Are you a small business owner in New Zealand looking to take your sales online? Choosing the right ecommerce platform can make all the difference in your online success. With so many options available, deciding which one to choose can be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll look at some of the top ecommerce platforms to consider and weigh the pros and cons of each.
What is an ecommerce platform?
An ecommerce platform is a software solution that allows businesses to sell products or services online. Ecommerce platforms provide a range of features and tools to help companies build and manage their online store, from setting up product pages to processing payments and managing shipping.
One of the key advantages of using an ecommerce platform is that it can save businesses time and money compared to building an online store from scratch. Rather than hiring a team of developers and designers to create a custom solution, businesses can use an ecommerce platform to get up and running quickly and easily.
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Some of the most popular ecommerce platforms in New Zealand are:
How do you know if an ecommerce platform is right for your business?
Here are a few key factors to consider:
- Business goals: What are you hoping to achieve by selling online? Are you looking to reach new customers, expand your product offerings, or increase revenue? Different ecommerce platforms may be better suited to furthering specific business goals more than others, so it’s essential to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve before making a decision.
- Budget: Ecommerce platforms can vary widely in price, from free, open-source solutions to high-end enterprise platforms. It’s important to consider your budget and choose a platform that fits within your means.
- Technical skills: Some ecommerce platforms require more technical know-how than others. If you’re not comfortable with coding or website development, you may want to choose a platform that is easy to use and requires minimal technical expertise.
- Existing systems: One of the key considerations is how well the platform will integrate with your existing physical store. If you already have systems in place for managing inventory and payments, you’ll want to choose an ecommerce platform that can integrate with those systems. For example, you’ll want to ensure the platform can handle a range of payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, and other popular payment methods. It’s also important to consider how secure the platform is and how it handles customer data. This will help you avoid duplicating efforts and ensure your online and offline systems are always in sync.
- Shipping and delivery: Another important factor to consider is how the platform handles shipping and delivery. Suppose you plan to offer online sales alongside in-store sales. In that case, you’ll need to ensure your chosen ecommerce platform can handle a range of shipping options, from local courier services to international shipping providers. You’ll also want to consider how easy it is to manage shipping and tracking information within the platform.
Finally, it’s important to consider how the platform can help you attract and retain customers. Look for features like email marketing integrations, social media integrations, and customer loyalty programs to help you build a solid online presence and keep customers coming back.
By considering these factors and doing the research, you will be positioned to select an ecommerce platform that meets your business needs and helps you achieve your online sales goals. By choosing the right platform for your business, you can set yourself up for success in the competitive world of ecommerce.
Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform that powers over 1.75 million businesses worldwide. It is known for its ease of use and offers a range of features to help you build and manage your online store. With Shopify, you can choose from various templates and customise your site to fit your brand. It also offers a range of payment and shipping options, making it easy to sell to customers domestically and globally.
- Easy to use: Shopify is designed for beginners and provides an intuitive interface that makes it easy to set up and manage your online store.
- Extensive features: Shopify offers a range of tools to help you create and manage your online store, from marketing and SEO tools to payment processing and shipping options.
- Scalable: Shopify is designed to grow your business. As your store grows in popularity, you can easily scale up and add features like customer loyalty programs or subscription services.
- Mobile-responsive: Shopify websites are mobile-responsive, so your customers can easily shop online from any device.
- Wide range of apps and integrations: Shopify offers a wide range of apps and integrations to help customise your store, from email marketing tools to accounting software.
- Transaction fees for using external payment gateways: Shopify charges a transaction fee of 1.5-2% on all sales. This cost can add up quickly if you do a lot of business online. There is also a monthly subscription cost to take into consideration.
- Limited free themes: Shopify offers a limited selection of free themes, so you may need to upgrade to access more options.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform built on WordPress. It is a popular choice for businesses with a WordPress site who want to add ecommerce functionality. WooCommerce offers a range of features, including the ability to sell physical and digital products, manage inventory, and process payments.
- Open-source: WooCommerce is an open-source platform, which means you can customise the code to fit your specific needs.
- Free to use: WooCommerce is free to use, so you don’t have to pay a subscription fee. Extensive range of plugins and integrations.
- Large developer community: WooCommerce has a large and active developer community behind it, making it easier to find help if you need it.
- Integrates with WordPress: WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with WordPress, so you can use the same themes and plugins for both your website and online store.
- Complex setup: Setting up WooCommerce can be complex, so you may need to hire an experienced developer to get started.
- Limited support: Since WooCommerce is open-source, no official support team exists.
Wix is a cloud-based website builder that offers a range of features for businesses to create an online store. It offers templates, tools, and integrations to help you quickly set up your store and start selling. Wix also allows you to accept payments and manage shipping.
- Intuitive interface: Wix has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that makes creating and managing your online store easy.
- Wide range of templates: Wix offers a wide selection of professionally designed templates to help you create the perfect online store.
- Integrations and apps: Wix has a range of integrations and apps to help customise your store, from marketing tools to payment processors.
- Secure hosting: Wix provides secure, reliable hosting to keep your store running smoothly.
- Transaction fees for external payments: Wix charges a 3% transaction fee on all sales. This cost can add up quickly if you do a lot of business online.
- Limited customisation options: Wix has limited customisation options, so you may need to upgrade to access more features.
- No unlimited plans: Wix does not offer an unlimited plan for businesses that want to scale up quickly.
Magento is a robust ecommerce platform used by an array of large businesses and enterprises. It offers many features, including advanced inventory management, multi-store capabilities, and marketing tools. It is also highly customisable, with various plugins and extensions available.
- Highly scalable: Magento is highly scalable, so it can grow with your business.
- Flexible customisation options: Magento offers a range of plugins and extensions to customise your store according to your needs.
- Integrations and apps: Magento has a wide selection of integrations and apps available to help you manage your online store more effectively.
- Advanced features: Magento offers advanced features such as customer segmentation, order management, and multi-store capabilities.
- Expensive to host: Magento can be expensive to implement and maintain. You may need to hire a developer for customisations.
- Requires technical knowledge: It can be challenging to find experienced Magento developers.
- Need for hosting: Compared to other ecommerce systems like Shopify, Magento needs to be set up on its own dedicated server, which should be handled by someone with knowledge of the software. This means Magento is less accessible as a platform.
BigCommerce is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that offers a range of features to help you build and manage your online store. It is known for its scalability, with options for businesses of all sizes. BigCommerce offers a range of payment and shipping options and marketing tools to help you grow your business.
- Scalable: BigCommerce is highly scalable and can grow with your business.
- Integrations and apps: BigCommerce offers a range of integrations and apps to help customise your store, from marketing tools to payment processors.
- No transaction fees: BigCommerce stands out among other ecommerce website builders by not charging any transaction fees on sales. However, you will still have to pay the standard credit card charges from the payment gateway, which are usually 2.2% + 50c. If you anticipate large sales orders, BigCommerce can be a cost-effective option for you.
- SEO: BigCommerce is SEO-friendly, with a range of features to help you optimise your store and content, including the ability to change your meta titles, tags and descriptions.
- Expensive to host: BigCommerce can be expensive to implement and maintain. You may need to hire an experienced developer for customisations.
- Limited customisation options: BigCommerce offers limited customisation options, and any extra features will cost extra. Even though BigCommerce provides most of its features in-house, the app marketplace offers one app per category (for example, reporting, marketing, and wholesale), with fewer apps than Shopify.
Squarespace is a website builder that also offers ecommerce functionality. It is known for its sleek and modern designs, making it an excellent choice for businesses with a strong visual brand. Squarespace provides a range of features, including inventory management, order tracking, and payment processing.
- Easy to use: Known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy to set up and manage your store. Squarespace offers stunningly designed templates that you customise according to your brand.
- Mobile-responsive: There are four Squarespace apps available at present. The Squarespace app is the most helpful and can be downloaded on both iOS and Android. You can use this app to make changes to different parts of your website, such as pages, blogs, and stores. It enables you to make almost any type of modification to your website.
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth: Squarespace offers unlimited storage and bandwidth for your store, allowing you to grow without worrying about additional costs.
- No free plan available: Squarespace does not offer a free plan and has four pricing tiers that range from $12 to $40 per month. However, they offer a 14-day free trial.
- Limited design customisation: While Squarespace offers some customisation options, they are limited compared to other ecommerce website builders. You may need to upgrade your plan or hire a developer if you want more control over the design of your store.
Weebly is a user-friendly website builder that offers ecommerce capabilities. It is easy to set up and use, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes. Weebly also allows you to easily manage your inventory, process payments, and track orders.
- Easy setup: Setting up a store on Weebly is easy and straightforward. All you need to do is choose a template, upload your products, and customise it with Weebly’s drag-and-drop editor.
- App centre: Weebly offers its own app centre, where you can find a range of third-party apps to help customise and grow your store. You can also integrate your store with popular services such as MailChimp, PayPal, and Shopify.
- Inexpensive: Weebly is one of the most affordable ecommerce website builders, providing a free plan.
- Not great for bloggers: Weebly is not great for bloggers as it does not offer a blog feature. If you want to maintain a blog, you will need to use an external platform such as WordPress or Blogger.
- Support is an additional cost: Weebly does not offer a free customer support option. To get help, you will need to pay for a premium plan or hire an expert.
- Issues with photo and video editing: Weebly is not the best choice for heavy photo and video editing as it has limited support for this. There are third-party apps available, but they can be costly.
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Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your small business in New Zealand is crucial for your online success. Each option has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your business’s unique needs before making a decision. Whether you’re looking for ease of use, scalability, or advanced features, an ecommerce platform is going to deliver value to you and your business.