For many experts, this current pandemic presents an opportunity for aspiring business owners to start an online store website. With many people opting to stay at home to avoid catching the virus, there is a growing need for online shopping websites that can deliver products to customers so they don’t have to drive to a physical store. If you’re looking to tap into this growing industry, it’s important to start on the right foot with the right choice of online store builder.
The good news is that you don’t have to build your online store website from scratch. The key is in finding the right tools and online store builder to help you get your venture off to a good start. WIth thousands of website builders and ecommerce platforms competing for market share, you have a lot of viable options available and ready to support virtually any ecommerce business model you can think of. But how do you make the right choice? Here are some guidelines to think about.
Who needs an online store builder?
Before you start with your search, it is important to note that a web store builder addresses a specific need - the ability to set up an online store without the need for technical expertise in web design and development. It may not be suitable for everyone intending to build an online business. Here are some of the many instances where an online store builder might be suitable for you.
1. You are putting up a new business
If you’re planning to cut costs without compromising performance and function, a free webstore builder like Strikingly might be right for you. Website builders allow users to set up a site within minutes and with much less expense as compared to hiring a professional web developer to get the same job done. Most ecommerce platforms come with the basic tools you need to get an online store going - themes, payment gateways, SEO and inventory management among others.
2. You are a startup
Startups are expected to allocate their resources on ensuring the growth of their venture because of limited capital. A website builder is a cost-efficient solution because it provides an all-in-one package that enables brands to scale up as they grow.
3. You’re planning to turn your hobby into a business
Just because your ecommerce business is a side-hustle does not necessarily mean that you have to make do with a substandard website. Online store builders offer the convenience of transforming your hobby into a lucrative business by providing your customers with a seamless and simplified shopping experience.
4. You want to get into dropshipping
You will require an ecommerce platform that provides you with inventory management tools and a unique solution for handling suppliers and logistics providers.
Characteristics of the best online store builder
There are tons of website builders and ecommerce platforms available on the market but not all of them may be a good fit for your needs. Here are qualities you want to look for in a good platform.
1. It fits your budget
Budget is going to be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right platform for your web store. Website builders may allow you to put up an ecommerce website but this will come at a cost. If you are just starting out and you want to dip your toes into online selling, you may want to consider free services. Strikingly, for instance, allows you to create a single-product ecommerce store for free. This gives you a lot of room to grow without spending too much of your capital on the actual website.
2. The website templates available suit your preferences
When you’re building a brand, you need to think about the kind of image that you want to be associated with. Go with a website builder that provides you with a diverse variety of options for online store website templates.
3. It has to be user-friendly
Unless you have a background in web design and development, it wouldn’t make sense to go with a platform that comes with a steep learning curve especially if you’re going to DIY your own website. Choose a platform that is known for its intuitive website editor so you don’t have to spend so much time trying to figure out how it works.
4. Sufficient customization and extensions
Most website builders allow varied degrees of freedom to customize your site. At the very least, you want to be able to make sure your online store reflects your brand’s image. You should also have sufficient options in terms of how to present your products and content to your customers. Also, seamless app integrations to make a fully-functional website is important. You want to be able to add a secure payment gateway to your site so customers can complete their payments online. Other features to look for include SEO and inventory management tools.