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E-commerce platforms come in many varieties and price ranges. More importantly, they vary in terms of cost, learning curve and functionality. When choosing the best e-commerce platform, much depends on your needs. That is, the best e-commerce platform for you has a lot to do with your business model, lifestyle and personal vision for success.
For now, we’ll look at the very best e-commerce platforms for direct to consumer sales. We’ve broken them into 3 categories.
- Consumer sales as a side hustle
- Consumer sales as a career enterprise
- Subscription sales as a service
Deciding which business-to-consumer sales model best fits your needs is the first and most important step. Each approach entails different demands—not only from the platform itself, but also from you and how you plan to interact with it.
Once you are certain of what business model suits you best, choosing the platform for starting your e-commerce website will be easier without time-consuming missteps and restarts. Consider all three suggestions before deciding which best platform is right for you.
Best E-Commerce Platform for Your Direct to Consumer Side Hustle
Side hustle doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. A few decades ago, people thought of it merely as a hobby for some extra cash. Today, it means being ambitious enough to follow your dreams. Entrepreneurs change the world, and they change their own lives in the process.
If you have a steady income—whether working part time or full time—but also have larger entrepreneurial dreams, you’re likely in the development stage of your business. And that means you need the best results with the least expense in terms of both time and financial investment. Zyro offers both.
At $8.99 per month, Zyro is simple to set up. So if you’ve had a long day at work plus errands to attend to, that’s OK. User-friendly templates get you started in a hurry. You will easily integrate the platform with your business social media pages, too. And the payment platform supports all major credit cards and PayPal.
Customer discount codes for marketing campaigns, reliable inventory tracking and strong customer service are all part of the package. For a cost- and time-effective means to get your business off the ground, Zyro is a solid e-commerce platform option.
Best E-Commerce Platform for Direct-to-Consumer Career Enterprise
Is your business-to-consumer (B2C) product providing your primary source of income? Do you have the time and willingness to go all in? Or perhaps you have a brick-and-mortar business with an already established brand and you’re ready to take it online.
If any of the above describe you, you will want a robust e-commerce platform for the long game. And will find countless e-commerce platforms to choose from. Among them is Shift4Shop.
Yes, BigCommerce and Shopify are good options and worth looking at. And we invite you to compare them based on your needs. But what sets Shift4Shop apart is its vast array of features. From blogging to SEO, you’ll find all the goodies here.There’s even a “make-an-offer” feature to allow the entrepreneur to haggle. In other words, Shift4Shop is customizable to your needs and on the cutting edge of e-commerce platforms.
AI-driven fraud protection saves you future headaches and—more importantly—time and money. Plus, Shift4Shop offers site migration. This feature stands out if you already have an existing shop housed at a less versatile platform. All HTML and CSS is customizable, but you don’t need to be a coding expert. With hundreds of templates available, it’s really up to you how deeply you dive into visual customization.
Finally, Shift4Shop has positioned itself as a leader in payment methods. Of course, it accepts major credit cards and PayPal. But for the convenience of your customers, Shift4Shop allows you to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can even accept payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and more at 1% flat rate.
With more than 200,000 clients, including PC Magazine and the UPS Store, we find Shift4Shop to be large enough for long-term reliability while also young enough to keep you on the cutting edge of e-commerce.
Best E-Commerce Platform for Business to Consumer as a Subscription Service
Dollar Shave Club is an example of an e-commerce subscription service. So is Plated or Ipsy. All these subscription services have two things in common. One is simply the business model: offer an expendable product—razors, food or makeup—and offer a service to conveniently replenish it.
But when you look at the sites themselves, there’s another similarity. They’re simple. You don’t offer the customer too many choices. They are simply steered to join, sign in and order from a few basic subscription products. Upselling might take place at some point. But from the start, they are simple.
If you offer a product as a subscription, you too will seek simplicity. Why wrestle through a learning curve of bells and whistles and various product offerings when you have a simple funnel for your clients? That is, for them to join and subscribe.
For this purpose, we recommend the tried-and-true standard: WooCommerce.
With the Woocommerce plugin for your WordPress website, you can do more than start selling your product subscriptions online. You can also sell recurring services too. With Woocommerce installed, you can offer patrons all of the fundamental subscription options. That is, trial, recurring, and multiple subscriptions. At your end, you’ll find the plugin installation simple with an existing WordPress site. And it will come with all the most popular payment gateways such as major credit cards and Amazon Pay ready to go.
You’ll find another advantage, too. With WordPress serving more than 30% of online stores, you’ll easily set up the initial website yourself or find a gifted designer who can. From there, it’s as simple as adding the Woocommerce plugin and getting started.
Every e-commerce platform mentioned in this article is reliable. They’ve stood the test of time. That is, you won’t find them disappearing anytime soon and leaving you with an unsupported website. Plan your shop carefully, investigate these platforms and get started on your e-commerce enterprise.
Photo by Prostock-studio