When first getting started with an eCommerce business it can be quite daunting, particularly if you cant code. Luckily there are plenty of feature rich options available for all levels of skill and experience.
This article will run through a range of options for getting up and running with an eCommerce website quickly and on a budget; think Proof of Concept.
Content focussed hosted solutions
These solutions started first and foremost as content focused DIY website solutions for small businesses and blogs. They provide a heap of professional themes, intuitive drag and drop/WYSIWYG editors and a trial to get you started.
Being content focussed, these solutions provide more dynamic options for varying page templates and layouts. The trade off is that you do not have as robust or feature rich eCommerce functionality.
These solutions would be good if do not have much technical know-how, your eCommerce offering is limited and web content is your major priority.
Wix is famous for the free website business model. This is great if you don’t want to spend money, but isn’t necessarily the most professional look.
Since their cheap as chips beginnings, Wix has branched out to more professional offerings, including eCommerce functionality.
Prices start from $18USD/mth
Read more about Wix’s eCommerce solution
A newer player on the block, Squarespace is really pushing the design focused, simple yet professional website angle.
Generally (in my opinion) Squarespace has the edge over Wix in terms of quality templates. It’s eCommerce offering is similarly limited.
Prices start from $25AUD/mth
Read more about Squarespace’s eCommerce solution
eCommerce focussed hosted solutions
These solutions are pure eCommerce solutions, content for them is a secondary consideration. The benefit of this is you get a feature rich, highly integrated eCommerce solution out of the box. Like the previous, content focussed solutions, they provide many professional theme options both free and paid. Their intuitive back end editors give you complete control of your site and particularly product settings.
As these solutions are focused on providing the best possible eCommerce experience, there are trade offs in terms of content page templates. Generally your page template layout options are limited or complex to implement. Content management options are much more limited when compared to the drag and drop options available in Wix and Squarespace.
The benefit of these eCommerce focussed solutions are their large app stores that provide a multitude of 3rd party integrations and extensions for every aspect of your online and offline site functionality.
These solutions are best if eCommerce is your core focus or you need more robust marketing, payment or logistic integrations.
Read more about Bigcommerce’s eCommerce solution
Read more about Shopify’s eCommerce solution
The best of both worlds – self hosted
If you want complete freedom in your implementation, while leveraging the largest range of free and paid 3rd party integrations, then WordPress and WooCommerce is the best approach for you.
An easy and professional way to get up and running fast is buy purchasing an existing theme from Themeforest: https://themeforest.net/
If you are looking for something custom and more unique for your brand, we at Actified provide complete design and development solutions.
All free WordPress plugins are available in the WordPress Plugins Directory: here
Two of the more powerful paid plugins that we recommend you check out are Gravity Forms and Advanced Custom Fields. With Woocommerce and these two plugins, you can achieve almost any functionality you require.
Read more about WooCommerce