If you’re making online sales, you’re going to want to implement the right-fit e-Commerce platform for your business.
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Whether or not you’re turning to a full-service marketing and web-design firm to help develop an online store for your business, you’re inevitably going to have to incorporate an e-Commerce platform into your website.
When it comes to defining your USPs as a small business, even having an online store qualifies as a differentiator—74% of small businesses don’t use e-Commerce, and 42% say that the internet is “not important to their business” (which, as we know, is simply not the case).
The numbers don’t lie. Over the past five years, e-Commerce sales have increased at a rate of 1.5% annually.
Understanding how your customers decide to buy is the first step, followed by the design and implementation of a digital strategy that will directly target their specific pain points. If you’re making online sales, you’re going to want to implement some strategic web design involving the right-fit e-Commerce platform for your business.
Shopify is ideal for basic, no-nonsense online sales. They have a wide range of packages ranging from $29 to $299, but even the lowest tier Shopify package, Basic Shopify, includes a long list of product benefits:
- Printed Shipping Labels
- Fraud Analysis
- Discount Codes
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
…and that’s not all. The list goes on.
If you’re looking for a little more somethin’ somethin’—namely gift cards, advanced report builders, and third-party calculated shipping rates—then you may want to spring for the standard Shopify or Advanced Shopify packages.
Bonus: HubSpot recently announced a Shopify integration that allows HubSpot users to sync their Shopify customers, products, and deals into their CRM. HubSpot even took it a step further, introducing pre-loaded workflows that automate certain sales functions, like abandoned cart email nurturing, new customer welcome, and customer re-engagement.
Magento is one of the biggest names out there in e-Commerce. They offer a number of pricing and package options depending on what your business needs.
Their two main platforms are Magento OpenSource and Magento Commerce. There’s an ongoing debate about which is the better option, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about how software savvy you are. (Humble brag: Our team has a number of tech experts that can handle pretty much anything we throw at them.)
Magento OpenSource is a free open-source platform, meaning you have full control over how you build, design, and deploy your online shop. If you’re trying to build a one-of-a-kind, custom e-Commerce site and you’re fluent in HTML, CSS, and other sophisticated coding language, then this is the <best-choice> for your business.
Magento Commerce is better for larger-scale businesses (that means you Ms of the SMBs), equipped with its own CMS, order management system, and content staging capabilities. If you’re already set up with a CMS like HubSpot, you probably won’t need the added capabilities Commerce offers.
Bonus: Eyemagine (Magento’s parent company) created a HubSpot integration that connects all of your consumer data and attributes from your Magento store (whether you’re OpenSource or Commerce) to HubSpot. The tool is similar to the Shopify integration at its core. You’re able to generate lists based on customer attributes (e.g. a list of your “VIPs,” those that have purchased similar items in the past, identifying lapsed customers, etc.). They also have a nifty tool that filters out which of your customers are qualified social media influencers with over 10,000 followers—which is key in a world of #InfluencerMarketing.
If you’re on WordPress, check out WooCommerce. They have a simple plug-in that allows you to seamlessly integrate your website with your e-Commerce platform. Not only can you keep your online store and your online presence in one place, but they offer hundreds of extensions that allow you to combine other business functions.
Sending out marketing emails? They have a MailChimp tool for that. Shipping products? Check out the UPS, USPS, and ShipStation extensions. Trying to extend your offerings to the world’s most popular online marketplaces? Fulfillment by Amazon can take care of it for you. Considering the fact that 42% of all online stores use WooCommerce, it’s a safe bet that they’ll continue developing added functionalities to streamline the functionality further.
Bonus: Arguably the biggest e-Commerce struggle is finding a way to create succinct financial reports to show your accountant that you mean business (pun intended). WooCommerce integrates with a long list of popular financial recording and reporting programs, including QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Xero. (Plus, you guessed it….HubSpot has an integration for that.)
Whether you’re looking to add an e-Commerce platform to an existing website or design a new online store from scratch, BigCommerce combines both a CMS and online sales platform to make a one-stop-shop for an online storefront.
With roughly half of all online product searches beginning on marketplaces, SMBs aren’t strangers to the online shopping behemoths—and BigCommerce takes that into consideration. They created a hub for omni-channel retailing, natively integrating with eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest and Google Shopping.
The bottom line: e-Commerce isn’t just about offering your own products on your website—it’s about offering your product to online shoppers as a whole. That’s not to say that an effective digital marketing strategy won’t help with brand enhancement, targeted sales efforts, and better SEO.
Bonus: BigCommerce recently partnered with JPMorgan Chase to integrate Chase Pay into its platform. That means that all 60,000 SMB clients can integrate a virtual wallet into their checkout page. Plus, HubSpot’s Revenue Conduit integration includes a preloaded set of 12 workflows, 13 smart lists, and 45 customer properties that align with online shopping reports.
If you’re in the digital collateral business—think eBooks, music, video rentals/sales—Selz is your go-to sales solution.
Selz is different from a lot of other e-Commerce platforms, which mostly only accommodate physical product sales and general online marketing. If you’re selling digital downloads, you need a very specific software that caters to all of the needs of a traditional seller’s online store. Selz provides the added intellectual property licensing, download securities, and limited sharing/access features you’ll need to sell digitized collateral.
Bonus: Selz has integrations for both WordPress and HubSpot, making it way easier to add a digital download product line to an existing store or website without having to manage two separate platforms.
There’s really no one-size-fits-all e-Commerce platform for SMBs. You’ll need to sit down and think about what capabilities your business requires, how you’ll integrate your online store into your CRM/CMS (if you have one), and how the size, shape, and price of your product will affect the way you sell and market online.
Here’s the bottom line (for your bottom line): If you’re interested in creating an online store, talk to the professionals that will help you generate leads, convert customers, and amp up your sales. As a team of marketing experts, we know all too well that an effective e-Commerce site goes way beyond your product page.
Be sure that your audience hears you, interested buyers find you, and customers can share your product.
Make your e-Commerce platform a catalyst for business growth by turning to the marketing masters that speak e-Sales.