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E-Commerce platform review

Starting any new business is challenging, especially an online one.  More people are looking for ways to sell their products online. When it comes to choosing an e-commerce solution for your business – there are many options to choose from and many important considerations you need to make in order to ensure you don’t choose the wrong platform for your business.

Here are some points you should consider when looking for the correct platform for your business

Pricing & Running Costs

All platforms have some sort of cost involved in setting up & running.

1. Setup & Design costs (this includes your time)
2. Transaction Fees on each sale
3. Monthly / Annual running costs (hosting etc)

View costs

Search Engine Friendliness

Naturally you want customers to be able to search for and find your online store. 

Some important factors to consider from an SEO point of view are

  1. Can you add a blog to your store?
  2. Can you use your own domain name?
  3. Can customers leave reviews

Available Extensions & Tools

Each platform offers a different range of tools from Analytics, to Stock managment to Search Engines. 

Think carefully about your own skills and how you think your business will grow over time. Does your chosen platform support your current AND future business asprirations?

Mobile Friendliness / Responsiveness

60% of all web searches are from a mobile device. Many of those searches result in an online sale. 

Your chosen platform needs to work well on mobile (with out any extra effort on your behalf)

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Security

If you are taking payments online your site needs to be 100% secure. Always check that your platform offers an SSL certificate

Moving your business from one platform to another

While not impossible it is time consuming & potentally costly to move your online store from one platform to another.

ECommerce Platform Running Costs

To have an online store you need to be able to accept payments.
We call this a payment gateway. The most popular payment gateways are Stripe or Paypal.

Each of these service providers charges a fee for processing your sale.
Typically these fees are as follows:

Stripe Fees: 1.4% + 20p for EU Payments
PayPal Fees: UK payments usually amounts to 3.4% + 20p.

Below is a break down of the monthly/annual costs associated with 4 of the most popular e-commerce platforms.

Platform Domain Cost (Annual) Hosting / Package Charges Credit Card Fees
Shopify $11 £348 2.2% + 20p
WIX £10.39 £156 1.9% + 20p
Squarespace £16 £240 0 – 3%
WooCommerce (WP) £5.99 £66.89 1.4% + 20p

The prices & information outlined in this post is accurate as of the 2 April 2020

A quick guide to 4 popular ECommerce platforms

Shopify

Pros

  • Allows you to sell across various channels including Facebook, Instagram, eBay & Amazon
  • Easy to use
  • Great inventory management
  • SEO is excellent

Cons

  • High transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments
  • Can’t easily switch themes or change look & feel of your store
  • If you find you need additional functionality, you will have to purchase apps which quickly add up

Read a detailed Shopify Review Click Here 

WIX ECommerce

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Advanced e-commerce tools (abandoned cart recovery)

Cons

  • Costs
  • No stock management alerts
  • Hard to change the look & feel of your site
  • Very slow user-interface
  • Need to optimise each page for mobile separately 

 

Read a detailed WIX ECommerce review: Click Here

Squarespace

Pros

  • Great design options
  • Inventory & analytical tools

Cons

  • Page speed
  • Can’t add additional functionality
  • Navigation
  • Search Engine optimisation is hard unless you are familiar with SEO technique

Read a detailed Squarespace review: Click Here

WordPress (WooCommerce)

WordPress is a free website CMS platform, so annual costs are mostly based on web hosting fees and any subscription-based premium plugins. 

Pros

  • Vast selection of plugins (free & paid) to help you grow your store
  • You can change theme (look & feel) of your site whenever you want
  • No monthly costs aside from hosting & domain
  • Incredibly Search Engine friendly

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

Read a detailed WooCommerce Review: Click Here

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