The first step to starting an eCommerce business is deciding what products you’re going to sell. Finding a profitable idea can be hard work, so be prepared to do some serious digging and thinking. It’s essential that you choose products with healthy margins that will allow you to turn a profit and scale the business in the future. Once you know what you want to sell, you’ll need to decide how and where you’re going to source the products. The four main methods of sourcing products and inventory are making, manufacturing, wholesale and dropshipping.
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As hard as it might be to believe, there are over 120 different shopping cart software platforms out there, and they all have their place in the market. We should know, after all, our work is to test them all out. And we've been doing that … a lot. So far, we've covered each of the top platforms in individual reviews plus created a comprehensive comparison chart looking through the most crucial traits of each platform. We've also ranked all platforms based on their SEO effectiveness.
To start an online business it is best to find a niche product that consumers have difficulty finding in malls or department stores. Also take shipping into consideration. Pets.com found out the hard way: dog food is expensive to ship FedEx! Then you need an ecommerce enabled website. This can either be a new site developed from scratch, or an existing site to which you can add ecommerce shopping cart capabilities.
Another way to analyze popularity is to tie it in with where customers are going when they leave a certain ecommerce platform. The reason this is interesting is that it gives you an indicator of which of the companies have kept up with technologies and made improvements to bring in additional customers. A quick market share search on Shopify shows that the Shopify company is gaining most of its customers from Bigcommerce, Big Cartel, and Volusion. Bigcommerce is still stealing some customers from Shopify, but it used to be the number one place that people would go after Shopify. We assume it's because of the Bigcommerce pricing.
Site123’s pricing model is simple: you can get started for free, with 500MB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth per month, as long as you don’t need to use your own domain name (free sites are hosted on Site123 subdomains). However, you won’t be able to engage in eCommerce until you upgrade to the Premium plan. For $9.80 per month, a free domain is included for one year, you’re provided with an ample 10GB of storage and 5GB of bandwidth, Site123 branding is removed and you can sell as many items as you wish.
BigCommerce is most easily compared to Shopify. Both platforms offer a similar experience when building an ecommerce platform. Like Shopify, BigCommerce offers a range of prices and packages tailored to different types of businesses. The platform is highly customizable if you are comfortable with some light coding. It is also possible to use themes and templates to build your website, but some of these will come at an additional cost.
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