With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, online stores are becoming more popular. They present a more convenient and - more importantly - contactless way of obtaining essential items without the need to drive to a physical store. In general, the current health crisis has presented an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to set up online shopping websites to address the needs of shoppers who cannot go to brick and mortar stores.
Having said that, your choice of online store builder can affect the success of your new venture. It’s arguably the most important element in your customer’s buying experience. It is not enough that you have a website that is good to look at. Your web store should also be functional, powerful, reliable and secure. How you set up your online store can spell the difference between closing a sale and customers abandoning their carts.
An online store builder lowers the barrier to entry for individuals who want to get into the ecommerce business. It enables them to easily set up their online stores even without web design and development experience. Some platforms even allow you to build a free webstore so you can try your hand at selling online without having to pay for the ecommerce feature.
With the wealth of options available, however, how do you choose the best online store builder for your business? Here are a few guidelines to think about.
Cost can vary greatly across different online store website builders so you need to consider how the potential monthly overhead costs of using a platform fit in your budget. If you are unsure about whether or not ecommerce is a good venture for you, you can consider building a free webstore using Strikingly. The Simple Store platform lets you grow your business from a single product venture to a multi-category online shop cost-effectively.
2. Time it takes to build the site
One of the best things about a website builder is that you don’t have to rely on a third party such as a web designer to get your site up and running. You basically have all the tools you need to build your own web store right at your fingertips. It’s important to understand, however, that even with DIY platforms, there’s going to be a learning curve involved. How steep a learning curve you can take depends on your own understanding of web design and development. Beginners will benefit from an online store builder that lets them set up websites without having to read or write code. An intuitive and user friendly interface is also good to have so you don’t spend too much time trying to figure out how to use the platform.
3. Template selection
The next thing that you need to look at when considering different options for website builders is template options. Even if you’re starting on a free account, you will still want to get access to a wide selection of online store website templates and customization options. Browse through the available templates on a platform to get a feel of whether or not their designs are working for you. Strikingly, for instance, gives you access to its entire library of website templates to help you decide on the best fit for your brand. If you feel that your chosen design isn’t working for you, it’s okay to switch to another template at any point during the development of your site and even after you have published your online store.
4. App integration
Online shopping websites require specific functionalities such as a secure payment gateway, social media integration for digital marketing and email marketing among others. The best online store builder will be able to support the tools that you want to use to run your web store. Strikingly features seamless app integrations with major payment gateway solutions such as Paypal, Stripe, WeChat Pay and AliPay to give you and your customers more online payment options. It also lets users add plugins and apps easily through its integrated app store to make it possible to build powerful and feature-rich websites without writing a single line of code.
5. Sufficient support
Finally, your online shopping websites will need all the help that you can get especially during the development stage. Having sufficient and reliable help through a detailed knowledge base and 24/7 customer support will come in handy.