Ecommerce websites have been around for a while. In fact, they were around long before the whole “affiliate marketing” thing became popular, and they’re still here today. What does that tell you?
It tells you that ecommerce sites are a reliable and sustainable business model. They’re very targeted, they have a clear and well defined purpose (SELLING STUFF) and there is absolutely no need to hire expensive copywriters for sales copies because the traffic is ALREADY looking to buy.
So, why isn’t everyone building their own ecommerce website then? Well, there’s one thing that’s had a pretty big influence on hindering the popularization of these websites and that is complexity.
Truth is, it is not easy to build an ecommerce website from scratch. It used to take programmers weeks of coding and hard work to do it. Thankfully, we can now set them up with a few clicks of a mouse.
Big CMS platforms like WordPress, pre-made scripts like Magento and hosted solutions such as Shopify have made the process of setting up and maintaining ecommerce sites accessible to anyone who knows how to use a computer.
In this article, we’re going to talk about different options that people have when building an ecommerce website and some details that are worth paying extra attention to.
1. Do you want to sell just a few items, or a whole arsenal?
If your goal is to sell just a few things you have sitting around in your garage, you may not need an ecommerce website. In this case, all you need is a simple WordPress website integrated with a popular payment processor such as Paypal.
This involves much less hassle and it’s also very easy to set up. In fact, Paypal does all the work for you. You just enter the required details and it automatically generates the HTML code that you can just copy-paste to your website.
You can also choose between several different button types (buy now, add to cart, donate, etc.)
To get more information about the Paypal buttons, follow this link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_singleitem-intro-outside
2. Magento, Shopify, WordPress… what is REALLY the best choice?
This obviously depends on two things – your needs and your budget.
Generally speaking, unless you really want to sell a whole bunch of products, you’ll be just fine with running a normal WordPress website with an ecommerce theme/plugin.
You can find free WordPress ecommerce themes, although I would highly advise you to steer clear from those. They’re known to break easily and for no obvious reason, which can be really annoying.
Some of the best WordPress ecommerce themes include Kallyas, Camy, Fancytheme, Prostore, Cumico, Shopsimple, Breeze and Impulse.You can find literally thousands of them on Google.
For example, check out the »eShop« WP theme here: http://templatic.com/demos/?theme=eshop
However, WordPress CMS has also been a subject to frequent hacking attacks and security breaches, which is no surprise when you consider the fact that most webmasters are using it for their sites.
The Best Of The Best
If you are looking to build a serious long term eCommerce business, then you really can’t go past Shopify, one of the most popular and well respected options available.
Shopify is also a smart way to avoid paying for hosting and premium ecommerce themes, and can support a virtually unlimited amount of products with no noticable performance decrease. It’s very fast in terms of loading speed and can be scaled to fit almost any requirements.
But it doesn’t have to stop there… Shopify offers its users an option to actually import their WordPress blog into Shopify. This combination is pure gold, and is often used by ecommerce webmasters.
You can get started with Shopfy on a 14 day Free trial which gives you a chance to test it out and see how it all works.
Here’s an example of a site built with Shopify: http://www.lonesomegeorge.net/
Finally, another popular choice is Magento. Should you use Magento? In my opinion not unless you really plan on selling A LOT of stuff. Magento is a good platform, but it can be quite heavy, especially for new users who just want to get up and running as soon as possible.
It requires a robust, dedicated hosting server to run smoothly, which can cause additional costs.
However, as I already mentioned, it’s very scalable, versatile and also quite user friendly, so it’s not something you should disregard right away. It’s also a cheaper option than Shopify.
Here’s a Magento built site: http://www.tomassa.com/
3. So… what’s the final verdict?
That’s up to you to make. Keep in mind one thing though – whatever you choose, make sure you can scale it up… There is a very good reason for this – migrating ecommerce sites is extremely tricky!
Once you’ve chosen your platform, you’re pretty much stuck with it, so choose wisely. Shopify is always a good solution if you can afford it. Magento can be scaled very easily and works flawlesly when under heavy load. WordPress is great for having a low-medium sized ecommerce site and offers outstanding customization features for incredibly low pricing. Like I said… it depends on your needs and the amount of money you’re willing to spend on it.
I hope I’ve managed to shed some light on some of the most popular ecommerce solutions available today. Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave me a comment below!