Are you ready to start your online business? Have you decided what you’re going to sell? How to get the product to your future customers? Do you have a clear idea of what your future store should look like? If you answered yes, then it looks like you’re ready to take the next step. It’s time to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality, and choose the best online store builder for your needs. This week on FounderU we’ll break down the decision into seven simple questions.
7 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Best Online Store Builder for Your Business
How much do I want to spend?
What do I want my store to look like?
Which online store builder will best enable me to get my products to customers?
How do I want to handle payments?
Would my store be totally secure?
Will my customers be able to leave feedback?
Will I get the support I need?
1. How much do I want to spend?
Most online store builders offer free trials to help you get off the ground, but once that window is closed, you’ll need to start paying for the service. Generally, services offer multiple subscription tiers, with the ability to upgrade at any time. When upgrading to a more expensive plan, you will benefit from more features, with lower transaction fees.
If you have an established customer base, choosing an online store builder that charges more per month isn’t necessarily a bad option. On the other hand, if you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to keep your monthly costs on the lower side, and leave yourself room to grow into the highest-level plan once your business starts booming.
2. What do I want my store to look like?
A beautiful, polished online store can take your brand to the next level. In a visually competitive market, it’s essential that your online store be well-designed for both aesthetics and user experience.
Look for a platform that features pre-designed themes and layouts, with easy to use customization options. This allows you to reach your design goals yourself, without needing to acquire the services of a developer.
Check out this example of the Selz online store builder:
3. Which online store builder will best enable me to get my products to my customers?
If you are selling physical products like ceramics or clothing, it’s beneficial to provide your customers with real-time shipping rates and carrier shipping options at checkout. You’ll also want to be able to easily provide them shipping notifications and tracking information. Look for an online store builder that integrates and streamlines this process to save time.
If you are selling digital products, make sure that the online store builder you choose will enable you to promptly and effectively deliver merchandise to your customers. The ability to offer multiple file types for download purchases, such as making an eBook available as both a Kindle file and as a PDF, is crucial to customer satisfaction when selling digital products. For the security of your products, choose a platform that offers PDF stamping, download limits, and license keys.
4. How do I want to handle payments?
This is a big one. In order for your online store to function seamlessly, it needs to process digital payments quickly and securely. PayPal has been the gold standard for secure online payments for a long time, but not all sellers love using it. Many online store builders offer their own secure payment services, without the need to integrate a payment gateway.
Offering a range of payment methods to customers increases the likelihood of finalized sales, as long as the payment methods you choose are secure. Just keep in mind that it can take a couple of days to fully enable payments for your store depending on which processor you are using.
5. Will my store be totally secure?
It goes without saying that you want to keep your customers’ financial information secure. It’s preferable to choose an online store builder that provides an SSL certificate for all of their plans and throughout the entire shopping process.
Look for an online store builder that offers a free SSL certificate for every page of your online store, not just the checkout page. Some online store builders will only provide this security when customers are entering sensitive information, or require upgrading to a more expensive plan to gain an SSL certificate at all.
Take the time to ensure the online store builder you choose is as secure as possible. Not having an SSL certificate can lead to security warnings popping up when customers visit your store, which is a quick way to lose potential sales.
6. Will my customers be able to leave feedback?
Nothing adds authority and consumer confidence to your online store like having product reviews and ratings. Customers will have greater buying confidence in a product if it has already been endorsed by someone. Even negative reviews provide invaluable feedback, and the opportunity to salvage a customer relationship.
If an online store builder does not have this feature built in, see if it’s possible to integrate review and comment services such as Yotpo and Disqus Comments. It will make all the difference in conversions and customer trust.
7. Does the platform offer comprehensive customer support?
Every entrepreneur can expect a few hiccups when starting a business, but you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. It’s essential to choose an online store builder with strong, reliable customer support.
Whether you want to finetune a landing page, or need one-on-one guidance to fix an urgent issue, there is no need to settle for anything less than 24/7 support. Look for an online store builder with flexible communication options, for those inevitable times when you need to hop on a call to solve a problem, or just need a simple email response.
Once you choose the online store builder that’s right for you, you’re that much closer to a thriving online business. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and make that online store shine!