What is the best e-commerce for small business owners?
Shopify, Bigcommerce, or Magento?
What is the best e-commerce for small business owners? Shopify, Bigcommerce, or Magento?
I can answer that question with one word: None.
Yes, you read it correctly. There is no best e-commerce software.
The reason is simple. No matter which platform you choose, you will start with a limited set of tools that will need continuous upgrading to keep up with your growing needs.
There is no “best” e-commerce tool. But there are better solutions for some businesses than for others. To determine which e-commerce solution is best for you, you need to know your specific requirements, your budget, and how much time you are willing to invest in your website.
Before diving into the details of various platforms, let’s quickly go over the benefits of an e-commerce website for your business.
Benefits of an E-Commerce Website
You might think that setting up an online store is just another cost that adds no value to your business.
Don’t be hasty with that judgment. Having an online store might be the most effective way to gain new customers and increase revenue. Let’s see what an e-commerce website can do for your business:
1) Increased Revenue Sales
Through online channels are growing faster than through physical stores. This trend is expected to continue for years to come. Online stores also generate more revenue per visitor than physical stores (see this report by Monetate ).
2) Easy Customer Acquisition
Establishing a new brick & mortar store takes months or even years. You need to find a suitable location, get permits and endure endless rounds of negotiations with banks and real estate agents. Even after opening your store, it takes months before you can collect enough data about nearby competitors and their prices so that you can set up relevant prices for your products.
With an online store, you can start selling your products in a matter of days. Even if you don’t have a suitable location, don’t worry. Your customers will not see your store address or your store hours. An e-commerce website allows you to grow your business while sitting in the comfort of your home.
3) Easy Maintenance
A physical store requires a lot of maintenance and this cost is often overlooked or underestimated by small business owners. A typical retail store requires dusting and cleaning every day. Tools and equipment also need regular maintenance and repairs.
If you have a website with an e-commerce platform, it requires very little maintenance. In most cases, all you need to do is log in once a week to make sure there are no technical issues with your site and no major changes to the design, layout, or content. This is a huge advantage over traditional stores that require daily maintenance and continuous attention from management. With an e-commerce website, you can focus on growing your business instead of worrying about the upkeep of a physical location.
4) Free Online Advertising
If you have a brick & mortar store, you have two ways to advertise:
- Pay for ads in local newspapers, magazines, and TV channels
- Place ads in the windows of your physical store
In both cases, the results are very limited. You reach only people who live in the area where your store is located and who has access to newspapers, magazines, or TV channels. The reach is much lower when advertising through windows since passersby cannot read the ads unless they stop by or walk around the building to see what’s on display inside.
If you have an online store, there are many ways for free online advertising:
- Put Google AdWords adverts on top of search engine results pages
- Run Facebook ads
- Use banner ads on popular websites
- Go viral by creating shareable content on social media
- Earn good reviews on social media sites
- Build brand awareness through email marketing
- Use newsletters
- Do product placement on popular sites
- Become an affiliate for other companies
- Gift wrapping services
- Sell advertisements on your blog
- Participate in forums
- Utilize Google Analytics
- Create infographics
- Conduct SEO
- Drive traffic through paid search
- Write guest posts
The bottom line is that if you are considering having an online store, think carefully before choosing a provider or tool for building your e-commerce website. Take into account your specific requirements, your budget, and how much time you are willing to invest in your website. Then choose the best platform based on these factors.