As a small business owner, you know that the Internet is a valuable tool. You can list your products online for sale at an affordable price and customers from all over the world can buy directly from you. This works out for you and the consumer. As they get goods direct from the manufacturer but at a discount, and you get bulk orders direct from customers with no need for a middle man or broker. However, all of this depends on you, the small business owner, having an easy to use but universally acceptable website and ecommerce solution.
Problems for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, you may not be able to afford a custom website with the flashiest of graphics. In fact, small business owner Chrislema states that a WordPress site seems the most affordable and easy to set up. The CMS platform is easy to use and the entire system is inexpensive with no monthly fees and no percentage of fees to be paid to the hosting company. In fact, the WordPress-for-Dummies website states that you can install the entire system yourself, as WordPress has simple mechanisms designed for novice users. There are also several great teaching resources online that provide help on how to set up WordPress e-commerce sites quickly and effectively. However, the only problem that arises is finding the right shopping cart or e-commerce solution for your website. How do you select a fast and internationally accepted shopping solution that you and your customers will be able to use quickly? You don’t know much about the ecommerce solutions available currently but you do know that they are expensive and difficult to use. How do you select the right WordPress e-commerce solution that would be affordable and simple, yet easy to use?
The interesting thing about WordPress is that it offers a range of wonderful WordPress e-commerce plugin that can be customized to suit your particular product billing needs. Of course, the problem here is that there are thousands of plug-ins with several different features, and choosing the right one is a little confusing. Below is listed the top criteria for plug-in selection that should prove helpful.
- Paid vs. Free – A few of the plug-ins are free while others may cost anywhere from $50 to around $150. Some varieties may have an upfront fee while others may charge you every month. Others may also charge you a percentage of your monthly sales or a part of your monthly transactions. No matter what type of deal you choose, know your budget and make sure the deal is affordable in the short and long term.
- Ease of Use – You want customers to understand and use the plug-in quickly and this means the cart has to be easy to use. As a website owner, you may also need to add products to the website, add content and images to describe the product, update deals and freebies, change prices, remove old products, add a catalog or downloadable freebies, and so on. All of this should be easy and quick to do. Before you buy the solution or install it, make sure you understand exactly how it works. Most solutions will have teaching resources like videos and content that will teach you exactly how to use the plug-in. This is a vital step and most people make the critical mistake of downloading a so-called ‘free and simple’ plug-in and then find that it requires extensive PHP knowledge and understanding to add or modify features on the website. Don’t let this happen to you and make sure you try out the solution before you download it or add it to your website.
- Payment Gateways – Times have changed and customers want to pay through international payment methods to expedite sales. Some customers may not like PayPal or credit card deals and they may want to use Bitcoins, location-specific payment gateways, payment by installments, etc. Make sure that the plug-in offers international solutions or at least updates its solutions regularly on request.
- Scalability and Performance – As your website and business expands, you may decide to add products, increase features, add coupon code deals, etc. The plug-in should be adaptable and scalable to deal with this as you expand. E-commerce plug-ins should also not affect the working of the site and they should adapt to increasing traffic and increasing sales.
Although there are many plug-ins available online, we recommend you take your time while going through the different options available. This is because the same plug-in may not work for every industry or website. Website Sarkemedia also states that plug–ins like Cart66, WooCommerce, Wp-ecommerce, and Shopp are the most popular and commonly used but don’t be afraid to try a new plug-in if you feel that it will work better for your website.