Shopify Review: Is This One of the Best E-Commerce Website Templates?

Deciding to build an online store is a great decision and a solid business model. Once you’ve decided on a product to sell, your next big decision is choosing a great e-commerce website template. I’ve tried many e-commerce templates – and I can say hands down that Shopify offers one of the best e-commerce website templates and platforms when you take pricing, template options, style, and ease-of-use into consideration.

In fact, many e-commerce store owners have extremely successful online stores using Shopify.

Let me jump right into the features and benefits in this Shopify review. I’ll also tell you about some of the drawbacks to this e-commerce platform – but in the end it is one of the best e-commerce website options available (please note that these are the features and benefits at the time this article was published).

Features and Benefits of Using Shopify for your E-Commerce Store

Free Trial:

You can try it free for 30 days. Take advantage of this offer by exploring the many e-commerce website templates they have to choose from. Look under the hood and discover how easy it is to get your online store up and running fast.

50 E-Commerce Templates / Store Fronts to Choose From:

Shopify has 50 fantastic themes / template styles to choose from. You can also easily customize any theme or template you get to ensure you get the precise look and feel you want for your business.

No Contract Required:

When you use Shopify you don’t need to commit to any duration. You pay month-to-month. I don’t need to tell you how advantageous this is. After all, when you’re starting up – the last thing you want to do is get committed to long-term expenses.

No Computer Coding knowledge Needed:

You don’t need to know how to build websites to set up a Shopify e-commerce store. Shopify makes it super easy to choose and set up any of its 50 templates simply by clicking buttons.

Payment Processing:

Shopify makes it super easy to integrate with a credit card gateway and/or Paypal. If you sell digital products – no problem – you can deliver them through an integrated app included with your Shopify subscription.

Use Your Own Domain:

I can’t stress the importance of building your store on your own domain. Yes, you can use a Shopify domain – but for the long-term it is much, much better to start building your store on your own domain. Shopify makes it easy to build an e-commerce store on your own domain.

Why use your own domain? Because if you start getting links to your store (great for search engine rankings and highly recommended), then if you switch domains – those links you get to a Shopify domain are wasted. Start your business on the right foot by investing the $10 it costs to get your own domain.

Low Monthly Cost:

Once you decide to use Shopify, it only costs $24 per month for a basic plan. You can sell up to 100 SKUs with this plan, which in my view is a tremendous offering. There is no setup fee either. If you ever need to upgrade your plan, that’s very easy to do. Shopify = flexibility.

In addition, however, you also pay a 2.0 percent transaction fee as part of your cost (when you upgrade plans, the transaction percentage lowers). This allows Shopify to charge low monthly fixed cost rates. Being able to limit fixed costs and have a variable cost option (i.e. costs directly linked to your sales) is a tremendous feature and advantage as you get your online business off the ground.

SSL Checkout:

You definitely want to offer your customers secure shopping. With all of Shopify’s e-commerce website templates and plans you automatically get to offer secure shopping for your customers with the industry standard 128 bit SSL encryption.

Bandwidth: Unlimited.

This means if you get a flood of visitors your site won’t shut down. Obviously this is critical to running a successful online e-commerce store.

Discount Codes for Your Customers:

You have to upgrade to a $59 / monthly plan in order to offer coupon codes. If you’re just starting, this isn’t necessary. Once you start generating sales – then you’re in a position to monitor your sales and then decide if coupon codes can help build your business.

Automatic Back Ups:

Shopify backs up your store so you don’t have to be concerned about losing any data.

Add a Shopify E-Commerce Template to Your Existing Website:

If you already have a blog or website and wish to add a store – it is no problem with Shopify. You simply establish your Shopify store on a subdomain (subdomains cost nothing to setup).

Customer and Technical Support:

You can contact Shopify for help, use their Shopify forums, and check out detailed tutorials in the Shopify Help Wiki. You won’t be stranded to struggle.

Drop shipping Integration and Partners:

If you don’t want to pack and ship your orders you can use a partner drop shipper such as Fulfillment by Amazon, Shipwire, and Webgistix.

Drawbacks to Shopify for Your E-Commerce Template Solution

  1. I don’t like that you have to upgrade to a $59/month plan in order to offer coupon codes. It seems to me coupon codes are a powerful way for a starting business to build revenues. It should be offered in every plan.
  2. Too few drop shipping partnerships. Now I’m not sure if you can set up drop shipping with a company other than Amazon, Shipwire, and Webgistix. Likely one of these 3 will suit your needs, but if not, it may be more complicated than necessary than setting up an automated order-processing system. Again, this is something you would need to discuss with prospective drop shippers and Shopify.

Despite my 2 dislikes mentioned above, I still believe Shopify offers by one of the best e-commerce templates available anywhere.

Next, compare several e-commerce templates here [http://www.websitetemplatereviews.com/my-list-of-the-best-e-commerce-website-templates-a-big-chart].

Read my original Shopify review here [http://www.websitetemplatereviews.com/shopify-review-is-this-one-of-the-best-e-commerce-website-templates].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Peter_Lawlor/511898

 

Hosted E-Commerce

“Think different”, when it comes to E-commerce these days.

Not too long ago, E-commerce was for larger companies with deep pockets, programming and database experts, and a warehouse full of products ready for shipping. Financial demands for e-commerce included expensive secured servers, purchasing a secured certificate, and fees payment gateways for your merchant account. If there were no resources for a darn good (expensive) web designer, the sites looked sophomoric. The monthly costs, combined with a learning curve which sucked up a lot of billable hours, made e-commerce pricey and laden with a horrible ROI.

So, what is different? Everything.

It’s time to take a look at 3rd party. There are many e-commerce solutions or known as “hosted e-commerce” which have embraced today’s small business clients needs for a complete CMS (content management system), blog, social media, shipping, marketing and more combined into their e-commerce package.

The ability to customize templates along with CSS is a huge plus for using these platforms. In addition to the highly customizable options, eliminating the costs procured by secured hosting and merchant account, make the deal even sweeter.

Not all “hosted e-commerce” solutions are built the same.

Cheap is an option. Many large, mainstream hosting companies are offering click and go e-commerce for very low monthly costs. GoDaddy, 1×1, Register, LunarPages all offer e-commerce for dirt. What they are offering is another article all together, but it’s definitely “caveat emptor”, when signing up for these accounts. Remember, these are hosting companies, new to the game and scrambling to offer hosting clients as much as they can to keep money rolling in each month.

Quality is an option. Many new 3rd Party companies are showing their pre-built muscle every upgrade. They are powerful, flexible, and easy to use, have great support and look great. And it seems there are new platforms coming out every week. However easy these “Plug and Play” e-commerce sites are, you can still hit the glass ceiling, when trying to fully customize these sites.

And awesome is an option. With using a professional web design firm, clients can match their corporate design elements, and even their website layout, into their e-commerce pages easily with help of a professional web designer, who is proficient in CMS and CSS, create a custom shop for a fraction of what was available.

Many hosted e-commerce sites can be done very quickly, some with a turnaround of 2-3 weeks. Of course the client must be prepared; a good idea is to make a checklist. Prepare your inventory, organize all photography, and get all the content and copy written, your merchant account set up, Verisign.net, Google Check Out, Pay Pal or account is in working order.

Do some homework, and you’ll be selling in to time. To help our clients, we create a punch list for our clients; this keeps costs down and enables the client to get their “ducks in a row”. Other companies should do the same.

What to watch out for when designing your hosted e-commerce site.

Watch out for “Option Overload”. After organizing your information and files, getting the necessary accounts going, be aware of all the options your hosted web store offers. Many e-commerce companies offer a massive amount of additional services:

CSV import and export of inventory, including image upload and editing

Coupons, gift wrapping option, wish lists, suggest to a friend, create a t-shirt (yes, a t-shirt)

eBay integration

Mail Chimp Newsletter

Social media options such as in-depth Facebook options

Inventory control systems

Advanced shipping and UPS options

Taxes, Multi-Currency, and more

Mobile platforms

Be prepared and have a clear and concise goal outlined, or you could be held up for weeks scrambling because of “Oh, I need that too”.

A good web development company should be able to project manage any hosted e-commerce project. Saving time is something they specialize in, since they are knowledgeable in what pitfalls to watch out for.

Even if hosted e-commerce sites come with “Set up Wizards” and “Drop and Drag” design, there are many frustrations created due to not understanding CSV files, CMS, CSS, FTP or preparing images.

In addition to getting your shop started, use your web design company’s knowledge of marketing, social media, Google and more when working with them. Don’t be afraid to ask; “What do you think?” or “Any other good ideas?” A good team has plenty of ideas.

Don’t get weighed down by muddling through a hosted e-commerce site. Let the experts get you up and running, then do solid training, and offer support. You shouldn’t be overwhelmed with techspeak, or the feeling you are trapped by a complex system. If you are, fire them. Get comfortable with a good team, and get ready to get busy!

Emily Bidwell is co-owner of H1 Design Group [http://www.h1designgroup.com] located in Asheville, North Carolina. We specialize in setting up small business with CMS websites, marketing and e-commerce that doesn’t break the bank. H1 Design Group [http://www.h1designgroup.com]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Emily_Bidwell/949176

 

Some Tips on E-Commerce Web Hosts and Solutions

Best e-commerce web hosts have been created by the best hosting providers to help site owners and to find the best hosting solutions. This provides articles on big range of issues of e-commerce hosting and e-commerce software. This includes practical articles, reviews of accommodation/assessments and other issues of e-commerce. It has listed the top e-commerce hosting with best services and best customer support to sell your products to a plan of cheap web hosting. There are wide varieties of hosting companies that claim to offer the best e-commerce hosting providers. Most of them are good, some are not. The best web host is to help you to find the best web hosting solutions.

What is e-commerce web hosting? It is a type of hosting, which is suitable for small business sites and large corporate websites. Web hosting is essential. Electronic commerce is defined in the sale and purchase of goods on the internet. There are differences between the cost of web hosting and e-commerce hosting. What is included in it? It should have the same characteristics of cheap web hosting functionality with few additions. Some of the features include in it are:

SSL: SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is the level of encryption, which makes the site safer for doing business.
Shopping Cart: Shopping Cart software is required for any business site that sells products to its topic.
Promotional Credits: These are also several websites you can advertise and be exposed to more traffic.
Product Catalog: If you sell your e-commerce website, then you need to sort some catalog of products.
Back-end Support: E-commerce host believes it is important that your hosting plan includes e-commerce web kind of support.

If you have never done e-commerce hosts before, you almost certainly begin with a builder who has built a basket. In-motion hosting permits you with no trouble and systematize your products by category, assign the product inventories and to add attributes such as colors. Hosting providers also offer complete merchant account integration with popular merchants such as PayPal, Authorize.Net and 2checkout.com. If you are thinking may be more than 20-25 products that you can do, but the layout is more difficult to manage. You might want to consider a shopping basket below. In-motion hosting renders popular packages that support a lot of shopping carts by default.

All top hosting providers do not meet the standard requirements for standard hosting services, and foreign companies responding to those needs more cheaply than the U.S. or Europe based competitors, but the welcome was given to foreign countries? Choose the accurate sort of best e-commerce web hosting service which can be an arduous task, at times there are very important elements you must provide.

At this time you come across precisely what to seem for when selecting the best hosting service. E-commerce hosting, solitary function in the procedure of website allows web site owners to put their creative works. Although people assume that only one type of packaging is available, however this article clearly shows how the myth can be. Dying to make some extra money? Surprisingly, hosting can actually help your bills.

George interested in writing articles relevant to e-commerce web hosts, it is more important to go for best e-commerce web hosting providers who renders genuine products with good technical support and offering at reasonable costs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/George_Gllipse/887557

 

E-Commerce and Reasons Behind Creating An E-Commerce Website

What is Electronic Commerce?

Electronic Commerce is the trading of goods or services via electronic data transfer without any usage of paper. To be more precise E-commerce is “To sell goods or services online”.

Today the online market is immense and internet based sales is simultaneously growing drastically. The buying public is attracted to internet sales because of the ease of placing orders and receiving the goods or services. Though the technology may change time to time but the market will remain.

Though some people are still afraid of doing transactions online but as the complexity associated with online credit card payments has been reduced considerably more and more people are feeling comfortable while doing a purchase online. The whole process of transactions is molded into a single low-cost and easy to use process by few online merchant account companies.

If someone owns a retail store but not having an E-commerce website; there would certainly a loss of sales. People are using the Internet to locate and price products that will eventually be bought locally. Having your products online will also assist you to promote your business locally.

Reasons for creating an Ecommerce website

Electronic Commerce is the trading of goods or services via electronic data transfer without any usage of paper. To be more precise E-commerce is “To sell goods or services online”.

Today the online market is immense and internet based sales is simultaneously growing drastically. The buying public is attracted to internet sales because of the ease of placing orders and receiving the goods or services. Though the technology may change time to time but the market will remain.

Though some people are still afraid of doing transactions online but as the complexity associated with online credit card payments has been reduced considerably more and more people are feeling comfortable while doing a purchase online. The whole process of transactions is molded into a single low-cost and easy to use process by few online merchant account companies.

If someone owns a retail store but not having an E-commerce website; there would certainly a loss of sales. People are using the Internet to locate and price products that will eventually be bought locally. Having your products online will also assist you to promote your business locally. Some of them are as follows:

  • Building up the brands
  • Launching new products or services
  • Selling products and services
  • Developing a better understanding of the customer’s requirements
  • Existing marketing programs enhancement
  • Improving after sales support

Usability of such websites

Some of the benefits of using E-commerce websites have given below:

  • Customers World Wide:With an E-commerce store one can sell the products or services worldwide. Customers from any part of the world can easily access the website. Thus, E-commerce is allowing people to do businesses without any hurdles of time and distance. E-commerce websites are ideal for niche products as customers seeking for such products are usually few. Even niche products can produce sufficient volumes in the huge market place i.e. the Internet.
  • 24×7 Availability:One can access Internet at any point of time. Whether it’s a day or night purchasing and selling can be made by a single click of the mouse. The customers can shop 24 hours from the E-commerce websites, which is not practically possible when having a physical store. That means the E-commerce store is open to the customers even when seller sleep.
  • Selling More Products:Through an E-commerce website more number of products can be offered to the customers, which can’t be done with the physical store. In a physical store you can keep the goods as per the space in your store.
  • Various Payment Methods:Through ecommerce added number of payment methods is available. With an E-commerce store, payments can be accepted from the customers through different types. Various options like Credit Cards, PayPal, Amazon Checkout, Google Checkout, money orders etc are available these days.
  • Reduced Cost-of-Sale:as there is no human interaction during the whole online e-purchase order process, the direct cost-of-sale is much lower than the traditional means i.e. retail, paper based etc. further, electronic selling and purchasing are faster and more convenient for the visitors.
  • Cheapest means of doing Business:E-commerce is the cheapest means of doing business. It also reduces the day-to-day pressures of the marketplace and strengthens the competitive position in the market. E-commerce provides the solution for lowering the costs.

In brief, benefits of such websites covers lowering premises and staffing costs, and opening up new markets such as those in other areas and those with mobility disabilities.

Now-a-days various capable companies provide E-commerce solution at affordable prices. Whether it’s a requirement regarding B2B E-commerce application or B2C E-commerce application it can easily be availed by any competent ecommerce solutions provider.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ravi_K_Mittal/882462

 

PPACA Commerce Clause

It appears that the PPACA stimulates much discussion and debate these days. The heart of the matter lies within the translation of the Commerce Clause, and even the most outspoken defenders of the PPACA admit that this legislation may go well beyond the actual authority of Congress. The individual mandate requires that Americans purchase health insurance or face the real threat of civil penalty.

The Commerce Clause is found in Article One, Section eight, Clause three of the United States Constitution. The clause specifically states that the US Congress shall have the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among several states, and with the Indian Tribes.” The PPACA falls under the portion of the clause with respects to “…and among several states,…”. Therefore, the actual commerce power granted to Congress under the rules of the Constitution depends upon one’s definition of “commerce”. The Constitutions does not define the word “commerce” and therefore provides the Supreme Court, and for that matter, Congress and the current administration, much flexibility and latitude in defining what constitutes “commerce”. Commerce is generally defined as “the buying and selling of goods, especially on a large scale, as between cities or nations.”

Another area of concern and question with regards to the Commerce Clause is the actual power or authority granted to Congress or to the individual states. Does the Commerce Clause grant Congress the power to legislate or determine the rules in areas such as the purchase of health insurance, which would generally fall under the individual states scope of “police powers”. Or another way of asking the question, does Congress have the right and authority to require American citizens to purchase anything, or does that power remain with the individual states?

The lack of specific language regarding the Commerce Clause and the failure of the framers of the Constitution to actually define “commerce” has been the focus of much discussion and debate since the PPACA legislation was signed in to law. Does the “vagueness” or lack of specific details regarding the “Commerce Clause” speak to the genius of our fore fathers, or does it speak to the clever nature of PPACA supporters to twist the spirit of Article one, Section eight, Clause three of the Constitution to allow nearly any good or service to fall under the definition of “Federal Commerce”?

The answer to this commerce question also lies within the authority and responsibility of each individual state within it’s own borders (intrastate), and the authority and responsibility of Congress from an all encompassing federalist perspective that applies to all states (interstate). So, even if it is determined that health insurance falls under the items of commerce, the next question that must be answered is whether or not Congress has the authority to require all states to participate in the commerce of health insurance.

Lets briefly take a look at the implications if this exercise of power is allowed and the purchase of health insurance is required for all Americans. If Congress can mandate that we all purchase health insurance, then what aspect of human activity would be exempt? If the mandate was upheld by the Supreme Court, Congress would now have the authority to force American citizens to do anything they see fit. Congress could loosely assign any activity as commerce. And as you see, this give Congress unlimited authority, and undermines and usurps any individual state authority. To suggest that Congress has unlimited authority in any area is far-fetched, knowing the great lengths that our founders took to maintain a balance of power between the three branches of government and the individual state. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that health insurance would have been considered a likely good or service included in the definition of commerce from the perspective of the authors of the Constitution. And for these reasons, I believe the US Supreme Court should exercise extreme caution in granting this much power to our US Congress. Unfortunately, using the Commerce Clause as a political tool to redefine what is generally considered commerce is nothing new. And therefore, to predict what the US Supreme Court Justices will actually decide in this landmark case is anyone’s guess!

Dr. Kipp A. Van Camp DO, FAAFP, DAOCR, CAQ-IR

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dr_Kipp_A_Van_Camp/1255071