If you want to sell the fruits of your creative endeavours, chances are opening your very own bricks and mortar shop may be a bit beyond your reach in the early days anyhow. Of course that doesn’t mean your forays into retail have to be abandoned. The internet might have had a detrimental impact on our high streets but it has also brought e-commerce and with that of course the ability for any one of us to have our very own retail stores (albeit virtually). With that in mind, we thought we would highlight a few of the main platforms out there which can enable you to create and manage your very own online store. So...in no particular order...
This platform will allow any small business or individual to build their own professional and customisable online shop which is SEO optimized to help get a good ranking on Google. There are 3 account options - Bronze, Silver and Gold which range in price from free up to £24 per month, with each having particular restrictions on the number of products you can sell, the value of those products and also the number of customer orders you can have. Additional useful features include a Mobile Optimized version of your store giving your customer the same experience as the standard online store and also a Facebook app so that your store can be actively marketed on Facebook.
Volusion offers over 120 free to use store templates and a host of premium templates with a variety of feature rich functions covering everything from allowing customers to provide feedback and rate your products through to allowing you to create site daily deals and discount promotion campaigns. There are 5 account options costing between £15 - £95 per month excl. VAT, with each having its’ own limitation on the number of products that can be sold.
Shopify offers over 100 templates allowing you to fully customize your store’s design and layout. There are 4 different account options ranging from the basic one starting at $29 per month through to the unlimited option at $179 per month. Transaction fees vary from 2% - free depending on the option chosen.
For Create users there are a range of options from £4.99 - £19.99 per month, which allow varying amounts of products to be sold. Their standard templates can all be customized to suit your own particular design preferences and needs. It’s also possible to integrate your store with Facebook in order to help increase your potential customer base.
EKM Powershop offers ecommerce solutions starting from £19.99 per month. As well as over 150 store design templates, the site also lets users create their own design templates using HTML Editor or Dreamweaver. SEO optimization is another of their focus features.
If you’re in the process of setting up an online e-commerce site using one of these, or maybe have already done just that, we’d love to hear your views and thoughts. Share your feedback over at the forum.
Mi-IDEA Manchester looks for disruptive startups
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