Monday 17 September, 2012
If you want to start an ecommerce business but don’t want to blow a small fortune on building a site from scratch, there’s help available. A number of software providers offer ready-made ecommerce platforms that allow you to build a site and launch it within minutes.
There is a wide range of options available and you should do your due diligence before using one. The first and still one of the most popular is Shopify. It was started by a would-be ecommerce entrepreneur who was frustrated because he couldn’t find a ready-made online storefront for his business selling snowboards. He developed Shopify to solve this problem. There are now 12,000 online stores that use it.
After the advent of Shopify, there was a boom of similar programs. Ready-made ecommerce storefronts are now offered by some of the big names online, including the Google Checkout Store Gadget, Amazon WebStore, and Ebay Stores. Like Shopify, they offer all kinds of services and the added advantage of integration with their other products.
The Benefits of a Ready-Made Store
Creating your own ecommerce store from scratch means you get to maintain total control of its design and functionality. But simply installing a ready-made store offers some serious advantages:
* These programs are extremely quick and easy to set up. Reviews of Shopify say that it takes about as long to set up as a Gmail account.
* Since these programs are integrated with the website you already have, you save money. You don’t have to host it or hire a web designer.
* Ready-made ecommerce software programs are reasonably priced and most come with a free trial so you can give them a whirl before you buy.
* Although template-based, modern ecommerce programs give you lots of flexibility so that you can customize your store.
How Ready-Made Ecommerce Sites Work
Every ecommerce site works differently, but they all offer ways to integrate with your site or embed on your site, or build your ecommerce store from scratch. You look at templates and choose the one you like best. Once installed, it’s ready to list products, take payments, and track orders. Each program has its own special features for these functions. Added features include SEO tools, advanced search functions, tools for giving discounts, and customizable payment options.
If you’re thinking about taking advantage of these programs, don’t leap into it. Every good ecommerce store starts with a good, solid plan. Decide who your target market is going to be and how you’re going to sell to them. Because there are merchants in every niche, make sure that your store is unique so that it stands out from the competition. Have a good plan in place before you open your store’s virtual doors for business.