Whether you are a new startup that plans to sell exclusively online, or a physical storefront already with a solid customer base, ecommerce platform can help produce an online presence, sell product and market to new customers.
It is the engine running behind the scenes of most online stores. Ecommerce vendors like Shopify, BigCommerce and others provide an online store, but also help you manage inventory, payments, taxes, shipments and every other aspect of a thriving online business.
Ecommerce may be slowly replacing physical storefronts. Ecommerce now comprises a significant portion of all business transactions, and is projected to account for more than half of all sales by the end of 2019.
What is an ecommerce platform?
In short, ecommerce platforms you save money and increase sales. What else could you possibly ask for? The best help facilitate the process from start to finish. It offers means to a quick, easy to use web builder where you can create anything from a basic online store to complete website with an online store depending on the service.
From there, you can add and remove products, track inventory, manage sales, transactions, accept payments, track shipping and much more.
Ecommerce platform advantages
There are several advantages to creating an online store. Along with a physical storefront, ecommerce can significantly improve:
- The reach of your small business. No part of the world is off limits.
- Improve brand awareness. Social media and SEO optimization through marketing like blogging can really increase your audience.
- Increase sales. The primary objective of any entrepreneur, ecommerce software helps increase sales by reaching a broader, bigger audience.
- Save money. Along with increasing sales, you can also save money by streaming the sales process vs. the leaase or rent for a physical storefront. These tools Providing strategies to save money on shipping and other management tools that streamline the entire sales process.
Most popular ecommerce software features
There are so many features related to the best ecommerce software that it is not easy to break them all down in a single article. Some types of ecommerce software specialize in certain aspects of an online store, while others are more well-rounded. The basic features, and necessities of any good ecommerce software include:
- Web Builder: The trademark feature of ecommerce software is the web builder. It is designed to quickly produce a professional looking online store without having to utilize advance knowledge of HTML coding or hire someone that specializes in web design. Instead, small businesses can save a ton of money and time by developing an online store on their own. The best ecommerce software features “drag and drop” technology which makes creating and managing an online store a breeze.
- Management Tools: Once the online store is up and running the purpose of ecommerce software is to continue and manage the store. It can help you easily add and remove products, so your catalog not only remains current but also doesn’t sell products not currently in your inventory.
- Inventory Tracking: One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make with customers is offering products online that are not currently in stock. Nothing is more frustrating for customers than ordering a product, only to receive a message from the small business explaining the product is currently not available. You can avoid a similar mistake by utilizing ecommerce software which helps track inventory, and removes products or posts “currently not available” when the product is out of stock.
- Payment Processing: An online store cannot succeed without getting funds. Ecommerce software helps with payment processing. The best ecommerce software connects with third-party payment processors like PayPal or Authorize.net. Some even accept multiple forms of currency for doing business with international customers.
One very important feature to consider when comparing the best ecommerce software options is what (if any) transaction fee they charge. The transaction fee is usually some percentage of cut the ecommerce software makes from a sale.
What about transaction fees?
Transaction fees help the software provider make money, and are usually a small price to pay for all the management tools and other features they provide for a successful online store. However, they can add up so consider your options carefully.
The percentage of a transaction fee can vary depending on the subscription. For example, a cheaper monthly subscription may save you more money upfront, however, you will give a bigger cut on each sale. But if you select a higher priced plan, the transaction fee is generally much lower.