A 10 minutes Guide to sell Globally

Every human and their dog are online today. If you’re selling online on Shopify then you already know the power of e-commerce. And this power can be converted into super-power if you go selling globally.

1.66 Billion Of the worldwide internet user research products online, it’s safe to say that online shopping is only going to get bigger

There are different opinions on the e-commerce business model, one of them is: Entering the arena of cross-border trading is the fact that it is profitable.

Still, if you are not believing that going global could increase your sales then have a look at this picture.

It’s never too late to sell internationally. Prediction by Forrester says that between 2017 and 2022 cross-border transactions will exceed domestic ones by 17%.

Thus, as of now, you got the idea how much important overseas e-commerce business has potential.

Now let’s look at some essential things one by one you need to tick on your to-do list if you’re planning or doing the global selling.

 

Price Local while Global

Mathematical calculations while online shopping may always turn off your potential buyers. Thus it is suggested to make an online store’s pricing currency in your buyer’s native one.

  • A survey carried out by Shopify, 92% of the customers are more likely to do online shopping and purchase the product in their local currency.

So if you’re not listing products in the consumers’ local currency, then you are endangering your business with 92% of the online shoppers.

  • 33% are likely to abandon a purchase if pricing is shown in US dollar only.
  • Research conducted by Penton in November 2012, 30000 online shoppers from Canada, UK, Australia, and Germany indicated displeasure with sites that priced in US dollars (USD) only.

Thus as a store owner, you need your products listed currency local as per your customer’s native currency. To combat this query there is an app named “Auto Currency Switcher” in Shopify app store.

Auto Currency Switcher App automatically detects the IP of the user from whatever geographical location he/she is viewing your online store and displays all the prices in the home currency of the user. Even there is a flexible option to change the currency by the user as per his/her convenience.

This app will only change the product currency in the users home currency. But you must be knowing that different country has a different valuation for the same product.

So, now let’s discuss on setting different prices for different country and how you can offer free shipping.

 

Offer Free Shipping

Different country has different pricing, therefore it becomes essential for you as a store owner to set the products prices accordingly.

For example, you’re selling a product “A” in the US at ’$10’ and you’re already selling the same product in Germany at ‘8.5 €’ + ‘Shipping Charges’.

Now as you know the different country has different shipping rates and customs duties so the product that you are selling in the US may not have the same rates in another country. So you need different pricing structure for the same product for the different country

Among the millions of international online shoppers every day, 13% say they will abandon their cart without paying because the price is in a foreign currency.

One more e-commerce fact is that online shoppers don’t want to pay much for ‘Shipping’ and ‘Other extra charges’. These extra charges to your customers feel like as they’re paying more for without any reason.

So, what if you can offer your customer free shipping and no other charges? Yes, there is an app on Shopify app store which will allow you to :

  • Set different prices for a different
  • Automatically changes stores currency in users home currency.
  • Increase or decrease the prices of the product in a particular country anytime.
  • Include the shipping rates and other charges in the product price itself.

By including the shipping rates and other charges in the product price will create an impression like you are offering the product with free shipping (even if you’re not ;)).

Therefore having the capability of setting different prices for a different country, your shoppers can largely increase your global sales, revenue, and profit.

With “Multi-Country Pricing” app, you can achieve the same within your existing Shopify store without creating multiple Shopify stores. Hence, you will be saved from the overhead cost and headache of creating and running multiple stores.

 

Checkout in Local Currency

Ever happened?

You’re viewing a product in $10 (USD) throughout the buying process and suddenly at the checkout, it becomes 700₹ (INR).

As a user of the US (United States) you’ll either start converting it in USD or just abandon the checkout and leave the site.

A study even found that an online store manager can cut checkout abandonment rates by up to 50% by providing their customer a localized currency option at checkout.

For you, as a Store owner, it is very important to allow your customer to checkout in their local currency.

GALA (Globalization and Localization Association), studied the top four countries like Singapore, Taiwan, Czech Republic and India and found that online shoppers are expecting their checkout in local currency. If you’re a digital merchant with consumers in these countries, currency localization ought to be a priority.

For Shopify stores, there is a plugin especially developed for checkout localization named as Multi-Currency Checkout.

The Plugin is packed with all the features to make checkout more customer-friendly and allow them to make payment in their desired local currency.

 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whatever your business size is, these are some of the basic things which you need to consider when you sell globally.

If you’re fascinated towards international market you can read more on strategies for harnessing Cross-Border Commerce Success.

Let me know by your comments that whether these guidelines helped you or not. If you have any suggestion or way to sell internationally, let my readers know.

Shopify Plus: An Effective E-commerce Enterprise Solution that is Feature-Rich and Fantastic!

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

When your business grows you need to find something scalable and stable platform which could handle this growth of yours.

You may find yourself being stretched in new and unknown ways as your online business grows. All growth comes with growing pains; the expansion of a web store is not any exception.

Perhaps your e-commerce platform may get affected by this growth as well, and to be honest, if the platform breaks down you go down with it. So, when the growing pain becomes overwhelming, it’s time to consider a switch.

More than 3,600 businesses trust Shopify Plus to grow bigger and faster in this competitive environment. According to the Shopify’s analysis, Shopify Plus merchants grows at an average of 126 % year-over-year.

However, Shopify’s offer is for small and medium-sized businesses and Shopify Plus is for prime volume stores. Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level platform. It handles all the technical legwork of running a large online store for you.

Now let’s discuss some advantages which you will enjoy as Plus client.

1) Extended Validation SSL Certificate

-You must have seen this many a times

-“Your connection to this site is not secure”.

-After viewing that alert warning what you do?

‘You instantly leave that website.’

The same thing applies to almost all the people across the internet. They would immediately leave the webpage which pops-up that warning.

EV SSL certificates were invented by one of the most prominent certificate vendors to enhance e-commerce security, fight phishing attacks and to create the most trusted SSL Certificate. Visual assurance of security helps e-commerce merchants increase trust, reduce shopping cart abandonment, and build long-term relationships.

Comparision between Simple SSL vs EV SSL
Simple SSL EV SSL
The padlock icon in address bar. Padlock icon and Name of the organization in the address bar.

 

Doesn’t help users cross-check the website’s identity.

 

Verified legal Identity is displayed to the users.
No identity check by a human being. Meticulous Documentation checks to confirm their authenticity and ownership.

 

without EV-SSL

 

with EV-SSL

 

Features of EV SSL:

  • “Green lock” symbol with your Company/Brand name beside the green lock in the address bar which builds the immediate trust of your customers and helps with conversion.
  • Provides the highest strength of 2048-bit signatures with 256-bit
  • Recognized by 99% of browsers and mobile devices.
  • Unlimited server licenses.

What are the advantages you will get as EV SSL certificate holder

source : https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/upgrade-to-shopify-plus

 

As a Shopify Plus client, you will get certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, a site-wide EV SSL certificate to redirect traffic from HTTP to encrypted HTTPS, data protection, and risk assessment for each and every order. Setting up your EV SSL takes minutes to complete, one or two weeks at most to confirm, and can make a surprising impact on your bottom line.

 

2) Automate your Business

The human mind is the most powerful tool. Even high-quality machines can’t replicate them. The mind is capable of solving complex problems, which modern technology can just dream of it for now.

That’s why it is important to free and relax your business team from being delayed in repetitive, labor-intensive processes, and to keep them on the stimulating important, and increasingly complex challenges that your business faces.

2 Automation Tools available exclusively to Shopify Plus customers

People are expensive, even when it comes to just pushing buttons, which makes it harder to save money. Therefore Shopify introduced the most effective way to automate real-time alerts and business operating process. Let’s see some examples how Shopify flow can improve your organization’s processes.

Tasks that customers do:

-Customers place an order.

– Customer place an order whose value is over £500.

-Then checkouts to the payment.

How does it work?

Flow combines business processes into 3 simple steps:

  1. The Trigger: When an order is placed.
  2. The Condition: Customer whose order value is over £500.
  3. The Action: It automatically tag customer as VIP and Email customer services to include a thank you note or greetings.
source:https://www.digitaloperative.com/blog/2017/shopify-flow

Workflow initializes when an order is created. It makes sure that your VIP’s (> £500/monthly spending on your store) customers are being properly rewarded.

Rewards high Average Order Value (AOV= Revenue/Number of orders) and longtime customers, track and apply the tag to customers those who convert through targeted marketing campaigns.

 

  • Order risk management:

It sends the email to customer service or finance team when a high risk (fraud) order is placed. Or automatically cancel the order from countries deemed high risk or you simply do not deliver to.

Afterward, another email can be generated for the customer service team to contact the customer and explain why their order was canceled.

 

  • Manage your inventory:

You would never run out of popular products in your store again. Flow sends email to your supplier to restock when inventory levels drop below a chosen number. It also advises marketing team via slack to pause any product based advertising campaigns until the stock is back.

 

 

  • Automate Collections:

Whenever you add a product with a tag, flow will automatically include them in the collection having that tag name. For example, if an item has “t-shirt” in the product description, you can create an automation to include them in ‘t-shirts’ and new collection.

 

 

In the eye of E-commerce, these holidays are like the Super Bowl of shopping. It’s one of those days in which retailers prepare for weeks in advance to make sure they are inclined to compete with millions of other vendors and brands selling their products.

It is really difficult and painful for the merchants managing a growing e-commerce business while waiting around until a specific time (often even after midnight), just to push a button to start a sale or promotion.

With Launchpad you can preplan everything. Launchpad offers a simple way to automate sales campaigns, product releases, and flash sales. It is an outstanding tool for high-energy holiday sales like Black Friday/Cyber Monday and more.

 

It allows you to manage complex events such as:

  • Save your time by scheduling a sale by automatically launching your event checklist.
  • Auto publish selected product at a selected time and date.
  • Lock your store to create a hype and anticipation, before the start of the sale
  • Track the events performance in real-time to understand the consumer behavior.
  • Add a discount offer (BOGO) on the specific collection during the sale.
  • Control every step of the customized sales campaign.

So, as you know how Launchpad can save time and give you peace of mind. You can now go to bed without worrying about anything, and start selling even when you are asleep.

 

3) Customize with Shopify Script      

As a Shopify Plus client, you can make a significant impact on your bottom line by few customizations with Shopify Script.

Whether it is utilizing balance exchange, to fire a coupon, an exit offer, or customizing the look and feel of the checkout, everything is just a few clicks away so it matches your brand style.

To do this Shopify Plus provides you the facility to

  • Customize your checkout directly- both in its look and feel as well as in your customer’s field like shipping methods, and payment option.
  • Customize your checkout dynamically through with Shopify Scripts and the Shopify Script Editor.

For example, after redesigning their website which includes dynamic and live pricing, Merchology observed that their mobile revenue increased by 340%.

What Merchology did was they customized their Shopify Scripts implementation which looks inside the user’s (customer) shopping cart, identifies if any changes have been made by the customer (for example, if they adjust an item’s size or increase/decrease their order quantity) Shopify Script will automatically adjust the checkout price in real-time.

 

4) Build for Growth

As your business grows big, the more time you spend on maintaining and managing your staff and tech infrastructure. When you spend more time on these things, the harder it is to focus on the strategies that made you and your online store successful in the first place.

Then you realize how overwhelming and exhausting managing this type of growth can be. Even if the potential is there it can all be wiped out by an unknowingly wrong significant decision.

Being a merchant on Shopify Plus what you will surely appreciate is the platform’s capabilities for the growth. It is designed and built to accommodate this type of growth.

 

5) Unrivaled Support

In order to make your Shopify Plus experience outstanding, you’ll work closely with various merchant success team. This includes Solutions Engineer and Gurus for the 24/7 support.

Merchant success team not only make you concentrate on features and opportunities applicable to you but also they make sure that you get ahead of the knowledge curve with special access to new feature betas.

Other than this they also offer platform training, assist with third-party integrations, and help find approved Partners to work on a design that you prefer and development projects specific to your business.

 

Final Thoughts

Well-known brands names like Budweiser, Bulova, The Economist, Nestle, and RedBull use Shopify Plus to run their e-commerce business.

With this multi-functional platform, you get free apps that automate tasks, notifications, campaigns and many more, which gives you more time to focus on product development, marketing optimization, and other strategies to further your brand expansion.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to upgrade yourself and your e-commerce business to the most reliable and scalable e-commerce platform Shopify Plus to accelerate your growth at its best.

 

Shopify Gift Cards: A Unique way to boost your bottom line

Offering physical gifts to your loved ones may not always be adored by the one you are gifting. The reason behind this can be that they didn’t like what you gave, the gift you gave was useless to them and many more.

Therefore it would be preferable if you send them a physical gift card having some value. So that, your loved ones could buy anything of their choice using the gift card.

Well in the same way, if you offer your online store’s customer to buy digital gift cards option it would not solely increase your sales but also make your Shopify store more “gift giver friendly”.

 

Introduction to Shopify Gift-Cards

Shopify introduced the Gift-Cards option for all the Professional and Unlimited plan user in the year 2013.

Gift cards offer a versatile manner for your customers to get a present for somebody from your store, creating it simple for them to share their love for your brand while also maintaining full freedom of choice for the recipient.

As indicated by a study directed by the National Retail Federation, 81% of Americans will buy at least one gift card during the holidays. Indeed, about 70% of the customers who are receiving the gift cards, will spend more than the value on the card. It’s a win-win situation.

Shopify Gift Cards are extremely flexible and allows you to enhance the gift card experience on your site. As an example, you can:

Specify the price values available to your customers ($10,$25, $50, $75, or whatever)

  • Personalize the email notification sent to your customers after purchase
  • You can send your customers their gift card balance and manage gift cards in your Shopify admin.

 

How do they work?

When your online customer is making a purchase in your store they can redeem the value (amount of money or balance) of a gift card by entering its unique code at the time of checkout. A gift card holds a balance which can be used to spend over more than one order.

Shopify gift card offers you as a store owner to view and manage the status of each gift cards in your Shopify admin.

Some Requirements to sell and redeem Shopify gift card:

  • You must have Shopify plan or higher. Basic Shopify plan is not supported to use the gift card.
  • Need to activate the gift card feature in your Shopify admin to start selling.
  • Go to Product > Gift Cards from your Shopify admin panel.
  • Click on ‘Start selling gift cards on my store’.

You are done. Your first gift card is created immediately, but it is hidden from sales channels by default.

Shopify also offer you to sell and redeem physical gift cards, all you need is:

The Retail Package:

The retail package is meant to assist you to create a full retail store experience, so the majority of its features work only with Shopify POS for iPad.

If you use Shopify POS for iPhone, then you will be able to add the retail package to use a Swipe card reader with a supported third-party gateway and physical gift cards.

Physical gift Card Enable:

If your store is in the Shopify plan or higher and you have got the retail package, then you’ll be able to purchase physical gift cards from the Shopify Hardware Store.

Sales Channel that supports gift card

Your online shopper can redeem their gift cards on any of your sales channels that use Shopify’s checkout :

  • Online Store
  • Buy Button
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook (when you use Shopify’s checkout)
  • Messenger (when you use Shopify’s checkout)
  • Shopify POS

For Facebook and Messenger sales channel, your customer won’t be able to use the gift card if you use Facebook’s checkout. They have to use the Shopify’s checkout to make use of gift cards.

 

Benefits to You and Your Customer

Today’s consumer adores digital Gift cards due to their instant deliverability. For the already occupied, last-minute shopper, sending gift cards to favorite local businesses may be a lifesaver for them.

Offering visitors of your online store the alternative to purchase a gift card for their friends and family is a sure fire way to participate in the season of giving and to give your sales a boost at the same time.

Here’s what your customers can do:

  • Use the gift card multiple time.
  • Use more than one gift card for a single purchase.
  • Check their gift card balance by opening the unique link sent via email after purchase.
  • Use gift cards jointly with other discount codes.

Many shoppers are more likely to buy gifts from your store if they know a gift card option is available. This can calm nervous buyers who aren’t quite sure about size, color or which item might be the best for the recipient.

When using gift cards many Shopify stores see a decrease in exchanges and returns. Since it’s difficult to select the right item (or size or color), letting the recipient choose it themselves means it’s less likely to get returned and since returns and exchanges can be very costly and time-consuming, the more you can cut down on those things, the better.

 

Conclusion :

Even if the gift card feature does require the Shopify plan or higher, many store owners see a significant return on this investment with a rise in gift sales. Additionally, the Shopify plan comes with advanced reporting tools and a lower process rate, so those features and the benefits of selling gift cards can often result in a big advantage for your business.

 

Shopify or WooCommerce? A dilemma for most of the E-commerce entrepreneur

Suppose you have an idea to start an e-commerce business, and you have already planned every little thing that you require for the same.

But then the essential part comes is the decision of choosing ‘Which hosting provider to choose?’, ‘What domain to purchase?’ , ‘Which platform is more secure?’ , ’Which is Cheaper?’ and even more.

In this post we are going discuss about Shopify and Woo-Commerce, and which e-commerce platform to choose based on your individual needs.

Basically, these two Shopify and Woo-Commerce are most popular and easy to use e-commerce platform available in the market.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an e-commerce platform which makes it easy for you to create an online store and sell your product, customize your storefront, accept payment, organize your products and manage inventory, all from a single platform without worrying about the technical aspects such as web-hosting, caching, security etc.

What is Woo-Commerce?

Woo-Commerce is an open source e-commerce plugin built for WordPress. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store. It also allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store.

So let’s compare Shopify vs Woo-Commerce to see which one is appropriate as individual’s need.

 

  • DESIGN

Online customers generally don’t trust a site that doesn’t  have the right visual appearance or doesn’t function well as it should. As for our house architecture and design plays a crucial role, same as in websites look and design is everything.

Shopify Designing:

Shopify has an impressive range of themes and comes with more than 54 different store template, of which 10 are free of cost. And all these themes have their own unique variations, which means technically you’re getting more than 100 separate design.

The good thing is that they are all mobile responsive themes, fashionably sleek and clean aesthetic, which make it perfect for the modern era digital world.

All the Shopify themes (even free themes) are designed by professional web-designer, so if you’re looking for some quality themes for your online store then Shopify is best for you.

Shopify themes can be customized easily, you can quickly adjust colors and styles. You can also take help of a developer to use the platform’s specialized ‘Liquid’ language to make substantial changes and make your brand stand out.

You need to pay as high as $180 for the premium ones, but what you get in exchange is a great design.

Ratings: 4.7/5

 

Woo-Commerce Designing:

When it comes to designing in Woo Commerce, the world is your oyster, you just need to have designing knowledge. As it is built for WordPress, in most cases you are able to select any WordPress theme of your choice and make it work in your WooCommerce.

As Woo-Commerce is open-source many third-party also share their themes, which sometimes may not look that good when compared with Shopify’s theme.

To start with WooCommerce its own default theme called Storefront (free) is a really efficient creation that has a focus on all the important elements of an e-commerce store.

As WooCommerce is open source developers from all over the world sell(or give away) some wonderful themes for all sorts of industries and purpose. It is just like shaping up your pot with your own hand, completely flexible and customizable.

Most of the child theme for Storefront are available at $39/theme, there are also themes with a price tag as high as $119.

Ratings: 4.1/5

 

  • Ease of use

No one would opt for the platform that has complex setups and manages things. Ease of use is a straightforward concept means how easy the final product (website) is to use by the intended users.

How easy to use is Shopify?

As Shopify is a subscription-based online tool, you just need to visit ‘Shopify.com’, click the signup button, go through a basic setup, and you’re done.

Even though along the way through the initial setup wizard, Shopify will ask about the nature/purpose of your store (what you’re planning to sell ), and giving you some overall tips to which design/structure to choose and how to set up everything.

Overall, the whole process is very easy and open, and most importantly, you don’t need any design or site-building skills in order to get through it, with no unexpected interruptions.

Ratings: 4.6/5

How easy to use is Woo-Commerce ?

Since Woo-Commerce is not a subscription-based solution like Shopify, therefore you need to handle a couple of things before you ever get to work with it.

Although working with Woo Commerce on daily basis is just simple as with Shopify, but setting up the store isn’t.

Mainly you need to complete the following :

  • Sign up for a hosting account
  • Get a domain name
  • Install WordPress
  • Install WooCommmerce
  • Find and install a WordPress theme

So if you have good technical skills then WooCommerce is the option you can choose for your e-commerce business.

Ratings: 4.0/5

 

  • Customer Support?

You may never know when suddenly an issue takes a birth. So everyone prefers the platform which gives 24/7 customer support.

Shopify’s Support

Shopify is famous for its high-quality customer care. Their every client gets the benefit of 24/7 access to customer service. In case if any queries or issue arrives then they are solved immediately via (email, open chat).

Besides that, you can also get access to an extensive knowledge base that covers some of the common user questions and problem solutions.

Ratings: 4.6/5

WooCommerce’s Support

On the other hand, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. It relies on its large community of benevolent geeks because it doesn’t have any official support unless you purchase a WooTheme. But there are plenty of forums with guides and technical step-by-steps documentations out there.

Ratings: 3.8/5

 

  • Pricing?

The question everyone’s been curious about; How much does it cost?

Honestly, Shopify’s pricing is very simple and direct. While WooCommerce’s isn’t. On the one hand, WooCommerce is a free open source software plugin, but at the same time, you have to consider the additional costs that go along with making an online store (like hosting, the cost of a theme, a domain name, any additional extensions, and an SSL certificate). Which also include the hours of time you spend to create a store on WooCommerce.

Shopify delivers you a single, out-of-the-box solution with just a few pricing correspondences. You sign up, then you get to use your shiny new e-commerce store right away since everything you need is included from the get-go (hours of time is saved).

 

  Software Hosting Subdomain SSL Certificate Top-level Domain
Shopify                                      $29/ month Included free $9/ year
Woo-Commerce $0 $5-$100 / month (via 3rd party) n/a $100+ / year (via 3rd party) $9+ / year (via 3rd party)

 

As you can see from the above table that the WooCommerce software is free, but running an e-commerce store costs basically the same as Shopify, if not more.

Last but not the least, every e-commerce platform charge you transaction fees. They will always charge you a small fee (for processing the payment, delivering the money to your account, etc.). Usually, the fee sits around 2%-3% per transaction.

Ratings Shopify & WooCommerce:   4.3/5

 

  • SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.

It is a discipline of making the content user-friendly and easily understandable by search engines. Any website requires a strong SEO to become popular in the market.

Shopify’s SEO

As Shopify is hosted platform, it offers each of its merchant rapid loading web pages. As a result, online stores stands a better chance of ranking well and leading customers to conversions.

Ratings: 4.0/5

WOO’s SEO

Woo Commerce gives you more SEO-specific option overall, because of the fact that it is built on top of WordPress. But the only problem is that your website’s speed mostly depends on the hosting you go with.

Ratings: 4.0/5

 

  • Payment Gateways

It is a merchant service provided by an e-commerce platform that authorizes credit- card or direct payments.

Shopify Payment

Shopify offers 100+ payment gateways to accept payment from all over the world. It also has its own payment method knows as Shopify Payment, which is powered by Stripe.

Shopify also allows you to get involved with third-party payment gateways, but it will charge an extra 2% fees on each transaction. This extra charge can be reduced to 0.5% by choosing Advanced Shopify plan.

Ratings: 4.1/5

WOO’s Payment

WooCommerce also offers many payment gateways all popular and even has support for many regional and less popular payment service. As there is no restriction on entry, any payment company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it. WooCommerce never charges you a transaction fee on your store.

Ratings: 4.0/5

 

  • Uptime & PageSpeed

If your website’s server is down or your website’s page loading speed is not that good enough, then you might face many difficulties like (low search ranking, less traffic).

Shopify

As it is a hosted solution, you don’t need to worry about the uptime of the website. Shopify takes all the responsibility to make sure that your online store is always available. 99.98% guaranteed uptime is delivered by Shopify, and pages-speed of your website depends on the type of theme you choose for your store.

Ratings: 4.4/5

WooCommerce

As WooCommerce is a self-hosted solution its uptime depends entirely on your web hosting service. For maximum uptime, WooCommerce provides a free WordPress theme “Storefront” that offers deep integration.

Page speed of your website varies from the type of theme or template you choose for your online store. Even though there are plugins available in the market to speed up your WooCommerce store.

Ratings: 3.9/5

 

  • Integrations and Add-ons

Whichever platform you use, to grow your e-commerce business you’ll always need third-party tools or services. For example, an accounting software, email marketing tool, analytics tools, currency switcher, etc.

Shopify

Shopify has a collection of many free and premium plugins that extend the functionality of your online store. Shopify’s app store contains both free and paid app.

They have apps for product reviews, discounts, SEO, Multi-country-pricing, edit orders, and more. Pricing for paid add-ons varies and mostly they offer monthly subscriptions.

Ratings: 4.1/5

WooCommerce

As WooCommerce is open source they give you access to more than 50,000 free WordPress plugin. Due to no restriction on entry, there are a lot more integrations and add-ons available for WooCommerce.

They also have paid plugins of the third party to seamlessly integrate with your online store. They have add-ons for performance optimization, payment gateways, lead generation, and many more.

Ratings: 4.5/5

 

  • Scalability

Scalability can make a huge difference for your online store’s profit and growth potential. As your business grows, you may need more resources to handle new challenges and target.

Without scaling, a business can slowly plateau or become outdated — especially in the competitive world of eCommerce.

Shopify

Infrastructure of Shopify can handle your growing business without you having to worry about technical parts, downtimes, backups, updates or security.

Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify plans. They also offer enterprise services as part of the Shopify Plus plan.

Ratings: 4.3/5

WooCommerce

As WooCommerce is self-hosted platform it makes you responsible for managing and maintaining backups, updates, security of your website. You may run out of resources as your online stores start getting more traffic.

Your WooCommerce hosting costs will increase, but you will have better control of resources, so you can make sure that you’re not paying for resources that you don’t require.

Ratings: 3.9/5

 

  • Security

Security is a major consideration when it comes to running an online store. How secured my data is? Can I securely process credit and debit cards? Can it be hacked easily? Is the platform PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) complaint? These are some question you must be asking yourself as an online store owner.

Shopify

Shopify provides a level 1 PCI DSS compliant. They are responsible for maintaining the security of payments on the checkouts, which means if something goes wrong then you are not at all blamed for the same. With Shopify, you also get free SSL certificate with all their plans.

Ratings: 4.7/5

WooCommerce

With WooCommerce you’re responsible for hosting the website, and if you get hacked nobody’s there you can blame. As its open source, it doesn’t provide PCI compliant. If you want your online store to be secured, you’ll need to pay for the same.

Ratings: 4.0/5

 

Conclusion

POINTS SHOPIFY WOO-COMMERCE
Design 4.7/5 4.1/5
Ease of use 4.6/5 4.0/5
Support 4.6/5 3.8/5
Pricing 4.3/5 4.3/5
SEO 4.0/5 4.0/5
Payment Gateways 4.1/5 4.0/5
Uptime & Page speed 4.4/5 3.9/5
Integration & Add-ons 4.1/5 4.5/5
Scalability 4.3/5 3.9/5
Security 4.7/5 4.0/5
   
AVERAGE 4.38 4.05

Both Shopify and WooCommerce are great e-commerce platforms – although each of them has their own set of pros and cons.

If you are looking for an economical solution, and you want to have full control of your online store, then WooCommerce is the best platform for you.

If you want something that’s completely easy, that has infinite scalability, which doesn’t require any technical knowledge, then Shopify is the better platform for you.

 

10 Reasons Why Shopify is the best option !!

In our 21st century, no one has time to physically go shopping, instead of that people are getting more and more attracted towards online shopping or E-commerce(in technical term).

And it’s not at all a bad idea if you are thinking of a startup or small business for selling your product online. All you need is a platform, which help’s you to establish your own brand. Shopify is one of that platform that you must have a look.

 

WHAT IS SHOPIFY??

Shopify is a cool E-commerce platform that allows you to set up an online store to sell your products. It is all-in-one web-based platform that let the entrepreneur run their own online store.

Those days are left far behind when people had to worry about setting up a website from a scratch, just to start an e-commerce business. Because Shopify had made that difficult task a cakewalk for us.

HTML, CSS, JS, etc are the programming languages which are used for appearance and designing your website. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet heard about these names, Shopify still allows you to have full control over the appearance and setup of your store(without having knowledge of those programming languages).

Now let’s know the features that Shopify provides and why anyone should opt for Shopify rather than any other platform.

 

10 Reasons Why Shopify is a better option!!

1)  Hosted Solution

Shopify is completely reliable as it hosts over 500,000 stores. Shopify was the first hosted e-commerce website solution to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

A CDN is a large network of servers placed across the world to ensure your customers can get your online store loaded quickly, no matter where they are. While choosing an E-commerce platform one of the aspects you must know is the difference between ‘Self Hosted’ and ‘Hosted’.

 

Self-Hosted

In ‘Self-Hosted’ e-commerce solution you download and run the software yourself.  You need to set up everything from scratch, also managing the hardware infrastructure and operating system on which your e-commerce website is going to work on.

In case if you need help when your website run into an error, there is no centralized support system you can contact. In terms of security, uptime and managing traffic self-hosted is usually less preferred.

Hosted

In ‘Hosted’ you don’t have to worry about managing the server, security, uptime, traffics, etc. Every technical aspect is managed by the platform provider. The hosted application can be deployed easily as compared to the conventional software.

These type of applications are managed by the service provider so, they are updated and patched with the most stable version and is backed by continual technical and customer support.

 

2) Supports Multiple Languages

Suppose you have an online store which is selling its product in Canada whose native language is English or French and you are planning to expand your business in Germany, then it would be preferable if your website appears to Germany folks in their native language (German).

Based on the data of Gallup survey of language preferences[PDF] and  Common Sense Advisory surveyed  2,430 web consumers in eight countries :

  • 9/10 Internet users said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language.
  • 42% said they never purchase products and services in other languages.
  • 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
  • 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
  • 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

Reference

In Shopify, there are many plugins available like ‘Langify’ (manual translate), ‘Panda Language Translate’, ‘Multi Lingo’ it allows the merchant to translate their storefront into multiple languages. Although it is preferred to use the manually translation app rather than the auto-translation app to translate your store.

Having the storefront in customers own native language creates a friendly impression, which in future can increase your business rate.

3)  100+ Professional Themes

“First impression is the last impression”

When any user visits your website the first thing that comes up is the design or look and feel of the store. So it would create favorable influence on the user if your store has a nice quality design and a good theme.

Shopify has a number of feature-rich, beautiful themes which are developed by professional web-designers. The design of your website always plays an essential role when it comes to e-commerce.

Thousands of dollars are being spent by the store owner to get their store designed by professionals. But if you are a Shopify user you get most of the themes designed by the professionals for free.

There is a range of free and paid theme in Shopify to find the right look and feel for your online store. Here are some of the examples of Shopify’s themes

  • Narrative (free)
  • Debut (free)
  • Jumpstart (free)
  • Brooklyn (free)
  • Boundless (free)
  • Parallax
  • Empire
  • Canopy
  • Retina

These themes are even categorized according to design or product your store is selling. Shopify makes sure that themes are modern, clean (no bug), easily customizable, responsive design, cross-border compatibility and many more.

 

4)  100+ Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is simply a software application, which conduit between your e-commerce website and the bank that authorizes(or declines) your customer’s credit card payment. It is the final step of the sales process, without it you won’t be able to securely charge your customer when they purchase any items from your online store.

Shopify supports all the well-known payment methods such as

-Credit & Debit Cards              – Cash on Delivery (COD)

-Net Banking                              – Wallets

-Bank Transfer                          – UPI

-EMI’s                                          – PayPal

 

Some of the well-known payment gateways supported by Shopify are:

[Link of all the payment] gateways Shopify supports

You get the ultimate freedom for choosing the right payment gateway options for your customer provided by Shopify. Shopify even has its own built-in payment system powered by Stripe.

Here are some of the reasons provided by Shopify for using their own Payment platform :

  • Shopify plan transaction fee is now free.
  • Lower costs with an online credit card rate of 2.4% + 20p (Basic), 2.1% + 20p (Professional), or 1.8% + 20p (Unlimited), and no hidden charges or extra fees
  • Managing of orders, payments and payouts can be done directly through Shopify.

 

5)  Manage store with your Smartphone

Are you worried about your online store while enjoying your holidays or trip with friends or family?

Not to worry anymore now onwards, because the Shopify mobile app lets you manage your orders, product, staffs, and customers from anywhere just with your smartphone.

Manage Products in-app

→  This mobile app will let you upload your products images.

→  Set the features and pricing details of the product.

→  Adding the products to collections.

Process your orders with few taps

→ Completion of order, refund to customers, or archive orders.

→  Manage tags and notes.

→ Conversion details can be viewed.

Respond to real-time information or queries         

→ See the live sales or visitors traffic

→ Get notified instantly when you receive the order.

→ Get in touch with your staff members.

 

6)  Unlimited Products and Bandwidth

→ There are no restrictions on the number of products you sell on your Shopify store. Which means if you start your store with just 100 products and if you want to add some more 200-300 product items in your store no one will stop you doing that.

→ No one will charge you if your online store is visited by hundreds, thousands or crores of visitors. There is no limitation on the how many online visitors go through your store, and also how many files or photos you upload to the store.

 

7)  Integrate with Dropshippers

Drop shipping is a method in which you don’t have to keep the products in stock. Instead, you directly get in touch with the wholesale supplier that stocks its own inventory.

So whenever you receive an order from the online store, you forward that particular order and shipment details to the supplier and they ship the goods or product directly to the customer.

Oberlo is the app for Shopify users, to easily import and dropship the product.

There are very few platforms like Shopify that provide drop shipping integration. Here are some benefits of drop shipping.

→ Investment is very less as you don’t have to set up an inventory.

→ There is no limitation on items you want to sell, you can offer thousands of items to your customer.

→ Nothing to worry about manpower, as it is all handled by the supplier’s side, which eventually frees up your time to concentrate on your marketing strategy, operations, and customer service.

To know more about drop shipping you can read the blog  “A brief Idea About Drop Shipping”

 

8)  24/7 Support

Shopify will always be there to help you and your customer whenever needed. Here’s how

Open Chat

Team Shopify is available 24/7 on live chat. Isn’t that convincing, if you or your customer get immediate answers to your questions and queries.

E-mail

Suppose you have some questions, but there is no requirement of getting that answer immediately. In that case, you can opt for their e-mail support option, just mention whatever inquiries or issues you have in an e-mail and Shopify will be at your service with all relevant information within 24 hours.

Phone Call

Don’t feel like typing up entire queries or problems?? Not an issue!! The “anytime” helping guys are always there, you can call them whenever you are facing a trouble, even if it’s 3 AM!

 

9)  Gift cards

It is a special type of product, whose value (amount) can be used as payment. You can also issue a gift-card to customers for free as a reward for using your store. Your customer can use the gift card to make a purchase from your store both online and in person.

Your customers can even send the gift-card to other users so that they could attract more users to their store. A gift card holds a balance (paid by the owner of gift-card), which could be spent over more than one order.

When making a purchase in your store, a customer can redeem the value of a gift card by entering its unique code at checkout, and if the payment amount exceeds from the amount in a gift card, then the customer will be prompted to choose a second payment method.

Click the link to learn more about Shopify Gift-Cards and how it can boost up your E-commerce business.

 

10)  14-Days Free Trial

You cannot learn swimming unless you jump into the water and try once yourself. That’s why Shopify gives you 14 days free trial to have a personal experience with them. So one should try Shopify platform at least once if they are planning to start an e-commerce business.

Click this image to get started.

It hardly takes a couple of days to start and set up an online store with Shopify.

So why wait and watch other reaching and achieving heights of success from e-commerce business, get a start now by registering yourself in Shopify.

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Chat about Chatbots

Do you remember opening a website and a popup chatbox emerging from the side of the screen, with a “How may I help you a message?” Apparently, you do. Chatbots appear on almost all the websites these days! It is not a random feature they included for entertainment purposes. Usage of Chatbots has been evaluated over years and is observed to serve both the sides, that of buyers and sellers, quite efficiently.

What is this entire buzz about?

One significant way to grow your business is to get in touch with your clients. Chatbots help to initiate and further regulate the flow of interactions with customers for e-commerce companies. These bots simulate conversations with buyers that, in turn, replicates to the interactive shopping experience buyers get in physical retail stores.

So, now you know chatbots have been around for a long time. But it’s still a challenge to implement these because their efficiency lies in their capacity to learn, improve, and update. Artificial Intelligence constitutes the core of chatbots and the best ones have their AI process immense flow of information from literally millions of requests.

Flowchart showing chatbot conversation pattern

Online retailers who cannot manage many customer conversations at a time have to resort to calling centers for a rigid customer support. Chatbots bring a middle ground in such scenarios. Retailers still don’t have to attend all the customer requests themselves but bots on their sites handle requests and come up with meaningful responses in case of store navigation, product recommendations as well as comparisons.

..And the Misconceptions

The most intuitive definition is that a bot is software that can have a conversation with a human. For example, a user could ask the bot a question or give it an instruction and the bot could respond or perform an action as appropriate.

This definition seemingly leads to two potential misconceptions.

  • The biggest misconception that arises is that a chatbot will respond in a humane manner, in the way a human would speak with another human. And, this is not wrong to expect since science fiction has set our standards pretty high!

While this may be the end goal, our current implications of technology lag behind in providing such experience. Not only is it next to impossible, it often leads to unrealistic expectations for chatbot capabilities and what follows is a trail of inevitable frustrations when these expectations are not met.

  • The second misconception is that a chatbot communicates using only text or voice. With the rise of its usage and creativity pouring in, chatbots now allow users to interact with them via graphical interfaces. And, ‘Only Text/Voice’ is an old school now. So be the one with the trend and check out WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and Kik who allow web views on which developers can create completely customized graphical interfaces.

To understand the nature of chatbot conversations it is important to categorize it into types so that we can anticipate what type of response is to be expected.

Note that there is no content out there that is the ‘definitive guide to chatbot types’ but we will try to cover all the possible domains in which chatbots are developed and used.

Subcategories of Chatbot Types

Based on Backends

This section will mainly focus on types of chatbots distinguished on the basis of how their backends are designed.

We begin with this category because it focuses on an essential task that chatbots perform which is to respond.

Flow Chatbots

Flow chatbots are the oldest type of bots. They are tree-based. Meaning, they respond in an already determined manner and what they are going to say is fed to them by the developer. You will have the freedom to answer or question these, but the scope is limited.

Have you ever played book-based games like ‘Choices’ on your smartphone? Such games allow you to choose from certainly given options and next page of the book appears based on the choice you make. Understand that you do have the freedom to choose one of the given options, but you are still bound by the possibilities that the developer has decided.

Sample of a flow chatbot

Above is an example of a flow chatbot.

For the most part, flow chatbots include buttons, keywords, and catchphrases instead of free writing. These elements drive the client down the predefined path.

Artificially intelligent chatbots

Instead of predetermined flow, artificial chatbots rely on AI for their functioning. They let the users engage in a much freer way.

Due to an implementation of AI, these chatbots update their knowledge and perception based on their user experience or their experience of the real world.

One best example of such robot is/was Tay (which is a two way AI, discussed later in this article) delivered by Microsoft in 2016. It met quite considerable and rather horrible consequences.

Hence, it is established that Artificially sound bots implement a higher level of NLP (Natural Language Processing) to respond efficiently and also, update their knowledge base.

AI Chatbots can be further distinguished as follows.

One-Way AI chatbots implement artificial intelligence on the one side of the interaction. They decode user’s input using NLP and provide an output as defined by the developer.

The significant difference between Flow Chatbot and One-Way AI Chatbot is- In flow bot, the user response faces limitation in terms of buttons or keywords. Here, the user feels comparatively free when it comes to providing his own input. The response in both the cases is pre-fed.

Two-Way AI use AI on both the sides of the interaction. Meaning, as opposed to One-Way AI, it implements AI to provide output too.

Rather than coordinating a plan and singling out an answer from a pool of pre-made answers, two-way AI chatbots have the capacity to assemble replies on the fly – as it were.

Most two-way AI chatbots work by associating with a database of accessible data they can gain knowledge from.

Two-way AI chatbots have the capacity to process client input, comprehend the aim, at that point build the most exact answer before conveying it to the client.

As you can imagine, these chatbots can learn after some time (experimentation, better database, better data to work with, and so on.). Here and there, they fire back (Hello there, Tay).

Hybrid Chatbots

As the name suggests, hybrid bots establish a middle ground between the two elemental categories mentioned above. Right now, most of the commercial chatbots fall in this category for mainly two reasons.

  1. It is quite unfeasible to imply either flow bot or AI bot.
  2. It makes no sense if user input directs conversation because that can lead to either unfruitful interaction or catastrophic updates in AI knowledge base.

These bots essentially use AI for weaving the conversation but with their pre-fed instructions, will make sure the conversation never leaves the realm of purpose for which this chatbot is being used.

Based on Purpose

One other and an equally great way to distinguish between various chatbots is by what purpose they serve. Now you might ask, “Don’t all the chatbots offer the same purpose? Of chatting?” Well, there can be different types of interactions people keep looking for.

We distinguish these purposes into two elemental forms.

  • Functional
  • Fun

Functional

Functional chatbots perform tasks that serve as a commercial help. These optimise a process.

For example, imagine a bot on eCommerce which responses to your queries and help you navigate through your store.

Fun

On the contrary, fun chatbots are just for fun conversations. They essentially do not serve any purpose, but amusement is at the center of their working.

A working example of Funbot is Mitsuku Bot

Fun chatbots could be further categorized into sub-classes (social chatbots, mark persona chatbots, and so on.). The point to recall here is that however, a chatbot can have a fabulous time angle and still be useful, a fun chatbot has no capacity.

Audience

Last type in which we will distinguish chatbots is in terms of their audience- What type of people are going to use the chatbot and on which platform.

Generalist

A generalist chatbot is an all-rounder (Yes, pointing at Siri). They know and do it all. As you can imagine, these are very complex to implement and world’s well-known ones are developed by big companies like Google, Apple, etc.

These chatbots extract data from very deep and nested knowledge base and are generally very well versed with Natural Language Processing.

Specialist

Specialist chatbots focus on one constrained thing and do that one thing extremely well.

Without a doubt, Siri can give you data about various types of summer apparels, however, would you be able to buy those dresses in your country, will they fit you well, and do you need exactly those or some other dresses?

Expert chatbots have the one of a kind preferred standpoint of knowing precisely what they are here for. Having a sole objective to achieve is an invited confinement in the AI world. It lessens the mistake edge, makes it less demanding to comprehend client purpose, and offers helpful fallbacks.

Use Case Scenarios of ChatBots in eCommerce

Use Case Scenarios of Chatbot in E-Commerce

Chatbots can boost your marketing strategies

By developing a chatbot that is efficient in responding with various types of interactions (recognized commercially), you will have the opportunity to provide customers various services like personalized push ads, customized navigation, and responses based on buyers’ old preferences.

Chatbots can help you manage your online store

 

Along with managing interactions with your customers, live chatbots can be programmed to keep information about your inventory. This will help you very peculiar issues such as letting you and your customers know whether a particular item is in stock or not, without you getting involved and set it up manually. Similarly, chatbot can inform customers about an item they wanted to buy but couldn’t buy it earlier because it was out of stock.

 

Chatbots can join in human conversations to boost sales

Users’ Insights within Facebook’s built-in promoting platform can be a greatly helpful device for finding out about your clients’ conduct on the web. Indeed, online networking publicizing is an awesome open door for you to assemble urgent client and buy information.

By joining this with in-Facebook chatbots, organizations can supercharge their deals.

It was reported at the current year’s Facebook F8 designer conference that computerization will enable brands to propose items inside Facebook visit discussions.

Chatbots can help you cut down on customer services costs

Chatbots present many points of interest to organizations hoping to grow their operations by sparing money in specific zones like customer benefit.

Live chat applications can give a cheaper alternative to enable you to eliminate group numbers and give a magnificent administration to clients by following user chat histories and giving individuals prompt, non-earnest help. Sometimes, this can be adequate to satisfy their requirements.

If till now you are wondering if you do need a chatbot for you then we suggest you give it a shot. If you are wondering how to integrate a chatbot with your business, there are a plenty of tutorials out there. If you want some footprints on the same then go here and help yourself.

Do you use chatbots for your online business? How has your experience been with chatbots? Feel free to share your views and experiences with us!

Shopify or BigCommerce: An Ultimate Face Off

If you are a seller or wish to start your business, you know that people today want everything at their fingertips. In this digital era, you definitely would want to stay ahead in the race in an ever-changing and growing market. So, an online store is necessary for your commercial growth. Now the problem is that chances are you are not very familiar with programming, creating, developing and managing stuff online.

The online market is rapidly growing and e-commerce is the top priority of suppliers today. For making your tasks easier, Software developers provide you with various platforms on which you can set up your store with no to a minimum knowledge of hows, whens, and wheres of software engineering.

Setting up an e-commerce website today is a cakewalk. One is open to so many options that provide e-commerce platforms to build an online store. But what makes it a cumbersome task is all the things that come after setting up your store. What themes to choose, which package to pick and all the versatile e-commerce tools that come with these e-commerce platforms add to the confusion.

Two of the Top in the categories are- Shopify and BigCommerce.

Founded in 2004, Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company. Shopify is known to develop for computer software for e-commerce sales and for providing point-of-sale for combining offline physical sales with online sales. Founded in 2009, BigCommerce is an e-commerce platform development company originally and initially headquartered in Australia. However, now they consider their headquarters to be in Austin.

So here, we will see two big competitors compared, not to take out a winner. However to make you more clear about your needs and which of these two can serve you better as per your needs.

We have listed a few criteria based on which we will weigh both the platforms one-by-one.

  • Market-share records
  • Plans and Pricing
  • Themes/Designs/Storefront
  • Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Payment Gateway
  • Apps to add more functionality
  • Point of Sale
  • Security
  • SEO Management
  • Some Additional Features
  • Product Management
  • Order Management
  • Miscellaneous Tools
  • Managing store with mobile-phone
  • Marketplace Experts

Market-share Records

Shopify has over 325,000 paid users and has processed over $24 billion worth of transactions. This averages out to $73,846 worth of product sales per merchant using Shopify. Big Commerce has over 95,000 paid users and has processed over $9 billion worth of transaction to date. BigCommerce seems to be lying behind in the race of credibility but Shopify has been longer in the race and this factor also plays an important role in determining transaction rate.

Plans and Pricing

This is the beginning of the set up where you have to buy a package from your online store. (resembling real site for a physical store where your physical store would’ve existed). Plans for setting up your store depending on your personal needs, requirements and expectations from the platform you have chosen, as well as from customers you desire to sell your products to. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have very elaborative terms when it comes to their plans and both of them come with a similar categorization of 4 plans varying at levels: Basic, Mediocre, High, and Store-specific- If your business tends to be very big in the market.

But Shopify has a unique “Shopify Lite” plan that cannot be used if you own or decide to own an online store, but it can be used to integrate selling products when you already have a website (not an online store)  running and it provides a “Buy from Shopify” functionality that can be added to your already running website.

When it comes to the collection of transaction fees, BigCommerce provides an aid of not charging you with any, whereas Shopify charges transaction fees ranging between 0.5-2.0% depending on the plan chosen. However, these transaction fees can be completely waived off when you choose to work with Shopify’s Stripe gateway.

In both, if you purchase an entire year worth of service, you can get a bulk discount of 10%. But for a 2-year plan purchased together, Shopify provides 20% discount.

Note that in BigCommerce, you are required to upgrade your plan if your sales exceed a threshold pre-settled by BigCommerce. There is no such limitation to any specific plan in terms of turnover in Shopify.

Themes/Designs/Storefront

The look and feel of your website decide how much value it is going to hold. No matter how much time and ideas you have invested in the backend, your frontend needs to engage an audience (or in this case potential buyers) so the selection of themes plays a very important role. You select from what’s available and both, Shopify and BigCommerce play their cards very carefully.

Shopify is a bit ahead of the game since it has a fully fledged store of a total of 170+  themes and out of these around 24 themes are free. The thing with BigCommerce themes is that their theme store has been recently updated (in 2016) and before that, all themes seemed outdated (based on reviews). So they are lagging with just 83 themes and 7 of these are available for free.

One other drawback with BigCommerce themes is you can’t get to preview themes in theme store unless you have enrolled for their free trial. (source: http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com)

The average cost of a theme in Shopify is around $100-$180. Whereas average cost of a theme in BigCommerce is around $145-#235. Also since Shopify allows freelancer theme developers, Shopify themes are always a bundle of versatility and latest trends. All themes of Shopify are mobile responsive but with BigCommerce, not all but some themes are responsive.

Mobile responsive themes

Since smartphones are convenient to carry and to use as compared to Computers, your aim should be to make your site mobile friendly. Mobile responsive websites adapt to the screen dimensions of the devices into which we load these websites. It is not just about the convenience. Many search engines use Mobile- Friendliness Test as a ranking factor. Hence, if your website is not user-friendly, your store is losing a chance of being top in the game.

All the themes available at Shopify are responsive, meaning they automatically adjust to screen ratio on any tablets, phones, and devices. Some of the BigCommerce themes are not mobile responsive.

Payment Gateway

Money exchange is one aspect that cannot be handled liberally. With everything just some clicks and swipes away, transfer of money online comes with its own set of pros and cons. Customers must find your money accepting methods reliable and secure. At times, we all have refrained from buying stuff from a particular online store because payment methods seem to be a bit deceiving or not so decent. Payment Gateway undoubtedly plays vital in customer conversion. So, in a way, choice of payment gateway plays a considerable role in determining the credibility of your store.

Setting payment gateway with these platforms comes with a lot of ease and pre-established domains. You will have a lot of various options and therefore less burden of determining what’s secure and what’s not.

Shopify offers its own payment gateway namely Shopify Payments in association with Stripe. This is reportedly a very secure system. Also, it comes with an ease of operating since you don’t need to have a separate dashboard for managing payments. Both Shopify and BigCommerce allow you to get involved with third-party payment gateways. BigCommerce offers you to integrate with over 30 payment gateways PayPal powered by Braintree, 2Checkout, Worldpay, Stripe, and Chase Paymentech. Shopify offers you 70 payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, 2Checkout, Firstdata, Amazon payments to accept payment via credit cards from all over the world.

Apps to add more functionality

Apps are basically to add functionality to your website. Platforms provide all the additional functionalities in the form of downloadable and installable apps. If only you could get away with deciding which plan to buy and what theme to choose!

Both Shopify and BigCommerce have their app store established and both allow third-party apps to be installed and used. Shopify has a wider range of apps with over 1400 apps in its app store whereas BigCommerce has just about 250 apps.

Shopify distributes its apps in 10 basic categories while BigCommerce distributes apps in 21 categories. Shopify apps are classified in 4 Collection classes and BigCommerce apps are classified in 5 Collection Classes.

Point of Sale

Point of Sale technically means time and place where a transaction occurs. Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could be able to manage your online store on any device from anywhere? Wouldn’t it lessen your burden if you could somehow manage sales of your offline store along with your online store with ease?

Shopify POS app lets you manage your store on any device. The best part is you no longer have to copy data from one place to another. This way you can manage your offline store too (if you have any) and not care about summing up the calculations of total sales anytime. BigCommerce also lets you manage multiple transactions via POS but they do this with ‘Square’ since they do not have their own personalized app.

Security

The more you work on your store, the more stuff gets added to it. The more the stuff, the more you have invested. Moreover, anything online can never be considered as completely safe. Therefore, your security measures need to be tight to ensure your investments are not swayed away.

When you’re ready to trust a platform for running and maintaining your entire business online, security is something that should always concern you. But today’s highly responsive facilities make it look like a secondary issue. Both Shopify and BigCommerce take care of all security upgrades and ensure your website is always up and running, and does not get hacked.

Also, SSL certificates are activated in both on checkout page by default for encryption to maintain the integrity of store’s information. Shopify also lets you activate SSL certificate in the storefront for ensuring security when browsing frontend of the store.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Management

You have your store on and running online and you’re waiting for the orders to patch in. Just then, you decide to test how much reachable your store is, via various search engines like Google, Bing, etc. When you search the name of your store, chances are it is nowhere to be found on first or even second page of your search results. The ambition of Search Engine Optimization is to make sure your website is reachable to the interested public, with the use of various techniques.

Some of these techniques can be facilitated by the platform you have set up your store on. Both Shopify and BigCommerce make sure you get a good worth for choosing any of these. However, the way they implement SEO is different in both.

The following list shows what facilities are available by Shopify as well as BigCommerce for implementing SEO.

  1. Editable Title tags enhance the use of words that people are using to search for the particular products that you have listed. So basically title tags help people reach to your store.
  2. Meta descriptions are brief explanations of your products that will add in improving search engine result pages. It will take into consideration all that you have mentioned in the meta description, and if it is perfectly crafted, then search engines will rank your store better.
  3. Customizable file names and ALT tags are a handful just like title tags and meta descriptions, but for images that you include. File names should be relevant and exact or nearer to what people are searching for that particular products. ALT tags contain text that will be displayed when an image hasn’t been loaded. That should clearly give the idea of the image.
  4. Canonical URL tags come in use whenever content seems to be copied or taken from a place and is displayed in some other place. Canonical URL tags can be used in two ways.
  • When you are taking content from some other website, you can provide link to that website using canonical tags and that gives authenticity to your website
  • This is the type which helps in improving SEO for your website. When your store has the same type of content or products, you can use canonical tags to determine which, among of these is the main, original one, so that it helps search engines to understand what to refer and put at the top while ranking. Otherwise, if everything appears to be similar in terms of title tags and descriptions, none of the pages get ranked by search engines.

Some Additional Features

Importing Products Format

If you have to upload products in bulk, then this feature is used. It happens to be so that we want to move our store from one online site to another, for changing platform or for setting up a feature upgraded site. The feature of importing products comes handy when we switch from one platform or site to another. Shopify does this by extracting products data from CSV files and then it converts these into products in your shop. BigCommerce does the same by extracting CSV as well as XML files.

Hosting

Ideally, hosting providers let you buy space for uploading your website on the internet. Since your business is running online and it may or may not have a physical sign of a shop, you should know where on the internet cloud, exactly it is being hosted and how. Hosting is an added benefit to both of these platforms or any Content Management System in general. Both take care of hosting very precisely taking off the burden from the store owner.

Disaster Recovery

Backup is something that may not be a primary focus when you are working on your store, but it becomes the basic most need when you are making any uncertain changes in the backend, or due to any threat, data may get altered. Both the platforms back up your data automatically at the end of every day.

Web page loading time (Pagespeed)

If you want your store’s ranking to be among the top, page speed is one of the ways to go for. Pagespeed indicates average time your site’s pages take to load in the browser, and the relation is self-explanatory. The faster the pages on your website load, the lesser will be its page speed. Pagespeed for Shopify is 1 sec which is less than BigCommerce’s 1.5 sec.

Multi-Channel Marketing

If you’re old in the business with your store set up online, you already know that the story doesn’t end to the store only. You are supposed to be where the potential buyers are and they are simply everywhere. And this is where Multichannel Marketing is implied. You need to convert as much traffic as possible. This happens when your store is visible on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. By providing links to your store on these platforms, people will come to know about your store and may eventually consider visiting. The platform’s capacity to hold and regulate the public from various online channels plays a vital role.

Shopify’s higher plans take care of this functionality by modifying its statistic charts and making sales channels even. While in BigCommerce, it is managed by various channel manager apps.

Code-editing

Though many apps and functionalities are available with these platforms, sometimes you may want to add your own features and advancements to the website and for that, you will have to dive into basic or even a bit complex coding. Pre-requisites for editing the code for both platforms are that you should be familiar with HTML and CSS. To edit code with Shopify, you will also need to go through “liquid” which is a modeling language.

Product Management

Products are always at the heart of any online store. Because after all, everything revolves around for what purpose you have set up your store. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have unique and precise features to make product management easy for you.

For product description, BigCommerce comes with a higher number of “options” you can use on products for adding variants of the same product (for example Size, Color, Weight, etc) whereas Shopify only offers 3 such options.

You can let customers add or inscribe text and modify products with photographs for personalized products. This is comparatively easier to do with BigCommerce than Shopify.

Shopify allows generating Smart Collections for a more managed distribution of products. For example, you have a very particular collection of clothes for summer so you can display all those products under the collection “Summer Collection”. This can be easily performed in Shopify.

Both the platforms provide various apps for variations in Product Carousel, and videos can also be displayed in place of images of products or along with images of products on the carousel.

Order Management

Setting store online is not as similar an experience as having it offline since you are bound to get orders from a considerably larger range. You put up products for sale and orders patch in. Various scenarios occur after this. You can see who has checked out and what mode of payment buyer has gone for. If the buyer chooses to pay online, you should be able to get notifications. If he/she chooses to pay cash for delivery, you should be able to mark that as ‘Unpaid’. You are supposed to keep records of how many products have been sent out for delivery and how many orders are pending to be fulfilled. Lastly, the buyer should be able to get an invoice for the order placed. The buyer could also want to keep track of the order fulfillment.

All these above-mentioned functionalities are taken care by Shopify as well BigCommerce. Both have a very simple to use Orders Page available on Dashboard only. UI in both the platforms may differ but basic functionalities are covered in both with easy navigation and precise record maintenance.

Abandoned cart option in Shopify is available on dashboard even for trial store version, while in BigCommerce, an app needs to be installed in menial versions of the package. What abandoned cart does is it displays all the orders that customers have added to a cart but haven’t placed orders for yet. This feature also lets you send emails to such customers to remind them of their abandoned cart.

In BigCommerce, abandoned cart recovery enables you to send up to 3 emails at a time and also with coupon codes to keep your buyers engaged whereas, in Shopify, the limitation is up to one email only.

Miscellaneous  Tools

Every e-commerce platform comes with a wide range of integrated eCommerce tools. E-commerce tools perform and enhance various tasks and make burden of maintaining a site easy. These tools alter working on every aspect of that platform. Both the platforms have a number of unique tools but BigCommerce is quite known for its “Out-of-box” comprehensive range of e-commerce of tools.

Following are few of the specific tools that these platforms use:

Generating Gift Cards and Coupon codes

Giving exciting offers is a trick to woo customers and keep them attached to your store. BigCommerce lets you generate and send gift cards to customers via various media platforms. Coupon codes can also be generated in BigCommerce. With the help of coupon codes, you generate activation of these codes on various products.

BigCommerce Standard package provides you with facilities like gift cards, a built-in ratings and review system, real-time carrier shipping quotes. While in Shopify, these facilities are available only in higher plans.

Multilevel Navigation Menu

Imagine you have a large number of products to display and they fall into different categories as they subdivide. For solving this, BigCommerce lets you create sub-menus through ‘Navigations’ tab. Also, there is add-on available which can let you create 1-level to 4-level subcategories to distribute your products in an understandable and fashionable manner.

Creating multilevel menus is possible in Shopify too, but it is not as easy with Shopify as it is with BigCommerce.

Tax Settings (including VAT MOSS)

It is the responsibility of the store owner to take care of tax configuration in various states and countries. Sales tax is specifically regulated by a place it is associated with. So prices of your products should vary with respect to these taxes, and it is an utter ease if your chosen platform takes care of that.

Shopify lets you adjust prices and modify tax collection settings with a lot of ease. BigCommerce has the collaboration with Avalara to take care of this functionality and together, they have made tax configuration a breeze.

Marketplace Partners and Experts

Shopify and BigCommerce both are leading e-commerce platforms. With reputation comes responsibility. The responsibility of letting store owners feel guided and supported with even the smallest of their concerns.

Both the platforms have supporters distributed at different levels. You can hire designers to help you customize your store’s look and feel, developers, to aid with functionalities. If you are a complete novice and want to setup your store then you can hire ‘Setup Experts’ who can help to start your store online from scratch. Experts also come in the category of marketers and photographers.

Shopify gives an added advantage here by listing experts that are geographically closer to you so that if need be, you can meet them personally to get a solution to your problems.

Experts in BigCommerce have the freedom to quote their own prices which sometimes adds to the confusion of which one to select. Also, Shopify has a bigger team of experts as compared to BigCommerce. This in no way implies that one’s team of experts is better than that of others.

Also, both the platforms offer 24/7 support to reach these experts or for solving menial issues through forum discussions via various facilities like email, online chats as well as calls.

Conclusion

The aim of this article is to purely draw a comparison between these two platforms so that you can choose what to and what not to keep as a feature of your online store. Since it is designed keeping comparison at the center, not all the properties of both these platforms are discussed here. So for deciding which one is suitable for you, you will have to look for all the facilities provided as well as, going for trial packs of both which is 14 days period for BigCommerce and 15 days period for Shopify.

 

 

E-Commerce Seasonal Marketing

Seasonal Promotions are exploited by everyone, consumers, and businesses altogether. No business should miss the holiday bandwagon, especially in current environments where e-commerce boom makes it hard for brands to remain alive.

Seasons not only bring opportunities for earnings but can also expose your brand to a spectrum of the user base that was unaware of your existence. If the experience is decent, a one-time consumer might convert to the loyal subscriber.

Let’s address the elephant in the room! Most consumers will look for deals during seasons. However, just providing holiday discount won’t do the trick. There also are several other factors to consider while preparing your online store for Holiday Season.

Why Bother?

Most e-commerce today has its way by garnering new audience over Holidays. Seasonal planning is crucial and most of the big brands revolve their marketing strategy around seasons and holidays.

Here are the key points that strengthen the side of Seasonal Marketing:

Web traffic spikes during Seasons. Average user spends hundreds of dollars in the USA during holidays. It only makes sense to reap the benefits as they are available. The total sales during holidays have been rising steadily by a decent percentage over previous years. Currently, holiday seasons mark billions of dollars in worldwide e-commerce sales.

Also, for most families and individuals, holidays provide a reason to spend in excess. Users are going to purchase something anyway, although sometimes unnecessarily, so planning over holiday season might actually sell a product that keeps dusting away a whole year.

By embracing the holiday itself, and building a promotion around it, the brand can get connected with users. Long-term thinking and good marketing campaign on Holiday can do wonders for a brand.

Seasonal Promotions

Going seasonal is not an alien concept. The specifics such as When, Where and How to go Seasonal is where one might begin.

When: Not every Holiday will be relevant to your brand.
It makes no sense for Electronics to go on sale on 4th of July or Memorial Day. Similarly, hardware and tools’ business shouldn’t set up a sale for Christmas.
The When a part is also affected by demographics and local factors. One may alternatively play it safe by looking at what industry in same niche and location does that works.

The promotion itself needs to be carefully crafted. One needs to follow all generic guidelines, and also be creative to stand out a bit. Here, caution needs to be exercised as being sloppy can backfire and hurt your brand permanently.

Where and How: Promotions are aided with adverts, with usual marketing on Social platforms and through Emails.

A recent trend has seen that lesser and lesser percentage of people arrive at large e-commerce sites through social channels. Social channels can spread the word about a Deal getting offered, but these generally spread using word-of-mouth.

Adverts might prove to be effective for some, on the Social platform, if proper targeting is implemented. Here, a successful season for newer businesses requires special effort on getting the word out, as to why people need to visit your website.
Let’s get started with the basics.

Event Categories

Traditional Holidays:
These include generic seasonal events such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving and other cultural and religious holidays.

National and Local Holidays:
These are based on the location and demographics that the business is targeting. Such as 4th of July or Columbus Day in the USA, or Independence Day of respective countries, etc.

Non-traditional Holidays:
These include days introduced as a part of new trends or events. Check out this list of Hashtag Holidays to see some of them. These include days like Hamburger Day, Chocolate Day, Donut Day, etc

(http://downloads.sproutsocial.com/Sprout-Social-Hashtag-Holidays-2017.pdfNo one should miss these major dates:

  • 2017
      Thanksgiving: November 23
      Black Friday: November 24
      Cyber Monday: November 27
      Green Monday: December 11
  • There is a multitude of Holidays every year. Refer this page to view the list of important dates of 2018.

    Running Seasonal Promotions

    • Platforms
      • Social
        Email
        Search
        Print
    • Promotion Types
        Branding Awareness Campaign
        Product Sale
    • Words of Caution

Platforms

Social

Social platforms can do wonders for your brand if availed in a proper way. Most businesses go with a paid advert on Holidays. This boils down to running a successful social ad campaign. Alternatively one can also plan a custom campaign, without using paid advertising.

Social Ad campaigns can be run all over the year. Holidays make it better for higher audience availability and buying intent. The successful social campaign needs all the basics, plus some add-ons to give a season/holiday spin.

Targeting: Setting targeting according to product chosen to promote and audience.
Keeping up with Trends: Use relevant Tags, Season related Infographics, GIFs, Videos and try to link your brand with recent trends. Try to be unique and original. Standing out of the crowd is necessary when the whole industry will be running campaigns.
Hint Urgency: Try to gain attention by showing relevancy and urgency.
There are numerous other strategies while running a Social Marketing campaign, and so it can be researched and planned.

Email

While Emails are generally not considered as a key platform for holiday marketing, they certainly do work. Email marketing is tricky for small businesses with fewer subscribers, but with recurring users and a decent number of registered users, it’s harmless to run an email campaign.

Emails have the following advantages over other platforms:

Straightforward execution of marketing campaign.
Instant buying options inside the email itself.
Automation and deals personalized to the user or higher CTR.
There are again a million points to consider while running an email campaign in general, such as choosing a proper subject line, making email personalized to the user, prioritizing the call-to-action content in email, etc. One may refer relevant content related to Email marketing if necessary.

Search

Search engines are gigantic platforms and most users will alternatively search the product they need to buy and look for options themselves.

Search engines can be targeted for sales during holidays by publishing fresh content, publishing holiday relevant deals and having good SEO for organic free holiday traffic.

Also, one can use Paid Advertising, with specific products relevant to the season and offer discounts and incentives. Paid advertising brings a chunk of holiday season traffic and cannot be overlooked.

To get started on paid advertising, one may consider one of the popular ad networks such as Adwords, Bing Ads, etc. Google Adwords also has a link to Google Merchant Center, which can automate the task of creating product advert and running a campaign.

Print

Although not many regions use print advertising to boost online sales during holidays, the certain audience from some regions may still have enough readerships of print media like newspapers to make sense for businesses to run print Ads.

Most countries, including USA, India, and many others have big e-commerce companies running Newspaper ads before holiday season, highlighting offers and discounts. Print media may not work for small-medium businesses unless executed correctly.

Promotion Types

Brand Awareness Campaign

One of the most effective promotional campaign types, for long-term profits. Brands always stay on through time. Take Nokia, which was literally dead, rose just due to its brand value.

Seasons are the time when Businesses generate sales, as well as give out good experiences adding to brand value. Although saying this implies that product sales might do well for the brand awareness if the experience is decent, it works the other way round most of the time.

E-commerce can be tricky, especially for new and developing businesses. You might do all you can focus on product sales, and still have things not working out. There are dynamics such as trust, store-appeal, and familiarity. By focusing on branding using Videos, Infographics and other rich media in promotions, as well as doing backend work by contribution to industry and community through deep involvement, branding campaign can be kicked off.

Here, the trust factor is quite vital in driving final product sales. Branding can not only drive your sales up but can also improve your product sales campaign.

When it comes to holidays, you have the audience eager and buying-ready. Holidays and seasons also help create an appealing campaign around the event. It being a holiday season means the greater audience that is open to ideas and products. There is greater real-time audience on almost all digital platforms, TV and online alike. The campaign can be based on something the users are experiencing during the season, providing an easy connect. This teamed up with the right amount of Nostalgia and Creativity surely books huge seasonal sales.

Product Sales

Product sales are the default mode of promotion, be it physical or digital goods. They are quantifiable, meaning you know if the promotion is going the right way or not. Also other metrics such as ROI, profits and targets are based on Sales metric, so it is appealing to be thinking of hiking sales.

Now the general way of promoting product sales, by mixing holiday juice in your promotion and slipping the product part at the right time works. It is effective in both direct and indirect ways.

Other approaches to seasonal product sales include one without direct promotion. It is the most common approach used, offering the Crazy Deal. News about holiday deals can spread like wildfire, and although it might lessen profits, there are ample overall advantages.

Firstly consumers un-heard of your business will engage with it. You get a chance to showcase how you are better than the competition.

Secondly, the discount deal generally expires quickly, and what one is left with is a bunch of traffic that spreads across other products on the website. Also, the news/posts regarding the deal spread on social platforms without any directly paid promotion, and remain on the social platform long after the discount vanishes.

The second way and the standard way of product promotion during seasons is straightforward advertising to the targeted user based on various metrics on popular advertising platforms. Readiness to buy and higher traffic during the holidays makes the campaign more likely to succeed if executed in a proper way.

In a gross generalization, sales and branding should be balanced, discount offers should be executed smartly and retention must also be desired along with acquisition.

Words of Caution

There are a few things that can make you result in a loss.

Firstly, strike a balance between branding and product sales. If the promotion is more focused towards branding, one can end up with nothing on paper.

If one has a small business, with low or no sales happening, holiday deals might seem to be a good idea to drive traffic and sales. More often than not, as soon as the deal expires, the traffic vanishes and might not return year-round. Strategic planning for medium-term is a must.

Festivals and other holidays being a great time to connect with your audience are to be handled carefully. One should avoid PR blunders due to overlooking of how the seasonal promotion might hurt someone’s sentiment. Generally, this happens when audience characteristics are overlooked and a sloppy seasonal promotion is created. In the cases where these promotions are made to spark a controversy, it is always risky as controversies are uncontrollable. Always stay away from being too funny, use hashtags after giving proper thought and stay away from risky associations.

Payment Methods 101

Ecommerce has grown exponentially in the recent years, fueled by growth in number of mobile devices and increased internet connectivity around the world.

Acceptance to new technologies is high and increasing, mostly driven by the millennials. Ecommerce growth has also led to expansion in spectrum of products or services available online. International buying and selling has also risen, with giants such as Alibaba bringing international sales services to new heights.

Among everything, Payment Methods is one aspect that is often ignored completely. Offering the correct payment method according to your consumer base can do wonders for some.

Abandoned Carts and Payment methods

Ecommerce world sees enough of abandoned carts. Reasons vary from High shipping costs, Trust Issues, Buyer Reluctance and Payment Setup. Payment methods and the way payment interface is setup play a crucial role here.

Characteristics of proper payment interface:

  • Multiple Payment Options
  • Quick Checkout
  • Simple and hassle free workaround
  • Trust on the Interface Service
  • Acceptance of payments from around the world

Multiple Payment Options

International card, Local cards, Wallet cards, Debit, Credit, Gift cards and what not, most popular websites support multitude of Payment options these days to maximize payment acceptance.

Popularity of different payment types across the globe often depends on country’s economic climate and history. In some countries, people feel convenient in using their credit or debit card to shop online, while in other countries, bank transfer is a niche method.

Hence, it is unavoidable for payment gateway providers to be as versatile as possible, alongwith ensuring maximum security. Following are some of the payment methods used worldwide, that different payment gateways provide.

1. International Credit and Debit Cards

Credit and Debit cards are the most widely accepted methods of payment locally as well as globally. Hence these are a must for eCommerce environments.

2. E-wallets

E-wallets are like your normal wallets, just digital. It stores virtual money and keeps your personal information safe and secure. It gets enabled with basic unique user info, like email id and lets you send and receive payments via secure paths.

3. Bank Transfers

Bank account holders use bank transfer for online payment and transactions through the internet banking facility provided by their respective banks. For this, customers must get their account authorized by the bank.

4. Local Bank Cards and Pre-paid Cards

Local cards work in the same way as international Cards. Pre-paid cards, as the name suggests, allow you to pay using your already stored balance.

5. Direct Debit and Direct Credit

Direct Debit is an instruction from customer’s side to concerned bank to deduct pre-specified amount of balance from cardholder’s account.

Direct Credit is a simple and secure service that is used by customers worldwide to perform various kind of transactions.

6. Cash Alternatives

Using cash alternatives is generally a safe, secure and reliable method of undergoing transactions. This is a very wide area dominant in various sectors.

The basic forms of cash alternative may include options like reward points, gift cards, credits, etc which enable customers to pay these in place of real cash. Cash alternatives hold some constant value for exchange of cash that remains same till the end of its exhaustion.

Any standard store should incorporate some or the other card based payment method, by integrating a payment gateway offered locally. This is necessary for any store, but might not be sufficient for all.

 

Easy Setup of Payment method

The service one chooses must have support for the ecommerce platform in usage. Availability of plugins or extensions makes setup easy. Also, service may be chosen which has no recurring payment charges or upfront charges. This makes usage of multiple payment options cost effective.

Trust on Service

Payment service chosen must be from a trusted provider. Users are always reluctant to enter card details on third-party websites using inline payment options or payment service that is unheard of.

Popular payment options such as PayPal, Amazon Pay or Apple Pay can simply be chosen as one of the primary payment options.

Quick / Streamlined Checkout

No one likes filling endless forms at the checkout, with personal, shipping and billing information and card details. These forms, added with the earlier steps involving choosing shipping method and shipping address make checkout a tedious process.

Payment services like PayPal or Amazon reduce these steps manyfold. All the user details are available at their end and one just has to choose from any of the saved payment options. The process often becomes streamlined and one-step.

Any standard store should incorporate some or the other form of card based payment method, by integrating a payment gateway offered locally. This is necessary for any store, but might not be sufficient for all. Before continuing, let’s have our basics brushed up on payment methods.

Payment Categories Chart

Primary Payment Methods

It goes without saying that at least few of the primary methods must be incorporated into any given store. They are the ones that most standard users will be looking for.

Card Based

Card payments have specific regulations in some countries and in most cases, standard debit cards are to be manually activated for international payments. It is wise to use a locally available card payment solution if majority of users are local. Even if that’s not the case, extra local payment option is recommended.

Service Based

In most cases, external service is used for payments. Such services offer standard payment modes such as Card payments, along with added services such as bank link, wallet and access to service ecosystem.

PayPal

PayPal is used by millions all over the world, with 188 million users as of 2016. Since its launch in 1999, it has gradually become leader in payment services. It is a must for any store or service, local or international. It has zero setup charges. PayPal has recently had many changes to maximize card acceptance.

[Note: PayPal uses international payment standards. In countries such as India, extra security implementations such as Verified by Visa may cause payment failures]

PayPal offers linking the account with bank to send back any received amount back to the bank. One can also store multiple cards and link multiple banks.

Amazon Pay

Amazon has emerged as a key player in e-commerce. It has a vast user-base. Amazon Pay enables one to avail any of the payment methods that are accessible through Amazon. This includes any of the saved cards, wallet balance or bank. Amazon Pay has active apps / plugins for popular platforms such as Shopify or woo-commerce.

2Checkout

2Checkout is one of the old and widely used payment gateways. It accepts payments in PayPal, Debit and Credit card and has a Shopify extension. 2Checkout has 16 years of working and works in most countries.

Honorable mentions: Authorise.Net, SecurePay, PaySimple, FastCharge, Payza

Based on preference one should choose at least one card based and one service based Payment Gateway. The above listed services are suggestive and one should choose based on consumer demographics and business type.

Cash on Delivery may be used when selling physical products, upon integration with respective courier service.

Alternate Payment Methods

Alternate payment methods are on the rise. Users normally have accounts on multiple different services, such as wallet based services. More often than not, someone might just buy something just to avail the wallet credit.

Take a scenario for example where one has a Gaming retail website. G2A is a huge platform for buying/selling game titles, and it makes sense to use their payment gateway on your Gaming website.

Many services here offer themselves as secondary option in cases where primary payment option has failed.

Service Based

Apple pay

Apple has a gigantic ecosystem and is widely used. Apple pay is already used by millions, and they are now pushing more for app, store and mobile based payments. It can accept credit card and wallet based payments from Apple devices. It works on Safari web browsers in iOS and Mac, with extensions for multiple platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce etc.

Apple Pay offers one click Touch ID based payment. This makes the checkout hassle free and increases conversion rate. Not to mention the increased exposure to Apple ecosystem. Though it is relatively new, it is reliable and trustworthy for most.

Skrill

Skrill is a payment service based in UK with increased focus on international payments and money transfers. The costs for international payments are low. Also multitudes of payment options are available. There has been some speculation over trustworthiness of the service, but its payment gateway has been integrated by many global brands such as Facebook and Ebay.

Bank Based

Dwolla

Founded in 2008, Dwolla offers online payment system and mobile payment networks.

Dwolla is known for providing service containing APIs to use ACH system that use white label. Its white lable services expand from payouts to include instant bank authorization for debiting bank accounts.

Digital Currency Based

Digital currencies are virtual tokens that have value due to market capitalization and the technology behind them. Digital currencies are not linked to any bank or government, nor can they be regulated. There has been vigorous investment in Digital Currencies after 2015, with prices rising exponentially.

Bitcoin is one of the first crypto-currencies, introduced in 2009. Currently its value maxed out at around 5000$ per Bitcoin. If one is speculative about the stability, yes, prices are volatile.

But there are payment services that can take in Bitcoins and give USD, EUR or any other currency of the same value. With billions of dollars of capitalization and exponential growth of the Digital Currencies, it is undeniably given that they will be accepted widely in the future.

Even today, many popular services such as distribution platform Steam, Universities and many ecommerce platforms are accepting Bitcoins. Services such as BitPay and Coinbase are available to accept Bitcoin or similar payments with plugins/extensions available to integrate them into popular platforms like Shopify or WordPress.

Have you used any of the above mentioned payment gateways? How was your experience? Feel free to drop your views in the comment section.