Last Updated | September 16, 2021
Overview: Best ecommerce website builder for small businesses in the USA
An American eCommerce market is a booming place that makes over 50% of all shopping. From the multi-billion-dollar Amazon to eBay and other enterprises to small startups and SMEs, everyone seems to be convinced of the authority and potential of the online marketplace. So what’s stopping you from getting started with the online store? Maybe you are worried about the technical aspects of setting up and managing an online store or fearful of the costs of development and maintenance.
Well, the good news is that the world has significantly changed in the past many years. Today, setting up and managing ecommerce stores has become much more accessible and smoother for online businesses. Below in this blog, we will exclusively be discussing everything about one of the biggest and most powerful ecommerce web development platforms – Shopify and see why it is the aptest and cheapest ecommerce website builder for small businesses in the USA. So, let’s get started…
What is Shopify Small Business Shops Online ?
Shopify is an excellent ecommerce web development platform that just lets you sell anything to anyone across the world. It has become one of the most dominating ecommerce web development platforms, mostly thanks to its amazing interface and powerful functionalities that enable entrepreneurs to dominate the market.
To make it even better, you don’t really need to know much about coding or programming to get started with your ecommerce store. With Shopify, even the most technologically naïve person can set up his store in days and start selling. To make it even more tempting for online merchants, Shopify brings in some robust and high-utility sales, marketing, inventory management and plenty of other tools that make ecommerce store management seamlessly convenient. And if you don’t really feel like building your online store even with these incredibly convenient tools, you can always opt for Shopify design services in the USA to get started (you just need to choose the right Shopify web development agency in the USA). Also, when you are ready, you can get ahead with Shopify app builder in the USA to tap into the massive mobile commerce marketplace.
So, whether you are a startup, an SME or a multi-million-dollar enterprise looking to venture into the tempting online marketing, Shopify offers you everything you need to grow and succeed in the online marketplace.
Shopify Compared to The Best Ecommerce Platforms
Now you may be thinking why we are only focusing on Shopify and not some of the other platforms that share many similarities with Shopify.
Honestly, there are some other really great ecommerce platforms available in the market, each with its strengths and limitations; however, since we are talking about the best and cheapest ecommerce platform for small businesses, few come closer to Shopify (and that’s what we will be explaining down here).
So, coming back to Shopify, it’s a great platform to manage every moving component of online stores. The platform brings in versatility, flexibility, scalability and convenience for online merchants, which are basically everything you need to sustain and grow in today’s ecommerce marketplace. And while there are other really good platforms like BigCommerce, and Wix available, these platforms tend to have one or the other limitations with what you may or may not do.
From convenient drag-and-drop builders to the built-in payment processor, and from 24/7 customer support to business intelligence, customer analytics, and pre-designed themes, there is so much to love and discuss about Shopify.
So, let’s get started looking into further details of everything that makes Shopify the best and cheapest platform for small businesses.
Shopify easiest ecommerce website builder – Design & Themes
Before you move on to any other aspect of an ecommerce store, you need an aesthetically pleasing and highly functional theme that can attract traffic and convert them to customers. With Shopify, you get access to 10 free professionally designed ecommerce web templates, which can instantly be used to create a functional website. What’s more interesting is that these templates come in two variants and customization options, so you have plenty of space to personalize the themes as per your business needs.
However, on the downside, the total number of free bundled templates offered by Shopify is less as compared to some other platforms like Wix or Squarespace. Bundled themes refer to highly responsive templates, which are able to self-adjust the layout as per the size of the screen (smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, etc.).
Nonetheless, if you don’t feel like using any free themes, you can always opt for “premium” templates. There are over 70 premium templates available with Shopify; again, each comes with multiple variants. Also, the premium themes offer much deeper customization options, which can help you fully personalized them. Just in case you are looking for some intense customization, you can always find Shopify experts in the USA who can help you achieve the best appearance for your theme.
The cost of premium themes ranges from USD 100 to USD 350, which is quite affordable for even the majority of small businesses. And to further assist online merchants, the themes are categorized according to multiple filters, including;
- home page type
- layout style
- visual features;
- and more.
So, you can pretty much find the perfect theme for your store without much hassle.
One crucial aspect to consider is that there are two specific types of templates available on Shopify, including the traditional templates and the new “online store 2.0” templates. The new online store 2.0 themes basically offer better and most comprehensive editing and customization options using Shopify’s new drag-and-drop builder. So, if you are looking to customize the themes without expert support, you may consider choosing an online store 2.0 theme (which can be selected through the filters).
Moving on, all theme templates available on Shopify are professionally designed with great aesthetics, high responsiveness, and robust functionality.
To make it even better, it’s easy to customize the templates (you can go ahead with DIY or consider hiring some professional Shopify design services in the USA to own them truly).
Shopify Simple eCommerce website builder – Features
When it comes to features, Shopify doesn’t disappoint at all. The platform comes well-equipped with all the advanced features you would need to dominate the online marketplace, and if those aren’t enough for your liking, you get access to hundreds and thousands of third-party apps that virtually offers you every feature you would ever need to maximize sales and revenues for your store.
Now, let’s quickly look at some of the amazing features offered by Shopify;
As mentioned earlier, Shopify offers thousands (over 1200 to be exact) of third-party apps available in its app store. These apps can easily be integrated into the stores using professional Shopify ecommerce integration services to get started. From email marketing to inventory management and from promotions and discounts to dropshipping, you will find an apt app for all components of your business.
Just like the themes, the app store comprises free and paid high-utility app. But just as a word of caution, you shouldn’t get carried away by looking at all the amazing and versatile apps available. That’s because too many apps may lower the performance of your store. So, be cautious and mindful only to choose the apps that you really need.
Third-party apps are considered a great way to improve an ecommerce store’s functionalities, creating a more seamless user experience, automating the various backend operations and various other things. So, you can just read out the reviews of each of these apps and add those that bring the most value to your store.
Shipping is another crucial aspect for all ecommerce stores, and Shopify doesn’t disappoint here as well. The platform offers robust shipping options that enable store owners to manage and optimize their stores’ shipping components efficiently.
For instance, with Shopify shipping, online merchants can set shipping destinations, manage shipping rates based on multiple aspects (weight, location) and even print shipping labels. Furthermore, if you opt for Advance Shopify Plan, you also get access to plenty of third-party shipping rates, which you can show to the clients during the checkout process.
Shopify supports all major couriers, including; DHL, UPS, USPS, Canada Post, and others. This simply saves small businesses hassle and time to source their couriers personally. And like always, you can simply integrate third-party apps to unlock even better shipping features.
Over the past many years, dropshipping has become one of the best ecommerce models for small businesses, and Shopify makes it easier than any other platform. With dropshipping, businesses can easily sell anything (almost anything) online without any upfront costs. Shopify does offer plenty of features for dropshipping businesses that save time, money and space for online merchants (check out if you need a dropshipping license on Shopify here). All of these features further improve the ability of small businesses to concentrate on core business tasks like engaging customers and perfecting the store while leaving the backend operations for Shopify.
An important thing to remember is that Shopify doesn’t offer many built-in features and functionalities for dropshipping; instead, you would need to integrate third-party apps to unlock the full potential of your dropshipping business on Shopify, and if you need any professional help, you can always hire Shopify integration services.
– Abandoned Cart Recovery
Abandoned cart recovery is another critical feature that helps online stores reengage lost customers by tempting them through promotions, discounts, or simple reminders. Shopify does offer built-in abandoned cart recovery features for all of its plans (which is great news for small businesses looking to start with a basic Shopify plan). This means that you won’t have to search or pay for a third-party app on the Shopify store; rather, you get everything built-in to your store.
For instance, you may reengage customers with abandoned carts through email marketing by sending them some irresistible promotions or discount codes. With Shopify, you can even automate the email campaigns for abandoned carts, so you never lose a potential customer again.
For any store owner, abandoned cart recovery is an essential feature that helps them maximize their reach and sales. However, some of the other ecommerce web development platforms like Big Carter doesn’t offer abandoned cart recovery features as standard options, which is a big disadvantage for online merchants. According to stats, abandoned carts may make up as much as 15% of lapsed customers, which is a big chunk for any online business and with Shopify abandoned cart recovery options, you are well-prepared to get those sales numbers back in your revenue.
– Payment Options
Payment options directly influence the total revenue of online stores. The greater the payment options offered by stores, the more sales they make. That’s why Shopify supports all major (and many minor) payment gateways, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Stripe, Amazon Pay. Not to forget, the platform also offers its in-house payment gateway, “Shopify Payments”.
While other payment gateways come with a transaction fee, there is no fee for Shopify Payments. The transaction fee is much like an entry fee to a park, which you would pay to go inside and roam around (in this case, this fee will let you use the gateway to process online transactions).
Also, Shopify payments support multiple currencies. This is a great feature that boosts store conversion rates since it enables users to pay in their local currency. The Shopify Payments automatically adjusts the pricing of products in local currencies as per the exchange rates, thus maximizing sales potential for store owners.
Some of the currencies that Shopify Payments support includes;
- United States Dollar
- Canadian Dollar
- Australian Dollar
- Pound Sterling
- Hong Kong Dollar
- Danish Krone
- Japanese Yen
- Singapore Dollar
- New Zealand Dollar
– Multi-channel Integration
Just like it’s important for all businesses to have an online presence, similarly, it’s important for all online stores to have multi-channel integration. According to stats, nearly 50% of online shoppers in the USA lookout for a product on online marketplaces like Amazon; thus, it’s essential for online merchants to spread their sales.
With Shopify multi-channel integration, it becomes easier for online businesses to sell on multiple online channels and not just stick to their personal ecommerce store. This simply maximizes the reach and sales potential of businesses; since they are able to cater audiences on multiple platforms. For instance, with Shopify, you can easily sell your products on Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and even on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
On the downside, however, Shopify doesn’t offer built-in features for multi-channel support; rather, you would have to install third-party apps to start selling across multiple marketplaces. However, on the positive side, there are many free third-party apps available, so small businesses don’t really have to worry about it.
Nobody likes doing taxes. It’s a complex task that becomes even more tricky for online businesses looking to sell across states and countries. However, Shopify does make it easier for businesses to manage this complicated obligation with relative ease.
The platform offers a robust built-in automated tax calculator that makes handling taxes much easier and simpler. You can easily set up your ecommerce store and let the platform automatically calculate all regular taxes with the default tax rates. However, it’s recommended to keep an eye on the tax rates and other technical stuff, which may change occasionally.
The Shopify POS app is now easier than ever for companies to take their businesses wherever they want.
You can read more about Shopify POS hardware here.
With Shopify POS, it’s now possible for businesses to accept payments through credit cards, offer store credibility, issue refunds, and much more.
The Shopify POS enables store owners to automatically synchronize the app and online store to make it even better. This subsequently ensures that all backend operations are managed smoothly (inventory updates, order fulfilment, and others). This also frees up a lot of time for store owners, as they don’t have to sit glued to their seats to manage store operations.
Shopify POS app is free for Basic Shopify Plan (USD 29 per month) and above. The platform even offers a free credit card reader for POS apps, which is excellent for small businesses selling at markets, fairs, pop-up stores, and other places.
Shopify best and easy website builder – Marketing Tools
Honestly, there is no point in setting up an ecommerce store if you never get a visitor on your website, right? The only way to succeed in the online marketplace is to have high visibility, extensive reach and lots of traffic on your store.
That’s precisely why Shopify offer some incredible marketing tools, including Search engine optimization (SEO) tools. The search engine optimization process help store owners to optimize their ecommerce stores as per Google’s search engine algorithms. This, in return, helps SMEs to gain higher rankings in Google’s search results, subsequently leading to more traffic and increased sales.
While Shopify doesn’t offer every trick in the book, nonetheless, it does provide a wide range of SEO tools that you would need to gain maximum visibility and reach. From header code to custom URLs and to add meta descriptions to keyword support, the platform offers some great tools to manage the SEO of your store.
While SEO is a crucial marketing feature for store owners to bring more traffic and generate more revenues, it isn’t the only marketing tactic employed by online stores. Instead, there are plenty of other marketing features that yield great results for ecommerce stores which we will be discussing below;
– Reporting tools
So, have you implemented the SEO techniques? But how will you measure its success?
Well, you need comprehensive reporting tools that can give you tangible numbers to determine how effectively customers are engaging with your store, assess your store’s strengths and weaknesses, and see how you can further optimize the store’s performance. All of these crucial insights are valuable for all store owners looking to reap high revenues.
Thankfully, Shopify doesn’t disappoint and offer a built-in robust analytical tool that gives storeowners a clear and insightful picture of everything happening in the store. Some of the analytics provided by the Shopify reporting tool includes; earning, rate of returning customers, abandoned cart rate, and other real-time insights.
To make it even better, you can integrate Google Analytics with the Shopify store to access more detailed data. For this, you can create a free Google Analytics account and get started tracking your sales, analyzing customers’ behaviour, and evaluate traffic patterns on your store.
The only thing that Shopify does lacks in terms of marketing tools and features are the blogging component. Shopify doesn’t offer any built-in blogging tools; however, it does offer complete support for blogging. This means that you can integrate third-party apps to start blogging for your store. However, as mentioned before, this isn’t the strongest area for the platform, and some of the other platforms like Volusion, Big Cartel and others offer much better tools and support.
– Email Marketing
Email marketing is considered one of the best direct marketing tactics, and Shopify certainly doesn’t disappoint here. The platform offers pretty robust built-in email marketing tools; however, you may need professional coding assistance to integrate and use them effectively. Nonetheless, you can always integrate third-party apps to create, execute and track email campaigns for your Shopify store. Email marketing apps like Campaign Monitor, Privy, Seguno and others are pretty robust when it comes to effective and targeted email marketing campaigns.
One thing that you may notice is the absence of MailChimp (one of the more popular email marketing tools) from Shopify’s list. Previously MailChimp was supported by Shopify, however for some reason, things didn’t work out between the two, and now it’s not present in the list. Contrarily, if you are persistent in using MailChimp with the Shopify store, you can achieve that by using third-party apps like Zapier.
Nonetheless, there are various other email marketing options available that can help you to maximize your reach, sales, and revenues through effective and targeted email campaigns.
Shopify best cheap eCommerce website builder – Integration & Inventory Management
Inventory management is an essential and crucial aspect for all ecommerce stores. However, efficient inventory management may be challenging, especially when you don’t have automation tools for the purpose.
Well, with Shopify, you don’t have to worry about inventory management ever again. The platform brings in robust inventory management tools that let store owners track individual listings and manage the entire inventory efficiently. And just like always, you can depend on third-party apps to unlock incredibly powerful and advanced inventory management features that can help create a smooth inventory management process.
Some of the key features of Shopify inventory management includes;
- Inventory tracking for individual listings
With Shopify inventory management tools, small businesses can easily set up separate listings for individual products and create a rational hierarchy by structuring them into various categories. For instance, you can categorize inventory as per the type, value, season, and more.
- mProduct variations inventory
Shopify inventory management tools also allow store owners to manage product variations in one place effectively. The platform supports uploading any number of variations for individual products that may reflect different sizes, colors, dimensions, patterns, weight, and others. It also generates individual inventory numbers for each product variation for easy management.
- Bulk inventory updates
Shopify’s bulk editor allows ecommerce store owners to manage bulk inventory in one place. The bulk editor brings in the data in rows and columns like in a spreadsheet, which makes it easier and convenient to make bulk changes to the inventory items in one sitting.
- Inventory transfers
For ecommerce stores with multiple warehouses or suppliers, Shopify allows for inventory transfer. The platform does allow for easy inventory transfer between warehouses and supplies. However, on the downside, the inventory transfer option cannot be used for third-party fulfilment services.
Shopify best eCommerce website builder for small businesses – Budget and Pricing
Moving on to the budget and pricing, Shopify is one of the cheapest ecommerce web development platforms that’s ideal for businesses of all sizes. That’s to say, because the platform offers various pricing plans that suit the needs of different business models and sizes.
To start, the platform offers a 14-day trial period. We mean it when we say trial since you won’t have to enter any payment details to start the free trial. Thereby, there is really no risks and pressures to continue the plan once the trial period is over. Also, it’s pretty straightforward to cancel Shopify Plan or switch to another plan.
Read our previous blog to know how to cancel the Shopify plan.
Here’s a quick summary of all Shopify pricing plans:
– Shopify Lite:
Shopify lite is the most basic and cheapest pricing plan starting at only USD 9 per month. The plan support integration of the existing Facebook page or website. Shopify charges a 2% transaction fee for the Shopify Lite plan (unless you use Shopify Payments).
– Basic Shopify
The Basic Shopify is the cheapest plan to create your own ecommerce store. The plan brings in all necessary tools and features required to set up, run, and manage the store effectively. The Basic Shopify plan costs USD 29 per month plus a 2% transaction fee (unless you use Shopify Payments).
Shopify Plan is ideal for small but growing businesses and includes promotion and discount features. The plan costs USD 79 per month plus a 1% transaction fee (unless you use Shopify Payments).
– Advanced Shopify
Advanced Shopify plan is suited for large businesses and enterprises looking to scale up their operations. The plan brings in some advanced tools, including reporting and analytics, calculated shipping rates and others. The Advanced Shopify plan costs USD 299 per month plus a 0.5% transaction fee (unless you use Shopify Payments).
– Shopify Plus
This plan is exclusively for large enterprises with massive budgets. It includes all advanced tools and supports features. There is no set pricing for this plan, and you would have to request the quotation depending upon your business requirements.
How to Save Money with Shopify?
Well, as a small business owner, you must be wondering which is the right plan for your business needs and how you can save money, right? As mentioned earlier, all Shopify pricing plans come with highly competitive monthly pricing. However, if you want to save some more money, you can sign up for two years, saving you up to USD 190 for Shopify Plan. Alternatively, you can save up to USD 94 annually by signing up for a year contract with Shopify.
Now, if you ask us which is the best plan for small businesses, we would recommend going with Shopify Lite.
One of the most common mistakes small businesses make is to sign-up for a higher pricing plan by getting tempted with advanced features. However, as a startup, you only need basic features to get started, which is all available in the Shopify Lite Plan. Alternatively, you can always switch between the plans and go a level up when you are ready.
Shopify best and easiest eCommerce website builder – Development Time & Cost
As a small business, your primary concern is to get things rolling asap, right? Also, you want a platform that is convenient and comes with an easy learning curve. Fortunately, Shopify covers all your concerns and requirements.
As we mentioned earlier, Shopify offers one of the most uncomplicated interfaces for small businesses to get started with their own ecommerce store. It brings in an excellent drag-and-drop builder that can even be used by a person that is totally naïve to coding. Plus, the interactive and intuitive interface makes use of the platform a seamless experience.
We aren’t saying that you will be able to get up and started within five minutes. Instead, when we say it’s easy and convenient to get started, we mean that you can easily develop a small online store through a DIY project. However, you may need some professional Shopify web development services in the USA when you look to upgrade and upsize your store at a professional level.
Overall, getting started with Shopify is a pretty straightforward, rather fun-filled experience, and we are sure you won’t have any issues. Even if you encounter some bottleneck, you can always contact 24/7 customer support service to get over the bottlenecks.
Well, it has been a long post but undoubtedly worth it. By now, you must be aware of everything that Shopify has to offer for an ecommerce store and why it is dubbed as the best and cheapest platform. Just to quickly recap, Shopify brings inconvenience, ease of use, flexibility, functionality and scalability for online merchants, which is basically everything you need to sustain and grow in the online marketplace. So, what are you waiting for – get started today!
How Shopify is the cheapest eCommerce website builder UK?
Shopify is the easiest and best ecommerce website builder for small businesses in the UK that brings in interactive and intuitive tools to assist users to set up and manage stores effectively. The platform brings in various pre-designed themes, functionalities, and features that make store development an accessible and engaging experience.
How Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses in Australia?
Shopify is currently hosting over 800,000 businesses of all sizes worldwide, making it one of the biggest ecommerce web development platforms. It is also one of Australia’s most widely used ecommerce platforms thanks to its exceptional performance, powerful features, limitless scalability, fast loading times, and robust stability.
How Shopify is affordable and the best eCommerce platform in Canada?
As a Canadian platform, Shopify is the largest and most popular eCommerce web development platform in Canada. Overall, it is dubbed as the best and cheapest eCommerce platform that is specifically designed to assist businesses in getting started with their own dynamic online stores.
Does Folio 3 provide Magento Development Services ?
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