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Find out why Big Commerce is the best way to build an online store and start selling today
If you’re struggling to take your website retail business to the next level or if you’re trying to start out as a new online entrepreneur, there is ONE vital thing that you need to succeed.
The ONE thing that is required to drive your online retail web site is an effective ecommerce website builder. Without the best shopping cart technology driving your online checkout system, you’ll soon see customers leaving your site faster then they came in.
Looking for an ecommerce website builder can be intimidating and confusing, just know that it doesn’t have to be! How do you know what’s truly the best shopping cart available?
Shopping cart hosting is basically a service that provides the servers to store and host your website. Different providers will offer various levels of support and design tools. It can range from the very basic to the more advanced. It all depends on the company and the amount that you’re paying for the monthly service.
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Options To Consider With Any Ecommerce Website Builder Service
1. Price – Most ecommerce website builder services offer multiple monthly price plans that are geared toward all levels of businesses. Everyone from the smallest home-based business to major retailers can find an option that fits their business model, budget and sales volume.
Each plan will offer a certain amount of storage space, number of products you can offer for sale, bandwidth (that’s how much data which can be transferred on a monthly basis between your website and all of your visitors) and advanced selling and marketing tools. These tools usually consist of items such as the ability to offer discount coupon codes, gift certificates, email promotions, etc. Options like this sometimes are only offered on more expensive plans.
Be sure to start out with only what you think you will need when shopping for an ecommerce website builder. You can always upgrade later if need be. No sense paying more for service options you may not need when you’re first starting out.
2. Support – It doesn’t matter how experienced you may be with creating websites. If something is new to you then there will be a learning curve involved. This is especially important for new online business owners and web masters. You’ll inevitably have questions on how to configure components such as shipping rates or how to setup sales tax for different locations and similar.
Having a good support staff that’s ready and able to answer your questions is vital. Technical support for issues that may be to advanced for your non-techie mind will become a life-line in the event you have website problems that have the potential to impact your bottom line due to an outage or accidental deletion of your product database. Offering the best shopping cart service starts with having the best support team. We have you covered there.
3. Design Features – You may have the best products to offer or the most creative site design in your head, but how do you translate that into an actual website? There are usually three ways to approach website design.
First, you can build everything from scratch using programming knowledge and Photoshop for graphic editing. But that’s probably not where you’re at.
Secondly, you can find a ecommerce website builder that does all of the design for you. That may sound good initially, but as you start the process of building your site you’ll soon wish you had some control over the customization of your pages and the way they look.
Finally, the best option is to combine the two options above. A good ecommerce website builder will offer many ready to use design templates and features, while also providing you with the ability to edit programming code to customize your site the way you want to. Programming may be something you learn to do later on or you may just feel more comfortable hiring a programmer as the need arises. Either way, if you want to really personalize your site, you’ll want the option to manually edit the language coding. We really are the best shopping cart service around.
The above tips should give you some good info about what to look for when considering an ecommerce website builder. Finding the best shopping cart provider is going to be different for everybody based on needs and budget concerns. But knowing these important considerations will help you to ask the right questions.
Also try to find providers that offer a free trial so you can demo their product, get an idea of what their support service is like and to get familiar with what can very well become your most important link to your online success.
Why We Use, Like and Recommend The BigCommerce Shopping Cart….
Besides award-winning customer service and technical support, there’s another reason we just can’t be happier with our experience with BigCommerce. Their main focus is to help ensure that their web hosting customers have everything they need to sell in a competitive online world. Having the right tools and features that help you to sell more products is invaluable.
The latest feature the team at BigCommerce have come up with is designed to help you interact more with your existing customers. They have implemented an automated way to receive feedback from your customers soon after they receive their order.
Getting your customers to come back and visit your online website is obviously a great way to generate second, third and more sales in the future. How does it work? One week after your customers receive their order, they’ll receive an email asking them how they like their products. They’ll be provided with a website link where they can go and leave a product review. Positive product reviews act like a vote of confidence with potential customers. Anytime you can get your customers to interact with your web store, you increase your chances of additional sales. Another great reason to consider using BigCommerce as your ecommerce website builder.
More than 1,000 businesses sign up for our ecommerce website builder every week. Here’s why you’ll like it too:
It’s very easy to customize
Designers have full access to HTML and CSS via FTP, as well as the QuickEdit and diff tools. Business owners can choose from over 50 store designs and use the Drag & Drop Design Mode to customize the layout of their store.
Sell products online, no learning curve
It couldn’t be easier to sell products online with BigCommerce. The getting started wizard helps you build your online store and shopping cart up fast and there are dozens of step-by-step videos if you get stuck.
Our software is optimized by SEO experts
BigCommerce is the only ecommerce website builder reviewed by the world’s #1 SEO guru Aaron Wall. Aaron’s feedback was incorporated into the software, meaning you’ve got a better chance of outranking your competitors in the search engines. You can also choose your own domain name to optimize your site further and customize it to fit your particular needs.
Reports to make you more money
With over 25 business intelligence reports built in (such as top selling products and average revenue per order), BigCommerce helps you make better decisions which mean more money in your pocket with less work.
No transaction fees — ever!
Unlike other ecommerce website builders we don’t penalize you for selling more. We never charge transaction services fees and have no hidden costs. What you see really is what you get. It’s also easy to accept and process payment with popular merchant providers such as Paypal. You’ll be taking orders and becoming profitable with some hard work and a solid hosting service. Pay by the month with no long term contracts. You choose the plan that’s right for your companies needs.
Your data is safe and secure
The security and up-time of your BigCommerce shopping cart and online store is our #1 priority. We protect your store and data with the same military-grade security and encryption that the big banks use, and we have a 99.99% average uptime track record.
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There are many solutions out there for designing and publishing websites. Our website builder reviews will focus on ecommerce specific websites. If you’re looking for reviews on informational type of websites then stay tuned as we may add this type of review in the future.
Ecommerce websites can be built in a number of ways. The two primary methods are using free software and paid ecommerce hosting services. Now please don’t immediately jump to the free solution because well, it’s free. You can end up with more on your plate than you can handle. Free ecommerce solutions usually require much more web programming experience and limited support outlets should you need it.
OSCommerce is probably the best known and widely used of the free, open sourced ecommerce website builders. It has several years of development and a loyal following of webmasters. Since OSCommerce is widely used and accepted, you can find many web hosting providers that have some install support to upload the software and get your basic site established.
Once installed, OSCommerce has a web-based admin console where you manage everything in your online store from template design, shipping and tax configuration, product creation and payment processing information.
The included design templates are very basic and won’t win you any awards for style and design. This is where some good web programming skills will come into play to make your ecommerce storefront really shine. Knowledge of CSS, java scripting and Flash will be highly valued in the design process.
OSCommerce does come in a variety of flavors. There are other platforms based on the OSCommerce model. Some are more user friendly then others and provide more support and options. CRE Loaded and Zen Cart are two of the better known clones of OSCommerce. We happen to prefer Zen Cart because it’s much more user friendly while keeping with many of the positives of the open sourced platform of its predecessor, OSCommerce.
To summarize, OSCommerce and its spin offs, Zen Cart and CRE Loaded, are open source, have endless possibilities in design and function, but also require much more time and effort with a higher technical skill level to truly master.
Our next stop in our ecommerce website builder review is on the opposite spectrum of free solutions; of course that would be paid ecommerce hosting services. Sometimes you get what you pay for. In the case of website builders this holds true. With OSCommerce you get the software for free but you’re left to your own devices when it comes to ongoing design and support.
In contrast, ecommerce website builders involve a monthly cost, but much of the design and backend processes are already built for you. Now as a result of pre-built templates and site components, you will have less customization opportunities. For most beginner to intermediate store owners, this won’t be a problem. Many of the default templates of service providers are usually pretty good as is.
When looking for the best shopping cart for your online business, price is only one factor to consider. Look for ecommerce website builders that provide robust support channels and an active forum. Forums are very helpful because they are filled with experts and regular users all sharing information and helping one another out. When forum support isn’t answering your questions, knowing you have a dedicated technical support staff to hold your hand when needed is comforting. You don’t think about how valuable this is until your site crashes and you’re losing money every minute that passes by.
Another thing to look for in an ecommerce website builder are the options that they offer at the various monthly price points. Some attract you with a low base monthly hosting rate, but then you quickly realize if you want any useful features, like the ability to offer your customers discount codes, they make you upgrade to more expensive plans. The best services will offer most selling tools at all price plans and only charge more based on the number of products you sell or the bandwidth that you use. This isn’t really a problem because businesses just starting out won’t receive a lot of traffic or have a large product offering right away.
For a paid ecommerce website builder we highly recommend the Big Commerce hosting service. You receive great technical support, feature-rich selling tools and reasonable price plans. They were voted as the best ecommerce platform recently and continue to grow their market share every quarter. Read more about Big Commerce in the posts above and take advantage of a free 15 day trial to take their service for a test drive. We personally use this webstore builder for our own online business.