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the best website builder

How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Website Builder to Sell Online

20 min read

Anyone who has lived with a seamster/ess, quilter, crafter, or other artisan knows that the pandemic was a dangerous combination: isolation, Amazon Prime, and fidgeting. People who had never thought to do anything creative or artistic learned new skills or crafts to pass the time, follow a passion, or both. To make matters worse, the craft shows and flea markets where such products are sold closed for the 2020 season, leading more people to learn how to sell online.

Imagine a knitter in a cozy chair, slowly being swallowed by a sea of half-finished, completed, and planned projects. Or a literature professor working remotely, risking concussion inching through stacks of read and discarded books. How will they dig themselves out?

How to sell online
Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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People generally assume that learning how to sell online will be difficult and time-consuming, but with the right Ecommerce website builder you should be able to start right away, and with little or no investment. Here’s what to look for, and how to choose the best Ecommerce platform for your goods.

Ecommerce Website Builders Should Have These Features:

When you hear “Ecommerce website builders,” your mind probably jumps to templates or easy point-and-click design tools. But the right method for you to start selling online quickly should be more than a tool in which to paste your content. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to consider to get started selling products online.

1. Code provided, no coding necessary, or coding as needed

Templates are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to setting up your online store. If you don’t have any training in websites or ecommerce at all, you’re going to need an option that removes all the guesswork. On the other hand, if you’ve been trained to code and just want to take some shortcuts, you want to have the freedom of manipulating the code at will.

Either way, you’re going to need to be able to sell products online across platforms, using social media and other successful online marketplaces. You should be able to manage your inventory and products across all of your online storefronts.

2. Is the website builder easy to use?

You may know that most website builders come with convenient drag-and-drop technology. Everyone prefers e-commerce website builders that are simple to use. This is why most platforms are a breeze to operate. However, it is worth noting that ease of use is usually a spectrum dictated by both resources and experience.

Ideally, an e-commerce website builder should be simple to use for non-tech-savvy users. While the best e-commerce website builders do not require coding knowledge, different website builders may have different levels of ease of use.

In most cases, you should choose one with a drag-and-drop function as well as an intuitive editor. This will make it easier to customize the various elements on your site. Also, you may consider extra options, such as inline editing.

You should choose a convenient platform that is well-known for its intuitive and straightforward website editor, so you do not have to spend plenty of time trying to understand how it works.

3. Ease of managing inventory

Especially in the case of a crafter-turned-entrepreneur, managing inventory can be a challenge. Your offerings will vary day by day, season by season. Being able to manage inventory as it becomes available is vital. You should also be able to adjust your inventory manually to allow for in-person sales at craft shows, etc.

4. Price scaling as needed with no transaction fees

If you are just starting out, gradually ramping up operations, or looking at only seasonal sales, you should look for options scaled to your needs. Don’t pay the same price to sell 10 products to sell online per month as you would to sell 100 items per month. Instead, find flexible online selling options that allow you to start small and scale services to grow your business.

You should also look for options that are subscription-based rather than transaction-based. Some platforms promote scalability by charging a transaction fee with each processed order. While this sounds good for just a few transactions per month, these fees add up fast as sales increase.

5. Flexibility to change plans as your needs fluctuate

Don’t let Ecommerce platforms push you into paying for more than you need. At the same time, don’t get yourself stuck in a package that doesn’t make sense long term. If you typically have seasonal spikes in offerings, having a platform that allows you to scale back during the off-season can save you hundreds.

Common options for payment processing

Always remember that if it is not simple for your online shoppers to pay for your product or service, you will not be successful in the long run. You may know that PayPal, Apple Pay, Square, and Stripe are some of the popular payment gateways for a majority of e-commerce stores.

So, make sure that you consider what types of payment you are willing to accept when searching for the right ecommerce website builder.

When it comes to website builders, there are many options out there. This is why it is vital to find the features that you would like to have and then go from there. Use this guide to evaluate the e-commerce platform you are considering and avoid the various pitfalls many brands make when selecting software. Note that it is not only about developing your e-commerce site, but also about functionality.

Choose payment processors that make sense both for you and your customers.

6. Is the website builder secure?

In this digital age, security is one of the pivotal issues, and you should consider it with extreme care. As online business is a virtual interface, note that trust is an important consideration for your customers. Did you know that purchasers prefer secure and safe payment options as they have to share sensitive information, such as bank details?

This is why you should ensure that your e-commerce website builder is PCI compliant. Also, note that choosing a web-based tool with integrated SSL encryption is now essential to guarantee security.

7. Does the ecommerce website builder integrate with marketing tools?

In this competitive environment, website marketing is important for the growth of any e-commerce business. This is why you need simple-to-use tools for promoting and marketing your business and website.

The best e-commerce website builders will help you with marketing. Keep in mind that this could be done through optimizing your website and content for SEO and allowing or facilitating the integration of various third-party marketing tools, such as Google Ads. For example, can you launch your online store right now and start selling on Instagram or Amazon?

So, ensure that the e-commerce website platform that you choose offers robust and effective tools or integrates seamlessly with other marketing platforms that match your strategy and channel needs.

8. Widgets and add-ons

You should also check if the e-commerce website builder you are considering has an app store. This is because you may need various widgets in order to customize your page. Also, make sure that you can connect custom domains and any third-party services.

9. Product reviews and ratings

If you are an online customer, you will know that many customers trust products based on experience shared by other customers. So, product ratings and reviews, which were initially considered an add-on feature, have now become a necessity.

This is why the facility of product ratings and reviews is one of the key features that your online store builder must have.

10. Third-party integrations

This is another critical consideration. It is best to look for an e-commerce platform that integrates with the other systems that you use. If you would like to launch an online shop, you’ll need extra services, such as payment gateways, shopping cart functionality, tax calculation services, promotion tools, and reporting instruments. The best e-commerce website builder will be compatible with major services.

11. Easy checkout process

Did you know that more than 55 percent of users leave a website at the cart? And this is simply because the checkout process is often complicated and lengthy. So, when choosing an e-commerce website builder, you should see whether it provides a simple and hassle-free checkout process. Some website builders give you the option to customize the checkout process.

Keep in mind that the best checkout pages often include an order summary. This is where you just ask for the essential information from users to make payment. You should see if the website builder offers several payment methods for quicker checkout.

How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform

Learning how to sell online quickly is half the battle, but your Ecommerce platform should offer more than just some fancy industry-specific website templates. Consider what tasks or services you can handle yourself, then consider which ones you are actually willing to take on. Look for a platform that meets the remaining needs.

You can also use the following tips to research different Ecommerce platforms.

Find a list of features to compare plans and platforms

The best Ecommerce services are very straightforward about what their offerings provide. You should be able to find a list of features for each specific plan or service option. You should use a chart to compare plans within and across platforms, but the best sites also have comparison charts to summarize their own offerings.

Search online for real reviews by real people

It’s hard to know if a review is unbiased. Most of the websites that offer comprehensive reviews of products online are paid to mention specific Ecommerce platforms. Unfortunately, they are also the most easily found.

You can still get first-hand experiences through these websites. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll likely find reader comments. This is your best chance to see real reviews by real people for any web-based service platform.

Check out their demo

If you’ve been thinking about how to sell online for a while, you probably already have an idea of how you want to set up your online store. Not every platform will meet the needs of your Ecommerce business or your ideal for online selling. Before jumping onto a platform based solely on reviews, check out a demo of their basic services. Be sure it is a good fit before you spend a lot of time and effort trying to make it work.

Look for the best experience for your customers

Look for reviews from customers using these Ecommerce platforms to checkout. Make sure that the option you choose makes it easy for your customers to browse, order, and pay for their goods. The three main areas to consider are:

  • Ease of checkout
  • Secure checkout
  • Flexible payment options

As long as your site hits these three points and provides honest and accurate descriptions, your customers will be happy buying your products online.

Ecommerce Website Building Platforms on the cloud

For the simplest and fastest e-commerce website design experience, head to the cloud. Dozens of website builders have appeared in recent years, so you have plenty of options to choose from. A few of the most popular and low cost platforms for e-commerce websites are EcwidWix, SquareSpace and Shopify.

1. They’re (almost) free and (always) easy

Website builders aim for a consistent and beautiful user experience. The builder takes care of the code and hosting of your site; you just add content and plugins to create your custom e-commerce store. Weebly, a reliable all-around builder, and Wix, a free-form builder, are both geared towards beginners who have no web design experience. They offer free website hosting for limited features and branded domains; going premium affords you custom domain names and additional features at a low cost.

2. Pick from dozens of designs — or DIY

The beauty of web builders is their flexibility and simplicity. There are no surprises and no code — web builders are called WYSIWYGs for “what you see is what you get.” Don’t want to worry about perfecting the design for your e-commerce website? Easy — it’s all been taken care of for you. With hundreds of options, it’s easy to find the perfect theme for your e-commerce website design and tailor it to fit your brand.

If HTML/CSS and graphic design is your jam, let the themes be your guide. Weebly and SquareSpace allow access to the front-end code, so you can make changes as you wish. And while you can’t change any code in Wix, there are no limits to your visual design — add transitions and dynamic elements to create a cool and contemporary e-commerce website experience.

SquareSpace is a builder with famously clean yet customizable designs, all crafted with the mobile experience in mind. If you’re an Adobe design devotee, Muse may be right for you. There is no coding required to use their beautiful responsive designs, but you retain all the creative control.

Platforms requiring you to download and host

If you’re looking for an ecommerce website with more functionality and don’t mind a little extra work, consider using a content management system as your e-commerce website builder. Content management systems like WordPressJoomla and Drupal are hugely popular with everyone from novice bloggers to expert web developers.

1. They really are free… but not always so easy

Many content management systems are open source, meaning anyone can access and use the platform to make a powerful and robust e-commerce website for free. Unlike cloud web builders, you download the platform and set it up on your computer, then you must find and pay for a hosting provider and domain name. Try WordPress and its famous five-minute install, or use a hosting provider to do all the setup for you. It may take a little more work to install, but the payoff of using these platforms can be huge.

2. Help is always there

Platforms like Drupal and Joomla are used by people all over the world to build millions of websites, so the power of community is on your side. If you need tech support, you have access to endless video tutorials, forums and how-to articles to help you solve any problem you may encounter.

What if you decide you want the functionality without the responsibility? No problem. Developers all around the world are experienced with these platforms; it’s easy to find someone to build and maintain your website for you. You’re never without help.

3. The possibilities are endless

Thanks to open-source contributors, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal websites can be made to do just about anything. Choose from thousands of free or paid plugins, themes, and designs to make your website stand out.

Nuts and bolts

When choosing your e-commerce website builder, make sure to plan for the growth of your business. How much can you afford to pay for your website design, subscription, hosting, and domain? Do you need a simple, clean design that a site builder can manage? How much do you plan for your e-commerce store to grow? Larger websites with additional features may find that WordPress and Joomla to work well for them. Smaller boutique e-commerce shops might find that Weebly or Wix are a better fit.

All of these site builders and content management systems work perfectly with Ecwid. Many platforms offer their own limited e-commerce options, often for a higher monthly rate and additional transaction fees. But nothing compares to the power of Ecwid’s simple and compatible e-commerce plugins. They offer boundless customization options, secure transactions, and a feature-rich product management dashboard. Best of all, Ecwid is free to use, and it offers additional features at affordable pricing that scales to the size of your store.

With Ecwid, you can achieve the best of both worlds for your e-commerce site at a much lower cost.

Key Takeaways

When you’re ready to start selling products online, the right Ecommerce website builder and platform can make all the difference. To recap, here are the most important things to look for when you’re getting started:

  • Flexible subscription-based plans scaled to need. We want everyone to feel confident and know how to sell online easily, so we offer options for every level. Just a few products online per month with no plans to grow your business? You can post up to 10 products to sell online per month with our no-cost way to start selling online. Seasonal spikes in sales? Adjust your membership subscription monthly as needed.
  • User-friendly experience for both you and your customers. Don’t sacrifice your ease of use, particularly inventory management, in favor of easy checkout for your customers. Both are equally important.
  • Versatility to meet current and ongoing needs. Especially if selling online isn’t your primary business or source of income, it pays to use an Ecommerce platform that can easily change and evolve to meet your changing needs.

If you still have questions about how to sell online with the right platform for your individual needs, you should feel free to reach out to the sales team for answers. Well-run Ecommerce platforms staff knowledgeable representatives ready to answer any questions before you make a purchase decision. We are no different. If you’re still not sure that we are the right solution for you, reach out to our sales support team.

Want to know more? Read on!

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So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
Easy to use, affordable (and a free option if starting off). Looks professional, many templates to select from. The App is my favorite feature as I can manage my store right from my phone. Highly recommended 👌👍
I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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