Ready to take your business online and put your products up for sale? Good for you. If you can get the ball rolling quickly enough, hopefully you can be ready in time to be part of this year’s Black Friday shopping spree in the coming months ahead. Stats show that 2015’s Black Friday had more people shopping online than at traditional brick-and-mortar stores!
After you have your domain, it is time to put a website on it. For those that have been looking at different web designers, you’ll see that it can be a costly investment. Most likely thousands of dollars. But with the rise of website builders offering online store integration, business owners can have their entire stock ready for sale,pretty quickly. And with by using a website builder that has drag-and-drop features, building out how you want your pages to look becomes doable without needing to know a line of code.
The hardest part in getting your site up will be in choosing which website builder to go with, because the options are a plenty. Not sure what to look for in seeking out the right website builder or platform for you to create your shop? Here are 6good questions that will help to narrow the choices down for you.
1. Are there transaction fees for processing purchases?
Each online website builder will have their own method for processing fees. Some have no processing fees so long as you choose their “business” or “e-commerce” monthly payment plans. Make sure to inquire about this and about how you can get your processing fees to zero. Even a 1 percent transaction fee can add up over time.
2. What type of payment methods do they allow?
Some website builders only allow PayPal payments, while others include PayPal + a select number of other options. If most of your target audience prefers credit card payments to PayPal transactions, find a website builder that allows for that and do your homework on if you’ll need a merchant account in order to do so.
3. Is their platform compatible for mobile users as well?
It is very important that your site looks good on mobile devices. Now that there are more mobile users than desktop users, sales originating from mobile devices are on the upswing as well. Make sure the platform specifies “mobile friendly site” or “responsive site”.
You can also take a look at how the various website builder stores look on a tablet or a smartphone. Not all website builders customize mobile stores to the same extent. So if customization is an issue for you, be sure to read the fine print about how much you’re able to adjust a store when viewed on a smaller screen.
4. Does it allow for download or digital file selling?
Want to sell a recipe, an audio file of a song, or a podcast series? You will need an e-commerce store that allows for download or digital file selling. Not all platforms have this ability. Make sure to double check for this item on the feature list.
5. Do you need a point of sale system?
If you have a physical location and are going to create an online store for it. There are some platforms that can keep track of inventory for both at the same time. For example, Shopify can do this. But not all website builders offer this capability. So again, be sure to look at the feature list of the e-commerce builder you are considering to make sure it aligns with your needs.
6. What’s your budget?
Setting up an e-commerce store using a website builder will cost, but it doesn’t have to put you in the red. Fancier features + more optionswillgenerally equal a higher monthly payment. For example, Advanced Shopify comes in at $299 a month. Whereas a straightforward set of basic features can be as low as $8 a month.
Statistics tell us that 90 percent of startups crash, quite often to cash-flow problems. So it is important to make sure that you strike a good balance between getting the features you want and staying within your budget. You can always start off with a lower monthly payment plan, and then move up to a higher plan with more features as the need arises and your sales increase.
Website building software can do much of the heavy lifting for you and help you bring your products to a larger consumer base. One of the hardest parts about getting your store up and functioning as it needs to is finding the right platform for your needs. But with a little research beforehand, you can find the right platform that will make sure you’re on the right track. Remember…Well begun is half done!