Shopping online is becoming the norm. 2015 saw 1.2 billion online buyers and the figures are only expected to rise. With numbers like these, if you have an entrepreneurial bent you might be considering taking the plunge into the world of e-commerce. Whether you want to sell crafts and jewellery, online courses, t-shirts – whatever, the opportunities are out there.
With all those sales online, I got to pondering. How much is the world of e-commerce worth globally?
The Forrester European forecast has projected that sales in Europe will top £170 billion by 2017, up from £113 billion in 2103. In the US, the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce put their estimates of sales during Q3 of 2015 at $87.5 billion, up 15.1% from the same period the previous year. Over in Asia Pacific, sales figures are expected to reach a jaw-dropping $1.3 trillion by 2019.
So with all that money being spent, what is the best way for you to start in the world of e-commerce?
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to setting up an online store, from simple shopping cart features that deal with payments through to more complex options for larger enterprises. Really though, there are four main options in the world of e-commerce. Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify and Squarespace Commerce.
Popularity-wise, WooCommerce is in front with 30% of the market, Squarespace Commerce have 16%, Magento 6%, and Shopify just 4%.
But how do they compare?
Woo Commerce is a plugin that adds e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site. There are lots of extensions to ensure that your store can do what you need it to. It is a free plugin but any extensions do cost more and premium themes start from $39.
Our favourite here at Elementary Digital, Magento is open source and written in PHP. Magento Community is free; the Enterprise Edition costs $18,000 a year. Technical knowhow is a must, but all the functionality you need is there, plus more in the Magento store should you require it.
A SaaS solution which comes in at a variety of prices depending on what you want, starting at $30 a month for the basic package or $80 for the advanced. There’s no technical knowledge required but with that comes less functionality and customisation ability.
Easy to use, Shopify is another SaaS offering built by two snowboarding shop owners, with a range of free and premium themes with costs as low as $9 a month.
If you already have a WordPress site, you can integrate Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify into your existing site, saving the hassle of rebuilding from scratch.
Building an e-commerce store could be the first step in your new money making venture. Keep your eye out for our next post in this series about how much an e-commerce store costs to build.