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Choosing the Right e-Commerce Platform for Your Business

One of the toughest decisions when creating an online store is deciding which type of platform, and more importantly, which company is right for you. The bells and whistles that can be added to your online store have grown exponentially since the early days of the internet.

The first step in setting up your online store is deciding which solution will best suit your needs- SAAS (software as a service) or hosted. SAAS is most easily explained as a service that you use, while hosted is a product that you own. Why exactly does this matter? Because though the two have similarities, such as technically being stored in a cloud, depending on what your intentions for your online store are, there is usually a front runner.

Hosted solutions are often more expensive and time consuming. They allow the owner of the store to have complete control over the content of the site and how it appears. This solution was most apparent in the early days of internet shopping, specifically the 1990s. As a result of hosted sites operating separately and not off a third-party’s software, the site’s pages can require a fair amount of bandwidth. Every online store that is hosted is treated as an individual customer and as a result has a store that’s not based off a template. These sites require a lot of hands-on maintenance and software updates must be conducted in-house. One perk of a hosted solution is that all of the content on the website belongs to you and can easily be moved around, which is not always the case with SAAS.

SAAS is more prevalent online today. For a monthly fee, an e-commerce company will provide you with the tools to set up your online store in as little as an hour. Users are not responsible for software updates, as the e-commerce company will provide an update to all of their customers. All of these customers run the same software for their online stores, but they have the option to customize via templates. Support for your store is available at all levels, and issues can usually be fixed quickly by a developer. In a nutshell, SAAS is a streamlined process to get your online store up and running.

So which SAAS provider is the best out there?

Bigcommerce

Home to over 50,000 stores, Bigcommerce offers unlimited bandwidth on all of their plans. With monthly plans ranging from $34.95-199.95, Bigcommerce offers over 100 free design templates to choose from. When you sign up they also offer a $100 voucher for Google Adwords. If your focus is selling products online, there is an abandoned cart feature, free for packages over $79 a month. This allows you to run a report and automatically email a customer about returning to your site. Customers can then be enticed with coupon codes to return and complete their purchase.

All of Bigcommerce’s plans offer unlimited products. One of their biggest perks is that they do not charge a transaction fee. Their interface is user-friendly and is a great option to get your e-commerce store up and running. They have a lot of advanced tools available that are included in the monthly fee. Bigcommerce also has more intuitive and simple Admin control panels.

Volusion

With 40,000 stores currently, Volusion is a cheaper alternative for your ecommerce store. Their cheapest monthly plan is $15, but they limit the number products that you can sell. Their introductory plan, the mini, caps a site’s bandwidth at 1GB and only allows 100 products to be sold. If you have a store on eBay or Amazon, you are able to integrate either one, provided that you aren’t on the mini plan.

Shopify

Another option for your ecommerce store is Shopify. Providing their services to over 90,000 ecommerce stores, Shopify has over 100 modern and visually appealing templates to choose from, but not all of them are free. Premium templates range from $80-180. One of the biggest selling points of Shopify is that their themes are fully responsive, meaning they will format correctly no matter the device that the client is viewing from. Other awesome Shopify features including more detailed preinstalled analytics, the ability to build more than one navigation bar, the ability to have certain content to publish at certain times, the free card reader feature which allows you to process credit card payments anywhere, and all the advanced tools (product recommendations, etc) that are available if you pay for them.

Magento

Part of the eBay inc company, Magento offers three different options, Go being the best option for small businesses. If you have a store on eBay, Magento offers the best store integration, but if you’re targeting your clients on Facebook, you aren’t able to add a tab on Facebook to your store. If however you are targeting clients who speak different languages, Magento allows you to create multiple versions of your store in different languages.

Whichever ecommerce solution you decide is best for you and your company, remember that Scriptilabs is here to offer creative solutions in marketing your brand online. From organize SEO to social media, we are here to help! 

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