includes important features such as order management software with multiple shipping options — all in one convenient package!
8. Magento Enterprise Edition
Magento Enterprise Edition is an enterprise-level commerce solution designed for large multi-location companies with complex requirements or complex sites with many products and/or services available for sale on your website or mobile app. Magento Enterprise Edition includes all of the same popular features of Magento including catalog management software, and order management software with multiple shipping options — all in one convenient package!
eCommerce Marketing Strategies
SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It’s a process through which you can optimize your website so that it appears higher in the search results when people search for your specific keywords. This process involves creating a well-optimized website, adding relevant keywords to the site, and then monitoring the progress of your SEO efforts.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a form of marketing that involves creating and distributing content to attract, engage, and retain customers (i.e., leads) through various channels such as social media, email newsletters, or blogging platforms like WordPress. Content marketing is one of the most effective forms of online marketing because it helps generate leads and increase sales!
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a form of online advertising that involves building relationships with customers by posting engaging content on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter. Social media marketing helps companies build their brand awareness and increase sales by providing customers with useful information about their products or services!
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a form of online advertising that involves sending emails to potential customers using email software programs such as MailChimp or AWeber (or other similar options). Email marketing helps companies build customer relationships by providing customers with useful information about their products or services!
5. PPC Advertising (Pay Per Click) & Display Advertising (Display Advertisements)
PPC advertising refers to using Google AdWords to promote your business on specific keywords in order to attract customers. Display advertising refers to inserting ads into the website that are visible to consumers when they visit your site. Both of these advertising options are extremely effective, but each has its own pros and cons. PPC advertising is more effective because it can be used over and over again, whereas display advertising only works when someone actually clicks on the ad!
6. In-Store Marketing
In-store marketing is a form of online marketing that involves promoting products or services in physical stores at all times during which you can interact with your customers (i.e., you have a face-to-face interaction). This is a great option for companies who want to interact with their customers in person at brick and mortar locations, but do not have the budget or resources to pay for expensive SEO strategies or social media marketing campaigns!
7. Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is similar to email marketing in that it involves sending emails directly to potential customers through software programs such as MailChimp or AWeber (or similar options). However, direct marketing also includes other forms of communication such as postal mail, telephone calls, and faxes (among others). Direct marketing helps companies build customer relationships by providing customers with useful information about their products or services!
How To Select An eCommerce Platform
What are your main goals?
At this point, you should have a good idea of the type of business that you would like to start. You may want to start an eCommerce store for selling clothing, or maybe you want to sell products online for your own use (i.e., you are a homemaker). Decide which types of businesses you would like to start, and then select a platform that will fit those types of businesses.
Can I integrate my existing website?
If your company already has an existing website, it may be possible to integrate it with an eCommerce platform through its API (Application Programming Interface). If this is not possible, then it is recommended that you look into platforms that allow for in-store marketing and direct marketing campaigns.
What payment options do they offer?
Most eCommerce platforms offer various payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, and bank accounts (among others). This can make starting up the business much easier since all transactions will be handled by one system rather than having to use multiple systems such as PayPal and Stripe!
Do they have customer support?
Customer support is extremely important when starting up any business because even if everything works out in the end, there will always be some unknowns or hiccups along the way that could throw off your business plan! It is highly recommended that when choosing a platform for your business that they offer 24/7 customer support so that any issues can be resolved immediately.
Do they have a good reputation?
If you are planning to start up an eCommerce business, it is important that you look into the platform’s history and see what other customers have said about them. You can do this by searching for customer reviews or through their website. If a platform has a good reputation, then it is much more likely that its software will be of high quality!
Launching an eCommerce business is an ambitious undertaking. It may seem like a daunting process, but with the right tools, resources, and a little bit of creativity, any entrepreneur can make the leap from brick-and-mortar to digital sales. When deciding on an eCommerce platform, consider the level of customization, supported integrations, and customer support. Before you dive into eCommerce, make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job.