eCommerce is growing larger as a sales channel and is quickly taking over the retail industry. If you have a business in 2017, I wholeheartedly recommend you sell online. According to Bigcommerce, 96% of people have made an online purchase in their life. In most instances, I don’t believe in bandwagoning, but in this case, you don’t want to miss this bus! If you aren’t selling your own products online then you may be missing out on potential sales. And we don’t ever want that!
Now let’s backtrack. What exactly is e-commerce? E-com, or the technical term electronic commerce is defined as “Commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet.” To classify as an e-commerce site, you must sell any physical or digital products and/or services online.
At this point, if you don’t have an online store, I’m sure you’re thinking “okay, this has to happen, now how in the world do I get started?!”. The great news is, with the internet comes thousands of options, you can even enable your customers to buy online with your current website! Adding eCommerce to your current website can typically be done three different ways: installing a plugin to your current site, adding buy buttons from a third party provider or by using a shopping cart software.
Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin that adds an e-commerce store to your current WordPress website. During setup, you will be led step by step on how to add the essential pages to your website and creating your first product. While the setup is easy, additional setup and maintenance for your Woocommerce website have a bit of a learning curve.
If Woocommerce looks like a good option for your website, ensure smooth transitions be sure to:
Keep your website up to date
Check your current theme’s compatibility with Woocommerce
Please note that Woocommerce is best if you have a small number of products that you would like to sell. If you plan on having more than 10 products, you may find it difficult to scale and add more products.
Woocommerce itself is free to use but you may incur fees with each upgraded function. You can view the different available Woocommerce Extensions here
The next way to add e-commerce to your existing website is using a shopping cart platform such as Samcart. Samcart is a web-based software that adds check out pages for your products. Samcart only allows for you to add a checkout per each product instead of adding a shopping cart and checkout pages. Much like Shopify, Samcart has the ability to sell physical, digital and service products. You can sell virtually anywhere by adding your products via a link. You won’t have an “online store” or a place where your products are live unless you create a product page on your website and link to each of your products. One advantage of Samcart is the available integrations to a member site, email marketing, payment providers, and custom landing pages from purchases.
Unfortunately, you can not expand Samcart’s functionality; what you see is really what you get.
Shopify Buy Buttons
Shopify is a complete e-commerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. I love that Shopify gives you the option to use their “buy buttons” without having to set up a complete online store. These buttons are powered by Shopify and allow you to add e-commerce to your existing website. Adding buy buttons to your new store is as simple as copying and pasting a line of code into a page on your website. All of your products will be hosted (learn more about hosting here)with Shopify and your store will be open to selling via Facebook Messenger, Pinterest, Amazon, and other sales channels. Unlike Woocommerce, you are not limited to products and you can add unlimited items, variations, and product types (physical, dropshipping, digital or service).
Shopify also makes it even easier to create additional products for your existing WordPress, Squarespace, or Tumblr website right through the Shopify dashboard.
To get started you would need to have or start an account with Shopify for a monthly fee of $9*. Although Shopify is not free like Woocommerce, you will have all the functions of Shopify without the commitment of an online store. With their extensive app store, they have options for expanding functionality that start at $0.
Choosing What’s Best For You
When choosing the best way to add an e-commerce solution to your site, there are three important things you should keep in mind no matter what platform you decide to use:
Be sure whichever solution you choose functions well with your existing website.
Is it affordable? Does it add a financial-burden?
Is it more convenient or more time-consuming?
Does it add to your customer’s experience?
Always keep in mind. The goal is to make you more money. When choosing an e-commerce option, It may seem feasible to take the cheaper option. Make sure the platform you invest in saves you time and streamlines your processes. This will allow you to generate more revenue and add value to your business and your brand.
What are some of the things you’ve learned in your e-comm journey?
Let me know in the comments!