We have since added to traditional brick and mortar stores; from the mom and pop stores in the 1700s, department stores in the 1900s, and super chains such as Wal-Mart in the 1960s. Retail has gone through one change after another over the last 300 years. However, in the 1980s the environment went under another transformation in how we as consumers buy products.
The Boston Computer Exchange was built for people to sell their computers through the online market. It became the first-ever e-commerce company though it had allowed users to sell their used computers. Then in the 1990s with the creation of Amazon, the platform had given light to the possibilities of online marketing. At the time, you couldn’t tell anyone that the once online book distributor would later became one of if not the strongest lead in online marketing. As it stands, we could attribute it to e-commerce’s explosive growth. Today, many companies use e-commerce to buy and sell products way more efficiently, fitting the customer’s needs. Essentially, if you needed a waffle iron yesterday, a simple Google search would fix that issue almost instantly. Before we mention what’s considered the “best,” let’s unpack exactly what e-commerce is.
What is Open Source E-Commerce?
E-commerce is a platform that allows online businesses to hold assets, sell products and services where both B2B and B2C customers can purchase them. It is a content management system (CMS) that businesses use to categorize their products to be placed in a digital cart and sold. It is all done with the purpose of constructing a stronger relationship between the company and its consumer base. An open source e-commerce platform allows its users to modify and enhance the original source code. In other words, people can adjust the platform to fit their business’s e-commerce needs.
Open source and “free” are usually thrown in together, though it is not “free” in its price. However, there is “freedom” in its use. Those who have the code can use it how they see fit. It provides the chance for the user to dictate how their website operates via access, distribution and even modification. That is one of the reasons why open source can work so well with multiple business types.
Why is Open Source E-Commerce Good for Businesses?
Tactics such as utilizing SEO can help push your content to being seen on search engine pages. In doing so, after having had a customer find your website once they click on it, you have the ability to send them reminders and promotions through what is known as search retargeting. Through SEO, you can further optimize your website by finding out customer’s search behavior. It is truly a perpetual process.
As once you find out more about your targeted audience’s buying traits, those can be added into the source code to further the customer’s needs. SEO plays a big part in the wonderful world of e-commerce when it comes to finding out what product to sell next. Just as Google crawls to find keywords relevant to people’s engine searches, you can do something similar. As far as keyword research goes, knowing what product is trending amongst customers in your field and what keywords your competitor’s websites use, will be beneficial in boosting traffic to your own.
The possibilities start to become more apparent as you start to familiarize yourself with data surrounding your niche. Although you don’t have to pay a specialist to build your website through open sources, there are also other purchases that may have to be made in regard to paying for a web developer or a domain name. However, if you’re a small business owner, not having to at least pay someone to set up your business’s e-commerce can be very beneficial.
The downside is that the work for developing a consumer base falls on your shoulders. Yes, that means that you’ll have to be able to do it yourself, but you could use SEO in tandem with open source to do so.
Those who use open source e-commerce can rest easy knowing that although most open source e-commerce platforms aren’t “free” to use, they can dramatically lower labor costs. Having the coding taken care of means you can put your attention to ways to make your site look as good as it can be with either your own skills or maybe the assistance of others.
What Is the “Best” Open Source E-Commerce?
For anything to be truly considered the “best,” we need to first acknowledge that it is purely subjective. Even what this article may tout in saying what is the “best” is not without its subjectivity. Whatever is the best here may not necessarily be the best for your business. Above all else, what exactly does qualify as the best for your business specifically is one question you should give careful consideration to. As we’ve mentioned so far, there are quite a few applications from e-commerce platforms that one could look at as something that’s beneficial.
How Customizable Is It?
What to look for in a good open source e-commerce platform would be to examine what it offers in its customizable options. Any business could benefit from a healthy amount of options with how they want to design their online selling system. In most cases, based on how creative the platform allows its users, SEO could just as well have search engines crawling to find your website quicker. Whatever it permits to be customizable, could determine the dwell time a customer spends throughout your website.
How Affordable Is It?
Sometimes it’s not about the options. If you’re just starting out, perhaps it is pricing that determines an online selling system’s value to your business. Open source e-commerce platforms usually offer their source code for free. If you know your way around programming, you could potentially make your whole website without spending a dime. There are, of course, other funds that go into building a domain, such as hosting and recurring fees such as maintenance. What makes having options about open source good is that you can always change it once you find you’re comfortable enough to switch to one you believe will benefit you more.
Three of the Best E-Commerce Platforms
If you are looking for an e-commerce platform for your business, these are three of the best options currently available.
Wix is structured to allow people who haven’t picked up web design to do some great things with their website. You don’t need to know coding to navigate the platform. Those who have smaller businesses will come to find it is beginner-friendly. With Wix, one can manually drag and drop their preferred choices throughout their page with WIX Editor. Also, with Artificial Design Intelligence or ADI, WIX can create one for you.
One of the main components that has made WooCommerce so highly rated is what it offers all while being completely free. It even has the payment processing completed so you can get straight into designing how your website will look. If you’re at all familiar with WordPress, it is an invaluable plug-in. This will be a strong contender for your business. What WooCommerce also excels at is its functionality.
You have probably seen your favorite YouTuber sponsored by this open source, as it is specifically made for creative types. It too has a drag and drop editor and the ability to add portfolios displaying your own professional work. The templates are customizable and you can bolster your site with other integrations not mutually exclusive to Squarespace. You can even hire experts through Squarespace. Doing so can save you time trying to find ways to add a more professional feel.
Choosing Which Platform is the Best for You
When you’re searching for ways to build your business website, you have to comb through an abundance of resources before you find what exactly it is you’re looking for. With the increase in online purchases, you may want to capitalize on e-commerce. This strategy may help your business reach new heights. It is all in the name of the game when trying to establish or improve upon your niche. Everyone, even those who have been in the game for a while may need a refresher. At SEO Chicago, our e-commerce development solutions can help your store stand out from your competitors with specific SEO strategies that will help your products be featured better in search.
- What is e-commerce?
- What is open source?
- How can open source e-commerce benefit my business?
- Can I use open source e-commerce platforms myself?
- What are good e-commerce platforms?