Online retail sales are at an all-time-high, having recently reached over $1.4 trillion — 60 percent of which occurred on a mobile device. In January 2018, eCommerce witnessed a 13.9 percent spike — one of the strongest Januarys on record since 2013, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. These statistics alone provide supporting evidence for two very important claims.
1. There’s value in taking your offline business online, and the significance of penetrating the eCommerce market, as it will only continue to grow.
2. They also stress the importance of ensuring a quality mobile eCommerce experience for online shoppers.
Whether or not you have an established customer base or not — using the right tools to ensure you’re providing a seamless online shopping experience is imperative. Nevertheless, there are dozens of store builders that promise to provide the best online shopping encounter.
So, what’s a business owner to do? How do you make a decision that could affect the outcome of sales, conversions and the overall success and or failure of your online business?
I’d first recommend evaluating your company’s needs and next considering the function of an online store builder within your business model. To help you arrive at this, I want to provide you with some advice as to why you should use an eCommerce store builder when taking your store online.
First off, store builders allow you to design an online store with no coding experience, but users may edit code in some cases. Just to point out a few additional advantages of eCommerce store builders, they are more often than not, simple to navigate because utilize drag-and-drop technology and let you control aspects of your store from shipping, to payments and product descriptions.
While traditional website builders are great for designing a website — they are not made for selling products, but for things such as consulting services, online portfolios, marketing companies, bloggers — the list goes on. In essence, they are for presenting valuable information, but not for the sales process.
So, why Use an eCommerce Website Builder?
As a result, with traditional website builders, users simply aren’t given the option to perform actions such as optimizing product descriptions for SEO purposes, although, website builders like Wix (which also owns WixStores), double as both traditional and eCommerce store builders. Editing product descriptions does involve setting up automations, but the result is priceless. Instead of using three, four or even five platforms to manage your online presence, you can do it using one.
Users are given access to key integrations for accounting, shipping, taxes or payments, invoicing and one of the most important features — setting up automated abandoned cart reminders to those who fail to complete a purchase.
If you want to manage blog content, add promotional and discount codes, create a simple way to checkout, view key metrics using Google Analytics and in some cases, run email marketing campaigns, eCommerce store builders also enable you to do this.
Having access to all of these features will let you to control more aspects of your online store, including advanced shipping options like dropshipping, which I’ll discuss later in the post. As made apparent by above statements – eCommerce builders are known for being rich in features. They even enable small business owners to manage inventory and can automatically send alerts when stock nears its end.
Online store builders even integrate with eCommerce giants including Amazon and eBay — allowing you to expand business to a whole new audience.
Likely one of the most important aspects of an eCommerce website builder is editing SEO settings. In doing so, and doing so, well, can guarantee your site will be picked up by search engines in organic searches.
Although the majority of eCommerce store builders come with native SEO tools — they, in some cases can integrate with a plethora of apps built for SEO optimization. Just to name a few, there’s SEO Doctor, FavSEO, Plug-In-SEO and Groingup.
Available integrations will vary based on the eCommerce builder you choose. Additionally, online store builders even give you the authority to edit image descriptions and other Meta tags that are picked up by search engines. This can contribute to lowered advertising costs.
Finally, if you should decide to begin a discount or marketing campaign, you can create multiple pages and make modifications to them all. Once finished, you can test the variables and find out which elements customers do and do not like.
Features such as this are important during the conversion journey — as you are leading customers through your marketing funnel to hopefully take your desired action in the end. This could range from giving their email address, signing up for an email newsletter or making a purchase.
For the purpose of this article, let’s say you want to test the position of images used on a product page — you can do this with the help of testing tools. eCommerce builders like Shopify enable users to perform tests on multiple pages.
Testing features don’t usually come in the form of integrations, but there are a number of free integrations available for testing if the builder you choose does not have built-in testing features. The purpose of testing is to use results and data collected to decide where to place text, calls to action, photos and other elements.
In the end — the details do matter, and you should test as many elements of a page as often as possible. Everything from the position of one or more products on your site can prompt customers to do exactly what you want them to do or to simply exit the store.
Mobile Responsive Templates
As Google will soon begin penalizing sites without mobile responsive versions, it is paramount to ensure your store is mobile responsive. This is largely due to the sixty percent of online purchases made last year on a mobile device.
With the use of eCommerce store builders, you can access mobile responsive templates and sometimes, free stock images. There’s also the convenience of editing your store around the clock, adding and removing keywords based on research as well as products.
Next, I’ll discuss a method of shipping that is considerably less expensive than handling shipping and inventory oneself. Dropshipping makes the process of shipping smoother and reduces the need for large warehouse space.
This alternative form of shipping is where sellers rid themselves of housing inventory, and enlist the help of wholesalers or go directly to manufacturers for direct customer shipping. The process is simple. Business owners purchase inventory on a ‘need’ basis from wholesalers or manufacturers who handle shipping as well.
As a business owner, there are countless pluses to ditching traditional shipping, one being a wider variety of product offerings. Another being — you can almost always count on faster delivery times because of the capacity of wholesalers to fill large amounts of orders.
Free Hosting and Domain Name
eCommerce builders also provide free hosting with most packages and a custom domain name. If you purchase hosting and domain services separately, you will pay a monthly fee to a different provider.
Hosting, just like other features, will vary based on the builder you go with in the end, although it is considered standard amongst the majority of eCommerce store builders.
Let’s Sum Things Up
The bottom line is, eCommerce store builders are a far better route than hiring an expensive developer to create a new platform that you won’t be able to manage without their assistance. This can cause you to spend more time and hard-earned money when you could be managing your store and making a profit simultaneously.
In the case of store builders, they simply allow you to do both. Finally, conduct independent research on eCommerce store builders to make sure you’re choosing the best option with the most tools to help grow your business.
If you find a good niche, you have the ability to succeed, even using dropshipping. You can still offer a diverse set of products and carve out a niche for yourself in the eCommerce space. Your store that previously had a closing time, will no longer have one, and 24-hour operation will now be possible.
Good luck with choosing the right eCommerce store builder and feel free to leave comments below. Just to name a few store builders to get your creative juices flowing: WixStores, BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion and 3dCart all have their advantages and can help you take your business online and to the next level. Now, happy Googling.
Bio: Marc Dane is the SEO & Content Manager at WebCreate.io – a knowledge hub for small business owners looking to build a presence online. The site offers website builder reviews and comparisons, guides for building a website and resources on related tools, platforms and more.