In a world where entrepreneurship is on the rise and people are looking to sell their goods online, one of the biggest hurdles they face is actually building their e-commerce website. Creating a website is difficult at the best of times, but when it comes to e-commerce, UX and UI design is of the utmost importance.
Ensuring your online store looks modern and trust-worthy can make a massive difference in how your audience perceives your brand. For that reason, we will be looking at 5 of the best e-commerce website builders for you to try out and make your store stand out.
What Are Website Builders?
As the name suggests, e-commerce website builders allow users to design and build websites for selling products online. They offer numerous customisation options with an arguably simple UI, at least compared to the alternative of coding it from scratch.
There are a couple different benefits to going this route. Over typical web development, website builders are significantly more user-friendly, often to the point that minimal web development skills are needed. Likewise, they are just generally more easy to use.
Beyond the actual design and structure, there are other smaller, yet equally important elements they allow for. For example, the ability to create your own URL structure, support for apps and other customisations also help make the store you build unique for your brand. This in turn will help you attract the right audience to your store.
Ultimately, they make it possible for even smaller businesses to set up and create online stores. E-commerce website builders help to democratise the process, meaning that digital sales channels are no longer something only larger stores can offer and afford.
5 Of The Best E-Commerce Website Builders
With that out of the way, let’s move onto some of the best examples of online store builders that may work for you. There are plenty of options available out there, but these 5 in particular are worth your attention.
Shopify is one of the biggest names in the e-commerce development sphere. They built their fame on providing easy to use yet customisable building options focused squarely on e-commerce stores.
Not only do they offer a 14 day free trial, they also have experts at hand to help you build your store and get everything set up ready to launch. There are tools for marketing, point of sales and more on offer, making it more like an ecosystem of features.
However, once that free trial is up, you will need to start paying the monthly fees. The basic Shopify package is quite reasonably priced at $29/month, but it does cut out a lot of the better features growing stores will need. It also limits the number of admin accounts to 2, which can be particularly restrictive.
Shopify can be a great option for people starting out and testing the waters of online retail. It has plenty of features to get things off the ground and grow your audience. However, as you start to grow, the fees you will need to pay for the more premium plans will jump, leading to growing pains.
While Shopify is a big name in the e-commerce development community, WordPress is well-known to website developers. Supposedly around 40% of websites are built on WordPress, likely thanks to it being free and easy to work with. There is a thriving community of support that builds software on the platform, which is where WooCommerce comes into the picture.
WordPress is probably the best known blog/website builder, and WooCommerce allows users to add e-commerce functionality to that. Following the same principles, it offers a lot of freedom and personalisation options. It is well-suited for even larger stores, being almost modular in its compatibility with other plugins.
Being open-source, WooCommerce is technically free, as with WordPress. However, you will need to consider the costs of hosting your site, as well as any additional paid plugins you may need to use. So then, as it is essentially free, are there any downsides to using WooCommerce?
Well, while on the surface it is simple to set up, when you get down to optimisations and customisations, it can get quite tricky. Technical knowledge will definitely be required if you are looking to make your store your own. This is compounded by the fact that customer support is nowhere near as good as with dedicated e-commerce platforms like Shopify.
Squarespace can best be described as a drag and drop website builder, which is likely the easiest way to build your very own website. Starting at $18 a month (more on the pricing in a bit), what can Sqaurespace offer e-commerce entrepreneurs looking to get their start in the online world?
Looking at the positives first, it is definitely worth mentioning the many templates and designs that are available. There are many different options to make your online store look professional and, perhaps more importantly, mobile optimised. It also has the usual additional features such as in-built support services and more for a truly solid package.
When it comes to downsides, there are a couple to keep in mind when using Squarespace as your e-commerce website builder. For one, as easy as the website building aspect can be, it can be a bit tedious. There is a lot more manual input than you would expect for a drag and drop builder. It lacks an autosave function, for example.
There is also no free model, with even the entry-level ‘personal’ option (at $12) being limited in features. In fact, if you even want to consider offering e-commerce services, you will have to go for the second tier ‘business’ option at $18 a month. As such, Squarespace feels more like a standard website builder than an e-commerce one.
In the world of e-commerce development, Magento is perhaps the biggest name. Many major brands build their online store using this very platform, and it is easy to see why. More importantly for the topic at hand, it offers online store builder functionality, which is much friendlier for smaller brands.
Magento does what it does really well. It offers a highly-customisable platform due to its open-source nature. This allows you to, as they put it, own your narrative. Also, let’s not forget that Magento is backed by the might of Adobe, known for their creative range of products. The same is true for their suite of commerce services, which can be used to bolster the capabilities of your online store.
However, while it does look like any other online store builder on the surface, it requires in-depth technical knowledge, something only a dedicated developer could provide. This is something you would need to factor into the cost if you are not able to develop and code yourself, or get the most out of the customisability that makes Magento worthwhile.
Speaking of costs, Magento takes a more traditional, enterprise-like approach. That means you will need to get in touch with the sales team yourself to get a quote based on your project. It supposedly is based on your annual online revenue and starts from somewhere around $2,000 a month.
Clearly, Magento isn’t the do-it-yourself option for smaller stores, but in turn offers great potential if you have the scale to support it.
Tek Def’s E-Commerce Solution
What kind of list would this be without mention of Tek Def’s own e-commerce solution? Here at Tek Def, we have experienced teams that are able to guide you through the process of building your very own store from start to finish. Prices start from 990 THB a month for the startup plan, so what do you get in return for this entry price?
Our strengths are diverse, providing thorough advice on how best to set up and integrate your store across channels. This means using social media, marketplaces and more to reach your customers wherever they may be. By tailoring the design and content, we can also help you to make it more attractive to your target audience, and push them towards conversion.
Don’t forget that we are also well-versed in marketing, design and ad management, meaning we can offer further guidance on making your store a selling machine. If you go for the higher tiers, we can help you to run ads, optimise for SEO and build a brand identity, too. We can even work with you to set up your store.
While the initial set up is free for the lowest tier, you won’t be able to make any sales until you make a payment. This is a great way to see what your store looks like and make some tweaks before going live, but ultimately means you will need to break out your wallet, though that is a trend you can see for most of the examples here too. For our set up and marketing services, you will need to upgrade to the higher tiers too, so you will need to consider what will work best for you.
Choosing What’s Right For Your Business
As you can tell, there is no definitive answer on which e-commerce website builder you should be using. There are so many factors to consider, including budget, coding ability and more.
Shopify is well-known with great support, but can be limiting in the lower tiers they offer. Squarespace has plenty of nice looking templates to start off with, but things can get tedious and difficult the more you work on it.
Our own e-commerce service is simple to customise and integrate, and you can get direct support from us every step of the way. Of course, our free option is more for proof of concept, and you will have to pay to start selling. However, there is one constant between each of these options – Tek Def is here to help.
Get in touch with us today and we will work with you to start development on your online store right away. Our in-house team will help to customise and personalise your store to make it perfect for your customers.