There are dozens of e-commerce solutions to help setup your online store. The challenge many companies face when looking to set up an e-commerce site is how to choose the most user-friendly and cost-effective solution. In this article, we will explain the difference between hosted and self-hosted e-commerce platforms and dig deep into the world of some most popular e-commerce solutions.
If you choose a hosted e-commerce solution for your next web design project, you will have to pay a monthly fee starting from $29/month for a basic package to $179/month for an unlimited package. In addition to providing you an online store and various payment processing options, hosted platforms generally include website builder, marketing tools, SEO, mobile optimization, hosting and more. However, you’ll have limited back-end functionality and web design customization options compared to self-hosted solution.
Self-hosted e-commerce sites can be fully customized which also makes them more complex and time-consuming. However, once a self-hosted e-commerce website is setup, you can add extra features and design elements to make your website reflect your business and will have complete control over your online property. These are the main reasons why businesses choose self-hosted e-commerce website design and development solutions.
Web Development | Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
Below, we highlighted the most popular platforms from each category and included a brief overview of each solution.
- Shopify offers 4 monthly plans starting at $29/month, which is consistent with key competing e-commerce platforms. There is a wide range of modern responsive themes to choose from. Some of the Shopify functionalities are as follows: blogging, SEO, integration with Mailchimp, discounts and coupons, the ability to edit CSS and HTML. Even though Shopify includes Content Management functionality, it is not as advanced as WordPress. Even though Shopify provides great custom themes and has the ability to be fully customized, the platform uses non-standard coding called .liquid.
- BigCommerce is a user-friendly hosted e-commerce platform that doesn’t require technical skills to set up a site and offers a wide selection of both free and premium themes. While Shopify provides over 900+ apps, BigCommerce includes only 100+ apps which might be comprehensive for a basic website. Some of the BigCommerce features aremobile optimization, SEO, payment gateways, marketing tools and analytics. One thing to keep in mind is that BigCommerce charges an extra 1.5% transaction fee for the Standard plan.
- Volusion excels in making sure the setup of your online store is done properly. However, Volusion has one downside – , if you exceed your bandwidth limit, the company will charge you extra fees per GB. Volusion offers free and premium website design themes, built-in SEO tool, coupon integration and flexible payment gateways. Volusion plans don’t include SSL Certificate (customer protection), therefore you’ll have to buy it separately from the website for $89 (1 year) or $149 for 2 years.
Web Development | Self-Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
If you are looking for a dedicated website design and development solution that will provide complete control over the site then you should use a self-hosted e-commerce service.
- WooCommerce is a free WordPress e-commerce plugin. It is easy to install and set up, The plugin offers a wide range of free and premium themes and extensions like coupons and discounts, order tracking, downloadable products, flexible payment gateways, SEO tools, Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin it can only be used with a WordPress site.
- Magento is an e-commerce solution with endless customization options, free and enterprise features. Some of the features are as follows: order management, product management, Google Analytics, payment gateways, . Setting up and customizing your online store with Magentowill take some time.
- Opencart is a simple solution to create an e-commerce site, and it is a ‘light’ solution, so there is not much space required for your website and database. Opencart has SEO tools, although theoptions are not as comprehensive as WordPress’. Besides that, Opencart doesn’t provide as much functionality as Magento or WordPress.
Website Design and Website Development: What’s Next?
Once your website design and online store is set up, you’ll need to make sure customers can find your website. This is where you need to integrate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media. SEO is defined as the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from the search engines by way of higher rankings in the search results. To optimize your SEO you should use keywords, rich SEO-friendly content, meta tagging and proper link building. Because Google constantly changes its search algorithms it can be hard to keep up with SEO. iRISEmedia has search engine experts who keep track of these algorithms and make sure websites are ranked on page 1 on Google and other search engines.
Social media has become one of the most powerful marketing mediums to help build an online presence. Social media has redefined how people discover and share information and gives your customers a more ‘’personal’’ experience. From social media contests and promotions to advertising, iRISEmedia can help create a social media strategy that will boost your online sales.
iRISEmedia.com is a Toronto digital media agency specializing in Website Design and Development, Social Media, Online PR and SEO. We service clients in Toronto, Ontario, the GTA and throughout Canada as well as globally.