It’s no secret that the Internet has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
WIth powerful, affordable tools available to help you do everything from reaching new customers to managing your inventory,
a small business on even the most modest of budgets can potentially enjoy the same levels of success as those big name brands with countless reserves of cash to spend.
This is especially true when it comes to selling your products online by building your own eCommerce website.
Though this may sound complicated, expensive, and more than a little time consuming, in all actuality, quite the opposite is true. There’s a wealth of dynamic eCommerce software solutions available online. The best part? They cost much less and are far easier to use than you might think.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a look at just some of the options available for creating your online store without having to invest in the services of a pro web developer.
No discussion about building an online store the easy way could really begin anywhere else other than with Shopify.
It’s one of, if not the, most popular eCommerce platforms on the market, and for good reason.
Packed full of simple-to-use tools and a range of customisable options making it possible for even complete novices to build a fully functional online store that not only looks impressive, but provides everything you and your customers could need to make and process purchases, Shopify has earned a reputation as the driving force behind many of today’s web-based retail sites.
At it’s heart, lies a rich, vibrant community of other small businesses owners who are always happy to answer questions and help you along if you find you’ve hit a roadblock somewhere in the design process.
With plans starting from as little as just $29, it’s certainly one of the cheapest on the market, though not quite as much as our next solution.
The Magento Content Management System (CMS) is designed specifically to provide an easy approach to managing your online store. It’s open source, which means you can download and install the whole package for free. In some cases, you don’t even need to do that. Many of the cheapest hosting packages come with one-click installation for services like Magento, making the whole process even simpler.
Magento is highly customisable, with a broad selection of extensions to help you do more with your online store, and comes with a user-friendly interface to help you do everything from processing orders to keeping tabs on your inventory, analysing your most popular products and more.
At time of writing, Hostgator offered a basic package with one-click Magento installation at an introductory price of just $3.96 per month.
WooCommerce is actually a plugin for the well-loved WordPress, and since both are open-source, you can again get up and running without paying a penny.
Ideal for those taking their first tentative steps into online commerce, it’s also flexible and adaptable so that as your business grows, so too can your website.
Along with the basic features required by any web shop, such as shopping carts, payment handling and order tracking, you also get a lot of additional tools to help you run marketing campaigns, generate analytics reports, and even configure tax settings to make life easier for your customers.
Having more in common with Shopify than with the likes of WooCommerce and Magento, BigCommerce’s success lies in its reputation for offering outstanding customer support and detailed, yet uncomplicated tutorials to help you set up shop and launch your site.
That said, those tutorials and ongoing support may well come in handy. Though this is definitely one of the most robust eCommerce solutions around, it isn’t the easiest to get to grips with.
Still, if you can get past that, a BigCommerce plan, starting from only $24 provides exceptional value for your money.