I have been doing some research on a new ecommerce website solution for my kids’ school’s PTA. The current website is so impossible to use that I’m the only one who knows how to update the darn thing – and barely, even though I update content on websites all the time for a living. So, I guess you could say the platform is difficult to use, but that would be a gross understatement.
Because I like nothing more than to share useful information, I figured I’d share the results of my findings with you. You’ll find them below, but first, I want to point out that these are hosted platforms, which means the company provides the ecommerce package and hosts the site for you on their own server. These platforms are relatively inexpensive and easy to use for the non-tech savvy.
Whether you are a small business looking to launch your first ecommerce site or just switch to a new one that might be a better fit for your needs, here are the 4 top hosted ecommerce website solutions for small businesses:
Biggest differentiator: Loads of built-in tools
Bigcommerce might have some big customers (ABC News, CNN, The Food Network), but they are great for small businesses too. Their solution has a lot of built-in tools, like SEO, marketing, analytics, product reviews and coupons. I also like their “abandoned cart saver” that helps you reach out quickly to people who leave your site without buying, and the fact that you can integrate with leading accounting, marketing, and investory management systems.
Biggest differentiator: Most flexbility
The most popular ecommerce solution out there is definitely Shopify. As you build your site using one of their themes, you can increase your marketing capabilities by adding Shopify apps. Once you start selling, Shopify Reports lets you track and analyze your product sales, orders, and payments. There is also a built-in blogging platform and an easy-to-use content management system.
Biggest differentiator: Integrates with your current website
Do you already like the website you have? Then you’ll want to use Squarespace Commerce, which lets you add an ecommerce component to your website. SEO and social media are integrated into the platform, you can view analytics in real-time, and you can even print packing slips or customize emails.
Biggest differentiator: Big mobile shopping focus
Don’t let the light-hearted name throw you off – Weebly means business. Your Weebly ecommerce site will work across all devices – desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone – and it includes SEO, mobile apps that let you manage your site while on the go, and display and merchandising options. If you feel like you need help getting started, you can sign up for their free, live training sessions.
What kind of solultion do you use for ecommerce? What do you like most about it?
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Monika Jansen is a copywriter and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, website content, and other marketing materials for her clients, who tend to be startups and professional service providers. She is a blogger for GrowSmartBiz and the managing editor of UberStories. You can follow her on Twitter (@monikacjansen) or find her on LinkedIn.