Once upon a time, eCommerce was an option reserved only for big companies with massive budgets and plenty of products to sell. These days, eCommerce applies to just about any size company, including startups. Even if you only have a few products or services to sell, eCommerce is ready to help make it possible. You even have options if you’re a startup that is just now getting on your feet.
Thing is, which eCommerce platform is the right choice for startups? Given how many options are available, you might think that choice would be incredibly difficult to make. But there are ways in which you can pick the best fit for your business. It’s only a matter of knowing how to analyze the offer.
But before getting into that, it’s important to answer an essential question.
Why do you need an eCommerce solution?
Do you want to sell products online? If the answer is yes, you might need an eCommerce solution. However, that answer isn’t enough to define whether you start an online store or not.
You could certainly sell products online without a true eCommerce platform. You could easily build something from scratch (if you have the development team for it). That, of course, would take considerable time and effort. And even though building from the ground up could ensure you get exactly the features you want with seamless integration into your existing website, the effort might wind up not being quite cost-effective for a startup.
So, if budget and time are an issue for your company, the logical option is to turn to an eCommerce solution. By doing this, you gain the following benefits:
- 24/7 business so customers can purchase from you any time.
- Far lower startup cost than building from the ground up.
- Global reach, so customers can purchase from anywhere.
- Increased brand awareness and trust.
- Customer data insights.
- Personalized shopping experience.
- Built-in customer support.
- Easier to meet modern demands.
- Mobile friendly built-in.
Think about it this way: You have turnkey solutions that can easily meet the eCommerce needs of your startup that work out of the box with very little work involved. That is a no-brainer.
What to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform?
There are a few things every startup must consider before selecting an eCommerce platform. When you first dive into this search, you’ll want to answer the following questions:
What’s the cost of ownership?
This isn’t just about dollars and cents but also the time involved. If you’re looking to get up and running as quickly as possible, you’ll want to find a solution that easily integrates into your current website and can do so with little coding.
What kind of flexibility do you need?
Can you deal with an inflexible solution, so long as it gives you just the features necessary? Or are you looking for a platform that offers tons of flexibility out of the box?
Do you want something that’s future-proof?
One reason to go with a known eCommerce solution is that they have been around for a long time so they are highly likely to be around for the foreseeable future. These solutions are in heavy development and are always making new releases available with new features and optimizations.
Do you need something that’s simple to use?
Not every eCommerce solution is built the same. Some platforms offer tons of features but have a rather steep learning curve. Other options have a shallow learning curve and fewer options. Which is the best fit for your immediate (and/or future) needs?
Do you need an omnichannel solution?
In today’s world, people are coming from so many different launch points. Because of that, you need a solution that offers options for social media, brick-and-mortar, mobile devices, and more. Don’t think of your eCommerce solution as being isolated from your website.
Do you need open-source?
If you’re looking to integrate several different platforms, channels, and pipelines into your store, you’ll probably need to go with an open-source solution.
Having answered all that you’ll be ready to tackle the final question: which solution is the best option for your startup?
The ideal eCommerce solution
Although there are other solutions available, with massive feature lists and global reach, one of the single best options for startups is WooCommerce. This open-source platform seamlessly integrates with WordPress, which is one of the most widely-used platforms on the planet. And although WooCommerce might only have a 29% market share, it’s important to know that WordPress powers nearly 43% of all websites around the globe.
Given that WooCommerce was built specifically for WordPress, it offers the single most seamless integration over any other platform. That means that getting WoodCommerce up and running can be done in minutes. There’s even a vast amount of third-party plugins for WooCommerce that make it possible to extend the feature set.
With WooCommerce you have two paths to success: You can either install it yourself (on top of an existing WordPress site), or you can go with a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. The biggest difference is the self-install option is free, while the SaaS route will cost you. But considering how easy WooCommerce is to install, the decision should be pretty easy for most startups.
WooCommerce includes features like:
- Global support community
- Modular system
- REST API
- Over 800 official extensions
- Custom AJAX endpoints and webhooks
- Simple-to-use interface
- Several payment gates
- Plenty of themes
- Product embedding
- User-friendly shopping cart
- User history
- Categories, tags, and attributes
If you’ve either started a new company or are looking to start one soon, and eCommerce is a must, you can’t go wrong with WooCommerce. As a simple to install WordPress plugin, this powerful platform will have you selling products and services in no time.