And while each of those things is a study all its own, the pervasive thread throughout e-commerce is the importance of choosing the right shopping cart app. Equipped with the right shopping cart tools supporting your e-commerce efforts, you can dodge some of those headaches commonly associated with starting up a business. And things get even better when you choose a shopping cart app that won't break the bank.
So, let's look at three headaches that occur when starting up an online store, and three apps that can cure them without breaking the bank.
Headache #1: You've Got to Design an E-Commerce Website
The first, and most obvious headache in starting up an e-commerce business is putting together a functioning website. And when you begin to look at hiring a Web design firm, the costs can become exorbitant.
Shopify is a name you've probably heard in reference to e-commerce. It's a big name, but there's a good reason for that. Shopify is in use by more than 120,000 shop owners worldwide, at present.
One thing that drives its popularity is the fact that Shopify works for e-commerce as well as in-store. You may have visited a store in which the “cash register” is an iPad with a credit card reader sticking out of its side; that would be Shopify in action.
That benefit aside, getting back to e-commerce, you'll find that Shopify lets you create a highly customized online store. Shopify extends beyond the capabilities of a typical e-commerce shopping cart because it effectively functions as a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) Web design platform for creating e-commerce websites.
This means you can manage everything, from the domain name of your e-commerce site, to the product pages, and the payments accepted, all from within Shopify. If you're not a designer, Shopify is a good choice because you don't need coding skills to get up and running with it. In fact, it offers a large selection of e-commerce store templates to get you started.
Shopify also supports credit card processing, as well as digital payment gateways, like PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree.
All that, and Shopify currently costs $29 per month, which, I think you'll agree, is a very start-up-friendly price.
Headache #2: You Need to Market Your Products and Services
Opening up an e-commerce storefront doesn't mean that your products or services will sell themselves. The e-commerce realm is no Field of Dreams, where “if you build it...” sales will come.
You're surely aware of the need to market your site. And, in the digital space, that means you need to pull together multi-channel resources that can include direct marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media marketing, and on-page optimizations to drive conversions and grow your business.
That's a lot to bring together, especially in the early days of your business.
An app that can help, though, is Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft offers comprehensive e-commerce shopping cart functionality, with additional features covering marketing and customer relationship management. What's more, Infusionsoft adds marketing automation features that help you put in place automated processes that help you capture more sales.
Infusionsoft is unique in its fusion of marketing and sales tools. It's the one e-commerce app around that, for example, lets you create and deployment email marketing messages, track the progress of the incoming lead, and process the eventual payment, all within one application.
Infusionsoft costs $199 for your start-up, which is still an appealing price tag, considering that it consolidates marketing, sales, and shopping cart processes under one roof, so to speak.
Headache #3: You Need to Be Mobile-Ready
It's no secret that mobile shopping is growing in popularity. It's also no secret that businesses which do not offer a mobile e-commerce site are prone to suffer sagging sales.
So it's understandable that you'd want your e-commerce store to be mobile-ready, from day one.
Highwire is an app with some mobile-specific features that can help you take your e-commerce efforts mobile.
As a shopping cart app, Highwire has the features you might expect, including credit card and payment gateway support, and multichannel support for making sales through sites like eBay and Facebook, and secure checkout.
But Highwire offers a wealth of built-in templates for mobile e-commerce, which will help your customers on-the-go have a pleasant shopping experience from the small screen. On your side of things, Highwire offers high-functioning iOS and Android versions to give you deep insights into what's happening at your site, while you are on-the-go.
And Highwire is highly appreciable for the cash-strapped start-up, with prices ranging from 414.95 to $29.95 per month, depending upon your needs.
Hopefully, from this article, you can infer that apps such as the three mentioned here can help you get your e-commerce site up and running with professional results, at minimal costs. These apps are all fully scalable, so as your start-up grows its roster of customers, you can rest more easily knowing that your e-commerce infrastructure is poised to grow along with your business.
Beyond the immediate benefits of the three apps discussed in this article, I hope the resounding takeaway for you is that you can start an e-commerce business with the help of cloud-based apps, without breaking the bank, and without all the unpleasant and unnecessary headaches.