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Building an eCommerce Website from Scratch

Building an eCommerce Website from Scratch

Whether you just plan to launch your retail business or you have the one already and wish to give it extra online exposure, it is high time to create an eCommerce website. A visually-appealing and functional online store will not only make your products and services available on the web, but it will help you withstand niche competition and generate profit.

As soon as you launch a web store, you’ll notice the increase of customer base and the growth of sales. These two factors are interrelated and the better the performance of your eCommerce website is – the more clients will be eager to buy from you over and over again.

If you are not a web design pro, you don’t have many web building options to create an eCommerce website from scratch. The most suitable variants are CMS and website builders. Content Management Systems (CMS) are web-building programs, which have an extensive choice of tools to launch and manage different types of websites, including online stores.

These services are quite popular today, because they allow creating functional, well-structured and appealing websites that attract the attention of users and provide a wide array of options. CMS ensure convenient content publishing and editing features.

They also imply the possibility to enhance website performance by installing extra plugins compatible with the system, but this may require specific web design skills and knowledge.

Shopify – The Best eCommerce Platform to Build a Website from Scratch

Shopify - The Best eCommerce Platform to Build a Website from Scratch
Product Name:Shopify
Official Website:shopify.com
Complexity:Average
Free Plan:14 days trial
Premium Plan:from $29/mo
Founded:2004
Headquarters:Canada

Shopify – is the best, the most renowned and reputable eCommerce platform to build a website from scratch. The popularity of the software keeps increasing with every passing year, which is no wonder. Shopify delivers an amazing set of features and tools that allow for the development of full-featured projects. If you plan to run a large online store with multiple product cards and versatile eCommerce options, this service will certainly come up to your expectations and requirements.

Main Features

The software offers a broad spectrum of design customization tools, eCommerce features and web store management options users need to create feature-laden projects. The system works great for all types of web stores, but it’s definitely the best pick for large hypermarkets with hundreds/thousands of products offered for sale. Listed below are the main highlights of the service:

  • Point of Sale (POS) software, which allows selling products in online and offline modes;
  • Multilingual and multichannel support;
  • High end Augmented Reality feature;
  • Powerful integration and synchronization options;
  • Advanced web store, product and marketing management tools.

Pros and Cons

Shopify comes with an amazing list of advantages that make the system stand out from the crowd. Its rich collection of free, responsive and fully-customizable templates allows picking and editing any design to match your web store specialization.

The system also grants access to multiple product/web store management features as well as marketing and promotion tools. It also deserves special attention due to its high end integration and synchronization options, advanced safety parameters, anti-fraud tools and other features that are a must-have for any eCommerce website.

Apart from the long list of advantages, Shopify also has a few demerits that may somewhat puzzle its users. This mostly concerns the functionality of the system as it is a bit overloaded with eCommerce-specific features. This eventually complicates the website development process and makes the system a perfect choice for the creation of large projects. Thus, if you intend to start a small/mid-sized online store, it’s better to look for a simpler alternative that is easier to master and work with.

Cost

Shopify offers several plans to meet the needs of all subscribers. The cost of plans is moderate, while the integrated feature set can come up to any eCommerce requirements. There is the 14-day trial, which allows testing the functionality of the plans to the advantage to be able to pick the one that appeals to you most of all. Shopify subscriptions are as follows:

  • Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – blog connection, free SSL Certificate, abandoned cart recovery, sales channels, manual order creation, 2 staff accounts, fraud analysis, Shopify POS app;
  • Shopify ($79/mo) – gift cards, professional reports, 5 staff accounts, 1-5 store locations;
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – advanced report builder, realt-ime carrier shipping, 15 staff accounts, up to 8 store locations.

What’s important, the system does not charge any fees for the transactions made within the system. However, it still implies fees for the credit card transactions made during the shopping process.

Wix – Easiest Website Builder to Start Selling Online

Wix - Easiest Website Builder to Start Selling Online
Product Name:WIX
Official Website:wix.com
Complexity:Very easy
Free Plan:Unlimited
Premium Plan:from $13/mo
Founded:2006
Headquarters:Israel

Wix – is the easiest all-in-one website builder, which works well for everyone, who intends to start selling online with no hassle at all. The system is used to start different types of projects. Online stores are not an exception. The website builder offers powerful integrated eCommerce functionality. It comes with a distinctive feature set and advanced eCommerce engine, which allows setting up a small to mid-sized online store.

Main Features

Wix website builder impresses its subscriber by its high end functionality and strong user focus. The system comes with a set of integrated features that make it possible to start, manage, promote and update diverse types of online stores. It does not require coding awareness or preliminary web design background to launch projects with it. Have a look at the set of Wix features now:

  • Powerful eCommerce engine;
  • Advanced Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) tool and Standard Editor for all user categories;
  • Hundreds of free mobile-ready 100% customizable designs;
  • Wix Ascend – a convenient CRM system;
  • Integrated App Market with multiple eCommerce apps.

Pros and Cons

Wix system ensures simple and effective online store management process, making it possible to create and customize eCommerce websites, track order details, manage inventory lists, set product details, send notifications to customers etc. To enhance your product presentation, Wix allows creating and managing product galleries with full-size images and detailed descriptions. Finally, the website builder ensures safe payment options, taking care of the reliability and security of each transaction made in the system. Customers are offered to choose payment options that are the most convenient for them.

Speaking about the demerits, newbies may be somewhat puzzled when using the system for the first time because of its overloaded interface. The same is about the extensions available in the App Market. There are many of them in the catalogue, although, not all the widgets adhere to the required quality standards and require improvement. The choice of a suitable plan may also be a problem for a beginner as the system offers multiple subscriptions to pick from. Thus, the website builder doesn’t actually have notable disadvantages that can affect the result of the website development process.

Cost

The website builder has a free plan, which lasts for the unlimited time interval and makes it possible to explore the system’s functionality provided by default. As soon as you decide to proceed to the web sgtre development process, you’ll be offered several subscriptions to choose from. Have a look at them now.

Standard Wix Plans

  • Combo ($13/mo) – for personal use, ad free, free domain connection, free hosting;
  • Unlimited ($17/mo) – for freelancers and entrepreneurs, unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage space;
  • Pro ($22/mo) – for complete online branding, built-in Google Analytics, 2 hours of video storage space;
  • VIP ($39/mo) – for VIP project, first priority support, professional logo etc.

Business/eCommerce Plans

  • Business Basic ($23/mo) – acception of online payments;
  • Business Unlimited ($27/mo) – business development tools, business apps for entrepreneurs, eCommerce;
  • Business VIP ($49/mo) – complete Wix Suite, unlimited bandwidth and video storage space;
  • Enterprise ($500/mo) – end-to-end business solution that provides the highest functionality and maximum amount of tools.

The website builder frequently offers discounts and special offers. It also ensures the 14-day money-back guarantee, if there is anything a user is not satisfied with for some reason.

WooCommerce – eCommerce Plugin for WordPress

WooCommerce - eCommerce Plugin for WordPress
Product Name:WooCommerce
Official Website:woocommerce.com
Complexity:Above average
Free Plan:Completely free
Premium Plan:Paid extensions
Founded:2011
Headquarters:Worldwide

WooCommerce – is an open source shopping cart plugin, which was developed exclusively for WordPress. It is free to download and install, but you’ll need to pay for some features it offers to manage a WooCommerce online store. The plugin provides a rich set of features at affordable cost, which makes it popular with users. WooCommerce allows creating and running powerful eCommerce websites with advanced functionality. However, some web design skills and expertise might be needed to do that effectively.

Main Features

WooCommerce works well for small and medium online stores. It is highly customizable and can be easily integrated into any WordPress website. Having added it to your online store, you’ll see a brief, but detailed wizard that will help you get started effectively. Here is the list of WooCommerce features:

  • Mobile-optimized fully-customizable designs;
  • Advanced product shipping;
  • Geo-location support;
  • Handy product organization and inventory management tools;
  • Multiple checkout options and discounts.

Pros and Cons

The plugin offers a set of core features provided out-of-the-box a user gets for free right from the start. Some of them include mobile-optimized design, digital and physical product sales options, geo-location support, convenient product organization and inventory management, Search Engine Optimization, opportunity to create discounts and coupon codes, numerous checkout options, product reviews and more.

WooCommerce also offers convenient product shipping functionality that encompasses local pickup, flat rate shipping, overseas and local delivery etc. There is also an integrated automatic shipping calculator, which allows finding out the cost of order, setting the rates for different shipping areas etc.

When it comes to the development of web stores with WooCommerce, users may face challenges with template customization. The plugin recommends getting the free theme to those users, who have never dealt with the system before and need some practice. However, if your web design skills are on a good level and you are ready to start working on your online store, you can try using a WooTheme right from the start. This will reduce the amount of problems associated with application of WooCommerce updates to the website.

Cost

WooCommerce is a free open source WordPress plugin. It doesn’t charge any fees for installation, download or transactions made with it. At the same time, you’ll need to buy hosting for your WordPress website, domain name and some of the paid extensions and add-ons to get the most out of the tool. The best solution in this respect is to use Bluehost as the most recommended hosting provider. The cheapest Bluehost plan will cost you $2.95/mo, offering a free bonus domain name along with other benefits.

BigCommerce – The World’s Leading Cloud eCommerce Platform

BigCommerce - The World’s Leading Cloud eCommerce Platform
Product Name:BigCommerce
Official Website:bigcommerce.com
Complexity:Complicated
Free Plan:14 day trial
Premium Plan:from $29.95/mo
Founded:2009
Headquarters:USA

BigCommerce – is a specialized world’s leading cloud eCommerce platform, which works great for launching medium/large and powerful online stores. The system may seem a bit complicated for non-tech savvy users, but if you manage to master it, you will be satisfied with the result. Web design pros as well as users, who have ever worked with website builders before, won’t find the system too complicated and will be able to master it in a few days.

Main Features

BigCommerce has an intuitive and logically-structured dashboard, but it has many settings you have to learn in order to start working on your eCommerce website. The website builder offers multiple eCommerce options that can boost your online store performance. The list of the system’s highlights is provided below:

  • Social network synchronization (Facebook, eBay, Shopzilla, Beso etc.);
  • Advanced email marketing, product and inventory management options;
  • Free and paid responsive designs;
  • Multichannel support;
  • CSV product import/export.

Pros and Cons

The website builder offers multiple eCommerce options that can boost your online store performance. It makes it possible to trade via Facebook, which implies the installation of a free SocialShop 2 application, as well as at different well-known platforms, such as Shopzilla, eBay, Beso etc. You can also set up email marketing options, manage your inventory list, add and manage products, organize the return/exchange system, create gift certificates and ad banners, upload multiple products from CSV-files and perform other actions to make your online store functional.

As to the demerits of the system, there are no many of them here. BigCommerce cannot boast a rich collection of free templates, while the website set up process itself requires quite a complicated approach and time investment. What’s more, BigCommerce also has a more expensive pricing policy as compared to standard website builders and, thus, not all regular subscribers may afford using it.

Cost

The website builder allows testing the paid plan you are interested in for 14 days absolutely for free. After the end of the trial version, you’ll be able to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions. There are three of them here, each offering a certain set of features.

  • Standard Plan ($29.95/mo) – unlimited bandwidth, disk storage space and product number;
  • Plus Plan ($79.95/mo) – customer support segmentation, abandoned shopping cart saver;
  • Pro Plan ($249.95/mo) – custom SSL Certificate connection, Google Reviews, advanced analytic tool etc.

There is also the Enterprise Plan here, the cost of which should be discussed individually with the system manager. Mind, however, that there is one important nuance about BigCommerce pricing policy. This is the yearly profit limit applicable to all the paid plans, except for the Enterprise Plan. It means that each $200000 of your profit will result in the $150/mo increase of the cost of the paid plan you use. If this is ok with you, then you can start using the system right away.

OpenCart – Free (Open Source) Shopping Cart Solution

OpenCart - Free (Open Source) Shopping Cart Solution
Product Name:OpenCart
Official Website:opencart.com
Complexity:Complicated
Free Plan:Completely free
Premium Plan:Requires hosting
Founded:2012
Headquarters:Worldwide

OpenCart – is a free open source shopping cart solution, which requires installation and download to be used to the advantage. The program is PHP-based, which often poses problems for users with little or no programming skills. The software is used to launch powerful online stores and is a good start for proficient web designers willing to create large eCommerce websites.

Main Features

OpenCart comes with core features that are enough to build a quality online store, but it also requires installation of extensions to enhance the functionality of websites created with the software. It implies coding knowledge and experience that are needed to set up and maintain a technically-advanced online store. If you lack them, it’s better to look for a simpler option not to face problems with your website management and maintenance afterwards. Listed below are the major highlights of the platform:

  • Allows integrating paid extensions and add-ons;
  • Multilingual and multi currency support;
  • Opportunity to manage multiple storefronts and create unlimited listings (products, categories, manufacturers etc.);
  • Availability of modules adding functionality to your shopping cart, numerous backup and restore tools;
  • Integrated shipping calculator.

Pros and Cons

OpenCart makes it possible to give your website strong eCommerce focus and it works great for the development of different types of online stores. Some of its core out-of-the-box features are provided by default, but you still have to install high end extensions to get the most out of its functionality. These include multi-language and multi-currency support, opportunity to manage multiple storefronts and create unlimited listings (products, categories, manufacturers etc.), reports, availability of modules adding functionality to your shopping cart, numerous backup and restore tools, SEO options, product ratings and reviews, discount coupon system, guest checkout, shipping calculator, recurring payments and more.

As to the demerits, the software implies coding knowledge and experience that are needed to set up and maintain a technically-advanced online store. If you lack them, it’s better to look for a simpler option not to face problems with your website management and maintenance afterwards. The system doesn’t have reliable customer support. Instead, they have a $99/mo support plan, which allows solving specific system-related problems. So, if your coding knowledge is insufficient to use this platform, there are lots of other suitable alternatives to go for.

Cost

OpenCart is initially free, but this concerns only the installation, download and upgrade of the program. To be able to operate the platform on a high level and get maximum benefits for your online store, you’ll need to purchase extra extensions and add-ons. It is also required to buy hosting and domain name for your eCommerce website to make it available on the web. What’s interesting, OpenCart has released the cloud version of the program. The cost of using it will depend upon the number of online stores a user will create and the amount of disk storage space needed for them.

Magento – Open Source eCommerce Platform

Magento - Open Source eCommerce Platform
Product Name:Magento
Official Website:magento.com
Complexity:Very Complicated
Free Plan:Completely free
Premium Plan:Requires hosting
Founded:2007
Headquarters:USA

Magento – is the world-popular open-source eCommerce platform, which works great for the creation and management of all types of web stores, irrespective of their niche specialization, size and complexity. The platform requires coding knowledge to start complex projects and, thus, it’s not the best pick for beginners. However, if you have enough time and patience to explore the platform, you will certainly appreciate its functionality.

Main Features

Magento boasts an advanced and pretty extensive feature set, which allows using it as a trusted CMS to run powerful eCommerce projects. Its functionality and flexibility are more than enough to cope with tasks of diverse complexity levels. To find out what exactly the system has in stock, consider its feature set now:

  • Product management options (easy product upload, availability of descriptions, SEO set up, product categories etc.);
  • Web store administration features (single control panel, simple migration, virtual terminal, printing option etc.);
  • High end marketing tools (product comparison, wish list and coupon code creation, shopping cart integration etc.);
  • Variety of payment options (Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Amazon Pay and more).

Pros and Cons

Magento delivers extensive functionality that encompasses special high end tools to deal with website creation, management, marketing, SEO, updates, shipping and checkout, payment processing and other must-have processes. The CMS lets you create multiple product lists that come with detailed descriptions, numerous parameters and management options. There is also the abandoned shopping cart feature, which contributes to the reduction of the percentage of users, who leave the website before placing orders.

Even though, Magento allows creating feature-laden online stores, it is still very complicated for ordinary users. On certain stages of its application, it requires professional developer’s support. However, there is no customer support team here, which could help users resolve their issues on time. The CMS also offers a limited collection of free designs, which triggers the need for third-party template integration.

Cost

Magento is a free open source CMS, which means that you can download and install the system without making any payments. However, to get the most out of the platform’s functionality, you won’t go without adding third-party widgets, add-ons and extensions. The same is about template selection, hosting and domain name. To publish and manage a web store, you’ll have to pick a trusted hosting provider.

Volusion – eCommerce Website Builder & Shopping Cart Software

Volusion - eCommerce Website Builder & Shopping Cart Software
Product Name:Volusion
Official Website:volusion.com
Complexity:Average
Free Plan:14-day trial
Premium Plan:Requires hosting
Founded:1999
Headquarters:USA

Volusion – is a trusted eCommerce website builder and shopping cart software, the use of which ensures effective and simple web store development experience. The system comes with a wide array of options and features needed to launch a powerful online store that will stand out from the crowd.

Main Features

Volusion encompassess all the web building tools that can be effectively utilized to create and manage a small, medium or large online store. The website builder boasts a pretty extensive set of eCommerce-focused features. Here are the main highlights of the system that make it stand out from the crowd:

  • Multi channel integration;
  • Dynamic CRM system;
  • Handy online store builder;
  • Enhanced anti-scam protection;
  • Vast knowledge base.

Pros and Cons

Volusion deserves the attention of users willing to start a digital store from scratch. The website builder grants access to multiple eCommerce features and tools, including multi-channel integration, SEO promotion, dynamic CRM system, enhanced security control, marketing and eCommerce tools, PCI certification, anti-scam protection, 24/7 customer support, informative knowledge base etc. The system also offers an impressive collection of free and paid responsive templates to fit various niches. The software will suit both non-technicians and pros.

Along with the list of merits, the website builder comes with a few disadvantages, which, however do not have serious impact upon the result of the web store creation process. Its free templates, for example, could be a bit more versatile. Premium themes, in their turn, are quite costly as compared to standard website builders.

Cost

Volusion doesn’t have a free plan yet it comes with the 14-day free trial that lets you test the system’s integrated feature set. When you decide to go online and publish a ready-made project, you will have to pick one of the paid subscriptions.

  • Personal costing ($29/mo) – 100 products, only 1 staff account.
  • Professional costing ($79/mo) – 5,000 products.
  • Business costing ($299) – unlimited products and Priority support.

There is also an opportunity to upgrade to the Prime plan, the cost of which is negotiated with the company managers individually. The plan will work great for huge international companies that require VIP support and advanced eCommerce functionality.

3dcart – Great Tool to Create eCommerce Website from Scratch

3dcart - Great Tool to Create eCommerce Website from Scratch
Product Name:3dcart
Official Website:3dcart.com
Complexity:Complex
Free Plan:14-day trial
Premium Plan:from $9/mo
Founded:1997
Headquarters:USA

3dcart – is a popular tool to create eCommerce websites from scratch. The system positions itself as the all-in-one platform used for the development and management of small and medium web stores. This is where one can sell both physical and digital products as well as services online. The service will work great for all user categories, including beginners and web design experts.

Main Features

3dcart encompasses a broad set of features required to start a powerful online store, irrespective of its complexity and size. This is a professional service, which will impress everyone by its integrated functionality. These are the most distinctive features of the platform:

  • Powerful integrated CRM;
  • Out-of-the-box modules;
  • Extensive product management options;
  • High end marketing tools;
  • Integrated sales analytics and statistics tracking.

Pros and Cons

3dcart comes with integrated blogging platform, multiple marketing and SEO tools, FTP access to website files, availability of shopping plugins. The system also allows for module integration and comes with a powerful product card editor that lets you create extensive and informative product catalogues.

As to the system demerits, 3dcart delivers limited access to file editing outside the FTP mode. This may be somewhat complicated for beginners, who will need time to explore and master all the options from scratch. Additionally, 3dcart has a bit complicated interface, which is somewhat oversaturated with tools and options. It definitely takes time to get used to it.

Cost

3dcart doesn’t offer a free plan, but there is the 14-day trial that is enough to test it. To keep working with the service and to publish a ready-made project, go ahead to choose one of the premium subscriptions the system offers.

  • Startup Store ($9/mo) – 1 stuff user, 100 products, API and FTP-access, connect domain, 2 Email accounts.
  • Basic Store ($19/mo) – 2 stuff users, unlimited products, phone support, 5 Email accounts.
  • Plus Store ($49/mo) – 5 stuff users, CRM, customer groups, 10 Email accounts.
  • Pro Store ($129/mo) – 15 stuff users, automation rules, pre-orders, 30 Email accounts.

Additionally, there is an opportunity to upgrade to the Enterprise plan for $400 per month. It ensures secure level 1 PCI Hosting, unlimited stuff users and IP blocking security features.

PrestaShop – Open Source eCommerce Web Application

PrestaShop - Open Source eCommerce Web Application
Product Name:PrestaShop
Official Website:prestashop.com
Complexity:Complex
Free Plan:absolutely free
Premium Plan:requires hosting
Founded:2008
Headquarters:USA

PrestaShop – is an open source eCommerce web application, which can be downloaded and installed absolutely for free. It is used to build different types of online stores featuring top performance and excellent design. The program, however, is basically created with the needs of professionals in mind. Newbies will find the system complicated.

Main Features

PrestaShop offers more than 600 integrated features that cover almost all the needs merchants might have when working on their online stores. Such an extensive functionality helps cover the prevailing amount of users’ eCommerce needs. The most stunning PrestaShop features are as follows:

  • CSV file product import/export;
  • Versatile shipping and payment options;
  • Abandoned shopping cart;
  • Automated follow ups;
  • High end integrated web store analytics and statistics tracking tools.

Pros and Cons

PrestaShop offers an opportunity to create unlimited listings and sell digital products, manage the inventory list, import/export products from CSV files, versatile SEO options, unlimited shipping carriers, estimated shipping, numerous payment options, opportunity to sell products worldwide, setting tax rules for a particular region, real-time analytics, abandoned shopping cart information, customized promotions, automated follow-ups and more.

Regardless of its functionality, PrestaShop is not a simple program, especially for non-tech savvy users. They may find it challenging to set up and edit modules and solve other technical nuances. Mind that it may take some time to set up PrestaShop as it requires software download, its upload to the server via the FTP client and further installation. Thus, the help of an expert may be needed, if you feel that you lack web design knowledge.

Cost

Just like the majority of other content management systems, PrestaShop is initially free to download, install and use. There is also a free demo version here, which allows testing the major system features and exploring the admin board and the storefront. If you decide to use the software to build an eCommerce website with it, then get ready to pay for the domain name and hosting. These are obligatory expenses you won’t go without. As to the ongoing expenses, they include the purchase of add-ons and extensions to improve your online store functionality. If you have an intention to integrate your eCommerce website with other platforms like eBay, Amazon, Facebook etc., this will also cost you a certain sum.

Drupal – eCommerce-Ready Open Source CMS

Drupal - eCommerce-Ready Open Source CMS
Product Name:Drupal
Official Website:drupal.org
Complexity:Complex
Free Plan:absolutely free
Premium Plan:requires hosting
Founded:2000
Headquarters:USA

Drupal – is a free eCommerce-ready open source CMS, which encompasses the features of a website builder yet requires module installation, arrangement and configuration development. Drupal is flexible yet quite complicated for beginners. It mostly works well for professionals, who value freedom of design customization.

Main Features

Drupal looks more like a content management framework rather than a system. To create a website, a user should independently fill a website with modules and apps required for worthy project performance. To be able to design a web store with Drupal that adheres to your eCommerce and business needs, you should initially focus on the feature set of the system:

  • Over 2000 responsive designs;
  • Limited set of content management tools, which matter a lot for eCommerce projects;
  • Two web store development options;
  • Integrable Drupal modules;
  • High end flexibility.

Pros and Cons

One of the most notable Drupal advantages is its high end flexibility, which makes it possible to set up a full-featured online store. The platform initially comes with a basic feature set, but it’s possible to integrate third-party extensions to give your eCommerce project advanced functionality. Drupal also ensures high security level to all the projects launched with it, while individual system cashing guarantees quicker project performance. If you intend to give your website more flexibility to reach your goals, you can make use of the free base of documents, which encompasses multiple extensions and templates.

The major problem about Drupal is its complexity. The platform is extremely difficult to master by beginners and it takes much time to explore and master its features. Absence of the tech support team makes the process even more problematic. To resolve their issues and find answers to their problems, Drupal users mostly face the need to look for them on the web.

Cost

Drupal is a completely free system, which means that it’s possible to download and install it without any extra investments from the dashboard found on hosting. Sometimes, Drupal packages are provided within Linux collections/plans, but it makes sense to check their safety first. Drupal additionally requires hosting and domain name choiced as well as extra modules/extensions.

How to Create an eCommerce Website with a Website Builder?

As soon as you make up your mind to launch an online store with a website builder, you’ll have to find out the major stages this process involves. Listed below are the general steps you’ll encounter, irrespective of the system you will eventually choose:

  1. Registration with the Service. Having selected a website builder, you’ll have to register with it first. This is a must-have step all the systems offer. The sign up process is generally simple and quick. You’ll just need to provide your email and make up a password to register with the system. Some services send confirmation emails to let you create an account. Another option is to register via your Facebook account (I think you have the one). This doesn’t take much effort and time as well.
  2. Template Choice. Having signed up for the system, you will be offered to select a template that suits your niche most of all. Most website builders divide their templates into thematic categories to simplify the template choice. This helps save your time and effort, making the process of template selection more effective and quick. Templates may be paid and free, so, it’s up to you to decide on the most suitable option.
  3. Design Customization. Right choice of a template is only half of the task. The major and the most responsible part is design customization. Website builders generally offer a rich set of customization tools, which can make your online store both functional and appealing. You can modify your website color palette, fonts, backgrounds, icons and other elements to get the desired result. That’s an engaging experience for everyone.
  4. Creation of Product Cards. Having customized your website design, you may proceed to the creation of product cards. The number of cards you can create depends upon the number of products you plan to sell and the number of cards your plan allows you to make. Website builders may offer free and paid plans, each of which may come with certain terms and restrictions. The latter may also concern the product amount, so, make sure to choose the most suitable plan right from the start. When creating a product card, take your time to add the photos of a product and its detailed description so that your customers could know its specifications.
  5. Setup of Payment Options. Having finished creating product cards, you’ll need to set up the payment options. Their choice depends upon the system requirements as well as upon your own preferences. You can offer your customers several payment options to choose from, but do not forget to add their terms.
  6. Setup of Shipping Options. Setup of shipping options is as important as setup of payment terms. Provide all shipping details and terms in a special section accessible to your customers. Mention all the services you are ready to offer and their cost. Don’t forget to specify the countries you ship your products to.
  7. Domain Name. The choice of a domain name is one of the most crucial stages of the entire website design process. Most website builders offer plans that come with free domain name and hosting included. This eliminates the necessity to look for a domain name elsewhere, focusing on other essential nuances. Make sure your domain name is memorizable and represents your online store to the advantage. Generally, options are multiple. So, don’t hurry up to make the right choice.
  8. Website Publication. Now, as your eCommerce website is ready, it is high time to publish it on the web. This is easy, quick and allows enjoying the result in less than no time.

How to Create an eCommerce Website with CMS?

The process of creating a website with CMS somewhat differs from that of launching a site with website builders. This is because both types of systems have different characteristics and complexity level and, thus, imply diverse approaches to the web building process. Listed below are the major steps you’ll have to undergo to build an eCommerce website with CMS:

  1. Hosting Choice. CMS generally don’t offer any hosting and domain options included into the plan. This may trigger the need to look for reliable hosting provided by the third-party companies. To make the right choice, you’ll need to make a profound market analysis to identify the best company to deal with.
  2. Domain Name. Just like you need to select hosting, you’ll have to take care of choosing a domain name for your future online store. The domain should be easy-to-remember so that your customers could memorize it with no serious problems. It should also stand out from the crowd, highlighting your business specialization.
  3. CMS Installation. CMS may be either web-based or offline. The latter system type requires preliminary download and installation. This is not quite complicated, but this may take some time. Keep that in mind.
  4. Plugin Installation. Content Management Systems frequently offer rich sets of features and tools needed to create quality website design. Sometimes, though, they may offer you to install extra plugins that may be either obligatory or optional. These plugins may also be free or paid, but they will surely contribute to your website performance and design.
  5. Design. To start working on your online store design, you’ll initially have to choose a template to get started. Just like website builders, CMS frequently come with a collection of themes, which are both paid and free. Paid templates usually feature better quality and customization options as compared to free themes. What’s more, templates offered at no cost may pose danger to your website as they may come with a malware threat. The choice of the suitable template should be based upon the objectives you pursue, when building your online store. If you actually aim at launching a powerful and large eCommerce website, then buying a niche template will be the right solution.
  6. Filling a Website with Content. Template choice and customization is only half of the business, when it comes to successful online store creation. Having created the layout and design of your eCommerce website, you’ll need to fill it with content. This is where you’ll have freedom of choice. Take your time to choose texts, images, videos and other elements to be integrated into your website.
  7. Payment System Setup. The next step implies the set up of payment options. There are many of them you can choose from and it’s only up to you to decide what payment alternatives you are ready to offer to your clients. The more options you provide – the better. This will eventually affect your customer base and your profit.
  8. Shipping Services Setup. Setup of product shipping services is not less important than the setup of payment systems. Before paying for their orders, many clients inquire about the available shipping options they may choose from. Take your time to enlist and specify all the shipping details, the countries you ship your products to, the terms and other nuances.
  9. Website Publication. Now that all the problems are handled, it is high time to publish a website. This doesn’t take much time and is generally done with a few clicks. Just activate the “Publish” button and watch the result!

How to Choose the Service to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch?

The choice of the most suitable eCommerce web building service depends upon numerous factors. The major of them are your expertise level, budget and goal. However, there are general requirements applicable to the systems of different types. Thus, the system that will ensure safe and smooth eCommerce web building experience, should come with the following features:

  • Ease-of-use;
  • Quick web development time;
  • Safety;
  • Quality;
  • Rich feature set;
  • Template collection;
  • Powerful design customization features;
  • Convenience;
  • Affordability.

If a system you come across meets these requirements and seems reliable to you, you can start exploring it to see what it can offer you.

Pros and Cons of Website Builders

Website builders ensure smooth and convenient web building experience. However, it still makes sense to find out their pros and cons prior to working with the system of this type. Among the benefits of these services, one can mention the following:

  • Ease of Use. Website builders are easy to use. This feature makes them a nice choice for non-tech savvy users as well as for web design pros. They ensure quick and effective web design process and come with easy web editors that reduce the web building hassle to the minimum. As a result, you can create a decent website in less than no time.
  • Template Collection. Most website builders have rich template collections, which include free and paid themes. They are often divided into categories based on the niche they belong to. Many templates are responsive and mobile-optimized to ensure maximum exposure.
  • Design Customization Tools. Just like website builders offer multiple website templates, they also offer a variety of design customization tools. They allow creating any design you need in a simple and intuitive manner.
  • Affordability. Website builders are much affordable as compared to many other web building tools. Many of them have free unlimited versions, while others offer free trials to let users test the system features prior to making the choice. Paid plans are generally reasonable to meet diverse needs and budgets of users.
  • SEO Optimization. Projects created with website builders are optimized for the search engines right from the start. You just need to fill out the meta-tags, titles and keywords to ensure maximum SEO promotion.

Website builders don’t have advantages only. They also come with a few disadvantages typical for some of these systems. These include:

  • Code Editing Restrictions. As far as website builders are created with the needs and skills of average users in mind, many of them come with code editing restrictions. As a result, websites look a bit similar and have almost the same structure defined by the template.
  • Lack of Functionality. Website builders are good enough to allow creating simple projects devoid of extra functionality. This may not be enough, if you wish to design a powerful project to meet your business or personal needs.
  • Lack of Website Transfer Options. When you decide to launch a website with a website builder, you should know that you won’t be able to migrate the ready made project to another platform, no matter what objectives you have.

Pros and Cons of CMS

Just like website builders, content management systems come with their pros and cons. Users need to find them out to be ready to face difficulties they may encounter, when using the CMS they prefer. While each system has its own advantages and disadvantages, there are also general features typical for all CMS types. Some of the benefits include:

  • Rich Feature Set. CMS usually offer more extensive feature sets as compared to website builders. This allows creating full-featured online stores to attract the attention of clients and maximise profit.
  • Affordability. The prevailing amount of open source CMS are absolutely free. You don’t have to spend money to download and install the system you like, but get ready to pay for hosting, domain name and extra extensions (plugins), many of which are optional. It’s up to you to define the budget you can spend on your project development.
  • Powerful Customization Options. Apart from a rich feature set, CMS generally come with powerful customization options, which cover almost all web design needs. It is easy to create website design by installing and changing the plugins.
  • Quick Web Development Process. Building an eCommerce website with CMS doesn’t take much time. Even if you are not a web design expert, you’ll cope with the task in several days by integrating plugins, customizing templates and using modules.

It’s hard to imagine a web design tool without disadvantages. When it comes to CMS, they are as follows:

  • Coding Skills. CMS are more complicated than website builders in terms of technical skills. Newbies won’t be able to use these services to the advantage without preliminary learning and service exploration. Coding skills and experience are needed to edit website codes, customize website design, integrate plugins, update and manage content, adjust settings.
  • Insufficient Customer Support. As far as CMS are mainly oriented on web designers, they don’t pay much attention to customer support. Some of them offer tutorials and manuals to help a user learn basic system features, while others are not ready to provide direct customer support. As a result, newbies may waste effort and time trying to cope with website-related problems on their own.

Bottom Line

What web building service works best for your eCommerce website? This is a controversial question that can be answered in different ways. If you have ever been involved in website building before, intend to create a large online store with excellent performance and are ready to fight with the difficulties of the web building process, then it makes sense to choose CMS for this purpose as these systems provide more advanced features to ensure top notch result.

However, if you are just starting your business and wish to establish reliable web presence for it, then it is better to give preference to a website builder. These systems are specially created with the needs of non-techies in mind and, thus, they provide versatile options to help you get started with your online store in a quick and hassle-free way. Take your time to analyse information the post provides to make the right choice.

Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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