Have you ever considered selling something online? If you are interested in a part-time job where you can work at home and have flexible hours, this could be the perfect opportunity for you. There has been a revolution in online stores and sales in the last few years. In the past you had to figure out how to build a great ecommerce website, how to do payments, and how to promote your products. There has never been a better time to quickly open a store online and get right to the business of selling.
There are four popular online store platforms that can help you quickly get up to speed and start making money, while still being cheap to run and maintain. They are Shopify, 3D, Big Commerce, and Volusion. Each one is a great choice for a starter online store and they offer plenty of help to get you set up and going. We will look at some of the benefits of each, however if you really want to take a deep dive into ecommerce platforms, you can download our free eBook, How to Succeed with an Online Store. It’s free and offers dozens of tips on how to set yourself up for success no matter which platform you choose.
Here’s a brief overview of the best ecommerce platforms.
Shopify starts you off with a free two-week trial so that you don’t feel rushed to get all your ducks in a row. After that the Basic Plan is $29 per month. They offer hundreds of prebuilt themes, which is pretty impressive, and you can quickly load your favorite to create your new site. No matter what theme you choose you can add unlimited inventory and fulfill orders in a single step. They also have great analytics so you can track sales and spot trends over time. And importantly, they offer a fully integrated shipping solution where you can choose DHL, the US Post Office, or UPS. You can’t go wrong with Shopify.
Big Commerce offers a 15-day free trial so you can get up to speed with their platform before paying anything. Their standard monthly plan is $29.95, which will get you successfully launched. Big Commerce is integrated with Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Shopping which is great. They offer a single-page check out and easy set up for coupons, discounts, and gift cards. They also offer many free themes, sorted by category, and the paid themes range from $145 to about $200. With their Shipping Manager function, you can easily customize your shipping process by product and geography.
3D Cart has four standard plans, but has also added a Start Up plan for just $19 per month where you can sell up to 500 products and $10,000 in the first year. 3D Cart offers hundreds of free themes and a powerful social media platform so that you can promote your products wherever your customers are. It’s easy to sell on Facebook with their free app and they have a pretty cool email integration so you can blast out specials to your email audience. They also have 24/7 customer support based in the US, which is definitely a plus when you are first getting started.
Volusion also offers a free two-week trial with no credit card required. After that the mini plan is $15 per month for up to 100 products, although the Plus plan is $35 per month, and you can have up to 1,000 products. The Mini plan is probably a great start but the Plus plan does offer phone support which could be quite useful. They offer eleven free themes to choose from and then more customized themes are $180. Volusion does offer an impressive selection of ecommerce guides, ranging from best practices and drop shipping to SEO and social media.
You Have Many Good Choices!
As you can see, any of these four options will help you launch a great business. A couple of thoughts about what’s important. Don’t get hung up on the monthly price. That is not the deciding factor for the success of your business. Focus instead on getting a great theme that reflects your business vision and helps you offer a streamlined purchase cycle, all the way from the buyer’s first interaction with your product to the customer receiving a package on their doorstep. An ecommerce site is way more than a website and you’ll need to optimize your images, offerings, prices, shipping, and marketing.
Stay with it. Nobody opens a store and succeeds overnight. Part of the power of your store is repeat and referral business. For example, if you are selling cool t shirts, or original jewelry, you need to find your audience and give them a chance to tell their friends how awesome you are and to come back and buy something else. That’s not all going to happen in one month! Your online store, like any store, is a momentum business. It’s going to have ups and downs and busy days and quiet days.
Why not give it a go? As you can see, it’s easy to set up an online store, and the margins are great in ecommerce, so why not give it a try? Who knows, you might be the next Amazon! Also, why not download our free eBook How to Succeed with an Online Store. It’s filled with all sorts of great advice about how to choose a category, products, photos, marketing content, SEO advice, and lots more. In the book we go through the most important steps on the way to success, no matter which platform you choose.