After working online to build estores for both my companies and those of my client’s, I’ve tried quite a few different solutions. Of them all, I exclusively use these TWO. You can use other platforms, but I don’t recommend it.
eCommerce Solutions for Small Business I ACTUALLY USE
Unlike a lot of the “best ecommerce solution” lists you find online, these recommendations come from someone who is actually using them RIGHT NOW to generate sales online. While I do develop stores and products for my clients, my experience comes directly from my own online companies. I make these recommendations because I use them myself.
Here are the two solutions that I have exclusively used over the last few years to directly generate hundreds of thousands of dollars of sales online.
WordPress with Woocommerce
Everyone should know about WordPress at this point. It is an open source website creation tool that is used by companies both large and small to manage content. I have personally used it to create hundreds of websites, and while there are some drawbacks, it is the safest way to build powerful website platforms (especially for Content Marketing, which is my favorite type of marketing).
By setting up a WordPress website (not a WordPress.com website which is totally different) and installing the Woocommerce plugin, you can get your website up in short order. The basic Woocommerce plugin is completely free, however, it has a lot of limitations that require “upgrades” that you can actually live without in most circumstances. It does take some work to set up if you’re not familiar with WordPress, and it will take some time if you want to accept payments from anything other than Paypal, but it is extremely easy if you know what you’re doing.
Shopify is an ecommerce solution for small businesses that has some major advantages. It is extremely user friendly to set up both the store and the website itself. All components of selling online from shipping to taxes to accepting all forms of payment to categorizing your products to affiliate program set up are very easy.
With that said, it costs more off the bat than the Woocommerce solution and you’ll be paying every month for it whether you’re making sales or not. Even so, if you don’t know anything about website design, Shopify is the way to go.
Which eCommerce Solution Should You Choose?
The eCommerce solution you choose really depends on your situation. How many products are you selling? How will you be managing shipping and customer service? How much are you currently selling? How much do you realistically expect to sell online? How are you marketing your website?
All of these questions need to be answered. Here are my eCommerce solution recommendations based on a few key questions.
Who is Setting Up Your Store?
If you are setting up your store yourself, GO WITH SHOPIFY. That’s it. That’s the answer. You can have a professional store in no time with very little stress. Chances are that you’re going to be doing everything yourself and your time is better spent marketing your website instead of setting it up.
If you are hiring someone to set up your estore, you can go with either solution. In most cases, hiring someone to set up a WordPress Woocommerce store will be cheaper (it could be as little as $500-$1,500 depending on the number of products). Hiring someone to set up Shopify is possible, but you’re better off just learning to do it yourself.
How Many Products are You Selling?
If you are selling less than 5 products, you can go with either solution. If you already have a WordPress website, adding Woocommerce will be really easy and cheap. If you are selling more than 20 products, I recommend WordPress.
Who Will Be Managing your Store?
If you are going to be managing the estore directly, go with Shopify. If someone else is going to be doing it for you, go with WordPress Woocommerce.
How Much Are You Currently Selling?
If you have zero sales and the estore is a half-hearted venture, testing with Shopify is a good idea. Set up will be fast and you can see if there is a demand prior to spending lots of time working on the website. If you’re selling a ton and you know that the demand is there, you can go with either eCommerce solution, but you’ll probably have more growth potential with WordPress Woocommerce.
How Are You Marketing Your Website?
If you are planning to generate your traffic through organic means like Content Marketing, you need to use WordPress Woocommerce. If you are planning to have a marketing budget for things like Facebook Ads, Adwords, or Amazon Ads, then Shopify is the answer.
Ready to Choose Your eCommerce Solution?
Great! You can set up your WordPress Woocommerce solution for about $60 by setting up hosting through Siteground.com (that cost will include your domain name and 12 months of hosting). You can set up a Shopify store for free for the first 14 days allowing you to see if you like it or not, then you’ll be paying as little as $29 a month plus 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
Still Don’t Know Which One to Choose?
If you still don’t know which direction to go, contact us! We’ll provide a free 20-minute consultation and you can ask any question you want. Click Here to schedule your consult.