As a business owner and operator, you have heard the message loud and clear since the day you opened your doors for the first time.
You get what you pay for.
This is especially true for retailers that largely depend on the quality of the products they sell to attract customers. A poorly designed fishing pole or an inferior quality garden hose will not keep the cash registers busy.
Does the “You get what you pay for” words of advice apply to eCommerce platforms? Surprisingly, it does not. In fact, you do not have to pay anything to get a productive eCommerce platform in return.
Benefits of eCommerce Platforms for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you have learned about how important it is to compete with larger companies that offer the same products and/or services. One of the most effective strategies not only to hang with the big boys, but also race ahead of them, involves setting up a powerful eCommerce platform to sell products.
Here are several other benefits of establishing on online store for your small business:
- Reduce inventory
- Lower operating costs
- Offer quick price comparisons
- Increase foot traffic (Virtual feet, not physical feet)
- Promote discounted deals
- Present sufficient product information
The Four Best Free eCommerce Platforms for Small Businesses
You have watched one of the commercials that promote “free” products. The one with the spelling bee comes to mind. In the world of eCommerce platforms, free means not having to enroll in a paid plan that requires signing a contract. It also means not paying anything for extraneous costs tucked into the fine print of a terms of service agreement. So if your running a bakery in Paris, small machine shop in Texas, or providing composite door Bristol as your business, finding the right option is important.
Each of the following four eCommerce platforms define the true meaning of free, and you do not even have to spell out the word “free” to enjoy free eCommerce services.
You would think the most recent entrant into the free Ecommerce platform market has to work out a few kinks in its operating model. However, Weebly hit the ground running by developing an eCommerce platform that is favorable compared to bought and paid for platforms in terms of efficiency and rapid page downloads. You can add an unlimited number of products because Weebly offers an unlimited amount of storage space for files.
Ease of use is perhaps Weebly’s best selling point. Many eCommerce platforms-including paid platforms-introduce design elements that can frustrate users. The last thing you want is to turn off your customers because they have a difficult time using an ecommerce platform. As with most other types of free eCommerce platforms, Weebly does not allow you to create a customized domain name. That is a minor flaw in a sea of numerous benefits.
Square Online Store
If you run a business that offers weekly specials, then the Square Online Store is the ideal eCommerce platform. You can change out products by performing a couple of easy to learn steps to put this week’s specials online, and shelve last week’s specials in the vast database offered by Square Online Store. Easy to set up and maintain, this free ecommerce platform delivers responsive and supportive customer service to ensure novice online businesses benefit from digital sales. You have complete control on how your online site looks, as well as the features you offer customers.
You might have watched a short advertisement on YouTube extolling the virtues of Constant Contact as an email marketing provider. From the woman grinding oatmeal to the guy who cannot stack doughnuts, Constant Contact has created memorable online ads that promote the company’s email marketing services.
The same email company specialist also delivers a powerful free ecommerce platform.
It starts with the super easy design support system that can turn that least visually aware among us into website design masters. The goal of an eCommerce store is not to dazzle with unnecessary graphics, but to highlight the visually appealing appearances of the products your business has to offer. Constant Contact’s eCommerce platform does a great job of helping you showcase the visual appeal of your products.
Most business owners need a little bit of help when establishing a lasting eCommerce presence. Big Cartel’s free eCommerce platform comes with numerous helpful prompts that prevent inexperienced eCommerce developers from becoming stuck in the digital mud. Considered one of the best eCommerce platforms for retail businesses, the free service platform offered by Big Cartel works especially well for interior design stores, as well as businesses that sell home improvement products. There are no transaction fees, which is a benefit for businesses that sell high turnover items. The only downside of this eCommerce Platform is that it requires you to go through a relatively steep learning curve to get your site to go live.
Work with a Reliable and Supportive Payment Processor
Should you go with the payment processing system offered by your free eCommerce platform? With customer data confidentiality a huge issue, the answer is to put the payment processing responsibilities squarely on the shoulders of a proven company like Double Helix Processing. All you have to do is create a merchant account, and Double Helix Processing walks you through a short series of steps to get your payment processing system operating seamlessly with your eCommerce platform. Double Helix Processing specializes in working with companies that are considered high-risk businesses.