Why choose Kook for your eCommerce solution?
Selling online takes as much preparation and hard work as it does for opening a bricks and mortar store. Hundreds of decisions need to be made, and any one of them could be costly.
Kook has more than two decades of experience in building online stores, and stands above the competition simply because we have professionals in all of the key areas that are critical to your success. Unlike many competitors who only have website designers, we have specialists in design, programming, marketing, advertising, SEO (search engine optimisation) and analytical statistics.
For a meeting to see how Kook is better than the rest, all you need to do is make contact!
What makes an e-commerce store successful?
There is no single element that determines success in the online market place.
Overview of the main elements involved when selling online:
- Navigation – Build a website that is easy to use, easy to navigate and easy to buy. Customers are time poor; they need to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
- Information – Give customers enough information to satisfy their research. Most users will visit your website with the objective of researching. By providing images, pricing and content rich descriptions, your visitors can be advanced from researchers to purchasers.
- Confidence – Confidence is a vital aspect for the success of an eCommerce website. Throughout all pages on your website, you should reassure customers of your website’s security, credibility and devotion to customer service.
- Strategy – Your website will not succeed without sufficient traffic. Traffic can come from many different sources, and a strategy that effectively draws on traffic from various locations (e.g. search engines, social media) must be produced.
- Support – Repeat business is crucial online; an exceptional level of support after sales is critical. If someone is satisfied with the price and quality of the product and service, they will return in the future – without researching competitors. Good sales support is usually as simple as setting up good communication mechanisms, and keeping the customer informed.
- Learning – Having the ability to test and learn is a necessity. Every market reacts differently to pricing, website design, seasonal trends etc. Make sure your website is equipped with the ability to track changes in customers’ reactions and user-experience to learn from this.
- Platform – Choose the wrong software to run your website and you may fail regardless of whether your products are the best quality and price.
What platform should you choose?
No matter which platform you choose for eCommerce, the reality is they all take a lot of work before you are a ready to actually sell.
The business processes you need to integrate online to make your business model a success are far more important to ponder. Let’s take freight costs. Or customer-specific pricing. How are these handled? Leave any stone unturned in getting your setup right and it will likely be the difference between profit or loss.
There is no “easy” way to export and import products and content from one platform to another. Go with the wrong platform and the hundreds of hours you’ve put into getting that website up and running will be lost. You essentially start again.
Ensuring you have the right platform to handle the specific needs of your business, and being able to adapt those rules as you grow, is paramount.
In many instances it also means your website budget has to conform to the needs of the business, not the other way around.
Below we take a look at five of the mainstream choices for eCommerce and their pros and cons.
Magento is an eCommerce-first open-source platform, meaning it has been developed with the sole purpose of providing the most robust features for an eCommerce business. It allows for the most flexible customisation, though has a more complicated set-up that will require the involvement of developers.
Magento is self-hosted, which means that there are annual hosting costs similar to a WordPress website instead of monthly subscription costs associated with Shopify, Wix and Squarespace. There are also no additional transaction fees beyond the standard fees of your selected payment provider.
Magento boasts a very advanced catalogue management system and provides great flexibility regardless of volume. It also has integrated functionalities covering stock control, pricing, quantities, promotions, multiple currencies, shipping, gift cards and discounts.
The main hurdles with Magento are:
- Getting started: This platform is not designed to be a DIY solution and while the set-up can be somewhat complicated and require a developer, the pay-off is a significantly more robust and customisable solution.
- Hosting requirements: To function at optimal efficiency a Magento store will require self-managed dedicated hosting, which can seem expensive at around $100-$300 per month for the right host.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce solution built on top of WordPress. It is the most popular and reliable plug-in to convert a standard WordPress website to an online store.
WooCommerce offers more than 100 different payment gateways and doesn’t charge any additional transaction fees beyond the standard fees of the individual payment providers.
And while the code can be tailored to your needs by a good developer, WooCommerce sites often are bogged down with “bloated” code (code that’s unnecessary for every installation). They also have a lot of moving parts (plugins, themes, etc.) to keep the site functioning properly. The larger these sites grow, the slower they run and the more work they require in ongoing maintenance.
Shopify is an all-in-one fully hosted eCommerce platform geared towards users who don’t want a complicated set-up and plan to manage a basic storefront themselves. Ease of use, however, comes at the expense of limited customisation and a monthly subscription fee ranging from USD $29 to USD $299.
Shopify also charges an additional 1%-2% per transaction when using any payment gateway other than Shopify Payments. This is on top of other fees and charges imposed by the third-party payment provider, although if you have both Shopify Payments and PayPal installed you are not charged the additional 2% on PayPal transactions.
A major downside of Shopify is the limitations that exist in terms of customising the checkout process to minimise cart abandonments.
Additionally, while there are many apps available to provide additional functionality, the majority require monthly subscriptions to get the most out of them – which very quickly pushes up costs. Many apps can also be damaging to the website aesthetics and page-loading times, which can impact on user experience and conversion rate.
Finally, and most importantly, Shopify is Software as a Service (SaaS). This means the domain owner doesn’t own the website code. The website code is basically rented from Shopify. You can’t move a Shopify site elsewhere, and the only way to convert a site from Shopify into another system is to completely rebuild it.
Wix is a DIY website builder with various tools and templates that enable someone with no technical expertise to create a website from scratch. It is also possible for experienced developers to create more intricate and complicated websites using the platform.
Like Shopify, Wix has a paid subscription – starting from USD $18 per month – with a range of free and paid apps that can be installed with varying reliability and consequence.
Unlike Shopify, there are no in-built transaction fees charged in addition to standard payment gateway fees. It is important to note, however, that Wix is not suitable for Apple Pay or Amazon.
Finally, like Shopify, Wix is Software as a Service (SaaS). This means the domain owner doesn’t own the website code. The website code is basically rented from Wix, and often has strict limitations on development. You can’t move a Wix site elsewhere, and the only way to convert a site from Wix into another system is to completely rebuild it.
Squarespace was originally created as a DIY website builder and has expanded its capabilities to become a fully hosted eCommerce solution. With subscription fees starting from $25 per month, the basic Squarespace platform is still somewhat lacking in terms of basic eCommerce functionality and will require some degree of code changes by a developer.
Squarespace charges a 3% fee on all transactions for stores that are on a Business subscription plan, however if you upgrade to a Basic Commerce subscription ($34 per month) or Advanced Commerce subscription ($52 per month) this is removed.
Squarespace integrates with a range of third-party extensions to help manage and expand your site, including inventory, product management and drop-shipping platforms. Any additional associated fees are billed by the third party, who also has the ability to change functionality, pricing and integration requirements at any time.
Like Shopify and Wix, Squarespace is also Software as a Service (SaaS). The domain owner doesn’t own the website code, it is basically rented from Squarespace, with very strict limitations on development. You can’t move a Squarespace site elsewhere, and the only way to convert a site from Squarespace into another system is to completely rebuild it.