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More people around the world nowadays prefer to shop online rather than at a physical store. It is advantageous for the buyer as well as the seller. In sellers’ perspective, it cuts down on owing real estate, paying salaries and keeping the store open for long hours. For the buyer, he or she need not have to travel and the goods get delivered at the doorsteps. It is a win-win situation for both – seller and buyer. It is the tendency these days to open an ecommerce business in addition to a physical store, or only an ecommerce store.
Retail businesses all over the world are able to realize the benefits of going digital. One of the most common questions that entrepreneurs keep asking is: “Is it feasible to start an ecommerce retail business without a physical store?” The simple answer to this is its practical and you can do it with a small investment.
The objective of this article is to focus on the technology aspect of delivering goods and services over the internet. What we don’t discuss are merchandize and the suitability of any particular product or service that is practical to deliver over the online sales medium.
The basic requirement for an ecommerce business is a website or a portal. You can create the website from scratch and code it directly or choose to use a CMS (content management system) software. Starting from scratch and coding the entire website has immense benefits, but it is a big-budget affair.
Not many entrepreneurs can afford this and more importantly it takes longer than usual to make it fully functional. Nevertheless it can be done if the investment is available. Typically entrepreneurs with an eye on listing tens of thousands will prefer this route because they gave greater control over the software that runs their website.
A quicker and easier option for entrepreneurs to start an ecommerce website with limited budget and products to sell is a CMS software especially made for ecommerce. Many CMS have a free version but we will recommend a paid version for high-end features. Here are some CMSs that focus on ecommerce.
Business Catalyst is an inclusive ecommerce website building tool from Adobe. It is easy to develop a website using this CMS because it doesn’t require anything more a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. You also get access to pre-built themes that you can modify to suit your requirements.
The most likely part of Business Catalyst is that it is SEO friendly which is an important aspect in ecommerce. It has 302 redirects, customizable meta-tags and can be integrated with Google’s webmaster tools. Other important features include easy integration with payment gateways, shipping providers, social media and Adobe’s own tools and services. Other top features that make Business Catalyst so likeable are: real time-editing, adaptability to mobile devices and mobile management with WYSIWYG editing.
Magento is a time-tested CMS for small as well as big business who want an online platform for selling products and services. There is a special edition for small businesses. Magento should be preferred by small businesses because it take only a small time to get the website up and running. Cost is one of the favourable points to choose Magento.
Magento’s selling points are: higher sales, quick implementation, reduced upfront costs, global footprint and attractions.
Of all, perhaps, the most attractive point in favour of Magento is the excellent support system it has. Magento is amenable to customization and the huge community of developers make it easy to develop an attractive and utility oriented ecommerce website. It is also reputed to support more than 50 payment gateways from around the world.
Magento is believed to power more ecommerce websites than any other comparable ecommerce website software around the world.
PrestaShop is an open source CMS software for ecommerce and is believed to power more 2, 50,000 websites around the world. The chief selling point of PrestaShop is that it is easy to customize and adapt to your environment. It supports a large number of themes that can be easily adapted to a website’s personality. Included with PrestaShop is Live Configurator that gives full control over the administration of the website.
PrestaShop has more than once won the highly coveted “Critics Choice CMS Award” which itself proves it utility oriented features. It also has a good support system and frequently there are training programs as well.
Though CMSs are generally projected to be do-it-yourself software for aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs without any coding experience, in practice you may face difficulties, especially if your website is going to be complex. We will recommend that you contact a professional ecommerce website developer to prevent hiccups in smoothly integrating the various add-ons and payment gateways.