Creating an online store has become very easy. In the past, you would have to pay a team of developers to start creating your eCommerce website from scratch. That included a lot of technical work – writing/using frameworks, developing the front-end, have a designer create the layout, and more. But with the latest technology you don’t have to pay a developer.
To put it in short words – instead of paying thousands of dollars to developers, you can only pay a few hundred for tools.
The best thing is that those tools are very easy to use. They don’t require any technical knowledge whatsoever. eCommerce platforms, like Wix, Weebly and Shopify are user friendly and require just a few hours of reading the knowledge base and you will be ready to create your online store.
This works because all of the coding is done on the back-end automatically. Programmers have found out that the code that goes into an online store is pretty much the same across the board. The only differences are related to design and a few settings. That allows these platforms to create the code automatically, while giving you the option to change the settings, which is going to be reflected in the created code.
What Does It Take to Create an Online Store?
As we already mentioned, nowadays anyone can create an online store. All you need is some basic computer office skills. Chances are, that you’ve used a computer for a few years already. That experience will allow you to quickly involve yourself with the eCommerce platform.
But some of you might feel that the online store platforms are a bit harder to use than that. If that is the case, you can always visit the support center where you can find more information about the builder and how it can be used to create a unique store.
But before you choose an eCommerce builder, you also need to learn more about the platforms. Even though a lot of them are great pieces of software, they address the online store problem from a different perspective. This is why we’ve created this post. We want to make sure that you pick the builder that best fits your needs (and your budget of course).
Comparing the Tools of eCommerce Platforms
This is the section where the builder proves its worth. If the tools that it provides are not enough for you to create a fully functional online store, then it will most probably not be worth your time. But what are those tools? Well, when you run an online store you will want to have inventory management. Having to keep track of your items separately would require too much unnecessary work. Unless you are selling digital products, this is a very important part.
From the major platforms: Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix and Weebly, the first one is with the best inventory management. As you might already know, this is an exclusive eCommerce platform (like BigCommerce), while the latter two are website builders in general. With Shopify’s inventory management you can easily create reports that will give you an insight of which products are selling and which you should stock up on.
On the other hand you want to make sure that you can set flexible prices. Especially if you are selling in the US, you know that there are states that have different laws. That will require you to collect an additional tax for those states. This is the kind of tool that is present in all of the four builders we mentioned above. You practically bind a physical location with a predefined tax. When a user from that location comes from your store, the tax is going to be applied and they will automatically see the price they have to.
Are Those All the Features that I Will Need?
Of course not. There are many things that you will want to automate when you have an online store. But not everything that you need is going to be built-in the system. But that is going to make your life harder, isn’t it?
Not exactly. Most of the platforms that we’ve mentioned have app stores. Those are marketplaces where you can get extra features for free, or for a price. Shopify, at the moment, has the best app store. Since this is a dedicated eCommerce builder, you are going to find arrays of apps that are optimized for selling online.
BigCommerce is the other eCommerce builder that has an app store. But it doesn’t have as many apps as Shopify. However, most of the apps that you are going to need are there. But if your store starts growing quickly, you are going to need tools that will automate more complex processes. Then, there isn’t a guarantee that you will find an app for that in BigCommerce.
As far as Wix and Weebly, those are genera website builders which just give you the option of creating an online store. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t app stores. But in those you are going to find far less eCommerce-related apps. So if you are looking for a builder that has a lot of extra functionalities, then these two are probably not the ones for you.
Designs and Final Words
The design of an online store is very important. Online stores like Amazon are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on design teams. Of course, if you are going to use an online website builder, you will most probably not have to do so as well. This is where the builders kick in with the predefined templates.
Wix is one of the website builders which offers the best designs. You will have many to choose from and they are diverse. That’s generally good because it gives you a different perspective on creating your online stores. Weebly is another website which has great designs.
Shopify and BigCommerce’s templates are oriented towards online stores only. Even though they are high quality, you might feel like they aren’t very diverse. That is going to make it a bit harder for you to come up with an unique design (since many people are going to use the same templates as you).
At the end of the day, functionality prevails over design. If you want to have a platform that will allow you to grow, then Shopify is for you. BigCommerce is a bit more economical, but can offer the same functionality.
If you don’t think that you will create an online store that will require a lot of features, like in-depth analysis and other marketing tools, then you should go for either Wix or Weebly. They have great designs and the basic features are implemented perfectly.