With the sheer number of online stores popping up and an increasing number of individuals identifying as entrepreneurs, one might think that launching a successful ecommerce business is easy.
In theory, it sounds straightforward enough – choose an ecommerce platform, stock up on the things you want to sell, ship out orders, then watch the profits roll in.
Unfortunately, that barely scratches the surface of what actually goes into running an online business.
For one, gone are the days when payments were made using bank transfers and cash.
These payment methods aren’t just outdated, they also confine the reach a store has to potential customers, which is especially detrimental for entrepreneurs in a relatively small market like Singapore.
Next, if one is dealing with international customers, shipping a product out isn’t as simple as just sticking a stamp onto a sealed envelope. And don’t get us started on stores that need to ship large quantities of larger packages.
Finally, we don’t need any more evidence that promo codes and rewards programmes (hello, Grab!) are the way to capturing the hearts and wallets of potential and existing customers.
While listing products seems straightforward enough, how easy is it to implement customer engagement and loyalty tools?
In essence, picking an ecommerce platform that can address these nitty gritty (but vital) aspects of running an online business is key for any aspiring ecommerce entrepreneur.
To find out what people look out for when choosing an ecommerce platform, we took to the polls.
Business Owners Are As Price Sensitive As Consumers
The poll took into account 5 common factors that entrepreneurs might consider when picking an ecommerce platform, and respondents were allowed to pick more than one option.
According to the results, it seems like business owners are just as price sensitive as consumers are, with “subscription fees/price” (30%) emerging as the top factor.
Following that, operational factors like “integrated payment methods” (25%) and “ability to set up quickly without coding knowledge” (22%) took 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The last two slots belonged to “integration with delivery providers” (13%) and “availability of customer loyalty/engagement tools ” (10%).
Compared to price, the operational factors seem to be more of a ‘bonus’ in comparison to the other aspects, which they view as more immediately essential to their online store-running experience.
With these results in mind, we decided to do a quick comparison between three platforms – Shoptiq, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
1. Subscription Fees
Compared to Shoptiq, Shopify, and BigCommerce’s subscription fees are in US dollars and after conversion, are pricier than the Singapore-based platform.
The difference is especially significant for premium tiers that come with more features.
Of course, the features that come with each platform differ too, so you might want to check out their respective features if you’re really looking for more advanced tools.
However, if you’re looking to launch a small business or just want to test the waters first, going for the most affordable option might be the best choice.
2. Integrated Payment Methods
As expected, payment made by major credit cards is accepted across the platforms, but where each platform differs is the payment gateways available on each of them.
Out of all of them, Shopify has the most extensive number of payment gateways – ranging from Alipay Global to Bitcoin solution GoCoin.
One thing that stands out, however, is that Shoptiq includes mobile wallet payments such as GrabPay and FavePay as a payment gateway for customers.
There will be no transaction fees charged to business owners if they choose to offer mobile wallet payments.
Customers will also be able to benefit from the convenience of just needing to scan the QR codes on the checkout page to make payment.
Thus, if your target market is made up of local or Southeast Asian shoppers, having these payment gateways on board could be another selling point to add to your arsenal.
3. Ability To Set Up Without Coding Knowledge
Having an attractive online storefront is as important as offering competitive prices, and all three platforms have pre-made themes for those who don’t want to spend too much time and effort on design.
In this aspect, Shoptiq has over 30 free themes available for users to choose from.
The themes are also mobile-optimised for customers who enjoy shopping on the go. Business owners can just add their products, update the content on their landing page, and they are ready to start selling.
For those who are more tech savvy, they can edit the website using HTML and CSS coding.
Shopify has over 70 themes in its theme shop, with 10 of them being free-to-use options.
On the other hand, BigCommerce has over 130 themes in its theme shop, but only offers 2 free ones.
For a quick start, it might be more feasible to work on a free theme to design your website. And it is important to find a theme that best fits your business needs.
Your Online Business Is Only As Successful As The Platform It’s On
Just like how location plays an important part in a brick-and-mortar establishment, the platform on which an ecommerce entrepreneur chooses to host their business is also something to take into consideration.
While Shopify and BigCommerce have been in the game longer, Shoptiq has features that would better fit Singapore-based business owners and its customers.
Its lower price point also means that those without much starting capital can also have a shot at running a successful online business.
We’ve barely covered the range of features each of the platforms offer, so do check them out before committing!
They all offer free trials, anyway.
Get a free 2-week trial of Shoptiq here!
This article was written in collaboration with Shoptiq.