If you want to start selling online, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about opening your very own online store. But how to do it? Should you use a ready-to-go ecommerce platform or create your own system? Or maybe there’s another way and a webstore won’t be the best solution for you. This is easy to say, but if it’s your first time — it won’t be that easy to answer.
Since ecommerce is the most common case, let’s first think how to start an e-shop. Some consider ecommerce systems as just for amateurs, but that is certainly not true. Of course amateurs use them and the biggest brands don’t, but the businesses in between make the biggest part. What should they do?
The simplest way to deal with such dilemmas is to put down some pros and cons and check whether they clarify anything or direct our way of thinking.
- It’s easy There are many platforms that are easy to set up and offer most of the mechanisms you will need. Since these systems are popular, you can expect a lot of solutions to common problems or any other issues that may come up.
- It’s extension-friendly Most of such systems have some sort of extensions, add-ons or modules — mechanisms that allow to add functionalities by simply installing a plugin. This may mean something as simple as a widget in a sidebar, or a feature a bit more fancy, for example connecting with your payment provider.
- Limitations If your expectations or ideas do not fit the common ecommerce models, you may not be satisfied with such platforms. They offer common functionalities and satisfy most needs, but may not be enough if you want to put your original ideas into action.
- Not quite professional We can’t really say that Amazon, Apple Store, or Zappos use such platforms, can we? These are big (and I mean really big) players — they not only need dedicated solutions, but also care about their image. So the question is: who are you? How do you want to be seen?
So what’s the conclusion?
Unless you already own a big brand or have substantial funds, you should probably go for an ecommerce system. For starters, it’s surely a good (and in many cases — the only) choice. Let’s face it, there aren’t many alternatives when you cannot afford expensive dedicated systems.
Of course there’s also the “look like everybody else” aspect — you may be just a beginner, but wish to look professional. Fortunately that’s easy to overcome. Set the platfom up properly and adjust the design. It’s not much work and will make your store look really good. Possible costs won’t be too high and the effect should be more than sufficient.
You’ll be asking yourself the very same question in the future and considering changes. But this is a completely different topic (and deserves another blog post). It all depends on how you’ll run and develop your business, whether you’ll stick to what you do or try to expand, create brands etc.
photo source: Free Digital Photos