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Let’s start with some amazing facts:

  • Online sales in the United States are projected to reach $523 billion in 2020, up 56 percent since 2015, according to Forrester Research, Inc.
  • 244 million consumers browsed and shopped online in 2015.
  • In just four years, the number of online shoppers will reach 270 million.

If you are a small business with a nonexistent or lackluster online store, such figures should spring you into action. The first step to online success starts with picking the right e-commerce platform, but if you have ever Googled the term, you know it’s not unlike trying to cross the jungle. With online stores worldwide numbering in the millions, there are countless platforms vying for your attention.  

By focusing on your own skill level and business needs, you can narrow down your search:

Ease of use

Are you a web wiz or an online novice? If you belong in the latter category, you may want to hold off on investing in sophisticated e-commerce platforms like Magento and Drupal Commerce in favor of the user-friendly Bigcommerce or Shopify. The drag and drop feature of 3dcart should also appeal to the beginner since it takes modifying CSS or HTML code out of the design equation. In short, there’s no point in signing up for a platform with a smorgasbord of features if you can’t figure out how to use them. Pick one that lends a virtual hand.

Business dreams: Big, small, or growing?

For the “living room entrepreneur” Squarespace could be an ideal fit. Easy to design and maintain, the platform may still not be enough for those of you who want more advanced search engine optimization (SEO) and customer relationship management (CRM). Magento and WooCommerce, on the other hand, are two scalable open-source platforms that make adding features a breeze for the growing business.

When design matters

Your online storefront is your face to the world. However, most of us don’t have the time or the skillset to design an e-commerce shop from scratch. Cue platforms Shopify and Bigcommerce and the problem is solved. Both allow you to select among dozens of themes to create a look that jives with your brand.

The price is right

It doesn’t always pay to chase the cheapest deal. If the creation of an attractive online retail space is foundation of your entire business, make it count. Shopify plans, for instance, range from $9 to $299. Select the most reasonably priced platform based on the features that you need and the scope of products that you plan to sell.

Once you have set up your store, there’s only one more – yet crucial – piece left to complete the puzzle: getting orders to their end destination. This is where eShipper can help. eShipper integrates with all major shopping carts, ensuring you not only get a stellar shipping experience, but also the best courier rates. Click here to learn more or contact us for more information.

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