How To Choose an Online Store

Choosing the right e-commerce tool for your business can be challenging – the first step is to assess your needs and find an online store that fits best. The most important thing is to find out how easy it is to integrate the store with your preferred payment processing company and your shipping service. If you’re in Canada, you need to find a store that can handle our taxation rules.

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you have a merchant account already, and are you under contract to continue using them?
  2. How do you ship items currently? Do you use Canada Post, a courier, or some other method?
  3. What payment methods do you need to accept? Which would be nice to have, but aren’t essential?
  4. Are your products one of a kind (original paintings), or do you keep multiple items in stock?
  5. How many different items do you carry?
  6. How tech-savvy are you? Will you want to update the store yourself? Or will you want a developer to do it?
  7. Do you currently have a website? Is it important for the store to be part of your existing site?

Once you know the answers to these questions, a developer can help you choose the software that will connect to your 3rd-party services, and allow you to manage your products and sales with the minimum of hassle and expense.

Some of the popular options include:

  • Shopify – easy to maintain, Shopify stores are 3rd-party-hosted, meaning it would be separate from your current website. You can use your existing merchant account, or get one through Shopify. These stores integrate with various shipping carriers easily and are subscription-based, meaning you “rent” the online store service monthly.
  • Zen Cart / osCommerce – these stores are based on similar software to one another and are considered “the big hammer” – they work especially well for large stores with dedicated staff who are tech-savvy enough to maintain them. They are installed in your own hosting account and require considerable technical skill to set up.
  • Magento – Magento is slightly more user-friendly than Zen Cart / osC, with a similar feature set, and can be a good solution for medium to large businesses.
  • Paypal Shopping Cart – simple checkout options for people who don’t have a large startup budget, or a lot of items to sell.
  • WooCommerce or Marketpress – if you want to integrate your ecommerce store into a WordPress site, one of these two carts could be your best choice. Easy to manage and ideal for small to medium businesses.

If you need assistance choosing the right setup, please feel free to call AloeRoot at  1-866-869-3835 or 705-474-5733.