The best ecommerce website builders for launching your business
If you're a small business owner who isn't selling online, you're missing out. Internet sales in the United States increased by 14.9% between 2018 and 2019. While what happens in 2020 remains to be seen, signs point to another record-breaking year, especially since people were quarantined and store-front businesses were shut down.
In fact, the 2020 pandemic has further proven the need for businesses to consider ecommerce. If you’re a small business owner who only had a brick-and-mortar store, there was likely no way for you to sell your products during the second quarter of 2020. But if you had an online store, you would be able to keep selling and generating revenue. The world was already moving toward ecommerce, and the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the process.
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about ecommerce sites. Not only will we touch on what they are and the benefits of having one, we'll also cover the best ecommerce website builders so that you can start selling right away.
What is an ecommerce platform?
An ecommerce platform is a one-stop-shop that connects the front-end and back-end of the transaction. Not only does an ecommerce platform allow business owners to establish a virtual storefront that shoppers can visit, it also allows them to choose from different payment options and provide funds to store owners.
Ecommerce platforms can also:
- Coordinate product shipping on the back-end
- Provide marketing tools to help you reach more customers
- Track sales goals and statistics
- Manage finances
- Offer inventory management
Even if you don't have an ecommerce business, a dedicated platform could still be useful because it lets you control multiple aspects of your business from one website. You could also start selling easily and make online sales part of your business plan.
Why do you need an ecommerce platform?
You may be wondering whether an ecommerce website is worth the investment for your small business, especially if you're not yet selling goods. Below are some of the main reasons why business owners should consider using an ecommerce platform.
Establish an online presence
Estimates indicate that there are 4.57 billion people online across the world. Starting an ecommerce platform connects you with people that you would have otherwise missed.
For instance, let's say that you're a small business owner with a brick-and-mortar storefront in your local town. The only customers you have access to are those who live nearby. Perhaps a few customers hear about your store through word-of-mouth or marketing efforts and you get people who come from nearby neighborhoods. But at the end of the day, you would reach a few thousand people at most.
However, an ecommerce platform instantly expands who can invest in your company or buy your product. You could live in New York and market your company to someone in California, Europe, or Asia.
Build trust with customers
Another benefit of ecommerce stores is that they allow you to build trust with customers. If you don't utilize an ecommerce solution, customers may be skeptical about your business. It seems as though every company is online these days. An online presence is no longer optional. It's now expected.
Your ecommerce platform will also facilitate customer reviews and recommendations. In today's world, when someone needs something, they immediately type it into their search engine, like Google, to look it up. Upon finding the company they're looking for, customers can see what others had to say about the business. If they cannot find this information, they may be skeptical of the company.
Ecommerce platforms allow you to create a "face" for your company. And because many of the best ecommerce website builders come with customization options and other advanced features, you can build something that fits your brand.
You’re always open for business
Even as a hardworking small business owner, it's not possible to work 24 hours a day. However, using an ecommerce platform allows you to take orders 24/7. At any time a customer can visit your site, buy goods, and check out.
Some platforms include an automated customer support team, allowing customers to ask questions even when you’re not personally available. Offering this sort of 24/7 access makes the entire process much more user-friendly for customers.
Starting a site is easy
Thanks to the accessibility of online store builders, there's no reason for you not to have an ecommerce site. These sites provide you with the know-how you need to set up and run your site.
Even better, the cost of setting up an ecommerce site is minimal, especially when compared to the cost of setting up a brick-and-mortar store. Making a small investment in a website could pay huge dividends, drastically improving your bottom line.
Many platforms are compatible with Brex
Brex is a useful tool for small business owners, as it provides a cash management account with unlimited free wire transfers. Brex also works with ecommerce platforms like Netsuite.
Brex also offers a credit card designed explicitly for ecommerce. The card comes with revenue-based credit limits and extended repayment terms. Business owners enjoy credit limits up to 75% of projected monthly sales. There’s also no interest charged during the introductory period, which lasts between 12 and 22 months. Choosing to start an ecommerce business can open new financial doors for your company.
What are the best ecommerce website builders?
If you're ready to set up an ecommerce site, you may be wondering where to get started. Below, we've listed some of the best website builders available today. Each has benefits worth considering, ranging from overall ease of use to free domain name hosting.
Shopify is perhaps the most well-known ecommerce platform, known particularly for its ease of use. The platform walks you through the process to help take care of your marketing, branding, and store setup. And there are more than 100 website templates available for storefronts.
There is also a direct Shopify Payments option. This feature works with a variety of payment options, from Apple Pay to PayPal.
Lastly, Shopify offers integrated marketing tools. Not only is email marketing a possibility, but you can also increase your outreach through search engine optimization (SEO).
You'll need to purchase a paid plan to get started with Shopify. There are also transaction fees on every transaction you process, ranging from 0.5% to 2%.
Another popular ecommerce plan is Wix, which was one of the first companies to ever get into website building. Business owners are familiar with the Wix ecommerce platform because it’s easy to use and features budget-friendly plans.
Wix may be particularly useful if you don't have access to storage for large inventories as it offers drop shipping for products. Drop shipping prevents business owners from having to stock items—instead, items are purchased from a third party.
The site also has an app store with hundreds of applications. These apps are add-ons that can help improve your website design.
If you're looking to expand your outreach, then you'll want to consider the ecommerce features offered by BigCommerce. This platform allows you to sell your products directly through eBay and Amazon. You can sell unlimited products on these sites, which can increase sales and drive more traffic to your site as a result.
If you're concerned about having a particularly well-designed website that works on both computer and mobile devices, you'll want to consider Squarespace.
Not only does this platform produce extravagant designs, but it also comes with a mobile editor. The Squarespace mobile editor plugin allows you to do things like publish blog posts, manage social media, or add new products to your site.
Volusion is a unique option because it is entirely cloud-based. The platform comes with an excellent content editor as well as features like variant pricing and the ability to enter vendor codes.
Other options to consider
If you're not satisfied with any of the ecommerce options listed, be sure to look into some of these options to see if they fit your needs:
Whether you're looking for SEO features or shopping cart recovery for your customers, you should have no problem finding an ecommerce website builder that works for you.
Take your business to the next level with ecommerce builders
If you're a small business owner, having an online store is essential. Customers expect to see an online presence from their favorite businesses, and an ecommerce platform provides an all-in-one solution for your business needs.
Using one of the ecommerce site builders on this list, setting up your website is a breeze. There is a minimal learning curve as many sites provide templates and step-by-step guides to get you started. Once your ecommerce site is set up, you can begin to reap the benefits of convenience and efficiency, and reach customers wherever they are.