Start an Online Store: If you want to start an online business. A FAQ we get from our friends and website visitors is “How to Start an Online Store?”
Learning how to create an online store can be a daunting task. We know what it feels like since we were in his shoes just a few years ago.
We wanted to create an online store to start a parallel business with the dream of growing it into a full-time job. But when the time came to start, we had no idea where to start!
These are just a few questions (among many more) that overwhelmed and virtually paralyzed us as we tried to move forward and take decisive action:
- Should we use PayPal? What other options are there?
- How should we set the price of our products?
- What colours should we use for our brand? What about the logo?
- What domain name should we get?
- From where do we get clients? How do we use advertising?
- Do we need to hire a programmer/designer to help us?
- How to Start an Online Store?
The list goes on and on, and the previous ones are just a very small list of the questions that overwhelmed us.
Start an Online Store Easily
Now, we cannot tell you how to price your product or how to create your brand.
But we can tell you one thing based on our experiences, is that whatever your answers to these questions are, most of the time (for most companies) they will continue to change and evolve as your business grows.
So our first tip for you is, ” don’t worry about all the details .”
We know, we know, it is difficult.
“I have to have all the perfect details before I start …”
“Everybody tells me I have to plan everything before I start.”
We understand it and have been there. An online store (especially the first one) is a reflection of who you are, and therefore it has to be perfect.
But does it have to be perfect before you start?
What you should know is that you can sit and scribble with your pen for days and weeks, and things will never be perfect. Never.
Your strategy, products, everything, will change and develop as you grow, get feedback from your customers, try things out, and find out which ones work and which don’t. So, don’t worry about the details and get moving.
Get started – that’s the key to gaining momentum and ultimately achieving success.
We are not saying that those are not legitimate questions. They are very reasonable, but they are not questions that should stop you when you start. You’ll be able to figure out the answers to those questions as you go.
Which Builder of Online Trading Sites to Use to Start an Online Store?
What we can be of help in is sharing with you which builders of online commerce sites are available for you to create your online store.
After all, you need a website to get going, right? Once you have a store, you can then start collecting information, testing your ideas, and starting to make changes (if necessary) to grow your business.
The first version of your online store does not have to be perfect, just a store to start. Having a “primitive” version of your store is better than having nothing. So when you choose your builder, consider looking for one that is flexible and can grow alongside your business.
Before introducing some tools that can help you create your online store, we want to make sure that you know that these website builders are just tools. They are here to help you build your business.
Many people confuse their online stores with their businesses, but in reality, this is not the case. Your website is not your business. You, the entrepreneur, the “mastermind” are the business, as you are the driving force behind it.
We just want you to know that if an online store builder doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean that your business is going to die (figuratively speaking). You can always try another one until you find one that is as perfect as it can be.
So don’t let the worry of choosing the “perfect” website builder for your online store stop you.
1) Shopify (More than 150,000+ active online stores)
Shopify is one of the best online store builders on the market today. They are easy to use, have over 100 professionally designed templates to give your website a stylish and attractive look for a website, and provide 24/7 support.
One of the highlights of Shopify is its App Store that contains hundreds of additional tools that you can add to your online store when you’re ready, especially when your business begins to grow and expand.
Some of these applications are free, and others are not. But they are well worth it as these apps can help automate many of your operations such as inventory management, shipping, marketing, accounting, social media, etc.
Shopify already includes a host of these necessary tools on its core platform, but these are just additional tools that you can pick and choose from if you want, giving you great flexibility in the long run.
Shopify also has over 500 qualified experts who can help set up, design, or customize your store. You don’t have to hire them if you don’t want to, but they are there to help you if you need it, which does Shopify a complete service to help you create your online store.
Shopify has over 70 payment methods to help you process your sales. All of them integrated with Shopify. So you don’t have to worry about finding a perfect one yet. Just start building your store.
2) Bigcommerce (More than 55,000 active online stores)
Bigcommerce is another strong candidate to consider if you are asking yourself the question “how to create an online store.”
It is a direct competitor to Shopify, and they offer you more online trading tools than Shopify. Bigcommerce is well known for the breadth of its tools. So if you can’t find certain features in Shopify, you might be able to find them in Bigcommerce.
They offer some professional templates to dress up your store, and it also has an application store to help you “expand” the functionality of your online store if you need more tools.
If you need help modifying your store, creating a custom design, or even getting things ready, Bigcommerce has experts you can hire to help you do just that.
Bigcommerce is flexible enough to add more features and make changes to your store in the future in cases where you want to, whether you do it yourself or with the help of hired experts.
Bigcommerce has more than 60 forms of payment integrated into its platform, so you can find one that works for you.
3) Squarespace Commerce
Shopify and Bigcommerce are both powers in the world of online store builders. But if you don’t need all the tools and features and plan to create a more straightforward store, then Squarespace is an excellent candidate to consider.
Squarespace is not online commerce, but it does have a good set of tools to help you sell physical or digital products online.
You can have full control over product varieties, inventory management, coupon generation, shipping, sales tax, customer email lists, and other helpful essential tools to get you started and thriving.
Squarespace has always known for having very elegant, polished, and professional-looking templates. So if you want to look good and don’t need all of the online trading tools, it’s worth exploring.
If you need help or just don’t have time to create your Squarespace website, there are specialists you can hire. They can not only help you set things up, but will also help you customize the design, do some custom coding, or even provide you with complete packages of services (kind of like hiring your website creation and design team).
Finally, Squarespace is a cheaper option than Shopify and Bigcommerce (that is, if you do not need all the tools offered by Shopify / Bigcommerce).
4) Weebly eCommerce (More than 441,000+ online stores)
If you don’t need all the advanced features that Shopify or Bigcommerce offers. And you want to use a website builder which we think is one of the easiest to use. Then Weebly is a builder that you want to consider for creating your online store seriously.
Its drag and drop interface builder is easy to use. So the learning curve is much smaller than with other online store builders that we have reviewed in this article.
However, the downside, as mentioned, is that they don’t offer a complete set of tools, which is not a problem if you plan to create a more straightforward store.
You can create a store that offers multiple products. You can have a fully integrated shopping cart using PayPal, Stripe, or Authorize.net. So that your buyers never leave your site website.
Again, while Weebly isn’t that comprehensive when it comes to online trading features, it’s the easiest to use when compared to the other builders mentioned in this article.
If you don’t need advanced tools and want to set up a functional store quickly, Weebly is worth a look.
Conclusion- How to Start an Online Store
Learning how to create an online store is not a simple task. If you let all the little details paralyze you before you start an Online Store. But it can be much more complicated and stressful.
Rather than spend days agonizing and researching to inform ourselves. We should have started building our store and then addressing those questions as we went along. This approach would have saved us a lot of time.
With that said, we recommend that you take a look at Shopify, Bigcommerce, Squarespace, and Weebly. Each has its pros and cons, and we discuss them in much more depth in our detailed reviews:
- See Shopify
- See Bigcommerce
- See Squarespace
- See Weebly
Remember, there is no right or wrong constructor. Each will have its quirks. So it’s worth spending time studying them a bit. And then subscribing to maybe 2 of them and playing around with them for a bit. It is the only way to get a good idea of what works for you.
Don’t worry about knowing if each builder can do all the 2000 things they have in mind. Especially with Shopify and Bigcommerce. Solutions can almost always found as they are both very flexible platforms. And have experts to help you if you want to go down that path.
The key to starting a business is to launch it. Take action, create an online store, and then start modifying it as you go forward.
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