Starting an e-commerce business isn’t very difficult, thanks to modern platforms and services | Source: Pexels

Getting your e-commerce site off the ground

HAVE you been thinking how about how you can extend the reach of your business and sell your products online?

Wondering if the e-commerce model will work for your small business?

Excited about the idea of selling your products online but don’t want to pay an agency to set up an e-commerce site for you just yet?

For small businesses, especially in the Asian marketplace, these are natural questions.

After all, statistics suggest that global retail e-commerce sales are set to reach US$4.5 trillion by 2021, retail e-commerce’s global spread has made international sales non-negotiable, and the center of e-commerce has moved to Asia, dwarfing both North America and Europe in comparison.

If you, too, have had these questions on your mind, Tech Wire Asia is here to help you. The solutions we propose allow you to give e-commerce a shot without compromising on quality or investing too much time or money.

Shopify

On its website, the company claims that it powers more than 500,000 businesses who have sold goods and services worth more than US$45 billion on its platform.

The platform offers templates to build your site, an easy system to upload your products and manage your inventory, a place to host blogposts explaining the raison d’etre for your site, and a way to accept payments for what customers buy.

What users love about it is that it’s just as simple and easy to use for beginners as it is for those with advanced skills.

Shops hosted on the platform are also quick to load, suggest user reviews, which is key to retaining customers when they visit your website.

Here’s the experience you should expect: go to the website with a credit card and your business registration handy, sign up, choose a template, create your products, upload relevant images and product description, and voila, your site is ready. Job done!

What you should expect to pay: Anywhere between US$29 to US$299 per month (you also pay a transaction fee on every sale on this platform, typically between 2 percent and 0.5 percent depending on your package)

BigCommerce

Designed to suit anyone from entrepreneurs to enterprises, BigCommerce is popular among those who want a custom website tout suite and are willing to invest some time into it themselves.

It’s like Shopify but with a more ‘grown-up’ feel to it.

A plethora of templates are available to help you build your site, some of which are free, and others paid.

And although using a template might cause your e-commerce site to look just like another, you’ll get a responsive, mobile-friendly website without keying in even one line of code.

Here’s the experience you should expect: Sign up, buy a template, use a set of tools to customize it, add your products, go live.

Although it might seem like an over-simplification, there’s almost this gamification soft of experience that keeps you engaged and moving along the ‘shop-creation’ process.

What you should expect to pay: Anywhere between US$29 to US$249.95 per month (no transaction fees)

Big Cartel

Targeted toward artists, designers, and musicians and other creative people, Big Cartel has helped more than a million makers to take part in the e-commerce revolution.

Designed to make life easy for independent professionals, Big Cartel not only offers a bunch of exciting templates but also allows users to try their hand at HTML/CSS if they’d like to tweak the look and feel of their site.

Further, Big Cartel is easy to manage on a phone or a tablet. Setting up and selling online is almost a breeze.

It’s as simple as it gets. They also offer integrations to help automate things on your new e-commerce site.

Here’s the experience you should expect: Sign up, set up your site, tweak it on the go using your tablet or mobile, and you’re all set to go.

What you should expect to pay: Free, if you’re going to list less than five products, else anywhere between US$9.99 to US$29.99 per month (no transaction fees) to list up to 300 products.






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