What is the best eCommerce solution for a very small, very simple, one product company?
I'm setting up what I view as a trial company - i.e. I can't validate the demand, so I'm going to try it and see if demand exists. So I need something very simple and very cheap. I don't have a website set up yet. Here are the requirements:
1) No HTML coding required (I'm smart, but don't want to learn it).
2) Must have form creation capability, including ability to upload an image.
3) Minimal cost. My entire start-up costs aside from the eCommerce solution are going to be <$500, so it doesn't make sense to spend $1000 for someone to build a website for me.
It's a physical product which is customized for each customer. Cost will be about $20-25, which is considerably cheaper than customer make it themselves. My COGS should be about $5 per unit. Shipping will be a constant (1st class mail).
My marketing will be done primarily via Facebook ads. SEO is not going to be the primary driver.
I've tried to learn what I can about sites like Shopify, as well as Wordpress based solutions and Paypal type solutions. Now I'm more confused than ever.
I'd appreciate any input and suggestions.
A company with a very, very low income needs a website that is very, very cheap or even free. With such a low income I have to assume that there are no full-time employees, you only have part-time to devote to such a venture. This means you work full-time somewhere else, and can't learn how to become a programmer while you work full-time and also run this part-time venture. You just want to run your business.
I have written manuals for many dedicated e-commerce programs including competitors to PrestaShop. When I began writing about PrestaShop a couple of years ago, the market had changed and hosted cloud solutions like Shopify were beginning to take over the market.
Today I feel dedicated e-commerce programs are woefully out of date compared to the amazing, always up-to-date, always secure cloud solutions. They also have gorgeous and highly professional templates, and you can intuitively drag and drop the page elements you want rather than having to learn programming. I never did finish that PrestaShop manual because of this striking market change.
I recommend that you go to Wix or Squarespace and start a free trial. Both of these cloud solutions allow you to run a free or very low-cost website with small ads at the bottom. As you earn more money you can upgrade your account to remove the ads.
As per your requirements, I would suggest you choose the Quick eSelling ecommerce platform. As compared to Shopify or Wix, it is easier to set up and your store will be live in a few minutes. Moreover, it offers a free plan to set up an online ecommerce store (Website & app). In the free plan, you can upload 1 thousand products with all standard ecommerce features. To check or for more details, you can visit www.quickeselling.com
I think you need a website builder. There are several good variants, you can look through the list on https://www.beautifullife.info/web-design/10-best-ecommerce-builders/. This source offers pros and cons of every builder, I find it to be helpful. Personally I used Wix and I haven't regretted my choice. I hope it helps!
To build an effective eCommerce website, I recommend you to use a pre-designed bootstrap theme from this resource: https://www.templatemonster.com/bootstrap-website-templates/ . Those are cool themes with tons of great features to set up and run great eCommerce. They are designed to help you build your online store without wasting valuable time.
Wix eCommerce would probably be a good option for you, just like BigCommerce. They both are cheap and very easy to handle, so you don't need to have any specific knowledge to use them. My advice is: watch some tutorials to see which one meets your requirements best. Here's a useful article where they both are mentioned - http://ecommercebuilders.blogspot.com/. Best of luck!
Go with Shopify. It supports good SEO and Facebook integrated for marketing. You can purchase good themes as well. I implemented for one client and he is happy with quick delivery and customization done.
You cannot go wrong with free http://www.webstarts.com/ builder. There are also very attractive templates and affordable hosting plans for your websites.
Joomla and Virtuemart. Easy to modify and setup if you are good with figuring stuff out. You could also do Joomla / Wordpress and integrate Paypal, which is fairly simple as well
Good luck with your venture. Wix has an ecommerce solution for $8.08 per month. Simple drag and drop website builder with over 30 ecommerce templates to choose from. They also have a help center with information on how to build a design an ecommerce website.
Go to www.wix.com to check out the options.
For something experimental like this, I think your simplest option is to make a landing page where users will be directed when they click your Facebook ad. Ideally, that page should reveal your product, the description or sales copy, and an "Add to Cart" button so they can purchase it. You're also probably thinking of adding a form so they can contact you.
To achieve this, here's the only thing you need:
Step 1: Create your free website at Big Cartel
* Sign up for a free account to upload up to 5 products (1 photo each). If you need more photos, then get the Titanium plan at $9.99 per month because it lets you upload up to 5 photos per product (and 25 products max). If you're only running the ad for less than a month then that $9.99 is all you have to pay.
Here's their signup page: https://www.bigcartel.com/signup/
* Good news: Your big cartel website already comes with a free contact form.
If you need a different kind of form, you can make one (drag-and-drop style) at https://www.emailmeform.com/. Copy the form's generated code, then paste it on your big cartel "custom page" section. Easy.
Step 2 [Optional]: If you really want to have your own ".com" (I'm not sure if it's that important to you at this stage), then I suggest you get one at GoDaddy.com. Just purchase the domain name and nothing else:
Hope this helps.
I can help you test the waters with out any website, HTML, or any time wasting stuff. It's easy & powerful , you can do one click upsell, or multiple offer within the sales funnel with out asking user details again. It works perfectly with Facebook ads. The entire process will take less than 30min to set up once you identify your audience properly.
After reading all your requirements including budget , I would like to recommend you Yo!Kart which is a multi vendor eCommerce platform to start an eCommerce marketplace. You can buy Yo!kart copy at the price of $250. It is becoming best choice for startups who want to enter in the eCommerce industry in less investment.
Yo!Kart has many advanced features including :
- Three layer security
- Robust report generation;
- Free hosting for 1 year
- New Features/Auto Upgrades
- 1 year free tech support
- Customizable design.
Below are the Multi store and Multi-Vendor Specific Features of Yo!Kart which you should check:
- Multistore: You can create as many shops/vendors as you want with option to manage all shops from single admin.
- Stable and reliable: Its continuous development and enhancements makes it a stable eCommerce Platform.
- Scalability: No matter what is the size of your business, Yokart can help you to succeed. Supports unlimited number of products, shops, categories & brands.
- Easy in administration: The control panel is clear and convenient so no special technical skills are required.
- Convenient site navigation: simplicity and intelligibility of the interface.
- Optimized for search engines: It helps to define SEO friendly URLs and add meta tags for every products, category, shops, brands & Content Pages.
- Easy to Understand & Customize: Basic html and css knowledge is enough to handle.
- Responsive: Supports all major mobile devices.
- Major payment gateway supports like Paypal, Authorize, Payu etc...
Multi-Vendor Specific features of Yo!Kart :
- Unlimited Number of Vendor Accounts.
- Multiple Vendors, Single Storefront.
- Products from Multiple Vendors in One Order.
- Vendor Shop page management.
- Vendor Products on shop page.
- Vendor Ratings and feedback.
- Separate Area to Manage Orders/Sales for Each Vendor.
- Common Payment Processing.
- Withdrawal System to request payouts.
- Vendor Dashboard with Total sales, latest orders, Chart.
- Product Specific - Shipping Methods, Duration & Rates.
In addition to this, you will also get features like order processing, customer groups and intuitive interface for as low as $250. I think, Yo!Kart is fulfilling all your requirements and you may want to check more about it :) View further details about Yo!Kart here: http://www.fatbit.com/multi-vendor-ecommerce-system-yokart.html
You might be able to get a cheap website but will it help you sell your product?These are two separate things. If the site does not have the correct UX strategy your bounce rates might be high. Which means your conversions rates will be low (little to no sales) Creating a design that is professional and trustworthy and showcases you the product features takes time. Furthermore, online users are raising the bar on websites. They expect a nice, friendly user experience. If you don't have the UX strategy done right its a problem. Good luck! Would love to see a follow-up on your project.
Hi Jan, congratulations on your product launch, not sure if your particular product would be suitable for a dynamic online customizer page, but if it is, there is an example of a very inexpensive HTML5 product customizer at: http://goo.gl/hXyvBW , this one was built for t-shirts, but could be modified to work with a number of different types of products and post the customized product image to your email for order fulfillment and redirect the customer to PayPal or another payment processor with the order number. With only one product, you probably don't need the overhead or complexity of a full fledged shopping cart system.
Here are my thoughts on the subject. For a web site the choices are WordPress which is free or something like Wix or the ones like it where you will pay a higher monthly fee but they are drag and drop.
I am going to suggest WordPress. Now there are two options I can suggest. One is to go to YouTube and search for " creating a business website" and there will be lots and lots of tutorials. Find one at least an hour long. The shorter ones don't go into as much detail. Watch it once. Then watch it again but pause on each step. Use the same free template they are using and do each step after they show you how pausing, the video to complete them. You can have a sharp web site up in a day that will cost you a few bucks a month. WordPress is the most popular way of doing a web site these days and many major companies use it. Even companies such as eBay and the NY Times.
The second option would be also to use WordPress but to go on Fiverr.com and you can get someone to create the website for you for $ 5.00 to $ 30.00. You will need to come up with the photos and wording.
Now for the online store part of it I will suggest something I have used for the past 10 years and have been happy with. You won't hear too many people talk about it but they do have 10's of thousands of people using it. It is Mals-e.com What I like about it is all you have to do is create one hyperlink. You don't need an SSL certificate. They use theirs. You can use PayPal or any credit card (you need to arrange that). Basically when you get an order they will email you and you log in and retrieve the order info and credit card number in their database. You don't need any special templates. They have a button generator that will make the buy it now button if you wish and the best part is that it is totally free. There is a premium program which is cheap but you don't need it. I have used the free version on multiple web sites with hundreds of products for 10 years with total satisfaction.
Shopify, Wordpress, and Paypal would likely be along the lines of your best options. If you find those options daunting I don't imaging Godaddy's options will feel much better to you, but I could be wrong.
Could you find someone on upWork or Fiverr that can set it up for you at a reasonable cost.
Jan, I agree with Richard recommending Godaddy.com web products (Domain, hosting, email, and others). Like Richard, I have used Godaddy for many years and their low cost and 24/7 tech support is very useful. Wish you great success in your endeavors!
Congratulations on your new business. Your email seems to suggest you're at test marketing stage with your product or measuring the market fit.
I'd suggest you find a low-cost or DIY web application custom made or off the shelf that offers a product landing (marketing) page with one click to purchase functionality. Most of them already come with a number of integrated payment modules. In this way, there'd be no need for unnecessary coding etc. And more importantly, keep your costs down.
Codecanyon or Themeforest is a good place to start. (NO AFFILIATION)
Get in touch if you need further assistance or I can be of further help.
Hi Jan -
Great email. Congrats on your product and you seem to be really on top of all the right points (margins, COGS, etc). I've been looking for a simple online store solution for my wife who's starting an antique and gift idea business. Want to start online first and follow with retail once buzz takes hold. I've come to the conclusion that we'll revisit the Magento and Shopify solutions once she's off the ground. Great customizability etc but seems complicated for a novice like me. To start, I think we are going to use a GoDaddy-esqe out-of-the-box solution for ease of startup and low startup cost. I've heard that other site hosting companies have similar shopping cart solutions and I hope some of my mosaicHub colleagues will bring them up (for my benefit as well). I've dealt with GoDaddy for years so I like them as my first option, but I am open to suggestion.
Good luck and PM me if I can help in any way.