Small business owners work hard to build their businesses and attract customers – and if you’re a small business owner who isn’t putting your company’s services online, you’re missing out on so much potential.
Of course, getting your business or products online is only the first step. Once your business is online, there are additional challenges, like getting your products noticed, attracting customers, and standing out amongst the millions of other businesses and websites. And that’s where an e-commerce software can help significantly.
E-commerce software is designed to help small businesses gain more attention online. With these software options and platforms, you’ll be able to get better visibility online, be found by customers, and make your business run smoothly.
What Is an E-Commerce Platform?
An e-commerce platform is a software or technology product that allows business owners to build storefronts online. It’s like taking your brick-and-mortar store and replicating it online – and with many e-commerce platforms, you’re able to seamlessly connect your on- and off-line business practices.
E-commerce platforms typically include a website, a mobile app or store, social media pages and accounts, customer service, and your physical business location or office. And e-commerce software makes it easy to sell your services or products online.
As Oracle NetSuite¹ explains, an e-commerce platform removes the need to purchase extensive software and services to get your business online; today, a single e-commerce platform or software can handle every one of your business needs, from managing orders placed in-person and online to expanding into new countries or products to inventory management.
An e-commerce platform or software can help you achieve the following:
Deliver Innovative Customer Experiences: With mobile apps and unique online storefronts, an e-commerce platform can make your business stand out from the millions of others found online. E-commerce platforms can make your website a seamless experience for customers or even introduce them to a new way to interact with your brand.
Boost Sales: Getting your business and your products in front of more people online will result in more sales. And because e-commerce software and platforms make it easy to offer products in every online format (including mobile), you can expect higher conversion. As eMarketer² reports, mobile e-commerce sales make up 73 percent of all e-commerce sales, showing you just how huge the possibilities are.
Unlimited Expansion: With the ability to pursue innovative models for your business, like subscription products, a mobile app or store, and even streaming media, there’s unlimited potential for your small business. You’ll be able to easily introduce and grow new areas of your business, offer products in unique and new ways, and you can continue reaching customers via entirely new possibilities.
The Best E-Commerce Options for Small Businesses
Of course, just like your customers have millions of businesses to choose from online, you as a business owner have many different e-commerce platforms to choose from. Here are some of the very best, used by different businesses around the world.
Shopify is one of the top e-commerce options available for business owners according to Inc³. Shopify is innovative, letting you customize your online presence and seamlessly allowing customers to shop right from their phones. You can combine this e-commerce platform with plenty of helpful online tools, including Facebook and other social media sales tools.
Most importantly, Shopify is easy to use. It can help business owners who aren’t very tech savvy get setup online in no time. And you can adjust your Shopify services depending on your budget and your business needs.
If you’re hoping to scale your business and reach entirely new heights, Magneto could be the perfect e-commerce option for you. An open source website platform, Magneto is popular with business owners because it allows you to scale and is highly reliable according to Inc⁴. Business owners can completely customize their website and online store, and you don’t have to pay much to get a lot out of Magneto’s services.
Magneto does come with one complication: you’ll need to be a programmer or have experienced programmers on your team. You’ll have to rely on programming skills in-house in order to handle the more technical side of this e-commerce platform.
BigCommerce is one fantastic e-commerce solution for small business owners who need to get their company online without dealing with any technical details. Inc⁵ notes that BigCommerce is perfect for those who struggle with coding, plugins, and the challenges of actually designing and managing websites. With the ability to launch your online storefront and manage its operations with built-in features, BigCommerce makes turning to e-commerce easy.
BigCommerce offers a few free themes to help you differentiate your business online, and there are even more options for paid subscribers. You can still access plenty of customization options to help your store be identifiable for customers and easy to shop.
Find Deals On E-Commerce Platforms
With all of the benefits offered by e-commerce software or platforms, it’s no surprise that many business owners choose to pay for upgraded services and features. However, even the most popular e-commerce options offer one thing in common: free services.
Many e-commerce platforms allow business owners to get started online entirely for free. You’ll be able to choose from limited customization options, and some features may not be available without a small fee, but you can get started and try out an e-commerce service without having to subscribe to a monthly or yearly price.
So, if you’re ready to take your business online, make sure you do your research first. Try out a few popular e-commerce platforms for free, using their free trials or free software options. And make sure to compare what’s offered, whether or not these services meet your needs, and if they’re worth paying for in the end.