This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business via ShivarWeb
Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business can be challenging, especially when you consider the variety of options available. By doing a little reading and research before committing to a website builder, you can make the best possible choice for your small business.
Summary – Best Website Builder if you want…
Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free trials available.
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We’ll discuss all of the factors you need to consider when choosing an e-commerce website, including what features to look for from a website builder. And after you’ve perused our tips and tricks, you’ll be able to confidently select the best e-commerce website builder for you and your business.
To help you come away with the best possible chance at finding the e-commerce site builder that works for you, we’ve provided an in-depth look at everything you may need to think about before laying claim to a domain.
Not all website builders allow users to host an unlimited amount of products. Some have inventory maximums that can potentially limit a business’s commerce.
Understanding how many (and what kinds) products you can advertise on your website can help you choose an ecommerce builder that works best for your business.
If you work with a small amount of inventory, or products that are constantly changing, you may not necessarily benefit from using a website builder that offers infinite inventory options. However, if you intend to list hundreds of items (or more), springing for the unrestricted inventory space can be a massively beneficial move.
Because website builders often offer multiple pricing plans, you may be able to select the precise features that work best for you and your business without spending extra on unwanted functions or apps.
Always be sure to check for inventory limits on your favorite building plans, and while you’re there, also check commission fees.
Some ecommerce website builders may charge commission fees on products sold online, typically at a percentage of the total cost of the item. Though this is a small price to pay, it does accumulate over time, especially for businesses that find sudden or rapid success.
Business owners hoping to diminish profit losses of any size or amount may want to choose a website builder that charges zero or minimal commission on sold goods and items. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the cost of commission is negligible when compared to other types of common costs, including shipping and handling.
Still, it is crucial to be aware of potential commission losses when deciding on a website builder. It’s also essential to become familiar with different pricing plans.
The cost to own and run an e-commerce site varies based on the exact services provided. Many website builders offer a wide range of potential plans, each with a monthly or annual price. The free or low-cost plans tend to be the most basic and feature the fewest options, templates, or capabilities.
However, that doesn’t mean that a basic e-commerce site isn’t a valid option. The perfect e-commerce website builder for you is one that meets your needs, doesn’t go over budget, and allows for future expansion. When it comes to pricing, it’s often better to start with the less costly, simpler plans.
You can always choose to upgrade to a more comprehensive plan in the future, and you won’t be paying extra for features you don’t want or need. Besides, starting with a low-price plan allows you a little time to try a website builder.
You could have a feature-packed, unlimited inventory, affordable builder but not understand how to use it. Having a little time to practice with a site builder can help you discover how right it might be for you and your business. This can prevent ease-of-use issues that might develop later on down the line.
Ease of Use
An ecommerce website builder that is confusing or difficult to master can feel endlessly frustrating. If you’re not comfortable with a builder’s design or user interface, you may end up needing to hire a web designer to help you finish your site. This is an additional cost that can help you arrive at a better final product, but it’s not completely necessary.
The best e-commerce website builders for small businesses are easy enough for anyone to learn and use. They don’t require excessive HTML knowledge or design experience. If your preferred website builder is giving you a headache every time you attempt to work with it, it’s probably time to consider a different service.
Some website builders allow users to experience a free trial period, while others are a little less accommodating. If you’re new to e-commerce website building, it may be helpful to try several ecommerce builders and see which one works best for you.
Trial periods typically last anywhere between seven days and a full month. Most allow users to explore basic features or plans, with the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive range or plan in the future. Choosing to engage in trials can ensure that you invest in the best e-commerce website builder for your small business.
In addition to the factors laid out above, there are also a few features to keep in mind while browsing through e-commerce website builders. Inventory options and commission percentages are vital, but it’s also wise to keep an eye out for specific, potentially helpful features.
For example, website owners can benefit from having access to tons of templates or design options. Individuals interested in an e-commerce site can also benefit from using a website builder that allows clients and customers to utilize multiple popular payment options.
Let’s explore some of the most crucial features to look for in an e-commerce website builder. Doing so will help you decide which features to focus on, and which you can live without.
When website builders offer dozens or hundreds of design templates and options, users can customize their site and make it unique to their brand. Rather than wishing that your cookie-cutter site had a little more flair, you could quickly and easily make it yours with the help of pre-set templates and design features.
If you enjoy the creative aspect of website design and creation, you’ll definitely want to choose an e-commerce website builder that allows you to express that creativity. Some builders may also allow users to upload music (and sell it on the site), videos, and photography.
With the right blend of media and inventory, you can attract the right clients and customers to your business. Of course, it also helps to have multiple payment options available for patrons to use.
When a customer is ready to purchase a product online, they must choose among a wide range of payment options. While credit and debit cards are fantastically common and familiar, there are several other payment options that are quickly becoming just as popular.
For example, while debit cards and major credit cards are generally accepted everywhere, alternative forms of payment like PayPal can provide greater accessibility to a wider audience. Many e-commerce sites opt for payment plans, too, so consider whether those options would be beneficial to your consumers.
Staying ahead of the curve means embracing “the new,” and website builders must stay competitive with their payment options if they’d like to attract the most customers and clients. Restricting payment options to standard debit/credit can be harmful to a small business.
Opening up your payment options can help you reach a greater variety of customers and clients, resulting in more sales and a boost in your audience’s reach. If you’re not familiar with some of the newer payment options, you may want to reach out for a little support and guidance.
When you’re building a website, you might occasionally run into a few trouble areas or issues. It’s normal to have questions or require a little technical support from time to time.
However, not all website builders offer 24/7 assistance and chat support. Some customer and client support systems are massively lacking, resulting in slow results for both users and customers.
Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business often means choosing one that offers consistent and reliable technical support. Always check to see if your preferred builder offers anytime-anyplace support, or if they require more rigid reporting to help solve issues.
Though technical support might not seem like a huge deal before you invest in a website builder, getting stuck with poor support can be a huge detriment to the site-building process. It can also lead to feelings of frustration that inhibit you from finding success online.
Starting a website doesn’t have to be a time-consuming challenge, especially when you have the right information at your disposal. By taking the time to educate and prepare yourself before committing to a specific service or builder, you can increase your chances of success.
The following tips and tricks may help you expedite the website building process, find the best possible e-commerce builder, and save a little money.
Compare Your Options
Before you decide on a website builder for your small business, it’s wise to take a moment and compare all potential options, their prices, and their features. Though this particular process might take a little time and forethought, it can be significantly beneficial.
Getting to see all of your choices compared against one another may help you choose the option that is best for your budget and preferences. You can even use Excel spreadsheets to help you gather and organize your information.
Choose Zero Commission
Whenever possible, always choose the lowest commission. While this might seem like an obvious tip, it’s entirely possible to forget about commission percentages when you’re busy comparing pricing plans and additional features.
Always double-check your preferred plan’s commission fees before making a final decision or payment. You may be thankful that you saved yourself from paying 5% of every sale toward the website builder or hostsite. Additionally, it may be wise to try as many free trials as possible before committing to a specific website builder or plan.
Try a Free Trial
If you can take advantage of a free trial, you should. Not only will you be investing zero capital to try out a potentially advantageous website builder, but you’ll also get to change your mind with absolutely no risk. Starting with a free trial can help you avoid buyer’s remorse as a result of a poor builder choice.
To make matters even sweeter, most website builders that offer free trials also allow users to upgrade those trials to full-fledged paid accounts at any time. So, if you find something that you like and you’re interested in getting a little more from it, you can turn that free trial into a long-lasting smile.
The Next Steps
Now that you’re aware of which factors to consider and what features to look for, you can select an e-commerce website builder that’s ideal for your small business. Taking the time to consider potential inventory limits, commission payments, and the long term costs associated with an e-commerce website builder can allow you to choose an outstanding-quality service.
Focused on something specific?
Choosing website builders that offer plenty of attractive templates, payment options, and customer support features can help your new site reach audiences and keep them coming back for more.
But overall, comparing your options and trying several potential builders is one of the most effective ways to find the best service for your business.