How to Choose an Ecommerce Platform


But all that is needed is really a good idea and a strong will to succeed!

We all have different prior knowledge, but despite that I am convinced that you have the conditions required to succeed!

Here you will find everything you need to know if you want to start an online shop online.

If you know someone who has experience of starting an online shop, it is good to ask the questions you are thinking about, otherwise it can be good to look for a mentor with experience that you can ask.

Otherwise, there is a lot of information on the internet.

Keep in mind, however, that some of the advice you receive may be good, others less good.

Before you pay dearly for something, consult with several different people who are knowledgeable in the field so you do not have to make mistakes and get the right knowledge about what is really worth spending your money on.

Just a few years ago, it was tricky to set up your own online store. Today, the reality is different.

There are a number of really sharp platforms fighting for dominance in the global online market.

The technology used today by the leading e-commerce solutions has also become both better and more accessible than ever before.

At the same time, the prices for the best platforms are so pressured that anyone who even has a small budget can successfully set up a world-class online store!

If you have never created an online store, I recommend that you take an authentic and well-composed e-commerce course.

Then you get the expertise in what you need to think about to succeed with your e-commerce.

A good course certainly costs a little money, but should be seen as an investment that is well worth the money and that can be crucial for you to succeed.

Go to the summary of this article

1. How to start an online shop? Choose the right online store from the beginning

Maybe you know entrepreneurs who have already started their own webshops? Think about it and do not be shy.

Get in touch and ask people you have in your network for their advice and experiences.

Also search for information online but make sure the information you are looking for is still up to date – E-commerce continues to grow and develop.

Products and processes that were hot a few years ago are replaced over time with new systems and quickly become obsolete.

To be successful as an online entrepreneur, it is important to always be at the forefront and embrace the latest trends and technical solutions that are available.

My absolute most important advice when you get started is to have a well-crafted business plan.

You should define and understand your needs. I also recommend that you take help and advice from someone who has experience in e-commerce.

The easiest way is to take a really good e-commerce course that is intended for your country or the market where you want to operate.

Different platforms are good for different types of business. My tip is that you first define your needs.

Then you should go with the best available on the market for your specific needs.

Today, the price is not as crucial as before – you get access to even the best e-commerce solutions available on the market for basically the same cost as the simplest systems with poorer functionality.

2. Create Best Webshop based on your needs

I sometimes get questions about what type of online store I think is best?

Sometimes my answer can vary depending on the type of business it is about and what phase you are in.

Overall, I think you should go with a complete solution that has everything you need in one place, for example Shopify. Shopify is not only one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms on the market.

In addition, Shopify is now well established in the market. Shopify’s training partner, you can also get all the help you need to quickly and efficiently go live with a successful online store.

Here I have tried to define the most common needs and which platform I consider to be best for each need:

Need 1: Startup that does not yet have a website.

The webshop itself is the core of your business strategy. With this business model, you typically want the best complete solution available on the market.

I recommend Shopify which is one of the largest and most well-established platforms in the world.

The platform is used by both startups and some of the largest and most successful e-retailers in the world (Tesla, Nestle, Red Bull, General Motors, etc.)

First, the fixed price is low. Instead, Shopify charges a percentage of your sales.

This means that even if you have low sales, the cost of using the product will also be low in proportion to your sales.

In this way, you can still offer your customers a fantastic shopping experience, but at a relatively low cost.

In other words, this is a good pricing model even for small companies with lower sales.

In recent years, Shopify has dominated as one of the leading platforms on the market by ensuring that the functionality available is constantly being developed and upgraded.

Today, they offer their users by far the largest selection of apps.

Many of the largest and most successful companies that sell online choose to use Shopifys platform.

A big reason for Shopify’s popularity is because the system has all the functionality you could possibly need.

For really large retailers, there is also the opportunity to integrate Shopify’s POS etc.

Pros:

  • They have a good reputation and give your customers a good shopping experience. They also guarantee a high level of security and an attractive layout.
  • Webshop free for 14 days. If you are not satisfied, you can easily unregister as a customer and then do not have to pay anything. It is easy and safe to unsubscribe from the free subscription. The e-store is fully integrated with all major payment solutions that are supported both in America and internationally.
  • Complete solution – You can focus on your business and trust that the supplier delivers a smooth customer experience with even a high degree of service to you as a customer. You have everything in one place and do not have to tailor your own processes and systems.

Cost:

USD 0 for the first 14 days. ca. USD 8.5 / month – If you decide to continue as a user after 14 days.

Need 2: You want a blog or website for commercial purposes.

This type of business model and need is slightly different from alternative 1 above.

The added value you give your customers does not primarily consist of what you want to sell in your online store.

For example, if you want to start writing about fashion, exercise, diet or show your pictures, movies, art or music.

Then your need is most likely different than, for example, a startup.

Your business model can then be described as attracting your followers and readers with interesting texts, media and information that you publish on your blog or site.

When your site starts to grow and more people visit your site then you want to be able to sell products or memberships to your readers.

This business model typically suits companies and popular freelancers who build trust by entertaining or stimulating their audience with information, news or tips and ideas.

In this case, I think you should get a complete product where you can give your visitors the best experience in the form of images, text and aesthetic added value.

For example, if you want to blog about fashion, yoga, food or whatever – then you want to be able to use the best layout and most visually appealing platform available.

At the same time, you want to be able to easily connect to an e-store when it’s time for it.

I then primarily recommend Wix which is a good blog platform for beginners.

With this product you can easily connect to a professional webshop that is fully integrated with your blog to offer your visitors to buy your products online.

Pros:

  • No cost: Start blogging and writing without having to pay any fees. When your site grows and you want to introduce products for sale on your blog then it is easy to connect to an integrated and professional online store. (You will have to pay for the online store, but the cost is low and you can easily stop using this additional functionality if you regret it for any reason.)
  • Beginners or Professionals? Even if it’s the first time you blog or make a site, your results will be outstanding. When you have become more professional and experienced, you can expand with more functions etc. Wix has everything – Both for professionals and beginners.
  • Focus on soft values. You get visually appealing templates to choose from and your site will be both aesthetically pleasing and perceived as professional by your target audience.
  • Ease of use is in focus. No technical knowledge required. Comes with drag-and-drop functionality.

However, if you want to set up a professional website that you then integrate with a webshop, you should choose one of the best systems for websites.

Need 3: Expand existing site with an e-commerce platform

In this case, it may be smarter to choose a system that you can easily connect to your site.

I do not recommend choosing any of the options above (Needs 1 and 2). If you get a new complete solution even though you already have a site then you will need to migrate data to the new platform.

It can of course be an option if you are at least considering changing platforms (because you are not happy with the existing solution).

If, on the other hand, you are happy with your existing site and only want to link to one product, I think you should look for other solutions on the market.

For example, if you already have a WordPress site, then you do not have the same need for a complete solution.

I think you should check out WooCommerce. It is the largest and most well-developed e-store available for WordPress.

You will be offered a more flexible solution that typically suits WordPress users.

WordPress as well as WooCommerce requires that you have basic technical knowledge to succeed.

Pros:

  • Free to download and use (Just like WordPress) You can set up a webshop where your customers have their own accounts with logins.
  • You can give all users different user rights and Smart integrated mobile apps.
  • Via the WooCommerce REST API, you can get a quick overview of order history, stock status and customer data – you can, for example, call customers or send emails directly to them, etc.
  • With WooCommerce, you get access to more plugins and features than any other comparable platform. WooCommerce is the most flexible solution on the market.

Cost: 0 USD

Need 4: Create and sell webinars and digital products.

To sell so-called electronic products that are, for example, downloadable or possible to take part in via, for example, a subscription or membership are becoming more common.

Many also choose to “stream” videos or use “gamefication”, quizzes and webinars to educate via a platform.

This need requires a completely different type of e-commerce platform than the options I wrote about above.

Shopify, Wix and WooCommerce etc. are all intended to sell primarily physical products.

Of course, it is also possible to sell digital products via these services, but you get much better value by using a learning platform that has been developed solely to sell digital products and training.

Here are a handful of alternatives that are really good.

My main advice is to choose some of the services that are among the best in the world.

These include: Learndash, Podia and Thinkific, of which I would personally choose Thinkific in almost all situations.

  • Thinkific – A complete solution that gives you everything you could possibly need. Quizzes, videos, downloadable diplomas, points, individual coaching with your participants, etc.

  • Podia – Reminiscent of Thinkfic but is not quite as advanced in terms of functionality, design and compatibility (with other systems that you may eventually need to integrate with your webshop).

  • LearnDash – This is an “add-on” or “plugin” that is best for those who want to create and sell their webinars or other type of training via WordPress. A big advantage is that you get a much greater flexibility with WordPress than with, for example, Podia or Thinkific. The downside is that you will need to invest more time and if you do not know WordPress, then you should probably avoid this option.

Buy goods for an online store

Although it is much easier and more efficient to run an online store than a physical store, there are clearly various problems that you need to think about even before you start.

You have probably already thought about products that you believe in and where you can find your own niche.

The question now is how to solve the logistics? There are a variety of solutions and suggestions here.

Starting your own online store means that you will have a lot to stand for.

You will negotiate with suppliers, buy in, market your products / services and much, much more.

For this reason, many contractors choose to have as little as possible to do with the logistics themselves.

Many newer companies simply choose to outsource logistics to a third-party logistician (TPL or 3PL). That way, they can focus on marketing and your actual online sales.

You should develop a 3PL strategy at an early stage.

Examine what there are options on the market and define within which geographical boundaries you intend to sell within.

If, on the other hand, you have a narrow range with only a few products, it may be worthwhile to take care of the logistics in-house.

Another solution is Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). This means that you sell your items via Amazon’s platform, but that Amazon is responsible for the logistics themselves.

You can sell on Amazon’s platform without having your own online store or sell via your own webshop and via Amazon’s website.

An even perhaps even more interesting logistics solution is the so-called dropshipping.

This means that the supplier takes full responsibility for the logistics. You simply need to market and sell the product in question and you do not have to think about logistics at all.

As soon as you have sold a product in your online store, the supplier takes over and sends the product directly from their inventory to the customer.

This is a smart solution where you minimize the risk of stocking products that do not sell.

Drop shipping has become a popular solution for e-retailers and especially startups to test new products in a market before buying and stocking.

Requirements spec when choosing a webshop

I think you should design a requirements spec.

Are you responsible for a larger company’s e-commerce and looking for a platform that fits your business model?

Then you should produce a more comprehensive requirements spec or contact an external consulting company that can help you with everything from developing and defining requirements specs to procuring the right system and in some cases also implementing and setting up the system for your company.

It is not uncommon to work with consultants and specialists.

Hiring and using consulting companies can, however, cost a lot and you should be careful to ensure that you only take help for certain limited parts of the process.

Also check out the top competitors and company pages that exist in the industry.

There are definitely other consulting firms that are even better at helping you choose e-commerce solutions based on the needs you have.

Are you looking for the best free webshop?

If you want to find a good solution for your startup and have a relatively tight budget.

Then it is common to start from searching for the absolute cheapest alternative available on the market.

Be careful, free is not always best!

My advice is to be wary of commercial platforms that are marketed as completely free. If you are serious about your business idea, choose the one that is best for your business.

The cost of choosing a really good platform should be seen as negligible in this context.

You will not have to sell many products to cover the cost of your platform. Not even Wix, which otherwise offers its users free packages to start a blog, allows users to use their webshop for free.

The product is simply too good and advanced to be given away for free.

If you are unsure of which platform to choose and do not want to tie yourself up.

Then, on the other hand, you can choose a platform that gives you a free trial period or a satisfaction guarantee.

When I register myself as a new customer, regardless of product (web host, online store, blog platform, etc.), I always ensure that I can cancel the subscription free of charge.

Shopify, which is seen by many e-retailers as one of the absolute best online stores on the market, you can try for free for 14 days.

If you choose to continue using the platform and have a relatively low turnover (for example if you are a startup), the cost for Shopify lands at approx. 8 bucks / month.

If you have already set up a website in wordpress, you can join WooCommerce – it is actually the only completely free solution that is really completely free.

One difference with WooCommerce, however, is that you will have to pay for many of the apps and services that you download for your web shop.

Count on hidden costs if you choose a free online store

In conclusion, expect that your own webshop will cost a small fee.

You should also take into account that the cost increases with increased sales (applies to basically all systems I know of).

It is possible to argue that, for example, WooCommerce, which is a standalone system that is connected to WordPress, does not cost more with increased sales.

But what usually happens when your online store grows in sales, customers, products, media, etc. is that you will have increased needs. I therefore recommend that you think twice before registering as a free user with, for example, StoreDo.

You will want to use features (plugins) in your online store that your platform provider will charge a fee for.

If you choose a complete solution (type Shopify), you will need to upgrade to a more expensive service package as your needs grow.

When it comes to WooCommerce, you can say that you yourself will need to expand with a better and faster service plan for web hosting and buy new functionality (plugins).

In general, WooCommerce is cheaper and you have a greater opportunity to decide exactly what you want to pay for.

The complete platforms, on the other hand, have standardized packages and it is more difficult to get away with only paying for the programs you need.

Summarize

  • The e-commerce platforms that are marketed as completely “free” should be wary of. Either there are hidden costs or the platform in question is of poor quality. Instead, choose a good platform that you can test for free for a limited time.
  • To choose the best platform that suits your business model, you should set up a business plan where you specify your needs. This will make it easier to make a smart choice that you will not regret.

The most common needs I have defined are the following:

  • Startup – You start from scratch and will lay the foundation for your business. You do not have a current company page or online business that you need to migrate, etc. Then you should choose a complete solution. In my opinion, the best platform is Shopify.
  • Are you a beginner? Then you should take a complete course that gives you everything you need to know to succeed in your e-commerce in the best way. This applies regardless of which service you choose to join.

  • Do you want to create a blog or website for commercial purposes? – You want to get started with, for example, a blog or website that you think will attract many visitors. Maybe you are planning to write about fashion, Yoga, exercise, food, etc. You want a product that is extremely easy to use and that quickly gives you the best results.
  • You also want to be able to connect to an online store when your site is mature enough. I then recommend Wix. It is the best complete solution you can find for your needs.

  • If you have an existing Website and want to expand with a webshop. You are probably pretty technically savvy because you have already set up a website. If your existing site is a wordpress site, then I recommend WooCommerce. It is a free product that has extremely many programs and plugins that you can choose from. Of course, there is a cost for several of these programs if you choose to download and use them.
  • Sell via Amazon FBA. This means that Amazon stocks and manages the logistics for your products.
  • If you instead want to create and sell an education online, then you should use an LMS.

Conclusion

Hope I have been helpful, good luck!

I also found this youtube video that you should consider watching, its more a quick review of everything:

Kevin

Hi, my name is Kevin and I am a weightlifter, now part time blogger. Keep in mind that I dont have any fancy degrees or operate some high-end business company. I am just a dude from Sweden who loves to learn new things, especially new things on how I can inqrease my wealth. And now I have the opportunity to share that knowledge back to you.

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