E-Commerce Platforms Compared

What may seem unapproachable or unattainable a few years ago is now at a close reach of our hands. Yes! I am talking about the rise and popularity of e-commerce.

If you’re still finding it hard to trust the e-commerce sector, here is a statistic to back your doubts. 

According to the survey done in 2022 by eMarketer, it is estimated that e-commerce will surpass 5 trillion dollars in sales globally. Now, isn’t that amazing? Remarkably, it is going to grow its global sales up to 7 billion dollars by 2025.

So, if you are an established merchant or an underdog thinking about venturing into the e-commerce sector, There are a few things to look into and learn before you move to an online business.

You will have to look into the best e-commerce platforms that will help you in the long-term growth of your business.

But first, what is an e-commerce platform to begin with? An e-commerce platform is a software application. So, this software will help any business owner manage the company’s online activities, such as the business website, sales, and marketing.

Here are some features to ensure you how good the e-commerce platform you pick is:

  • It helps the customers of your business to get the required type of products they might be searching for quickly.
  • Rightly serving you with the service for the cost you paid for installation and software maintenance.
  • Making sure that the employees are met with everything needed for the implementation of sales and marketing plans.
  • Feature such as shipping-inclusive software is a necessity for any business online.
  • The running of the software shouldn’t be too complicated for the users. Ease of use is another feature to consider.
  • A good customer management feature is a sure sign of good e-commerce software. Features such as a solid customer account for the customers, a wish list, and an order summary are a must.

Another important fact to know about e-commerce platforms is that every e-commerce software falls under two categories.

  1. Self-hosted: When the e-commerce platform is self-hosted, it means that you are your own navigator. Although a little hassle is included in this type, it also rightly ensures full control over your security, privacy, scalability, and overall management.
  2. Cloud-based: When the e-commerce platform is cloud-based, it means the whole maintenance and management of your website is done by the software provider. So here, you don’t have to worry about the personal hassle of managing the flow of your business online, but you won’t have full control and access like in the case of self-hosted platforms.

So yes, the choice is on the merchants as to how the company or the business website is handled. Both of these two categories come with their own pros and cons.

In this section of the article, we will be delving into some of the most chosen and merchants’ favorite e-commerce platforms globally.

  1. Wix: Wix is a website builder that allows you to build any basic website freely. However, in order to use their e-commerce website-building features, you will have to go for the paid plan. WIX stands firm with its motto, “One platform, infinite possibilities. The pricing for using WIX website building features starts from 27 dollars. Facebook and Instagram are two integrated social media channels for sales, but a third-party Ecwid app is required to make sales via social media channels. The lack of the WIX platform is that it has limitations on inventory management features, which many product-based businesses will need.
  2. Shopify: With Shopify, you can build your website as a merchant from the comfort of your house. Shopify offers you free trials for beginners to make your online website with 100 themes to choose from. As your business grows, Shopify will expand your sales potential. Shopify offers the best inventory features that any merchant will need for the online business. You can opt for a three-month paid plan for just 1 dollar per month. With more understanding and rapid business growth, the merchant can choose Shopify as a full-fledged platform to help expand the business at 29 dollars per month when paid annually. Shopify has integrated Facebook, Instagram, Walmart, Google, eBay, Amazon, and Marketplace as sales channels. 
  3. BigCommerce: As its name rightfully suggests, BigCommerce is typically built for enterprise-level companies with high-scale sales and a bigger volume of trades. This is also the reason why many small business merchants do not opt for BigCommerce software for their lack of ease and flexibility. But, BigCommerce is management that is fully hosted for big businesses. The pricing starts from 29 dollars per month when it is paid annually. The integrated sales channels are Amazon, Instagram, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Facebook, and Google Shopping.
  4. Adobe Commerce: Formerly known as Magento, it is a platform mainly for developers, and it supports custom designs. However, Adobe Commerce does not keep the box tool, and it requires a technical grip to manage the site and get the most out of this e-commerce software platform. The pricing is custom pricing, and Amazon is their integrated sales channel.
  5. Squarespace: It is a SaaS (Software as a service) provider with built-in convenience for content creators and entrepreneurs to showcase art through visuals. So, if you are a creative looking for a software platform, Squarespace can be of much help and can even contribute to your art sales by capturing viewers and followers. However, Squarespace has limited technical support and a very insignificant app marketplace.
  6. OpenCart: A free, open-source e-commerce platform to create and manage many stores on a single dashboard showcasing scales of sales, customer summaries, etc. OpenCart is self-hosted and free but has limited features for marketing. OpenCart has not yet integrated any sales channels.
  7. WooCommerce: An open-source platform that is free for WordPress, the blogging platform. Basically, WooCommerce converts the WordPress content into a complete store with price listings, carts, and checkouts for products you wish to sell online. However, this e-commerce platform is limited to WordPress and requires the merchants to handle many extensions.

As the world of e-commerce evolves, aren’t you ready as an established merchant or even someone waiting to experience a business venture to scale the world of online business? 

May your business increase as much as e-commerce grows in popularity and efficiency.

Affiliate Marketing Explained

Financial independence is the key to a good life, and can you imagine making and generating cash even while you are sleeping? That is the concept of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is the additional income, and you can make this income anytime and anywhere.

According to a survey done in 2022, affiliate marketing in the US rose from 5.4 billion to 8.2 billion between 2017 and 2022.

In this article, let’s look more into the details of what affiliate marketing is and how it works.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

A process where the publishers earn commission by promoting the products of another retailer or companies through an affiliate link.

The affiliates are rewarded with commissions when sales are made. In some other cases, affiliates make money by promoting free trials, leads, getting downloads, etc.

Typically, an affiliate network is a website that links creators with different brand affiliate programs for promotions.

The good thing about these affiliate programs is that they are free. When you know how to use these programs well, what is considered a side hustle or additional income can turn into an active business.

Amazon also popularises the affiliate marketing scheme by using influencers to link product reviews in their content so that more viewers will search, download, and buy the products. So, yes affiliate marketing is technically a pay-for-performance marketing strategy too.

In the case of an established or a new e-commerce merchant wanting to expand his crowd or attract buyers, an affiliate can be hired to do so. When you hire an affiliate with multiple websites, the promotion of your products will have a wider network, which will, in return, bring a good number of customers.

So, when the sale is made for the products promoted by the affiliate to his network, the merchant of the e-commerce will compensate the affiliate for the same.

The scheme for affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for the merchant and the affiliate.

Different Types of Affiliate Marketing:

There are three different types of affiliate marketing. Let us break down one by one.

  1. Unattached affiliate marketing: The first type of affiliate marketing we will look into is unattached. Here, the affiliate has no connection whatsoever with the products being promoted. Since the nature of unattached affiliate marketing is the most uninvolved, it becomes a little burden for the affiliate to give honest and personal reviews about the products. Typically, this affiliate marketing type is for those who are not interested in building or investing in customer or product relationships.
  2. Related affiliate marketing: So, in related affiliate marketing, there is not necessarily a very close connection or relationship between the product and the affiliate. However, there is some sort of connection between the product and the affiliate’s background of interest. For example, if the affiliate is a baker and a food blogger, then whether or not the affiliate is a vegetarian, the vegetarian sauces can be promoted. So, simply, there is some sort of connection between the product and the niche of the affiliate. 
  3. Involved affiliate marketing: In involved affiliate marketing, as the name rightly suggests, there is a close connection between the affiliate and the product. Here, the affiliate has personally used the products being promoted and can very well give honest and authentic reviews and leads. Trust is easily built in this type of affiliate marketing between the company and the buyers because of the involved nature of the affiliate.

Most web properties that monetize via affiliate marketing, whether they be websites, social media accounts, podcasts, etc. tend to straddle the lines of these different types of affiliate marketing. For example, a product recommendation website like duuupe.com that details the best dupe products across a variety of categories, utilizes both involved and related affiliate marketing. The more you know to look for it, the more you will see affiliate marketing being employed all over the internet. This becomes obvious to the trained eye for everything from social media influencers to very large online publications like Forbes and Cosmopolitan.

How are affiliate marketers paid?

The commissions earned by the affiliate for promoting and connecting the products with the customers may range from 1% to 20% of the sales generated. 

Income earned by affiliates may vary from some earning a few hundred to some earning in six solid figures. The income varies due to so many factors involved. The size of the affiliate network, the company, its popularity, the kind of products being promoted, and so on.

However, despite the hassle and time it takes to make a profit out of affiliate marketing, we can say that it is also beginner-friendly because one can start an affiliate marketing easily because there are platforms that require little or no money at all. In short, you need to have a wider network of viewers if you want to excel as an affiliate.

We can also look into different ways affiliates are paid.

The first is, pay-per-sale, and it is the standard structure of the affiliate marketing scheme. Here, the company or the e-commerce merchant will pay the affiliate after every sale of the products promoted by the affiliate using its marketing strategies.

Secondly, there is another method called pay-per-lead. Here, the merchant compensates the affiliate for leading the customers to its websites, fulfilling required sign-ups for subscriptions, or leading them to download files, etc.

Thirdly, there is also a pay-per-click strategy where the merchant compensates the affiliate mainly for website traffic. It is based on Search Engine Optimization.

Lastly, the pay-per-installation method is where an affiliate will be paid for every installation of an app by the user from the merchant’s website. Installation can be an app or a software.

Why become an affiliate?

In this section of the article, we will look into some reasons why being an affiliate is a good call.

  1. It is free of customer support service. Therefore, there is no hassle to be the responsibility of the buyers as an affiliate. All you need to do as an affiliate is to connect the product to the buyers.
  2. You can easily work from anywhere and at any time without an issue. The ease of working from home is truly the backbone of why being an affiliate can be fun.
  3. To become an affiliate, one need not worry about the cost-effectiveness. This line of work is pretty straightforward and without much hassle.
  4. The job of an affiliate is flexible and convenient. The job is all about how much you put effort into performance, as it is primarily performance-based income.

That’s all about affiliate marketing and a guide to everything you need to know about the same.