In the past, opening an online e-commerce shop used to be a bit of a tedious process. Sure, there were a lot of software options and platforms on the market but they came at a cost, were cumbersome to manage to customization in terms of design, look and feel and the whole checkout process as a whole was a perhaps a little bit tedious.
That’s putting it politely. It was virtually impossible. Thankfully software has evolved and even a rank amateur can get a fully fledged e-commerce site up and running with payment processing fully integrated in a mere matter of minutes.
In this article we’re going to look at three of the best out of the box e-commerce solutions available on the market today. This is by no means an in depth look at the solutions themselves, more of a brief guide as to what is what in the hope that should you be considering setting up an e-commerce site or looking to migrate an existing one, this article will be of use. So, let’s get started with my personal favorite out of the box solution –
Magento is by far the best solution out there at the moment. Like most, it’s a regular PHP/MySQL app that holds an impressive 30%+ market share at the time of writing. It’s popularity is primarily down to its flexibility as well as its extensive feature list and wealth of theme and scheming options. It is also written on the Zend framework which in short means its well coded and built to last. Magento offers several flavours to suit almost any audience from the regular out of the box package to their community version which contains code edits from the open source development community. Magento have also launched Magento Go which really is a true fully solution as you don’t need to worry about setting up your own hosting for Magento, you can simply use their servers which makes an already easy to use application even easier for the novice. Magento offers everything you could come to expect from a market leader in e-commerce software with extensive product and customer management systems and a wealth of plugins and themes to perform virtually any function you can think of.
Shopify is a fairly well established brand in the world of e-commerce thanks to its consistency and ability to perform since 2006. At the time of writing it’s responsible for powering just under 250,000 separate online shops which means it most definitely does the job its intended to do. Just like with Magento, there are themes and plugins available for Shopify in abundance and it truly is feature packaged with its extensive website builder application and access to over 70 payment gateways. Shopfify also has fantastic options available for mobile so if you’re creating a store that is going to be primarily used by mobile/tablet users, you should definitely give it a look-in. What I find shopify does well is taking selling to the next level. As well as fantastic product and customer management you can also setup builds for drop shipping and fulfillment etc. A particular favorite feature of mine is the ability to market it. Shopfiy know what it takes to get traffic and the software is flexible enough to pad out your shop with site reviews and brilliant SEO customization techniques.
WooCommerce is an ever-popular solution amongst WordPress users brought to you by the guys who brought you some of the best looking premium WordPress themes a few years back and still deliver to this day. Another market leader with 30% of the market share, WooCommerce is said to power over 10 million online shops! Think about that for a second! You don’t get to that level of market share without knowing what your doing.
Part of the popularity is due to its ability to integrate with traditional WordPress blogs. So if you’d like to bolt a mini shop onto your blog or even sell a specific single product then it’s definitely the option for you. Like with all of the offerings from the major players, there are lots of themes to choose from and the product pages can even be integrated into your existing WordPress theme with little hassle. There are also some fantastic plugins for featuring testimonials etc to make your store that little bit better.
Performing The Switch
Not everyone is looking to setup a new shopping cart from scratch, some just like to try new things and wish to migrate. Thankfully, all of the platforms mentioned above over migration tools so any one store can be imported into any other store or platform with everything you’d expect in between in terms of merging etc. All of the software featured above will do anything and everything you could possibly want with regards to offering your product online, taking payment for such product and the management of your customers etc. The choice however, is yours.
Setting up an e-commerce site should no longer be looked upon as a somewhat daunting task. In reality, it’s as easy to setup a working Magento store for example as it is to setup a personal WordPress blog. On one you install software and write blog posts on the other you install software and add products. There is nothing complex or tasking at all when using any of the shopping cart applications we feature so dive right in and good luck with your venture into the every changing and fast growing world of e-commerece!